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Apple's List of the Best Podcasts of 2015

From comedy to science fiction, these were some of the most-discussed podcasts of the year.

By Nathan McAloneBusiness Insider
CREDIT: Getty Images

At the end of every year, Apple releases its collection of the best podcasts of the year. This year's list contains a mixture of everything--from off-beat comedy and intellectual debate to fictional series and scientific investigations.

We've collected all of Apple's top picks for the best "classic" and "new" podcasts in one tidy place for you to learn more about each one and subscribe to your favorites. Of note: Apple named "Mystery Show" the best new podcast and "WTF with Marc Maron" the best classic podcast of 2015.

Some descriptions were edited for clarity.

1. 'WTF with Marc Maron' brings the comedian's charmingly angry demeanor to all topics.

Description:

"Comedian Marc Maron is tackling the most complex philosophical question of our day--WTF? He'll get to the bottom of it with help from comedian friends, celebrity guests and the voices in his own head."

2. 'Criminal' is for people who love a good crime story.

Description:

"Criminal is a podcast about crime. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle."

3. 'Song Exploder' takes apart songs so you can understand how they are made.

Description:

"Song Exploder is a podcast where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made."

4. 'Invisibilia' explores the hidden parts of life.

Description:

"Invisibilia (Latin for all the invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behavior--ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently."

5. 'Mystery Show' solves funny mysteries in daily life.

Description:

"A podcast where Starlee Kine solves mysteries. The only rule is that the answer to the mysterycan't be found by just Googling."

6. 'Lore' is about real-life scary stories.

Description:

"Lore is a podcast about true life scary stories. The people, places, and things of our darkest nightmares all have real facts at their core. Each episode of Lore looks into a uniquely scary tale and uncovers the truth behind it. Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction."

7. 'Dear Sugar Radio' is a smart take on a podcast advice column.

Description:

"The universe has good news for the lost, lonely and heartsick. Dear Sugar--the cult-favorite advice column from The Rumpus--is back, but this time speaking right into your ears. Hosted by the original Sugars, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the podcast fields all your questions--no matter how deep or dark--and offers radical empathy in return."

8. 'Welcome to Night Vale' is the best fictional podcast out there.

Description:

"Welcome to Night Vale is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events."

9. 'Slate's Political Gabfest' is filled with lively and accessible banter about politics.

Description:

"Voted 'Favorite Political Podcast' by iTunes Listeners. Stephen Colbert says, 'Everybody should listen to the Slate Political Gabfest.' The Gabfest, featuring Slate's Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz, is the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks."

10. 'StarTalk' is Neil deGrasse Tyson's podcast about space.

Description:

"StarTalk is devoted to all things space and is hosted by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. As Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, Tyson makes regular appearances as the 'nation's expert on space' on major news programs and popular shows (Daily Show, Colbert Report)."

11. 'Reply All' observes the internet in all its strangeness.

Description:

"Reply All is a show about the internet, hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. It features stories about how people shape the internet, and the internet shapes people."

12. 'You Must Remember This' brings old Hollywood to life.

Description:

"You Must Remember This is a podcast created, hosted and produced by Karina Longworth, exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of 20th Century Hollywood."

13. 'Bullseye with Jesse Thorn' keeps you in the know on pop culture.

Description:

"Bullseye is a public radio show about what's good in popular culture. With a keen editorial eye, Bullseye sifts the wheat from the chaff, and brings you hot culture picks, in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary creative people and irreverent original comedy."

14. 'Design Matters with Debbie Millman' follows design in all the ways it affects our lives.

Description:

"The world's first podcast about design and an inquiry into the broader world of creative culture through wide-ranging conversations with designers, writers, artists, curators, musicians, and other luminaries of contemporary thought." 

15. 'On Point with Tom Ashbrook' is an intellectual conversation on any topic that pops up.

"Hosted by award-winning journalist Tom Ashbrook, On Point is broadcast for two hours daily across the country on NPR. The show's lively conversation covers everything from breaking news to ancient poetry, and features writers, politicians, journalists, artists, scientists and ordinary citizens from around the world."

16. 'This Week in Tech' tells you what is going on in the tech world.

Description:

"Your first podcast of the week is the last word in tech. Join the top tech pundits in a roundtable discussion of the latest trends in high tech."

17. 'Risk!' is about sharing secret stories in public.

Description:

"RISK! is a podcast 'where people tell true stories they never thought they'd dare to share in public' hosted by Kevin Allison, of the legendary TV sketch comedy troupe The State. The award-winning live show happens monthly in New York and Los Angeles. It's featured people like Janeane Garofalo, Lisa Lampanelli, Kevin Nealon, Margaret Cho, Marc Maron, Sarah Silverman, Lili Taylor, Rachel Dratch, Andy Borowitz and more, dropping the act and showing a side of themselves we've never seen before."

