The Pits

The Pits: 2018 Tompkins Award for Best Podcast

Editor’s Note: Feel free to post as big or as small of a list as you would like below but please keep your lists contained to these posts and do not open up your own or fill up the OT with them. The winners will be announced alongside the other winners of The Pits on 12/21 and will be calculated by adding up your lists (10 points for first, 9 for second, etc., with 5 points per title awarded for unranked lists). Voting will be cut off some time on 12/21 so make sure to cast your ballot before then. If you wish to change your ballot later feel free to, but please indicate clearly that you are recasting your vote to make things easier to count.

This year, with a new job, I’ve listened to more podcasts than ever before. As the last year’s ballots show, podcasting is diverse and far-reaching in its range so every list of the best is going to be unique. With all that said, here is my Top 5 Podcasts of 2018.

5. The Adventure Zone

While the Balance arc is concluded, TAZ has continued along being one of the most charming and entertaining TTRPG podcasts around. Getting to see Travis try his hand was fun, but Amnesty proved to be the best pick for a new long-term campaign. While the show is still slowly building momentum again with the new story, the character work has improved. The Pine Guard are already more properly defined than Tres Horny Boys were by episode 17 of Balance. Through it all, TAZ has remained one of the most joyously optimistic podcasts around.

4. The Good Place: The Podcast

Speaking of optimistic, The Good Place is, for my money, the best television show on the air right now. So, it stands to reason that the podcast about the production of the show would be equally engaging and funny. Hosted by Marc Evan Jackson (Shaun on the show) who does a fantastic job getting his fellow co-stars, writers, production staff, etc. to open up and dish out just how this wonderful show stays so wonderful.

3. We Hate Movies

There are few podcasts that are as reliably entertaining as WHM. Every week, I know I’m going to get a dose of acerbic humor as the hosts trash a film with plenty of wild tangents along the way. The key to WHM’s success is the love for film that all four of the hosts clearly display. While they usually pan the film they watched that week, occasionally, we get to see them sort of enjoy the junk food flick they have been subjected to. This last month has seen them focus on films they love, a We LOVE Movies if you will, and it has showcased that, love or hate, I could listen to these guys talk about anything as long as they care.

2. Friends at the Table

There is not a single TTRPG podcast around that is as wide in story and scope as Friends at the Table. From far future utopias in decline to high fantasy worlds starving off the apocalypse, regardless of setting the guarantee with an episode of FatT is that you’ll find a group of people willing to sit down, usually for hours at a time, and create a story together. A story that is engaging, filled with love, regrets, bitter betrayals and a heaping spoonful of dramatic irony. The show simply asks for your investment and the reward is more than worth it.

1. Hollywood Handbook

I predominantly listen to comedy podcasts and there are few comedy podcasts as subversive and just plain weird as Hollywood Handbook. The Boys, Sean and Hayes, play Hollywood “experts” but the real gags change week to week. With a rotating group of engineers for the Boys to mock (and Chef Kevin) and a whole host of gags related to ad copy, Hollywood Handbook prides itself on being absurdist satire, but the best episodes transcend that as in this year’s best episode. Wherein, Sean and Hayes do a running commentary on their own failed live show at Comic-Con in which, an uncaring and unknowing crowd refuses to react to their jokes. The best jokes in all of the podcast are always the ones on the Boys themselves.