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Podcasts That Feel Like Movies

Girl in green headphones

Have you ever wanted to dig into a podcast filled with so much tension that it feels like you’re watching a movie? These podcasts paint vivid pictures with words as they take the listener through narratives full of twists and turns.


Amanda is dying. Or is she? “Scamanda” follows the tale of Amanda C. Reilly, a wife, mother and blogger who told everyone that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Amanda built an online empire dedicated to following her cancer journey. But was it all an elaborate hoax? Truth really is stranger than fiction, especially when you can’t tell the two apart.

“In the Dark: The Runaway Princesses

This miniseries from podcast “In the Dark” chronicles the stories of royal fugitives from Dubai. Why did these women run, and what happened to them when they were caught? Journalist Heidi Blake weaves a tense and compelling narrative from their stories of escape, survival and courage.

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Sold a Story

“Sold a Story” dives deep into the state of literacy education in the English-speaking world. Host Emily Hanford explores the changes in how we teach reading and why the education system might be going in the wrong direction. If we’re truly teaching kids how to read, why are so many of them falling behind? “Sold a Story” interviews parents, children, teachers and education specialists to find out what’s going on between the pages.


In 1986, Jacob Wideman murdered fellow teenager Eric Kane on a summer camp trip. By 2016, he was released from prison on parole. So how did he wind up back behind bars? “Violation” by journalist Beth Schwartzapfel untangles the complicated history surrounding the case, including interviews with Jacob and his father, famous writer John Edgar Wideman. This true tragedy feels almost literary as “Violation” tries to make sense of it all.

“The Turning

“The Turning” is a podcast about iconic figures and the people who devoted their lives to them. Season one recounts the stories of women who became nuns to follow Mother Teresa. Season two covers the inner workings of the New York City Ballet under George Balanchine. Both feature a tangle of emotions, conflicted memories and personal triumphs.

man eating popcorn with headphones

Re: Dracula

Did you know that you can read “Dracula” in real time? Well, kind of. Bram Stoker’s famous novel is made up of letters, diary entries and articles, each featuring a date. “Re: Dracula” transforms this classic tale into a tense audio drama, releasing entries the same day they’re featured in the book.

My Year in Mensa

When comedian Jamie Loftus took the Mensa exam, she didn’t think she’d get in. But once she did, she discovered a darker side of the organization. “My Year in Mensa” recounts online harassment, the hidden world of Mensa Facebook groups, and Loftus’ visit to the annual Mensa convention – after being blocked online by half of the people there. “My Year in Mensa” is as shocking as it is funny – just beware the frequent airhorn sound effects.

Radio Rental

“Radio Rental” is a podcast about real-life horror stories, told by those who lived them. Although the stories are real, the podcast is hosted by a video store clerk named Terry Carnation, played by Rainn Wilson. This framing device provides some much-needed levity when the stories get a little too close to home. “Radio Rental” is all about close calls, mysterious strangers, weird memories and last-minute twists.


“Killed,” billed as “the podcast that brings dead stories back to life,” chronicles news and magazine stories that never made it in front of readers. Host Justine Harman interviews the journalists involved to find out why their stories were killed and what they did next. It’s an exploration of the stories that almost got buried for good, and the reporters who wouldn’t stop digging.

The Dream

In seasons one and two, investigative podcast “The Dream” tackled pyramid schemes and wellness scams. In the long-awaited season three, they’re exploring the world of self-help and life coaching. Host Jane Marie’s journey across the different seasons tells the story of someone searching for meaning, and not always finding it. But she’s not afraid to let the search continue.

Shocking, Heartbreaking, Transformative

What happens when you turn someone’s life story into entertainment? Jess Shane’s podcast, “Shocking, Heartbreaking, Transformative,” is an experiment in upending the typical rules of making a documentary. She auditions prospective subjects, solicits their opinions on her work and even pays them for their time. But is it enough?

Do you have a favorite podcast? We’re always looking for new recommendations. Tell us about it in the comments below!


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