From true crime to sex, music to, yes, the office, there’s something for everyone in the world of podcasts in 2019. Like previous years, this list is in no particular order. And as always, your undivided attention is highly recommended. (Put your phone down. That Instagram scrolling can wait!)
With investigative journalists Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith leading the way, this podcast examines the murder of Taco Bell night manager Donna Brown, whose death in Adel, Georgia, led to the arrest and imprisonment of Devonia Inman. The twist? More murders in the town of Adel (population: a little more than 5,000) have happened with Inman behind bars. Murderville has technically been out since November 2018 on Stitcher Premium but was only recently made available to the masses (i.e., on Apple Podcasts and the like).
2. Monster: The Zodiac Killer
The brains behind 2018’s Atlanta Monster, which examined the Atlanta Child Murders, heads back in time to break down the still unsolved identity of the Zodiac Killer, the serial killer who terrorized Northern California in the late-’60s to early ’70s. (Movie fans might recall that David Fincher adapted the real-life manhunt in a film starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo in 2007.) Payne Lindsey is back as executive producer, while Matt Frederick (“Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know”) serves as host.
3. F**ks Given
Florence and Reed, the ladies of the sex-positive YouTube series Come Curious, expanded their talents and voices to the podcast world in late-2018 with the launch of F**ks Given, which serves as a nice companion to their honest, often hilarious videos. Whether it’s comfy cowgirling to boning in the great outdoors, these gals have got you covered. Nothing’s too messy or embarrassing to discuss, okay?
4. Broken Harts
One of the most heartbreaking news stories of 2018 involved what appeared to be a loving family of eight: two white women and their six adopted black children. The Harts made headlines in March 2018 when Jennifer Hart drunkenly drove her family off a cliff in California, killing everyone inside. Broken Harts, courtesy of Glamour and HowStuffWorks, investigates whether or not the tragedy could have been prevented, features more than 30 new interviews, and traces the couple’s journey to adoption.
Until January 2019, two of the six kids were unaccounted for. Per TIME, a DNA test with 16-year-old Hannah Hart’s biological mother confirmed the teen’s death. Devonte Hart, who became viral in 2014 when he was photographed hugging a white police officer during a Black Lives Matter podcast in Oregon, is still missing.
5. Aria Code
Opera lovers, there’s finally a podcast that focuses on arguably the most important part of any lengthy production: the aria—the solo performance that takes one’s breath away and lingers long after the curtains are drawn. Courtesy of New York classical music radio station WQXR and the Metropolitan Opera, Aria Code is hosted by Grammy winner Rhiannon Giddens, who fawns over one aria per episode and breaks it all down with the help of opera experts.
6. Safe for Work
Since summer 2018, hosts Liz Dolan and Rico Gagliano have mixed humor with much-needed advice for how to survive work. So far, they’ve tackled work-life balance, burnout, and how to make an open-floor office situation tolerable. With brands like The Oprah Winfrey Network (Dolan) and The Wall Street Journal (Gagliano) in their résumé, these two know what they’re talking about. Remember, it’s not too late to take control of your career.
Be prepared to lose sleep listening to reporter Dave Cawley share his findings in the nearly decade-old cold case of the Susan Powell, a West Valley City, Utah, woman who disappeared in December 2009. Her body has never been found. Her husband, Josh Powell, was an early suspect, but was never arrested.
8. Gay Future
Gay Future takes listeners to the year 2062, where a Gay Agenda has fully taken over the country. Making this all possible are things like President Clay Aiken and a Gay Academy, where the youth is sorted into top or bottom houses. What’s described as “a conservative’s worst nightmare” is met with a teenage boy with a big secret: he’s straight! The fictional podcast is an adaptation of a newly discovered YA novel “written” by none other than Mike Pence in 2002, so yes, you’re going to have a lot of fun with this.
If you love all things Disney, including its ever-expanding theme parks, you’ll love this new podcast hosted by Nathan Hartman, who brings in experts (think actors, composers, dancers) every week to discuss creativity, nostalgia, and yes, rides.
10. Pratt Cast
For anyone who can’t wait until The Hills returns, Stephanie Pratt has paired up with Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise alum Wells Adams to bring you Pratt Cast. (Recall: Wells’ profession on The Bachelorette was radio DJ, so this makes sense.) The podcast offers behind-the-scenes access to The Hills reboot, fun guests, and stories, and they aren’t afraid to Spill. That. Tea. In a recent episode, Stephanie went in on Spencer and Heidi, so if you live for that kind of drama, tune in.
11. Over My Dead Body
The network behind viral podcasts Dirty John and Dr. Death is back with another true-crime series, and it’s just as wild. In season 1, host Matthew Shaer dives deep into the case of Dan Markel and Wendi Adelson, two successful young lawyers who seemed to have it all. But perfect couples are never really perfect. A bitter divorce ends in murder, and someone’s got to pay—but it’s not who you’d expect.
12. The Dropout
If you’re totally obsessed with the whole Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos story, this podcast is a must. The Dropout is the product of a three-year-long investigation by ABC News, and it includes exclusive interviews with former employees, investigators, and patients. The 6-part series follows her story from beginning to fraudulent end, including the never-before-aired deposition testimony of Elizabeth herself. No matter how much you know (or don’t) about the case, you’ll be hooked.
13. Dare I Say
Ever wish you could listen in on a conversation between two celebrity BFFs? Well, thanks to Harper’s Bazaar, you can! In their new series, Dare I Say, you get to hear unfiltered discussions between two badass women every week. The topics range from sexuality to body positivity to activism, and guests have included Laverne Cox, Rosario Dawson, Jane Fonda, and more. Oh, and it’s hosted by Olivia Wilde. NBD.
14. Becoming Wise
Becoming Wise’s tagline is that it “offers depth and discovery in the time it takes to make a cup of tea,” and honestly, that’s not an exaggeration. The podcast covers the big ideas of human existence in digestible, 5-minute conversations. The topics are lofty and philosophical, but the episodes are so short your brain won’t have time to start drifting off.