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Podcast Recommendations for Serial Addicts

Editor’s note: Jenny Benevento helped select our top podcasts of 2013 and recently published this guide to her own website. She kindly gave us permission to republish it.

So as you might know, I love podcasts (so much so I have my own!).  Like everyone you know, I  enjoy the podcast Serial, which you either binge listen to or wish people would shut up about.  I’ve heard it called The Wire of podcasts, and that’s a pretty accurate assessment–addictive Baltimorean crime drama…but true!

Since Serial is ending next week, I’ve been looking for similar podcasts.  I love true crime and figured there must be something else in that genre out there.  And boy did I find a whole bunch of lists recommending podcasts that claim to be like Serial.  On just the first page of a google search I found this and this and this and this and this and thisand this and this and this.  And I found most of these lists really lacking.

Because in addition to a podcast addict I am a librarian and thus I literally took classes on how to recommend books to people based on what they liked about another book.  And the recommendations in these lists were for great podcasts I loved, podcasts it’s easy to binge on, but podcasts that have nothing in common with Serial.  That’s bogus.  

If someone likes Harry Potter you don’t recommend them John Grisham just because both happen to be popular binge reads.  Podcasting has a “captive” audience of podcast lovers waiting to get a good recommendation and we’re not even giving them anything relevant to feed their love of this burgeoning medium.  This cannot stand!  What none of these lists take into account is WHY someone likes Serial.  So I fixed it.  I give you a list based on reasons you might like Serial.

Podcasts in bold are those that were recommended by several sources.  Italic are ones with my personal recommendation.

Serial related

First, a couple of podcasts ABOUT Serial that you can check out to keep it going:

True Crime Podcasts

If you liked Serial because you love Forensic Files and Law & Order you might like….

People discussing shameful/hard to believe true stories

There are SO MANY podcasts like this, so if you like Serial because people talk about secrets and shameful things, you’re in luck.


Do you not give a fig about whether the story is true or not but just love suspense and a spooky atmosphere?  These are for you.

Please include any other suggestions in the comments and I will add them!


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4 Responses to Podcast Recommendations for Serial Addicts

  1. Meggan December 12, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    Are now fascinated by how law impacts life after listening to SERIAL? Nancy Mullane, co-founder/host of, Life of the Law takes a storytelling approach to the intersection of law and culture. Much like how SK talks with experts or knowledgeable sources in her reporting about the case, Life of the Law also talks to stakeholders and experts around the law impacting everything from murderers getting parole, conjugal visits to the impact of law on the sharing economy and on copyrighting jokes.
    “The law is alive. It doesn’t live in books and words. It lives in how well we understand and apply the law to our lives. So here at Life of the Law we’ve started a conversation, bringing together journalists, scholars, producers, editors, reporters, attorneys and writers. We ask questions, find answers and publish what we’ve discovered in sound-rich bi-weekly podcasts, public radio stories, magazine articles, photographs and live storytelling events”

  2. Heather Ordover January 11, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Thank you so much – both for being a librarian as well as making it clear to me why I found so many “just like…” lists to be lacking.
    If binge listening is one of the factors that people are attracted to, there are a few other podcasts (as oppsed to ProCasts – like Serial and Startup – that may have gone under the radar.

    ChopBard from In-Your-Ear-Shakespeare: Ehren Ziegler hosts this long-running podcast which is very much a “Cure For Boring Shakespeare”. He takes listeners through all the obscure language and buried dirty jokes, making the watching of Shakespeare to be an easy and joyful experience.

    Forgotten Classics: another long-running podcast where host Julie Davis reads long-lost books that were all the rage in their day but have been forgotten by modern readers. They’re a lovely public domain audiobook option (free and somewhat obscure) and Julie has gotten permission from some modern authors to read their books on her podcast.

    CraftLit: an audiobook with benefits podcast for busy people – Similar to Chop Bard, CraftLit takes modern listener/readers through the context we no longer have for some of history’s great literature – making sure we can all get the jokes IN the book as well as modern jokes based ON the book.

    I’m sure there are more, but those three shows will give you over 500 hours of listening pleasure (if binging is what you’re in to).

    And now, off to check out some of the podcasts that you just turned me on to!
    Thank you!!!

  3. Paul Riismandel January 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

    Thanks for the great, suggestions Heather. I will highlight them in this Wednesday’s podcast feature.

  4. Sword and Scale January 20, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    Thanks for the mention.

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