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Best Todd VanDerWerff podcasts we could find (updated July 2020)
Best Todd VanDerWerff podcasts we could find
Updated July 2020
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The entertainment industry is brimming with interesting people who are responsible for your favorite movies, TV shows, and more. Join Vox’s critic-at-large Emily VanDerWerff every Thursday as she speaks with the very well known, up-and-coming and need to know folks responsible for the most exciting projects in art, entertainment, and pop culture – diving deep into their influences, inspirations, and careers in a frank, uncensored fashion. The series finale aired in December 2018.
 
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Few actors have had as surprising a past few years as Mahershala Ali. Known for his parts on TV shows like The 4400 and House of Cards and in movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the Hunger Games films, Ali went from steadily working actor to legitimate star with his 2016 role in Moonlight. He’s only in the film’s first half-hour, pl…
 
Michael Schur is one of the most adept minds in TV comedy. From his early days producing the Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon-era Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, to his work as one of the key writers on The Office, he charted a career that touched some of the best TV comedy of the 2000s. But in the 2010s, he’s become perhaps the principal figure in…
 
If you've talked to Todd at all, you know how much he enjoys Christmas music. And, sure, he enjoys the stuff that gets overplayed year after year, but he gets why you're sick of it. Finding good music often means going a little off the beaten path. That's why Todd talked to PJ Morton, a musician who's recorded with Stevie Wonder and was a member of…
 
The Chris Gethard Show might have been Todd’s favorite talk show of the decade, a weird, tossed-off calamity that emerged every week like an odd magic trick. It made the trip from New York public access TV to more traditional networks. And then earlier this year, it ended, as its network, TruTV, and comedian Gethard opted not to continue with it. I…
 
This episode originally ran in November of 2017. It’s almost Thanksgiving, which means home chefs all around the United States (Todd among them) are trying to find a way to hew to tradition without turning their plates into a giant pile of indistinguishable starches. In this Thanksgiving Spectacular, we’ve invited Samin Nosrat to join us and offer …
 
Karina Longworth’s Hollywood history podcast, You Must Remember This, is one of the most essential shows out there for movie fans. Each week, Longworth dives into a story from the film industry’s past, revealing the truth behind legends, the hidden stories that weren’t reported at the time, and the often corrupt systems Hollywood has always been bu…
 
Diablo Cody's career took off into the stratosphere when her very first produced script — 2007's quirky comedy Juno — led to a massive box office hit that also won her the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Since Juno, she's written numerous movies, including the cult favorite horror flick Jennifer's Body, the moody comedy Young Adult (one…
 
Imagine you're a time traveler whose time machine has functioned somewhere in Earth's past — after humans have evolved but before they've, say, invented language or agriculture or any of the other pillars civilization was built upon. How might you try to kickstart that process with all these hominids you keep meeting? And how would you avoid rebuil…
 
With Halloween right around the corner, we felt it's as timely as ever to revisit this episode from earlier this year. Sometimes, the scariest thing is what you don’t see onscreen. It’s a lesson taken to heart by the folks behind two of the best horror projects of the first half of 2018 — the AMC miniseries The Terror and the gigantic hit movie A Q…
 
Yeardley Smith is one of the most famous women on Earth — though you might not know it if you just bumped into her somewhere, at least until she said something. See, Smith is the voice of Lisa Simpson, the precocious 8-year-old middle child of the Simpson family and the center of some of the show’s very best episodes. (“Lisa’s Substitute”! Sob!)But…
 
Few TV shows are better than AMC's Better Call Saul.But if you told that to someone in 2015, when the show debuted, they might look at you askance. Yes, the show was a spinoff from Breaking Bad, one of the most acclaimed TV shows ever made, but it was still a spinoff, a format with an oft-indistinguished legacy. It was so easy to see how this serie…
 
The circus! At one time, it was one of the country’s most reliable forms of mass entertainment, crisscrossing American backroads to perform for people all over the nation. Everything from the circus train to the people who put up the big tent made its way into American legend.But the American circus isn’t in great shape anymore. The treatment (or m…
 
This episode is a rebroadcast of an episode from 2017, but with BoJack Horseman's fifth season recently debuting, we thought it was a great time to revisit it.Todd loves few TV shows more than BoJack Horseman, Netflix's weird animated comedy about a sad horse. Its recently completed fourth season, which delved into the histories of many of the char…
 
Jon Batiste makes some of TV’s best music, night in and night out. As bandleader of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the multi-instrumentalist comes up with perfect tunes to introduce guests, to complement Colbert’s jokes, and to keep the audience hyped up. (Many of the tunes fitting that last category are Batiste originals, performed by him and…
 
We're focusing on TV scene stealers this week, as we head into a new fall season. These two performers take some of the best shows on TV and make them even better, sidling into any given scene and swiping it right out from under everybody else with a perfect one-liner or pratfall.First, we're talking with D'Arcy Carden of NBC's The Good Place and H…
 
The Nielsen ratings might not have as much power as they once held, but they still can decide the fate of your favorite TV show. If nobody's watching, it could be canceled. That's always been true. But what's also always been true is that the Nielsen data-gathering procedure is a little opaque and hard to understand.Don't worry, though, because we'…
 
