The best new podcasts, from The Dropout to Invisibilia to Throughline

The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Dishes, going for a jog, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s officially impossible to keep up. There are new ones debuting all the time, and it’s hard to know whether they deserve a spot in your feed.

Every week, we highlight new and returning podcasts we couldn’t put down. Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest or you’re just dipping your toe into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we’ve got podcasts covering the threads of history, a bloody mess, and things you feel but cannot see.

News and Politics podcast

The Dropout

theranos walgreens breakup elizabeth holmes  turtleneck and blazer

Why should I listen? If nothing else, it’ll make you a bit more skeptical about Silicon Valley’s next wunderkind.

How many episodes are there and how long are they? It’s a short series, with only six episodes. They’re all out now and run about 40 minutes each.

Describe it in one word: Concerning.

What do Betsy DeVos, Jared Leto, Bill Clinton, and Henry Kissinger have in common? They’re all name-checked in this ABC News podcast about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. The former CEO starts as an ambitious 19-year-old with the lofty yet admirable goal of making routine blood tests less painful and more accessible. As she starts to cultivate her image — dressing like Steve Jobs and deepening her voice — she morphs into a Shakespearean character, complete with MacBethian hubris and the mercurial moods of King Lear.

One former employee suggests in his resignation letter that she watch The Office, a reference to her management skills (or lack thereof). Interspersed with the interviews from former Theranos employees are the deposition tapes from Holmes and former president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. Both were indicted on charges of defrauding investors and deceiving doctors and patients in June, 2018. Host Rebecca Jarvis fills in the details, some of which are deeply troubling, especially when you realize that gambling on blood tests is, in some cases, a life-or-death prospect.

Science and Medicine podcast

Invisibilia

best new podcasts of the week march 9 2019 6iao50a2

Why should I listen? To get some insight into and empathy for the human condition.

How many episodes are there and how long are they? It’s been around since 2015, so there’s a nice backlog of episodes (around seven per season). They’re about an hour each, except for the short little bonus episodes.

Describe it in one word: Illuminating.

In the immortal words of Lucas from Empire Records, “Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear.” Coming back for its fifth season, Invisibilia asks big questions about thoughts, feelings, and other unseen entities and tries to answer them by talking to all kinds of people, including doctors and researchers. It also introduces you to people you’ll still think about long after the episode is over, like Daniel Kish, who is blind and rides his bike by using bat-like echolocation. Then there’s Amanda, who has Mirror Touch Synesthesia, meaning she feels the same physical sensations as those around her.

NPR listeners will likely recognize Alix Spiegel (This American Life) and former host Lulu Miller (Radiolab), while Hanna Rosin comes from Slate and The Atlantic. The first episode of the new season focuses on pain and what happens when you pay too much attention to it.

History podcast

Throughline

best new podcasts of the week march 9 2019 ua3ynbjc

Why should I listen? You’ll be able to drop historical facts casually into conversation like a Harvard professor.

How many episodes are there and how long are they? There are only five episodes so far, and they’re all around 40 minutes, except the mini-episode, which is 17.

Describe it in one word: Surprising.

I was listening to the FiveThirtyEight politics podcast the other week when contributor Claire Malone brought up a comment from former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld, a conservative who may be looking to challenge incumbent Donald Trump for president in 2020. Back in 2016, when asked about the CIA’s involvement in the Middle East, he said, “That was my great-uncle-in-law, Kermit Roosevelt, who in 1953 came out of Groton and Harvard with a little walking-around money in his pockets and engineered Mossadegh’s overthrow. So perhaps I’m not the best person to ask.”

I thought, “I understand that reference! I’m practically a historian!” The truth is, though, I’d just learned about Kermit’s machinations in an episode of Throughline about how the CIA and Teddy’s grandson orchestrated a coup against Iran’s prime minister in 1953. Examining the Korean War, conspiracy theories, and protests by African-American athletes, Throughline hosts Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei break down big subjects into a trio of stories. The narratives help trace the arc of history up to what’s happening today for those of us who didn’t live through cataclysmic events that are still causing ripples today.

Home Theater

Pandora now lets you mess with the secret sauce for its music playlists

Pandora introduced a new feature called Modes, allowing subscribers to pick between six different algorithms that determine what the popular music streaming service will decide to play.
Mobile

Flex your thumbs (and your brain) with these fun texting games

Gaming consoles keep getting more advanced, but you can still have fun with the good old Latin alphabet. Here are our picks for the best texting games, so you can make the most fun out of that limited data plan or basic cell phone.
Movies & TV

The best new podcasts to listen to on your daily commute

Feel like you’re drowning in podcasts? In this weekly series we’ll help you pick out the best from the rest of the new and returning shows. This week’s picks include a call to arms for creativity, an infamous baggie of crack, and…
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Movies & TV

New John Wick: Chapter 3 trailer brings gunfights, dogs, and Matrix Easter eggs

A new trailer for John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum punctuates the action with a deeper look at the film's star-studded cast, as well as a sly reference to Keanu Reeves' other big action franchise.
Movies & TV

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex, a $5-a-month service aimed at cord cutters

For $5 a month, Xfinity Flex gives existing Xfinity internet subscribers a 4K- and HDR-ready set-top box that can stream video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, as well as free TV from apps like Cheddar and ESPN3.
Movies & TV

Us review: Jordan Peele makes seeing double singularly terrifying

Jordan Peele follows up his Oscar-winning 2017 thriller Get Out with a more straightforward horror film in Us, but the film's blunt terror succeeds thanks to fantastic performances from the cast and clever storytelling.
Movies & TV

HBO’s Deadwood movie rustles up a trailer and a release date

This spring, HBO's long-awaited Deadwood movie will explore what happened 10 years after the events of HBO's award-winning drama, giving the series a finale 13 years after the show was canceled.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.
Movies & TV

The Mandalorian snags Taika Waititi as the voice of a classic Star Wars villain

The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service, will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Podcasts

Stranger Things 3 trailer, Deadwood movie, Bill and Ted return

On this week's show, we've got a ton of new trailers to discuss, from HBO's Deadwood revival to the first look at Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. We'll also discuss Netflix's interactive TV show starring Bear Grylls and more!
Movies & TV

Here are all the TV shows and movies we expect to see at Apple’s March 25 event

Apple has an ambitious slate of original programming it has been developing in recent years, so will the March 25 event finally reveal when — and where — we will be able to see some of these TV shows and movies?
Home Theater

How to connect your Roku device to your hotel room’s TV

Staying at a hotel, but can't bear to be parted from your favorite streaming shows and movies? Take them with you with our complete guide to using your Roku on the road when staying at a hotel.
Deals

UFC Fight Night 148: Watch Thompson vs. Pettis for free with ESPN Plus Trial

UFC fans are in for a treat with the Fight Night 148 main card. Stephen Thompson is going head to head with Anthony Pettis. If you're hoping to see this welterweight event, now is the perfect time to start your ESPN Plus 7-day trial to…