Including fiction, comedy and cuisine, various Edge writers have detailed below their favourite immersive podcasts. These are the kind perfect to lose yourself in whilst lazing in the sun — grab your phone, an appropriate app, and start burning through some of these. There are plenty for summer!
The Magnus Archives
When discussing pride podcasts to keep you occupied over the summer break, horror fiction production The Magnus Archives may seem like a peculiar recommendation. Especially with our current collective anxieties, to sit down with almost 200 episodes of an exploration into humanity’s deepest and most fundamental fears perhaps feels a bit counterproductive.
But The Magnus Archives doesn’t leave us with hopelessness, despite the subject matter. Although its journey drags characters through horror after horror, the show returns repeatedly to remind us that through our connection to humanity, we are survivors. It is no coincidence that it does so with an ensemble of various identities and orientations. From the biromantic asexual protagonist Jon to the bond between police officers-turned-allies Daisy and Basira, the podcast highlights the value of queer love in a way which does not distract from the tense and well-paced storytelling. It’s an intense listen, one that’s difficult to stop once started, and perfect to lose yourself in if you’re in the mood for something a little more towards the dark side. The Magnus Archives is a thrilling and welcome change to the more traditionally realist genres queer media often finds itself confined to.
While not originally a podcast, this Dungeons and Dragons show hosted by voice actor Matt Mercer and starring Laura Bailey, Ashley Johnson and Taliesin Jaffe among others, is immersive and enriching for even those not familiar with the tabletop game. The show itself has been a weekly occurrence since 2015, with two seasons (campaign one totalling 115 episodes and campaign two currently on 99) and a myriad of spins offs and live shows – even a talk show – to keep you entertained. There are hundreds of hours of laughs, action, heartwrenching decisions, and the odd character death thrown in.
The world itself is fully fleshed out, and Mercer’s descriptions are enriching, making even the dullest interactions enthralling. And the players themselves make the world far more than a simple tallying up of dice numbers or movement from one location to the next. You can hear how much these NPCs mean to them, and how ecstatic they are each time Matt asks them, “how do you want to do this?”
With the show paused for lockdown, and an animated series coming later this year, there’s no better time to get acquainted with the world of Exandria. And whether Grog or Gilmore, Caleb or Cassandra is your favourite character, or whether you would love to see more of Tarion or the Raven Queen, it won’t take long before you fall in love with their tales and tribulations.
Welcome to Night Vale
“A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale”.
These are the opening words that guide you in to the small desert town of Night Vale, where all of the conspiracy theories are true. Welcome to Night Vale is an immersive fictional podcast that takes you to a whole new world twice a month presented as a radio show in a town where everything is… weird. The joy of the podcast comes from writers Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s tales of the strange and the beautiful, delivered in narrator Cecil Baldwin’s soothing tones, as if ominous dog parks and five-headed dragons are a universal experience of any southwestern US town. In eight years, there are over 150 episodes to enjoy; it sounds like a lot, but Night Vale’s storytelling is so captivating that you’ll speed through it in no time.
The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast
Made up of YouTubers Noel Miller and Cody Ko, The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast delivers the perfect material to relax to. With each episode being over an hour long, it gives you plenty of access to hilarious anecdotes, discussions with special guests, and references to current events. The first episode was released in October 2017, and since then it has just grown in popularity and brilliance.
Combining awkwardness, humour, and the most amiable personalities, Tiny Meat Gang will have you constantly laughing or smiling to yourself over whatever nonsense Noel and Cody discuss. Their close friendship allows for both serious and ridiculous topics to take place, and it’s like listening in on a very intriguingly random conversation between the two.
If you’re looking for a podcast where you will feel entirely immersed and relaxed for the hour it’s on, The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast is where you’ll find it.
Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster
Since its launch in 2018, the Off Menu podcast quickly made its way into my favourites due to the quirky but charming nature of its co-presenters, comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster. The podcast revolves around an imaginary restaurant in which a range of celebrity guests, such as comedians and actors, are invited to dine and discuss what they believe to be their perfect evening meal.
Over the 2 years the podcast has been running, Gamble and Acaster have welcomed a host of stars into their ‘restaurant’ including magician Dynamo, musician Loyle Carner and actress/writer Daisy May Cooper (This Country). The podcast makes not only for easy listening but allows you to learn more about both the guests and presenters themselves.
My personal favourite episodes which I recommend you check out are; series 1, episode 13 (Phil Wang); series 2, episode 42 (Greg Davies); series 3, episode 50 (Joe Thomas from The Inbetweeners). If you’re looking for a podcast to brighten your day and whisk you away into a world of all things food-related then this is the one for you.