Steve James is one of the best documentary filmmakers to ever have lived. His movies examine the fault lines that underlie American society, often (but not always) those of race and class, and how those who have power often attempt to maximize the amount they wield over those who do not. His seminal 1994 film Hoop Dreams, one of the greatest movies…
 
The new coming-of-age comedy Eighth Grade is one of the surprise success stories of the summer, turning a tiny story of a 13-year-old girl’s last week in the titular grade into a much larger tale of the universally awkward and cringeworthy experience of being an adolescent just trying to figure shit out. Its hero, young Kayla (played by the remarka…
 
The new movie BlacKkKlansman is careful to let you know very early on that, yes, its story is a true one, with a few embellishments for film. And it likely does so because said story — a black man goes undercover and becomes a trusted confidant of people in the Ku Klux Klan, including David Duke himself — would be written off as preposterous if it …
 
There’s a reason TV critics and reporters call FX Networks president and CEO John Landgraf the “mayor of television” — and it’s not just because that’s kind of a funny title to give to somebody. Of all the executives in the TV game right now, Landgraf has a reputation as the most thoughtful about the past, present, and future of television, and his…
 
Adora Crellin is a difficult woman to love. The monstrously suffocating mother of Camille, the protagonist of HBO's terrific murder mystery miniseries Sharp Objects, Adora keeps finding ways to undercut her damaged daughters and to visit the deep-seated trauma in her soul upon the women who should be able to rely on her most.So just imagine playing…
 
The riotously funny, incredibly inventive new movie Sorry to Bother You has become one of the summer’s most acclaimed films, as well as an unlikely hit in arthouses. The movie’s tale of a young man named Cassius Green (played by Lakeith Stanfield), who takes a job in a call center, drifts wildly from genre to genre, sometimes seeming like a comedy,…
 
Neko Case’s nearly 20-year career has been marked by some of the best songs of that time frame, chronicles of a country and world that often seem to be plunging into chaos but always manage to just avoid doing so. Her solo albums, including the brand new Hell-On, have been a major part of that, but so has her work as a vocalist with the indie-pop g…
 
Believe it or not, the summer entertainment season is half over. Fall TV will be firing up in just a few short weeks, and the summer movies of 2018 have just about run out. (Mission: Impossible — Fallout is the only big release still coming.) That makes it a great time to check in on some of the biggest pop culture items of the summer, in this spec…
 
Call the APM Reports production In the Dark a “true crime" podcast, and everybody involved in it will bristle, just a bit. Yes, it starts from the place of exploring crimes that really happened. But it’s not interested in exploring the crimes so much as it is the injustice of the American justice system.So my apologies for calling In the Dark a tru…
 
Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Gosford Park. Moonrise Kingdom. The original cast of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. These might seem like wildly different projects, but they have one man in common: actor Bob Balaban.Balaban is one of the consummate “hey, it’s that guy!” actors. His name might not immediately ring a bell (unless you, like me,…
 
Hari Kondabolu identified a problem. His self-hosted, self-produced 2017 documentary, The Problem With Apu, which aired on TruTV, discusses how The Simpsons character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon created a caricature of South Asians and perpetuated a stereotype that hung over South Asian kids like Hari and followed them into adulthood. The documentary is…
 
Does Aisha Tyler sleep? That’s a question you might reasonably ask after looking at her IMDb page for a moment or two. She’s a regular on two TV shows — FXX’s Archer and CBS’s Criminal Minds — while also hosting Unapologetic, a new talk show for AMC. And that’s in addition to all the other one-off hosting gigs she takes on. And yet she’s always fre…
 
Another TV season is over. You might not have noticed its end, thanks to the way TV never goes away any more, but technically, the TV season wraps at the end of May.So it seemed like a good time to get some of the best TV showrunners together and ask them how they create great standout TV, when there's way too much of it. Salim Akil of Black Lightn…
 
If you've listened to this show ever, or read anything Todd has ever written, then you know The Americans is one of his favorite shows of the past several years. Last night, it ended.For this special episode of the show, Todd is joined by star Matthew Rhys (who plays Philip) and writers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, who run the series, to talk abou…
 
Sometimes, the scariest thing is what you don’t see onscreen. It’s a lesson taken to heart by the folks behind two of the best horror projects of the first half of 2018 — the AMC miniseries The Terror and the gigantic hit movie A Quiet Place.In this special horror showcase episode, Todd talks to Soo Hugh and David Kajganich, the showrunners and hea…
 
Writer Nell Scovell has worked for some of the best, most popular TV shows of the past 30 years. She wrote for David Letterman. She wrote for The Simpsons. She created the '90s show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She wrote on NCIS. And at too many of those jobs, she was the only woman working in the writers’ room, countering Hollywood’s endless boys’ c…
 
“This shit should not be cheesy,” Sera Gamble says. She’s talking about the visual effects and production design on the terrific Syfy fantasy series The Magicians, which just completed its third season, a cinch to make Todd’s top 10 of the year. While the show is one of TV’s most inventive, it has a fraction of the budget of something like Game of …
 
