Sometimes, the really good podcasts feel like conversations you’re having but no-one is paying attention to you, yet you don’t care. You may not get a word in edgeways, but you’re too engrossed in the subject matter being discussed. This is TV Talk Machine, where Chief TV Critic for the Hollywood Reporter, Tim Goodman, and technology Journalist, Jason Snell, talk about TV.
That’s it. They talk about new series coming up, series that they’ve watched that previous week, and answer a lot of listener emails that get sent in. It might seem like nothing special, but this is the podcast that makes you not bother to even follow other general TV podcasts. It’s that good.
95% percent of this is down to the rapport and genuine friendship between Tim and Jason. They get on well, and any conflicting views are treated with respect and you can tell they both learn from each other. They view TV through a genuine love of the medium, and anything they don’t like isn’t savaged, but lightly mocked with humour rather than genuine malice. It is a nice change from podcasts that seem to spend most of the time ranting about something, and whilst Tim can get quite critical about some things, he never goes full Charlie Brooker on anything.
It’s a podcast that really pays off on following and binge-listening, too. They develop their own mini-universe of terms and analogies that often crop up again and again. There are ongoing jokes involving Tim never going to Australia, and they’ve likened backward thinking network decisions as a ship being manned by dinosaurs (don’t ask, just listen).
It’s also quite knowledgeable about the industry side as well. So whilst they may talk about individual TV shows, Jason and Tim going into the politics of running networks. They dip into the business side of things, and lately the technology side of things. They even predicted Apple launching their own streaming service.
Even when the aforementioned conversation takes place, the podcast opens up at the halfway point of each episode to allow reader questions and comments to be read out. A real audience community has developed and there are recurring listeners that send stuff in. Early in the podcast‘s life, a listener was travelling the US and asking for ideas on what TV to watch based solely on them being set in the US state he was in.
It can’t be reiterated enough: if you only have time for one podcast about TV a week – this is the only one that you need.