18. 'The Memory Palace' serves you up snippets of the past.

Description:

"Short, surprising stories of the past, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hysterical, always super-great."

19. 'Waking Up with Sam Harris' gives you a glimpse into the human mind.

Description:

"Neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author Sam Harris explores important and controversial questions about the human mind, society, and current events."

20. 'You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes' delves into the weirdness of comedians.

Description:

"Everybody has secret weirdness, Pete Holmes gets comedians to share theirs."

21. 'The Cracked Podcast' is an extension of Cracked's irreverent take on the world."

Description:

"The Cracked Podcast is an extension of the editorial team discussions that shape the brilliant articles and sketches on Cracked. Cohosts Jack O'Brien and Michael Swaim, along with guests, use the platform to identify and dissect pop culture tropes, debunk myths and generally try to reach the large demographic of people who would enjoy their site's content if only they'd learn to read."

22. 'Thrilling Adventure Hour' is a podcast recreation of old-style Hollywood radio shows.

Description:

"A staged show in the style of old-time radio performed live, monthly at Largo at the Coronet in Hollywood. Starring all of your favorite stars from the worlds of television, film, comedy, animation, sketch, and the stage."

23. 'Judge John Hodgman' brings a comedian's take to judgments.

Description:

"Have your pressing issues decided by Famous Minor Television Personality John Hodgman, Certified Judge." 

24. 'Call Your Girlfriend' is like listening to a conversation with your funniest friends.

Description:

"Call Your Girlfriend is a podcast for all the long-distance besties out there. Every other week, tune in to discuss Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the beauty of caftans, menstruation news, Kimye, Pitbull, Hillary Rodham Clinton, casual racism, emoji, straight people, California, rom-coms, Lorde lipstick, and so much more."

25. 'The Tim Ferriss Show' helps you succeed in business.

Description:

"Most days, The Tim Ferriss Show is the #1 business podcast on all of iTunes. Each episode, Ferriss deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics and tools you can use." 

26. 'How Did This Get Made?' is about the worst movies ever.

Description:

"Have you ever seen a movie so bad that it's amazing? Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas want to hear about it! We'll watch it with our funniest friends, and report back to you with the results."

27. 'On Being' cuts to the heart of what it means to be human.

"On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? They explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. They pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; they esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact."

28. 'Psychobabble' is gossip central.

Description:

"It's not just crazy talk, it's Psychobabble, the official podcast from YouTube sensation Tyler Oakley. Listen each week as he and his bestie Korey Kuhl bring you a half hour of unfiltered gossip sessions, pop culture scrutiny, and stories never told before."

29. 'The History of Rome' unfolds the history of the Roman Empire for you.

Description:

"A weekly podcast tracing the history of the Roman Empire, beginning with Aeneas's arrival in Italy and ending with the exile of Romulus Augustulus, last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. Now complete."

30. The 'Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig' podcast is just for laughs.

Description:

"You know those podcasts where famous people recount their lives and careers, and then things get emotional? That is NOT this show! Hosted by internet superstar Grace Helbig, "Not Too Deep" is a ridiculous, silly, and unapologetically superficial interview podcast."

31. 'The Steve Austin Show--Unleashed' gets you inside the world of pro wrestling.

Description:

"Live from Hollywood, CA by way of the Broken Skull Ranch, Pro Wrestling Hall of Famer, Action Movie/TV star, Steve Austin lets loose on these no-holds barred, explicit versions of the program. Steve gets down and dirty with Hollywood celebrities, past wrestling buddies, present pros, MMA fighters, athletes, movie stuntmen and from time to time, you the working man (or woman)."

32. Alec Baldwin talks to creators of all types in 'Here's the Thing.'

Description:

"Here's The Thing is a series of intimate and honest conversations hosted by Alec Baldwin.  Alec talks with artists, policy makers and performers--to hear their stories, what inspires their creations, what decisions changed their careers, and what relationships influenced their work."

33. 'Undisclosed: The State vs. Adnan Syed' takes a look at the events of 'Serial' from another angle.

Description:

"The Undisclosed Podcast is a listening experience that reframes, enhances or otherwise shifts everything you've come to know about the State of Maryland's case against Adnan Syed, especially as you've come to know it through listening to Serial. They intend to revisit the case from the beginning, looking at all the available evidence." 

34. 'Hello from the Magic Tavern' is an improvised comedy podcast that explores a magical world.

Description:

"Hello! I'm Arnie. I fell through a magical dimensional portal behind a Burger King in Chicago and found myself in a strange magical land called 'Foon.' I'm still somehow getting a weak wi-fi signal from the Burger King so I host a weekly podcast from the tavern the Vermilion Minotaur, interviewing monsters, wizards and adventurers."

