Podcasts have, in one shape or another, existed on the internet since the early 2000s, and as an avid fan myself, I love the medium. Everything from movie and television studios making podcasts to reach out to their viewers, comedians delivering material to their fans, and authors self-publishing their novels as weekly serialized audiobooks. While the medium has been around for a while, it’s widely believed that the current golden age of podcasting was begun by two wildly popular shows, the absurdist horror fiction radio show Welcome to Night Vale and true crime Serial.
Since then, there has been a boom in podcasting, particularly in the serialized science fiction/horror and true crime genres, many of them also becoming wildly popular. As the saying somewhat goes, a high tide raises all casts. In the circular way these things work, it is now podcasts that are being looked to for a source to adapt for other media. Here are a few massively popular podcasts that are, have been, or will be soon turned into television shows.
This sci-fi thriller was already ahead of the curve when it premiered with a star-studded cast which included Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, and David Schwimmer, whose first season has been wonderfully adapted for television and is currently available for streaming on Prime Video. Starring Julia Roberts, Stephan James, and Bobby Cannavale in those respective roles lending even higher prestige for complex and time jumping story. While the show seems to be a direct adaptation of the first season of the show, the way it is shot and having the visual element adds so much to the story that fixes some of the weaknesses of the show. If you enjoy thrillers and slowly unwinding mysteries, Homecoming would be a great show for you.
Horror writer Aaron Mahnke in his podcast goes deep into stores of dark history, monsters, and killers. Each episode of Lore takes the listener by the hand and accounts history narratively so that the driest of facts are entertaining and the more sanguine details lessened in their macabreness. The television version, whose second season just released for streaming on Prime Video, does this at a slightly longer, using a huge cast to reenact large portions of the stories with some narration. History buffs and fans of the spooky will love this podcast.
This sci-fi horror podcast, while done in the faux-Serial style, was actually written and partially recorded before that first gangbusters season of Serial aired. Having just came back from a nearly three-year hiatus for their second season of the podcast and publishing a prequel novel, Limetown has been picked up for a television show starring Jessica Biel as the main character Lia Haddock on Facebook Watch. You can watch an amazing award-winning actress investigate the mystery of Limetown once again. The show is currently in production, principal photography is scheduled to be finished in early March 2019.
Up and Vanished
This true crime podcast began looking into the disappearance and assumed murder of Tara Grinstead, a schoolteacher from Georgia, the show and its host, Payne Lindsey, found widespread acclaim when new evidence was brought to light during the airing of his podcast. The case had been cold for over a decade, but something about Lindsey’s investigation, the experts he brought to the show, or the attention garnered from it, shook something loose and made some people talk. The case is, newly hot again, ongoing and the show had moved on to the disappearance of another woman, but the attention on the Grinstead murder continues. Recently, the Oxygen network aired a one night special about the case with the host of the podcast. While the network says that they will not be re-airing the special that ran on November 18th, you can still find it on Itunes, YouTube, Prime Video, and Vudu for a small fee, or log into the Oxygen network app or website with your cable provider login info and stream it for free.
All in all, it is a great time to be a podcast fan right now. Amazing creators and actors are coming together to put together amazing content, generally speaking for free, that you can take it at your pace, and with these shows going to television, we get to experience these stories in a whole new light. I can’t wait to see more amazing stories take the leap to TV.
David Castro is a Puerto Rican writer from New York City. He has worked on the upcoming Undead supplement for Chill Third Edition and is working on launching a Patreon. You can find him on Twitter (@theinkedknight), on Tumblr (thedevilsyouknew), on Facebook (facebook.com/inkstainedstudios), and at davidrcastro.com.