fall preview 2021

9 New and Returning Podcasts to Listen to This Fall

Photo-Illustration: Vulture

It’s been a busy if not somewhat wobbly year for podcasting so far. Among other things, a noticeable post-Trump slowdown on the news and politics side has largely been balanced out by a torrent of spendy exclusive deals with celebrities, along with a steady stream of interesting projects from new voices. The pace is only set to pick up this fall, with many more big swings on the way. Here’s our list of the more intriguing selections that are dropping this fall, from a documentary about Siegfried and Roy to one of the many, many 9/11 retrospectives slated to hit podcast feeds this season.


33 1/3


The noted book series, which dedicates each entry to unpacking a specific album or musician, is getting the podcast treatment. Hosted by esteemed producer Prince Paul, each episode will highlight a different entry in the series and expand the discussion with a guest from the world of the album.


Pineapple Street Studios, Amazon Music, and Wondery

Dan Taberski (Running From COPS, Missing Richard Simmons), one of the finest audio documentarians working today, is set to take on the past 20 years with his latest project: What happened the day after 9/11 and all the days after that? Most important, what did it all mean?

544 Days

Crooked Media, A24, and Gimlet

In 2015, Jason Rezaian, then the Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief, was unfairly charged with espionage by the Iranian government and sentenced to indefinite imprisonment. He was eventually released in 2016 after spending 544 days in an Iranian prison. He tells his story in this audio project — A24’s first involvement in a narrative podcast.

Don’t Ask Tig

American Public Media

The advice format is well-trodden territory in the comedy-podcast world, but it has suited comedian Tig Notaro. However, when the show returns this fall, the tables will turn — the new season will see Notaro getting advice from listeners about her problems.

The Sandman: Act II


After years of gestation, Neil Gaiman’s beloved Sandman graphic-novel series isn’t just being adapted into a live-action show for Netflix — it is also getting an excellent Audible translation, the first act of which came out last year to a warm reception. Set to return to Audible later this year with James McAvoy once again in the title role.


Nice Try!

Curbed/Vox Media

The first season of Avery Trufelman’s excellent series was about failed utopias: the various human efforts to design perfect societies that ultimately didn’t pan out, sometimes with destructive consequences. Trufelman returns with studies of another kind of attempted perfection: lifestyle products and the “struggle for individual improvement.” Will we ever learn?

Siegfried and Roy: Wild Things

Apple TV+ and At Will Media

Extravagant, controversial … misunderstood? The German American magicians Siegfried and Roy reigned for decades, but everything came crashing down after one of their famous white tigers locked its jaws around Roy’s neck in 2003. This series seeks to unpack their legacy. What went into their illusions? What was the empire they built? And what really happened on the night of the attack?



Campside Media and Sony Music Entertainment

Hosted by the writer Bijan Stephen, this narrative series digs into monumental events that were overshadowed because they took place against the backdrop of something much larger — like, for example, the cold war between the first-ever American ecoterrorists and the government of California that the capital-C Cold War eclipsed.


School Colors

Brooklyn Deep With NPR’s Code Switch

The first season of School Colors came out less than a year before Nice White Parents. The two projects made for great companion pieces — both offered tremendous insight into the inequities of the New York public-school system. When School Colors returns for a second season, it will switch boroughs to ask its principal question: Queens is the most diverse county in the continental U.S., so why does its school district need a diversity plan?

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9 New and Returning Podcasts to Listen to This Fall