Despite the pin-drop silence that an epic scene can induce (e.g., the battles in Game of Thrones) television is a chiefly social affair. The best part is after the episode ends, when you turn to your right and left and ask, “What’d ya think?”
For those who don’t have friends and family willing to schlep over every Sunday night for the latest from HBO (or every Wednesday for the latest Mr. Robot), tuning in to a podcast on your morning commute is the next-best thing, especially if your coworkers never seem to be up to date on the latest episode. The following podcasts are the best opinions, whether nuanced, inflammatory or obscure, on television, delivered straight to your car, train ride or walk.
The Vulture TV Podcast
Listen to this weekly podcast for the chemistry. On each episode since March of last year, New York TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz and Vulture TV editor Gazelle Emami have chatted about the specific quirks of a certain show, or taken a more macro view of what goes into making the best shows on TV today. They dive deep into whatever interests them, without the sameness of a formulaic review show, and the conversations are rarely boring.
Rotten Tomatoes Podcast
Listen to Rotten Tomatoes Editor in Chief Matt Atchity and Senior Editor Grae Drake — plus their star-studded guest list — for their hard-hitting criticism. It’s Rotten Tomatoes, after all; for every fresh show, there are plenty that are rotten.
Just two guys chatting about all 180 Seinfeld episodes. They are strictly unqualified to judge television in any professional way, and themselves state they “can barely run their own lives.” Those are the exact qualifications needed to talk about a show about nothing, about the banalities of everything between your birth and death. They are currently on episode 102.
NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour
From NPR comes Pop Culture Happy Hour, hosted by Monkey See blogger Linda Holmes, in which the discussion veers from television to books, movies and comics. It’s a weekly roundtable discussion with some of radio’s best personalities. Listen for the “newsiest” version of a pop culture podcast, in which Holmes maintains NPR’s high production value and conciseness while also rambling about the latest summer blockbuster.
From The Ringer, Bill Simmons’s newest site, comes a podcast that covers TV, film, trailers and music videos. We have great respect for The Ringer, and Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan — longtime friends and hosts of The Watch — upholds the nuance of the site’s discussion of culture.