The phrase “water-cooler TV show” may have already sounded old fashioned long before workers began fleeing their offices in the early days of the pandemic, but the meaning of the term remains alive and well with countless fans discussing, debating, arguing about and bonding over their favorite shows online. Rather than gathering around the break room vending machine to chat about the previous night’s shocking twists, social media is the new meeting place where fan theories are traded back and forth. The problem is, it’s hard to go into serious detail or capture the true essence of a complex TV show in a measly 280-character tweet.
Perhaps that’s why TV podcasts have become so wildly popular over the past few years. Instead of boiling down an emotionally devastating episode of “Mare of Easttown” or a mind-bending hour of “Squid Game” in a handful of words, a well-produced TV podcast can delve deeply into a show’s core meaning and uncover hidden details and nuances that cause you to reevaluate everything you thought you knew about the series. Most of these TV podcasts are created and hosted by fans, but many are official shows hosted by the actual producers and cast members who normally work behind the scenes. So if you’re starving for a deeper conversation about your favorite TV shows, here are 15 podcasts that offer plenty of food for thought.
The Official Yellowstone Podcast
Hosted by actor Jefferson White, who plays the character Jimmy Hurdstrom on the hit Western drama series, this official “Yellowstone” podcast features interviews with the cast and crew, plus special guests who shed light on the show’s subtext and storylines. Other topics discussed range from the portrayal of women in the West to the real-life culture of ranching and rodeos. The Paramount Plus prequel series “1883” is also covered, with stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill dropping by the podcast for a recent chat.
And Just Like That… A Sex And The City Reboot Podcast
Love it or hate it, HBO’s “Sex and the City” reboot has sparked some fascinating debates among fans of the original series, and this podcast from the team at PureWow tackles all of them and more on each episode. Hosted by Phil Mutz and Dara Katz, the show breaks down every character and plot detail, and doesn’t shy away from calling out some of the, shall we say, controversial decisions the producers and writers have made this season.
The Sweet Smell of Succession
While you wait for the next season of HBO’s “Succession” to arrive, this podcast hosted by media and culture critics David Chen and Tara Ariano is a great way to relive your favorite moments from the first three seasons. Fair warning, however, that Chen and Ariano do not blindly praise every single aspect of the show or ignore its occasional wheel-spinning episodes. Instead, they provide thoughtful, nuanced analysis that will leave you with plenty to chew on.
Since launching way back in 2015, hosts Bob Mackey and Henry Gilbert have recorded hundreds of podcast episodes celebrating the beloved animated TV series. Joined by an eclectic group of guests, including comedians, writers, artists and various Simpsons super fans, the show has also welcomed actual Simpsons crew members who provide behind-the-scenes stories about how the series is made. Episodes drop weekly, and special bonus episodes appear quite often, meaning there’s always new content to listen to.
Cobra Kai Kompanion
Whether you’re a fan of the hit series “Cobra Kai” or just grew up loving the Karate Kid franchise, you owe it to yourself to listen to this fantastic podcast dedicated to the ever-expanding Miyagi-verse. What makes this podcast so special is the incredible lineup of cast and crew members that Peter Veunnasack and Brihana Davidson have interviewed since launching. You can’t get bigger guests than series stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, not to mention “Cobra Kai” creators Jon Hurwitz and Josh Heald, all of whom have appeared on the show.
Dexter: New Blood Wrap Up
If you’re devoted to Showtime’s “Dexter,” be sure to download episodes of the official Dexter podcast, hosted by Scott Reynolds, the Executive Producer of “Dexter: New Blood.” In addition to chatting with a variety of Dexter directors, writers, editors and designers, an impressive number of cast members also appear on the podcast, including major stars like Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, John Lithgow, Colin Hanks, Clancy Brown and Desmond Harrington. You’ll get the inside scoop on TV’s most likable serial killer on each episode.
Justin Takes The Bach – A Bachelor Recap Podcast
Justin Cole Adams hosts this lively weekly podcast that’s perfect for every member of Bachelor Nation. Featuring opinionated episode recaps, updates from the Bachelor universe, gossip from the world of reality TV, and hilariously revealing interviews with Bachelor cast members like Erica Rose, Jade Roper Tolbert, Jaimi King, Matt Munson and Dustin Kendrick, there’s a little something for everyone on this show.
