Podcasts have been around since as far back as the 1980s (when it was audio files shared across something called the MBone network), but it wasn't until the invention of broadband Internet speeds and portable MP3 players that people really started to take notice. Since that time, podcasts have exploded onto every aspect of pop culture to become one of the most popular methods of entertainment available at home or on the go. A survey in 2017 estimated that 42 million Americans regularly listened to podcasts at least once a week, and those numbers have gone nowhere but up since then.
Typically, a podcast is recorded and released into the wild without any sort of expansion into other forms of media, but every now and again, something truly special takes a popular podcast and turns it into a TV show. Television shows based on podcasts are pretty rare—especially when it comes to a podcast TV series that can stick around for more than a single season. When that does happen, the transmutation of a podcast into a television series often produces results that are something amazing. Scripted podcasts, true crime podcasts, and even interview-style shows have been adapted for television and thrived.
While there aren't many TV shows about podcasts or those inspired by them, the ones that last make for exceptional programming. These are the very best of them all so be sure to vote up your favorite and see which one tops the list!
Based on: Homecoming
Podcast genre: Psychological thriller
Podcast released in: November 2016
Differences between podcast and show: Both the podcast and the first season of the television series follow the same premise and do not differ significantly from one another. The second season features a new story and characters, turning the series into an anthology.
Actors: Janelle Monáe, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Stephan James, Bobby Cannavale, + more
Genres (Tv): Psychological thriller
Based on: Dirty John
Podcast genre: Investigative journalism, Serialized audio narrative, True Crime
Podcast released on: October 2, 2017
Differences between podcast and show: The television series is presented as a single-camera drama based off the premise of the podcast with the first season delving into "how a romance with the charismatic John Meehan spiraled into secrets, denial, manipulation, and ultimately, survival – with horrific consequences for an entire family."
Actors: Connie Britton, Eric Bana, Jean Smart, Julia Garner, Juno Temple, + more
Genres (Tv): Drama
Based on: A radio show and podcast of the same name
Podcast genre: Comedy
Podcast released in: August 2001
Differences between podcast and show: The television series is essentially the podcast, but it is animated. Much of the audio was taken directly from the podcast where it was dubbed onto animation done in the Hanna Barbera-style based off those recordings.
Actors: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Karl Pilkington
Genres (Tv): Animated series
Based on: Comedy Death-Ray Radio / Comedy Bang! Bang!
Podcast genre: Comedy, comedy music, absurdism, improv, entertainment, talk
Podcast released on: May 1, 2009
Differences between podcast and show: The television series didn't differ much from the podcast outside of being in a different format. It followed many of the same skits and situations developed on the podcast that inspired it.
Actors: Scott Aukerman, Reggie Watts, Scott Mescudi
Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Parody