Even if you’ve never listened to a podcast, you’re bound to run into an adaptation of one on TV. With popular podcasts like Limetown, Dirty John and Homecoming paving the way, the pipeline of projects making the leap from podcast to TV or film continues to flow fast, with a glut of new and innovative material. This week on Wherever You Get Your Podcasts, we showcase some of the best scripted fiction podcasts out there, many of which will be making their way to the small or big screen soon.
Sean Braswell, Head of Audio
pod of the week
Just Do Whatever the Voice Says
Your worst fears about Siri or Alexa are realized in Shipworm, the new feature-length fiction podcast from Two-Up Productions, the studio behind Limetown. In this ambitious, nearly two-hour technothriller, the protagonist doctor, played by Broadway veteran Quentin Earl Darrington, wakes up to discover there is a mysterious voice inside his head calling herself “the conductor,” and he must do whatever she asks or his family will die. It’s like Black Mirror for your ears.
dark psychological thrillers coming to television
1. The Truth Behind an Airliner’s Mysterious Disappearance
What if a plane disappeared and someone you loved was on it? In Passenger List, a mystery-thriller from PRX and Radiotopia starring Star Wars’ Kelly Marie Tran, a flight from London to New York disappears without a trace over the Atlantic Ocean. Tran plays the sister of one of the missing passengers who sets out to investigate what really happened to the doomed airliner. Season two was recently released, and a television show based on the drama is also now in the works at Warner Bros.
2. Demi Moore’s Erotic Audio Adventures
You knew that actress Demi Moore had one of the sexiest voices on the planet. But you won’t know just how seductive it is until you hear Dirty Diana, a scripted podcast from QCode about an unhappy woman whose side hustle is running an erotic website where women reveal their intimate sexual fantasies. Amazon has announced that Moore will star in and executive produce a new television series based on the podcast.
Alice Isn’t Dead may only be a few years old, but it now passes as a trailblazing “oldie but goodie” in the podcast world. The audio drama by Joseph Fink is about a truck driver traversing the country in search of the wife she had long assumed was dead. The story was subsequently turned into a novel and is now reportedly in development as a television series set to debut on USA Network.
dystopian worlds and dramatized histories
1. Live Free or Die in Post-Apocalyptic New England
There’s nothing quite like eavesdropping on the collapse of civilization from its impact on small-town New Hampshire. In Blackout, from Endeavor Audio, a radio DJ, voiced by Academy Award winner Rami Malek, tries to shield his family and his community from a brave new post-apocalyptic world ushered in by a massive power outage. The series entertains and also shows just how dependent we’ve all grown on gasoline, grocery stores and the creature comforts of modern technology.
2. Identical Twins and the Space-Time Continuum
If nothing else, From Now, a scripted sci-fi podcast series from QCode, offers listeners the chance to immerse themselves in the glorious voices of its big-name leads, Bodyguard star Richard Madden and Succession star Brian Cox. But it also delivers a gripping dystopian thriller set in 2060 in which a spaceship, the USS Hope, returns to earth after vanishing 35 years earlier, reuniting its lone survivor (Madden) with his now much older twin brother (Cox).
3. ‘Sic Semper Tyrannis!’
John Wilkes Booth’s words ring out in a packed Ford’s Theatre in Washington at the start of 1865, a gripping historical fiction podcast from Wondery. The series begins with the death of President Abraham Lincoln and takes listeners through a dramatized race through one of the most eventful years in American history, as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton kicks off the manhunt for Booth, tangles with Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, and navigates the capital’s heated political rivalries. Season two, about Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s political rise, has just launched.
You might know Topher Grace from That ‘70s Show or BlacKkKlansman, but now hear what filming them taught the beloved actor about himself. Hear him share his thoughts on the Derek Chauvin trial, lessons about love and the experience that changed his career.
Can technology make war more humane? In The Bomber Mafia audiobook, Malcolm Gladwell weaves together the stories of the World War II aviation pioneers who believed it could. It’s a riveting tale of obsession, innovation and the moral dilemmas of war. Gladwell takes you on an immersive journey with the voices of generals, the sound of aircraft and the thunder of bombs crashing. This is history brought to life through the power of audio. Get The Bomber Mafia audiobook at www.bombermafia.com today and receive an exclusive Bomber Mafia Listener Guide, a visual document of the making of The Bomber Mafia.
in audio news
1. The Oscars, the Emmys and Now . . . The Ambies
This week, the recently formed Podcast Academy handed out its first annual set of awards, The Ambies, for podcasting excellence. Among the winners were Dirty Diana (see above) for best screenwriting in fiction and Wind of Change, which won three Ambies, including best podcast host for Patrick Radden Keefe’s performance. Wondery’s Dying for Sex, about the sexual adventures of a woman with breast cancer, was awarded podcast of the year.
Annual U.S. podcast advertising revenues climbed 19% to $842 million in 2020 and are expected to top $1 billion in 2021, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s fourth annual podcast advertising revenue report. Also of note? Half of all podcast ads in 2020 lasted longer than 30 seconds, and news continues to be the top genre for podcast advertisers, with 22% of the market share. The IAB report estimates that podcast advertising will exceed $2 billion by 2023!
friend of the pod
Have a favorite music podcast that you love? Tell us about it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.