Best Podcasts of 2021 - The Top 11 Master List

We list the top 11 podcasts of 2021 from 13 publications. Add them to your podcast playlist.

master list image
Ho Ho Holy Moly!

So many lists, so little time to read them. I combed over 13 publications and created a master list of the top 11 podcasts they had in common. You'll see the number of publications they had in common between the (). The cut-off was 3 publications in common. Refresh: The number one podcast from the 2020 list was Floodlines.

You can click on the images. Sources are listed below.

Without further adieu, here's the list.

(7 lists) Podcast: 9/12
Genre: Society, History
Publisher: Amazon, Pineapple Street Studios, Wondery

Critic Podcast Reviews - 9/12
How did 9/11 the day become 9/11 the idea? That question drives Pineapple Street Studios and award-winning host Dan Taberski (Missing Richard Simmons, Running From COPS, The Line) to shift the focus to what happened on 9/12, and every day after that. 9/12 is a poignant, surp…

"It is poignant, powerful, and shockingly light-hearted." - Pod Sauce Editors

(7) Podcast: Welcome To Your Fantasy
Genre: True Crime
Publisher: Gimlet, Pineapple Street Studios

Critic Podcast Reviews - Welcome to Your Fantasy
In the 1980s the “male exotic dancers” of Chippendales were everywhere, selling the promise of women’s liberation for the price of a few dollars in a g-string. But behind the powerful mullets, oiled pecs, and non-stop parties lies a much darker story of greed, corruption and murder. Historian Natali…

"masterpiece of character study" - James Marriot - The Times UK

(5) Podcast: Anything for Selena
Genre: Society
Publisher: Futuro Studios, WBUR

Critic Podcast Reviews - Anything For Selena
Maria Garcia was 9 years old and living on the U.S.-Mexico border when Selena was murdered. Twenty five years later, Maria is on a quest to understand what it means to love, mourn and remember Selena. In this intimate journey, Maria explores what Selena’s legacy shows us about belonging in America.…

"powerful storytelling" - Emma Carey - Esquire

(4) Podcast: Resistance
Genre: Documentary
Publisher: Gimlet, Spotify

Critic Podcast Reviews - Resistance
Resistance is a show about refusing to accept things as they are. Stories from the front lines of the movement for Black lives, told by the generation fighting for change. Hosted by Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr.

"Resistance has an energy unlike anything else I’ve heard" - Erik Jones- Bello Collective

(3) Podcast: Spectacle: An Unscripted History of Reality TV
Genre: TV & Film, Society
Publisher: Neon Hum Media

Critic Podcast Reviews - Spectacle: An Unscripted History of Reality TV
Reality TV is dismissed as guilty pleasure, low brow... even trash. But whether you want to admit it or not, you probably have heard of Snooki, Lisa Vanderpump or Kim Kardashian. Over the past 30 years, reality TV has become a place to see the social and political moment play out in real time -- fro…

"It’s surprisingly profound"  - George Fenwick - Stuff NZ

(3) Podcast: Forever is a Long Time
Genre: Relationships, Society
Publisher: Ian Coss

Critic Podcast Reviews - Forever is a Long Time
When Ian Coss decided to get married, every living member of his family who had ever been married had also gotten divorced: parents, grandparents, and all his aunts and uncles on both sides — some of them twice. Today, he has questions: What is the value of a lifetime commitment? Are we doomed to re…

"the intimacy leads to small but intense revelations" - Miranda Sawyer - The Guardian

(3) Podcast: Hot White Heist
Genre: Comedy Fiction
Publisher: Audible, Broadway Video, Club Cumming Productions

Exclusive to the Audible platform

Critic Podcast Reviews - Hot White Heist
Deep under Seattle’s Space Needle in a hidden bunker sits the most valuable substance on earth: Barack Obama’s sperm. And Mark Zuckerberg’s. And Stephen Hawking’s. In case of global catastrophe, the US government has been storing sperm samples from some of history’s greatest minds (and also some pol…

"utter delight" - Nicholas Quah - Vulture

(3) Podcast: Maintenance Phase
Genre: Health & Wellness
Publisher: Aubrey Gordon, Michael Hobbes

Critic Podcast Reviews - Maintenance Phase
Debunking the junk science behind health fads, wellness scams and nonsensical nutrition advice.

"gleefully opinionated, good-humoured and well-researched" - Henrietta McKervey -

(3) Podcast: POOG
Genre: Health & Wellness, Comedy
Publisher: Big Money Players Network, iHeartRadio

Critic Podcast Reviews - POOG with Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak
Wellness is a trillion-dollar industry full of scams and snake oil salesmen but comedians and best friends Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak just can’t get enough. Join them as they try products and practices, consult healers and experts, and ask the ultimate question: is it truly wellness they’re a…

"it will have you gently, gorgeously weeping with laughter" - Jenny Singer - Glamour

(3) Podcast: Through the Cracks
Genre: True Crime
Publisher: WAMU

Critic Podcast Reviews - Through the Cracks
When 8-year-old Relisha Rudd disappeared from a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C. in 2014, nobody noticed. By the time authorities formally declared Relisha “missing,” 18 days had passed since she’d been spotted at school or the shelter where her family lived. Seven years later, Relisha has never…

"equal parts journalistic rigor and empathy" - Jess Joho - Mashable

(3) Podcast: You're Wrong About
Genre: History
Publisher: Michael Hobbes, Sarah Marshall

Critic Podcast Reviews - You’re Wrong About
Sarah is a journalist obsessed with the past. Every week she reconsiders a person or event that’s been miscast in the public imagination.

"delighting in the satisfying mix of in-depth research and sarcastic wit." - Jess Commons - Refinery29

Well, there you have it! Another list is done. Honorable mentions go out to the following podcasts that I thought I would see more of on these lists.

Battersea Poltergeist

Aack Cast

S***hole Country

Storytime w/ Seth Rogen

The Lazarus Heist

List Sources: New Yorker, Vulture, New York Times, Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, Time, CBC Radio, Variety, Mark Gorman, Financial Times, Town & Country, Esquire

About Great Pods: Great Pods is a website that uses podcast critic reviews and ratings to help you find & decide your next podcast listen.