Current Entertainment The Best Scripted Podcasts  

Ranker Podcast
209 votes 75 voters 1.6k views 12 items

List Rules Best fiction (scripted) podcast series, including any and all genres (i.e. sci-fi, horror, drama).

After the invention of podcasts in 2004, they never really saw much change in the years shortly after. While podcasts certainly grew in popularity and listenership, the aim of podcasts remained essentially the same for the following decade—until sometime around 2012, at least. It was then the scripted (or fiction) podcasts came to rise. In the time since, scripted podcasts have become a wonderful thing, even giving audio books a run for their money. 

You see, before television, Americans and the rest of the world had audio dramas when radio was still our main outlet for entertainment. Then TV came in and ruined everything for radio. Half a century later, however, the idea of audio dramas returned in the form of scripted podcasts. So the question is, which of the most popular scripted podcasts are best? Featuring Gimlet podcast series Homecoming, starring Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer, and Sandra, starring Kristen Wiig and Ethan Hawke, this list of fiction podcasts has comedy, mystery, and horror.

Check out the list of scripted podcasts and be sure to vote up your favorites, and vote down any podcast stories you're not a fan of. 

22 10
Welcome to Night Vale is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts
Welcome to Night Vale

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.

Cast: Aliee ChanMeg Bashwiner, Desiree Burch, Kevin R. Free, Marc Evan Jackson, Kate Jones, Hal Lublin, Dylan Marron, Jasika Nicole, Flor De Liz Perez, Jackson Publick, Molly Quinn, Retta, Symphony Sanders, Lauren Sharpe, Wil Wheaton, Mara Wilson, Erica Livingston, Christopher Loar

16 5
The Bright Sessions is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts
The Bright Sessions

The Bright Sessions is a science fiction podcast that follows a group of therapy patients. But these are not your typical patients - each has a unique supernatural ability. The show documents their struggles and discoveries as well as the motivations of their mysterious therapist, Dr. Bright. 

Cast: Julia Morizawa, Lauren Shippen, Briggon Snow, Anna Lore, Charlie Ian, Ian McQuown, Alex Gallner, Andrew Nowak, Alex Marshall-Brown, Phillip Jordan, Alanna Fox, Reyn Beeler

16 5
Wolverine: The Long Night is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts
Wolverine: The Long Night

Following a string of mysterious deaths in Burns, Alaska, Special Agents Sally Pierce and Tad Marshall arrive to investigate. They soon find there’s more going on than meets the eye.

Cast: Celia Keenan-Bolger, Ato Essando, Richard Armitage, Scott Adsit, Bob Balaban, Zoe Chao, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Brian Stokes Mitchell

12 3
Alice Isn't Dead is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts
Alice Isn't Dead

A truck driver searches across America for the wife she had long assumed was dead. In the course of her search, she will encounter not-quite-human serial murderers, towns literally lost in time, and a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

Cast: Jasika Nicole

15 6
Limetown is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts

Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again. American Public Radio reporter Lia Haddock asks the question once more, "What happened to the people of Limetown?"

10 5
Wolf 359 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts
Wolf 359

WOLF 359 is a radio drama in the tradition of Golden Age of Radio shows. Set on board the U.S.S. Hephaestus space station, the dysfunctional crew deals with daily life-or-death emergencies, while searching for signs of alien life and discovering there might be more to their mission than they thought. 

Cast: Emma Sherr-Ziarko, Michaela Swee, Cecilia Lynn-Jacobs, Zach Libresco, Noah Masur, Michelle Agresti, Scotty Shoemaker, Ariela Rotenberg

6 2
The Big Loop is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts
The Big Loop

From QRX, Michael Kim presents otherworldly stories from around the globe. Every season features six distinct episodes highlighting the strange, wonderful, and often harrowing experiences of those living on the outer edges of the known world. 

Cast: Joanna Gaskell, Briggon Snow, Charles Demers, Alex Rose, Moisés Chiullan, Lauren Shippen, Julia Morizawa, Anna Lore, Dave Rudden, Lee Shorten, Tara Pratt

12 9
Homecoming is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts

Homecoming centers on a caseworker at an experimental facility, her ambitious supervisor, and a soldier eager to rejoin civilian life — presented in an enigmatic collage of telephone calls, therapy sessions, and overheard conversations. The result is an innovative, immersive audio experience -- a mystery unfolding across the twelve episodes of Seasons One and Two.

Cast: Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, Amy Sedaris, and David Cross

10 7
Sandra is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts

Helen’s always dreamed of ditching her hometown, so when she lands a job at the company that makes Sandra, everyone's favorite A.I., she figures it’s the next-best thing. But working behind the curtain isn’t quite the escape from reality that Helen expected.

Cast: Kristen Wiig, Alia Shawkat, Ethan Hawke, Christopher Abbott, Avi Rothman

10 8
My Favorite Murder is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts
TanyaCox added My Favorite Murder

My Favorite Murder is a weekly true crime comedy podcast hosted by American comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Kilgariff is best known for her work on Mr. Show and Ellen. Her stand up routine includes singing and playing guitar to original comedic songs. She is also known for her podcast Do You Need a Ride (DYNAR)with Chris Fairbanks. Hardstark co-hosts the shows Drinks With Alie and Georgia and Slumber Party with Alie and Georgia.

6 4
Marsfall is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts

Marsfall follows some of the earliest colonists to settle on Mars in the year 2047, and each episode continues the story from a different character’s perspective. Led by their fearless commander Jacki O’Rania, and assisted by the colonial artificial intelligence unit ANDI, they strive to make a home on the Red Planet while exploring its deeper mysteries. Balancing tension and humor, this sci-fi audio drama reinvents the radio play for the twenty-first century.

Cast: Shannon Lovley, Aba Woodruff, Anya Zicer, Aramis Martinez, James Fouhey, Stephanie Hsu, Merissa Morin, Sergey Nagorny, Hannah Safford

6 4
The Truth is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Scripted Podcasts
The Truth

The Truth makes movies for your ears: short stories that are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, and always intriguing. Each story is different, and usually 10 to 20 minutes long. The Truth has also released a short series called Songonauts, covering the struggles of a band and their magic drum machine, which happens to transport the band into their very own songs.

Cast: Diana McCorry, Becca Schall