1.- 9/12

The best work yet from prolific podcaster Dan Taberski [ Missing Richard Simmons ] focuses not on Sept. 11 itself but how that day changed America.

He unspools the tale of how the CIA recruited Hollywood creators to dream up the attack that U.S. enemies might attempt next, examines the persecution of Muslim Americans and traces the rise of conspiracy theories.

A genial but shrewd interviewer, Taberski paints a portrait of society redefining its identity in the wake of tragedy.

2.- S***hole Country

The pseudonymous narrator of S***hole Country is one of podcasting's most promising storytellers. The series turns on her difficult decision to either stay in the U.S., where she's lost her job and health care, or move into free apartments her parents are offering in their homeland of Ghana.

Her beautiful rendering of her a trip there undercuts how certain Americans have characterized African nations [hence the title].

But at the heart of this series is her own struggle to feel at home in either place, told through moving and funny conversations with friends and family.

3.- Sway

Kara Swisher - who made her name drawing out the Silicon Valley elite and here expands to media, business and politics - takes a productively combating approach to interviews. 

She is one of the few journalists with the guts to call out political hopefuls like Andrew Yang and Matthew McConaughey for vagueness and puffery and still line up an all-star guest the next week.

4.- Fighting In The War Room

After 11 years on the air, friends and culture critics Katey Rich, Matt Patches, David Ehrlich and Dave Gonzales have developed an irresistible chemistry as they gleefully argue over the latest superhero film or Emmy snub.

The show is a spiritual heir to the enchanting squabbles of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

5.- The Just Enough Family

Succession fans will find much to love in this addictive series about the rise and fall of a high-society New York family.

New Yorker writer Ariel Levy tells the story of a corporate raider Saul Steinberg and his relatives, replete with eccentric characters and dastardly schemes that illuminate how erodes family connections.

6.- Criticism Is Dead

So much pop-culture analysis of late veers into unabashed fandom or reflexive cynicism. Hosts Pelin Keskin-Liu and Jenny B Zhang take a more nuanced approach, connecting seemingly unrelated songs, movies and shows for thoughtful conversations on the larger cultural landscape.

7.- Poog

Comedians Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Noval know the idea of achieving one's ''best self'' is a myth. Yet they're so dedicated to obsessing over wellness trends that it can be hard to tell whether they're joking when they swear allegiance to something called face yoga.

Amid laughs, listeners will reconsider this multibillion-dollar industry.

The World Students Society thanks author Eliana Dockterman.


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