35. 'Snoop Dogg's GGN Podcast' gives you Snoop's take on pop culture and the world.

Description:

"Down to smoke one with your big homie Snoop Dogg? Well, here I is and here's your shot neffew. Get up close and personal with me--the one and only Snoop Dogg each week on my official GGN podcast. This podcast right here is hosted by none other than me...yours truly...music legend and pop culture icon... Snoop D-O-double G ya dig?!? This is nuthin but a smoked out session rolled tightly into podcast form that features me choppin' game with and doin' full-length interviews with a who's who from the entertainment world."

36. 'Happier with Gretchen Rubin' wants to help you be happier.

Description:

"The bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before gets more personal than ever as she brings her practical, manageable advice about happiness and good habits to this lively, thought-provoking podcast. Gretchen's cohost and guinea pig is her younger sister, Elizabeth Craft, a TV writer and producer living in Los Angeles, who (lovingly) refers to Gretchen as her happiness bully."

37. 'The Mortified Podcast' is about your embarrassing childhood memories.

Description:

"Witness adults sharing their most embarrassing childhood artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, plays, home movies, art) with others, in order to reveal stories about their lives. Hear grown men and women confront their past with tales of their first kiss, first puff, worst prom, fights with mom, life at bible camp, worst hand job, best mall job, and reasons they deserved to marry Jon Bon Jovi."

38. 'Spontanenation with Paul F. Tompkins' is a hilarious improv show.

Description:

"Spontanenation with Paul F. Tompkins is a completely improvised show, from monologue to interview to narrative sketch."

39. 'Home of the Brave' takes you on the road.

Description:

"Home of the Brave is a podcast by Peabody Award winning producer Scott Carrier. Each week, new stories from the archives, the road, and the end of the world."

40. 'The Allusionist' breaks down language for you.

Description:

"The Allusionist is a podcast about language and etymology by Helen Zaltzman."

41. 'Another Round' explores race, gender, and pop culture.

Description:

"Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton cover everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes, all in one boozy podcast."

42. 'Think Again' puts the world's best minds to the test.

Description:

"Think Again surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. So each week on Think Again, they surprise smart people you've probably heard of with hand-picked gems from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. The conversation could go anywhere."

43. 'The Black List Table Reads' lets you listen to the scripts Hollywood should be making.

Description:

"The Black List Table Reads takes the best and most exciting screenplays Hollywood hasn't yet made, and turns them into movies, for your ears. Black List founder Franklin Leonard presents a new script every month read by a rotating cast of talented actors, along with interviews from the Hollywood screenwriting community and beyond."

44. 'Pop Rocket' is a free-wheeling discussion of entertainment.

Description:

"Pop Rocket is a high-octane weekly discussion of the culture we all love to love. Join host Guy Branum and panelists Wynter Mitchell, Oliver Wang and Margaret Wappler for smart, funny, sometimes sweary chat about everything great in entertainment."

45. 'Explain Things to Me' gets different experts to explain what's going on in their field.

Description:

"Hosts Anna Akana and Brad Gage sit down with experts to discuss their various fields."

46. 'Pistol Shrimps Radio!' follows one women's rec-league basketball team.

Description:

"Pistol Shrimps Radio! Get the thrilling courtside action delivered straight to your ears by venerable sports acknowledgers Matt Gourley and Mark McConville. Brought to you weekly, but seasonally, wherever fine podcasts are downloaded. Support the Los Angeles Women's Rec Basketball League no matter which jersey you wear. 'Fight the rivalry, and feel the bleed. Live to dream, Die for your team.--Shelly Long."

47. 'RobCast' is a podcast about spirituality.

Description:

"The RobCast is a weekly podcast by Rob Bell. At age 28, he founded Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, and under his leadership it was one of the fastest-growing churches in America. In 2011 he was profiled in Time Magazine as one of their 100 most influential people. Rob was featured on Oprah's 2014 Life You Want Tour and will be speaking at venues around the world in 2015 on the Everything is Spiritual Tour." 

48. 'Hunt the Truth' takes you into the world of 'Halo.'

Description:

"Hunt the Truth is a fictional investigative audio series set in the universe of Halo. Season one follows journalist Benjamin Giraud (Keegan-Michael Key) as he investigates the story behind the Master Chief, humanity's greatest and most mysterious hero."

49. 'What's Tech' helps you make sense of the technology around you.

Description:

"We live in the future, where drones skim the sky, corporations enter the space race, and smart watches track our every movement. But how? And why? What's Tech invites experts to explain the technology bit by bit, in clear, brief, enjoyable audio nuggets."

This story first appeared on Business Insider

Published on: Dec 29, 2015