Pod Yourself A Gun – A Sopranos Podcast
Writer/comedians Matt Lieb and Vince Mancini host this terrific “Sopranos” podcast, where they bring every episode of David Chase’s brilliant gangster series to life with their clever recaps. A revolving lineup of guests weigh in with their own passionate opinions, and cast members of “The Sopranos” are also interviewed on the podcast, including a memorable recent chat with actor Joe Gannascoli, who played closeted gay mobster Vito Spatafore.
The Walking Dead ‘Cast
There are dozens of podcasts devoted to AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” but none come close to capturing the fun of this long-running podcast. On each episode, Jason Cabassi and his charming and insightful co-host Lucy (whose last name remains a well-guarded secret) display an encyclopedic knowledge of the Walking Dead universe and an obvious love for the characters who inhabit it. Perhaps that’s why they’ve attracted huge Walking Dead luminaries, like actors Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Danai Gurira and Lauren Cohan, as well as “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman, special effects wizard Greg Nicotero and showrunner Angela Kang, all of whom have been guests on the podcast.
This is Us Too
Fans of NBC’s award-winning drama are in for a treat when they download this warm and funny podcast dedicated to the show. Recapping and reviewing the series episode by episode in chronological order, hosts Mary and Blake Larsen tap into the emotional complexity of “This is Us,” which just might cause you to rewatch your favorite episodes in a whole new light. They also discuss “This Is Us” news, reply to listener feedback, comment on the latest fan theories, and rank their favorite moments from the show.
These Are Their Stories
Since the very first episode premiered back in 1990, Dick Wolf’s Emmy-winning “Law & Order” franchise has gone through a myriad of changes and launched numerous spin-off, tie-ins, and adaptations, many of which are discussed on this excellent tribute podcast hosted by pop culture podcasters Kevin Flynn and Rebecca Lavoie. And because Flynn and Lavoie are real-life true crime writers, listeners will discover a wealth of intriguing background info about some of the authentic crimes that the “Law & Order” episodes are based on.
Bravo TV’s The Daily Dish
Thanks to its outrageous programming, the Bravo network is the premier destination for reality TV fans hungry for spicy content. And that same principle holds true for Bravo’s official podcast, The Daily Dish. Hosted by Bravo Digital’s Megan Segura and Erik J. Mac, this podcast covers everything from the many Real Housewives series to “Summer House” to “Vanderpump Rules” and “Shahs of Sunset.” You’ll hear exclusive interviews, get insider commentary and discover behind-the-scenes secrets from the Bravo execs themselves.
Shrine of Duty – A Line of Duty Podcast
When you’re in the mood for an intense crime drama, it’s hard to beat a gripping British police procedural to get your heart racing. And no U.K. series in recent memory is more compelling than “Line of Duty.” Fans of all six seasons of “Line of Duty” will definitely want to download episodes of “Shrine of Duty,” a hugely energetic and frequently hilarious podcast that launched back in 2019. Dedicated to the series that focuses on “bent coppers,” this witty podcast has grown into a network of audio shows known as Shrine Podcasts, each one focused on a different British TV series, like the recent submarine mystery “Vigil” and the brand new bomb disposal thriller “Trigger Point.”
The Showtime series “Yellowjackets” has garnered a great deal of buzz since its debut, and this podcast hosted by Glenn Rubenstein and Isa offers spirited recaps and analysis of each intense episode. Along with exploring online fan theories about the series, the podcast recently featured a solid interview with actress Rekha Sharma, who plays Jessica Roberts on “Yellowjackets.”
Post Show Recaps
When you’re in the market for something new to watch and could use a wide overview of many different TV shows that are currently on the air, this all-purpose television recap podcast network is just the ticket. Hosted by a roster of contributors, you’ll find info and analysis of all the latest shows, like HBO’s “The Gilded Age,” “Landscapers,” “Euphoria” and “Peacemaker,” Netflix’s “Ozark” and “The Witcher,” and the Disney Plus series “The Book of Boba Fett,” as well as fond looks back at classic shows like “The X-Files” and “24.”