Whether you’re stuck in weather-related traffic, waiting at an airport for a flight to decide to leave, or just holing up at home, winter is a great time for podcasts, since they provide an intimate, in-depth look at all sorts of subjects while you try to stay cozy. Here are five we recommend binging.
The Drop Out
At this point, Elizabeth Holmes’ Silicon Valley con might be all but forgotten — but thanks to this fantastic new podcast from ABC News and Nightline, this strange saga is making it back to the mainstream. Basically, in the mid-2000s, Holmes — a Stanford drop out — created a company, Theranos, and convinced everyone that her new technology would make old-fashioned blood tests obsolete. Her new product, she claimed, could conduct a range of medical test using only a drop of blood. The one problem? It couldn’t. This podcast includes interviews with investors, employees, board members and whistleblowers, cutting them together with original audio of Holmes. From the moment you hear her too-low-for-comfort voice, you’ll be hooked.
Over My Dead Body
Over My Dead Body is the murder mystery set in a Jewish community in Florida that we’ve all been waiting for — and, of course, it’s from Wondery, the network behind Dr. Death and Dirty John. The first couple episodes of Over My Dead Body introduce a couple, both lawyers, who move to Tallahassee to teach, while enjoying being big fish in a somewhat small pond. Sure, they have their fights, but what couple doesn’t? But when one of them gets shot in the face, and all evidence points to the survivor’s family, it becomes a question of privilege. Could they have paid to get away with murder?
Root of Evil
You might know the Black Dahlia case — you might even know a little bit about victim Elizabeth Short’s brief life and tragic end. But you probably don’t know about the most plausible theory out there: That George Hodel, an eccentric Los Angeles doctor, murdered and dismembered the 22-year-old actress in 1947. And you definitely don’t know about the twisted drama that this patriarch caused for his family. Hosted by George’s great-granddaughters Yvette Gentile and Rasha Pecoraro, Cadence13’s Root of Evil tells the very personal stories of a family torn apart by a sadistic man, and brought back together by revelations about the Black Dahlia murder. And bonus, this is the companion podcast to TNT’s new show, I Am the Night — a drama that tells the story of Fauna Hodel, George’s granddaughter and the mother of Gentile and Pecoraro — so once you’re hooked, you can watch India Eisley and Chris Pine dramatize the story for you.
OK, this technically isn’t on now — the final episode of Season One aired last December — but it’s a great podcast that inexplicably went largely under the radar. Hosted by journalist Jane Marie, a former This American Life producer, The Dream focuses on multi-level marketing schemes — or MLMs — the nice word for what sometimes can turn into pyramid schemes. But this isn’t your everyday investigative deep-dive. Marie gets personal, taking the listener back to her hometown of Owosso, Michigan, where members of her community — even her own family — sell makeup or handbags to each other for a promise of profit. Later in the show, Marie gets political, explaining the connections between the MLM Amway and powerful families like the DeVoses — exploring the reasons why these kinds of companies are still legally allowed to operate.
Brought to you by NPR, the originator of the modern news podcast, Throughline takes a look at political events of our time and puts them in historical context, something that can get left out when we’re trying to keep up with the latest headlines. The first episode focuses on the 1953 CIA coup of Iran’s elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, while the second looks at the history of sports figures protesting. By getting in depth, they enable you to understand these more pressing stories as a whole — just in time for another news cycle.