The Week’s best podcasts of 2022

Top picks include 28ish Days Later, Can I tell you a secret? and the highly ‘bingeable’ Case 63

Siegfried & Roy and one of their Royal Snow White Tigers
Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy is a ‘solid gold’ eight-parter about the flamboyant Las Vegas magicians
(Image credit: Barry King/WireImage)

Sometimes the subject of a podcast “is so obviously dynamite you can’t believe it hasn’t already been done”, said The Guardian. That was the case with Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy, a “solid gold” eight-parter about the flamboyant Las Vegas magicians. “From the arresting opening moments that chronicle a tiger mauling Roy’s neck, to an origin story involving Nazis, cheetah-smuggling and Grace Kelly, it was packed with mindboggling detail.”

Very different but surprisingly entertaining was 28ish Days Later, in which India Rakusen looked at all aspects of menstruation and the menstrual cycle, with the help of doctors, scientists, writers and historians, in 28 brief but “fact-filled” episodes.

Matthew Hardy, a cyber-stalker who harassed at least 62 women over more than a decade, was sentenced last January to nine years in prison. Can I tell you a secret?, made by journalist Sirin Kale, was a “sensitively reported, chilling interrogation” of his crimes, his psyche and the way the British justice system often fails women, said The Economist.

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A second highlight was Ghost Church, an intriguing exploration of American spiritualism, the “unusual religious movement that peaked in the 19th century and whose adherents think the living can communicate with the dead”. Host Jamie Loftus unpacks the history behind ghost-hunting and grief, and “her musings on death and faith showcase the intimate power of the medium – and mediums themselves”.

Last, Wild Boys was the “gripping” story of two emaciated brothers who walked out of the forest in 2003 and into the small town of Vernon in deepest British Columbia.

Although some audio dramas have starry names and big budgets, the genre has yet to have its “Serial moment”, said Fiona Sturges in the FT. But this autumn the chart-topping and highly “bingeable” Case 63 felt like something of a “breakthrough”. The series stars Julianne Moore as a psychiatrist and Oscar Isaac as her new patient, who claims to have been dispatched from the year 2062 to help stop the spread of a humanity-threatening virus. It’s a taut, brilliantly written sci-fi thriller, with “the mother of all twists at the end”.

The travel show isn’t an obvious genre for audio, said Reggie Ugwu in The New York Times, but the innovative new podcast Not Lost was one of the year’s best. In each episode the host, Brendan Francis Newnam, and a rotating cast of partners, “parachute into a new place” – Mexico City, Montreal, a small town in Montana – where they try to get invited to a stranger’s home for dinner. The result is an “unexpectedly suspenseful” delight, evoking the “alternately alienating and sublime experience of inhabiting a strange land”.

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