Podcast Roundup

Plus, a “Pod Pick of the Week” for lovers of smart talk about the idiot box.

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If you’re one of those people who thinks HBO’s Sunday night slate is the only television worth watching, this week’s “Pod Pick of the Week” may not be for you. But if, like me, you enjoy spirited discussions of shows like Veronica Mars, Lost, Prison Break, and Gilmore Girls—and if it doesn’t faze you to hear someone state, with absolute conviction, that “Battlestar Galactica really is the best show on TV”—then you’ll love TV Guide Talk. (Web page, with archive, here; feed URL here.)

TV Guide’s weekly podcasts feature staffers sharing scoops (usually plucked fresh from tvguide.com), rating the latest episodes of their favorite shows (another Web site staple), and chatting with actors and producers. It’s a real treat to eavesdrop on experienced showbiz reporters’ interview techniques—while they never challenge the talent, the right mix of deference, knowledge, and ego massage can lull actors into spilling spoilers.

TV Guide magazine has changed over the last few months—it’s now big and colorful, and it has a younger, looser editorial voice. Although negative reviews rarely appear in the magazine (the “jeers” in “Cheers and Jeers” tend to whack actors and networks with something far softer than a TV remote), the writers are now a little more critical and cheeky.

The podcasts reflect this blossoming of youthful snark; they’re like water-cooler conversations in an office where everyone watches hours and hours of television every night. This loquaciousness can go too far—discussions of how the gang dealt with December’s New York City transit strike weren’t even interesting to those of us who had to deal with shuttered subways, much less to listeners in the heartland—but the smart, enthusiastic TV talk makes up for the annoying chatter.

When you’re away from your TV set, check out this week’s Slate podcast offerings:

Jan. 13: Samuel Alito’s Blank Slate ( Slate piece)
Jan. 13: Explainer: How Does a Frog Know You’re Knocked Up? ( Slate piece)
Jan. 12: Drop Dead, Gorgeous ( Slate piece)
Jan. 12: Explainer: How Do Police SWAT Teams Work? ( Slate piece)
Jan. 11: Revenge of the Nerd ( Slate piece)
Jan. 10: Explainer: How Much Can Doctors Tell the Press? ( Slate piece)
Jan. 10: Quit Your Whining, Generation Y ( Slate piece)
Jan. 9: Explainer: How Do You Detect Lightning? ( Slate piece)
Jan. 9: Starbucks’ Little Secret ( Slate piece)

Send your comments or questions about our podcasts to Podcasts@slate.com. (E-mail may be quoted unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)