Your earbuds will be in full bloom with some of the best new series this spring. There’s something for everyone, as the podcast bar keeps getting raised. Evangelical corruption, new pandemic dating experiments, deep confessions, California true crime, Russian spies, election fraud and alien reptile cults! It’s all here. Pick your poison and happy listening!
Lost HillsThe latest in true crime based around a horrific murder of a father of two. Tristian Baudette was killed in 2018 while camping with his kids in Malibu State Park. Where the wealthy and elite seem to be living the perfect beach lifestyle, why does the police department cover up crimes? Could they have stopped it? Dana Goodyear from The New Yorker investigates the dark side of this exclusive community. Her slow, determined approach will hook you instantly.
The OpportunistThis new series explores average people doing extraordinary things to swindle the vulnerable. Way before Qanon, internet radio host Sherry Shriner was gaining a huge following with her alien reptile cult (you read that right). She convinces people to buy spiritual products that claim to defeat aliens and demons. Her rhetoric—some religious, some political—preaches that alien reptiles were sent by Satan. Shriner’s community of followers are so dedicated in some instances, it leads to death and suicide. And that’s not even the half of it. Fascinating stuff from host Hannah Smith.
The ConfessionalLutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber brings a guest each episode to discuss the worst thing they’ve ever done. You’ll hear from former criminals, celebrities, former cult leaders, news anchors, the famous and infamous digging deep into their darkest moments. This show is a winner because Bolz-Weber is accepting and comforting—a revelation in forgiveness. In a time where mental health issues are front and center, her insightful words of wisdom provide comfort, no matter your beliefs.
It’s Nice To Hear YouIf you’ve watched the Netflix show Love Is Blind, think of this as a high-brow podcast version. Singles have to communicate through voice memos only. No real names, no social media stalking. The experiment was curated by host Yves D. Roper (get it?!) who matches the singles. You’ll hear the conversations and will find yourself rooting for them to hook up. What’s truly original is the raw emotions through the voice messages. They are coming from the place of quarantine solitude. When they finally get to talk at the end of each episode, it’s so satisfying.
In God We LustThe ladies from Even The Rich, Brooke Siffrinn and Aricia Skidmore-Williams, are back with coverage of the Jerry Fallwell Jr. and Becki Falwell pool-boy sex scandal. First they peel back the layers of the evangelical family’s origins. You’ll learn about Falwell Sr. and his rise to religious prominence, what led to the success of Liberty University and how Jr.’s business sense made it into a multi-million-dollar operation. A trip to Miami’s Fountainbleu Hotel changes the landscape for everyone forever. It’s a scandalous religious experience.
OC SwingersThis is like Real Housewives meets true crime. In a town full of tanned bodies, botox and big boats, Grant and Sarisa look like the perfect couple. He’s a former Bravo star and orthopedic surgeon, and she’s a chipper substitute teacher. Looks are not what they seem after they’re accused of drugging and raping women for their entertainment. This is still an open case and they claim innocence—but it’s hard to believe with the evidence presented. Judge for yourself in this riveting series. Justine Harmon reports.
Spy AffairRussian student Maria Butina arrived in America with literal guns blazing. Host Celia Aniskovich breaks down how she cozied up to conservative political figures under the guise of gun activism. Her photos were everywhere—NRA conventions, the National Prayer Breakfast and high-level meetings. All of this happened right in the middle of the Mueller Report and allegations of Russian election collusion. What was she sharing with operatives? Interviews with Butina herself, former CEO of Overstock.com Patrick Byrne, former FBI agent Peter Strozk and others will leave you scratching your head wondering, what the hell is the real truth?
The Improvement AssociationOn the heels of the Big Lie and election-fraud allegations, the team behind Serial takes a look at the headline grabbing events that happened in Bladen County, N.C. Host Zoe Chace (The American Life) goes behind the scenes of the 2018 local election that spurred an absentee-ballot national scandal. Everyone seems to know each other in this community. Chase’s writing and face-to-face conversations about what happened are eye-opening, compelling and sometimes heartbreaking. It gives some insight into why we’re seeing new election laws all over the country.