This week on I Think You’re Interesting, we’re trying something different, by dissecting two of the biggest pop culture stories of the spring.First, Vox culture writer Alex Abad-Santos joins Todd to talk about the fallout from Avengers: Infinity War. The conversation is full of spoilers, particularly when it comes to the film’s controversial ending…
 
Even if you haven’t seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s mind-melting 1968 science fiction epic, you probably know at least something about it. It’s one of those movies, like Star Wars or Citizen Kane, that has become so thoroughly dissolved into our pop culture that you’ll have heard of the villainous computer HAL or know the famed music …
 
Designing Women, Frasier, 24, Fargo, Legion, some of the best TV shows of the past 30-plus years have one terrific actress in common: Jean Smart. Tall, striking, and bold, Smart has carved out a path in Hollywood that involves never doing the same thing twice — to the degree that her immediate follow-up to the sitcom Designing Women was a role as s…
 
One of the most sympathetic, compelling portraits of motherhood on television centers on a performance by a man. On FX's Baskets, which recently completed its third season, comedian Louie Anderson plays Christine Baskets, mother of twins Chip and Dale (both played by Zach Galifianakis), and he describes the experience not as trying to put on a char…
 
Lady Bird was one of the surprise hits of 2017, with its bittersweet, deeply funny depiction of teen girl adolescence. And that got Todd to thinking: Why is it so rare to see good movies about teen girls coming of age?To answer that question, he brought in Kay Cannon, director of the new comedy Blockers, a very funny gross-out raunchfest, which jus…
 
Few TV heavyweights have done as much to tell thoughtful, moving stories about teenagers as Jason Katims. While he was a young playwright, Katims broke into the television industry as a staff writer for My So-Called Life — ground zero for realistic depictions of adolescence on TV — then quickly went on to work on any number of iconic teen shows, cu…
 
How do you write a joke for the president of the United States? How do you come up with something that will seem perfectly cutting but not too cruel, silly but not stupid? How do you not denigrate the highest office in the land with — sniff — comedy?Those were all questions David Litt, a speechwriter for President Obama and one of the folks most in…
 
If you don't hear the words "Bill Nye" and automatically fill in, mentally, "the Science Guy" (ideally with the exact right tune and rhythm from his old theme song), then you probably weren't alive during the 1990s, when Nye's series (Bill Nye the Science Guy, naturally) became a hit with kids, parents, and teachers throughout the country. A former…
 
Comedy Central’s Corporate is a deep, dark dive into American corporate life that is one of the most promising new comedies to debut in years. Set in the nondescript but completely soulless corporation Hampton DeVille, Corporate finds dark yet incredibly funny humor in the concept of just trying to survive within the sorts of corporate structures m…
 
Todd loves the Oscars, so this week's episode features not just one but two Oscar nominees from this year's crop. First, Todd talks with Vox film critic Alissa Wilkinson about the year's biggest prizes. Then he's joined by Julian Slater, the Oscar-nominated sound designer and sound editor of the action-musical Baby Driver. Julian tells Todd all abo…
 
If you've seen Marvel's new movie Black Panther, you know that one of the best things about it is its use of costumes and sets not just to create the fictional world of Wakanda, but also to tell little stories about its history and culture in every single frame. Just looking at this movie, which opened to the second-biggest four-day box office in f…
 
Though 20 percent of the American population has some form of disability, just 2 percent of working actors represent that population on screen and stage. Is it any wonder so many roles for those with disabilities are played by actors without them? And is it any wonder that this discrepancy is causing more and more controversy and discussion?That's …
 
Few fantasy series of the past 10 years have had the reach of Lev Grossman's Magicians trilogy, beginning with The Magicians in 2009, continuing with The Magician King in 2011, and concluding with The Magician's Land in 2014. The books, which attempted to blend the fantastical elements of books like Harry Potter and the Narnia series, garnered warm…
 
"I have people that are not Latino arguing with me about what we’re like," Justina Machado says about two-thirds of the way through her chat with Todd. The actress, who joins ITYI to talk about the latest season of her Netflix sitcom One Day at a Time, has been giving superlative performances for two decades now, with a career that encompasses ever…
 
Blue Planet II is one of the most stunning visual achievements of the year. The new BBC America nature documentary takes viewers deep beneath the waves to observe strange creatures and the delicate balance that keeps the world's largest habitat in harmony. The miniseries is also a huge sonic accomplishment in representing the sounds of the sea. Cra…
 
Awards season is once again upon us. We’ll soon know which films and performances have been nominated for the Oscars, and the Golden Globes are receding into the past.But let’s talk about what’s really important: Which performances from 2017 did our panel of critics like most? Todd is joined by Vox film critic Alissa Wilkinson and Buzzfeed’s Alison…
 
Phil Rosenthal is one of Todd’s favorite people within the TV industry to talk to, because he loves making television — whether he’s writing it or starring in it.He's probably best known for creating the Emmy-winning series Everybody Loves Raymond, starring Ray Romano. The show ran for nine seasons, winning the Emmy for Best Comedy Series twice, an…
 
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