Four podcasts & YouTube series you should be listening to

With the pandemic pushing most of us past the end of our Netflix queue, we are all looking for new sources of escapism and entertainment. Luckily, podcasts have been on the rise ever since this started, with a vast range of genres to choose from. Here are four podcasts and YouTube series worth checking out.

First up is “James Bond Radio,” an unofficial fancast discussing all things 007. Between agonizing over the constant delays of “No Time to Die” and having already marathoned all the prior films several times, “JBR” has become my lifeline for new “Bond”-related content. Hosted by longtime “Bond” fan Tom Sears, “JBR” episodes range from two best friends geeking out about the films to unforgettable interviews with influential “Bond” figures from every medium. 

Between discussing comics, clothing and behind the scenes production trivia, “JBR” has every Bond fan covered. The show is available through every conceivable platform, including YouTube, Spotify and Apple Podcasts. With over 190 mainline episodes as well as numerous bonus shows and interviews, there is always more to learn about the world’s greatest superspy.

For fans of action, I would highly recommend “The Art of Action,” a Youtube series hosted by martial artist Scott Adkins. Billed as a show about the art of creating action for films, Adkins delivers fascinating and insightful interviews throughout every episode while also delving into his own history as an action star. From Hollywood juggernauts like Michael Jai White and Dolph Lundgren to lesser-known action stars and stuntmen like Cynthia Rothrock and Sam Hargrave, the series excels at introducing listeners to a wide range of key figures throughout the action genre.

While I have never been the biggest fan of classic ‘80s action films, I found this to be the most addictive out of all the recent podcasts I’ve listened to. Through these interviews, people are offered a glimpse into the process and perspectives on making movies back in the ‘80s and how it compares to now. In doing so, it shows just how much action films and stars have evolved over the decades. With over 22 episodes on YouTube and no signs of slowing down, “The Art of Action” is the premier series for offering fascinating looks into the lives of past and present action stars. 

Recently, I began watching one of the finest shows to ever grace television for the first time, “The Sopranos,” and apparently I was not alone. With the show’s recent surge in popularity, longtime cast members Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa recently created “Talking Sopranos,” an official podcast dedicated to the beloved series. Each week, the pair rewatch the episodes in chronological order and go through it beat by beat.

What makes this show so great is that it is the ultimate treat for new and longtime “Sopranos” fans. Having worked on the show themselves as actors, Imperioli and Schirripa offer tons of their unique insider knowledge, shed light on the show’s ocean of hidden symbolism and tell some hilarious personal stories about themselves and their friends. I am still working my way through the TV show, so I found the best way to listen to this is to finish the episode in question then boot up the adjacent podcast episode. With 35 episodes already under their belt, the series is a must for fans and primarily available on Apple Podcasts or YouTube. 

Finally, we arrive at “The Joe Rogan Experience,” one of the most popular podcasts of all time. Each episode sees Rogan and his guest delving into deep and meaningful discussions on the guest’s field of expertise and whatever is going on in the world. There’s an episode for everyone, regardless of topic preference, whether that be Hollywood actors, prominent politicians or beloved stand-up comedians.

I like sticking to the comedian-centered episodes because of my love for the art. Still, now and then, Rogan brings in some other prominent figure, and suddenly I’m earnestly learning about Scientology’s dirty laundry. To me, the best podcasts are ones you learn something new from, and “The Joe Rogan Experience” nails this excellently. 

What makes this one so beloved is that Rogan knows not to make it all about himself. When a guest is on, that person’s the star of the show, with Rogan chiming in when appropriate. In doing so, the series promotes discussion, putting all biases aside to have a healthy conversation, regardless of the topic.

If there’s one positive thing this pandemic has done, it has allowed these series to grow and improve as more listeners tune in each week. Between thought-provoking interviews, laid back comedy and old school TV talk, there has never been a more comprehensive range of podcasts for people than there is right now. Whatever the genre, there is something for everyone to listen to out there.