1. Serial
    Episodes 1-6 amazing. Episode 7 filler. What's the deal with Jay? Yes this is probably the best podcast.
  2. This American Life
    Before Seria, TAL was miles ahead of the pack.
  3. Not good: Freakonomics podcast
    Takes some simple concept like opportunity cost and bashes you over the head with it for an entire episode. Maybe interesting if you are a nerd in second grade. Lacks the layered richness and depth of This American Life and is worse in every dimension.
  4. The BS Report
    Especially when Chuck Klosterman is on
  5. Disappointing: StartUp Podcast
    I thought Alex Blumberg was excellent on Planet Money. And expected this to be the TAL spinoff that was awesome this fall but it's just not (Serial is). Maybe it's because the journey is too personal for Alex and he can't be entrepreneur and journalist at the same time and do both well, or maybe it's the guiding hand of Ira Glass that's missing, or maybe starting a crappy startup just isn't as interesting as anything else they talk about on PM. Sadly, this is just not a very good podcast.
  6. Ones that I hear are good but haven't listened to yet: The Moth Radio Hour. RadioLab. Nerdist.
  7. Chummy podcasts that I find enjoyable to put on in the background: Accidental Tech Podcast, The Great Debates
    More reality TV than House of Cards. A few buddies doing one take with minimal prep and a list of topics. Not excellent but quite snackable.