Each month, Podcast Review’s staff offers recommendations on the best new podcasts to listen to. Here are our favorites for February:
When we reviewed the last season of Blindspot, “Tulsa Burning,” we were impressed by the show’s unhurried narrative and attention to historical detail. In its latest, “The Plague in the Shadows,” host Kai Wright turns his focus to the early days of the Aids crisis in America. HIV has killed over 40 million people to date. But in the early 1980s, we were still determining what it was called. Blindspot speaks to survivors and experts to try to understand what these years were really like and what might have been different. Brave and timely, this show demonstrates how audio can be utilized for activism and community building.
Radiotopia’s latest series is a four-part true story. Or rather, it’s about multiple stories, told and retold as the real thing. But is anything labeled as “non-fiction” actually accurate? Jess Shane explores the mechanisms of documentary storytelling in Shocking, Heartbreaking, Transformative, a podcast that grapples with the ethics of using people’s lives as content. After posting a Craigslist ad seeking subjects, Shane explores the power dynamics between makers and subjects, asking important questions about the medium’s preparedness for representing the sensitive parts of human life.
The true crime sensation Dr. Death returns with a fourth season, “Bad Magic.” If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, Wondery’s hit franchise explores shocking cases of medical malpractice; like many popular podcasts in this genre, its first season was turned into a television show, gaining a feverish audience in the process. In “Bad Magic,” award-winning reporter Laura Beil is on the trail of Serhat Gumrukcu, a doctor and scientist who claimed to be nearing a cure for HIV and cancer. But as true crime fans know, big claims often hide dark secrets.
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