Best of 2017
It's that time.
These are our highlights from 2017 - the shows that made themselves heard above the noise, the stories that rang in our ears for days. Some of them will never leave us. And though we acknowledge that any "best of" will, by its nature, be incomplete and subjective, reflecting the tastes and preoccupations of its compilers, we reserve the right to call these what they were to us: the very best.
Thank you, as ever, for reading The Audit. We're on summer hiatus, but you will hear from us in the new year. In the meantime, more audio is never far from your fingertips. Find much more listening material at theaudit.co.
Your good friends,
Best New Shows
11 new shows that became unmissable.
The BBC's answer to Radiolab: inquisitive, playful, and sonically-bountiful stories about how the science of today is shaping our future. (BBC)
An astonishingly intimate window into the human rights catastrophe on Manus Island. (Wheeler Centre/Behind the Wire)
Exuberant LGBTQI storytelling. (WNYC)
How's Your Day?
A story you don't know from a day we all remember. Elegant, meticulously-twinned narratives. (KUOW)
Extremely effective ghost stories from the Snap Judgment team. (WNYC)
True accounts of scams, cons and swindles. (Panoply)
Mission to Zyxx
Joyful improvised comedy about a team of hapless interstellar diplomats. (Audioboom)
Is it On?
All the nutty machinations of Australian politics, covered with sass and panache. (Buzzfeed)
Razor-sharp conversation about politics and culture from the sprightly 160-year-old magazine. (The Atlantic)
Closer Than They Appear
A moving attempt to reckon with, and perhaps reconcile, America. A late entrant in 2017 that has made its presence felt immediately. (Jetty)
This strange and powerful transformation of the true crime format distributes unedited, public domain forensic audio. (Indie)
Best In Serial
10 gripping narratives, told in parts.
A story about a murder, then a maze, then a man. A work of extraordinary beauty. (7 parts, Serial/This American Life)
Scene on Radio, Seeing White series
Transformative and important series unpicking the history of whiteness. (14 parts, CDS)
Steal the Stars
Thrilling, full-cast, spec-fic drama from fantasy publisher Tor. (14 parts, Tor Labs/Gideon Media)
The Untold, Missing series
The story of a missing person who doesn't want to be found. (5 parts, BBC)
Comprehensive Kiwi true crime about the murder of the Bain family. (10 parts, Stuff.co.nz)
Embedded, Trump Stories series
Vital reporting on the history of Trump and his administration, from the rise of Steve Bannon to the influence of The Apprentice. (5 parts to date, NPR)
Alone: A Love Story
An immersive first-person account of the making and breaking of a marriage. (10 parts, CBC)
The Butterfly Effect
Fall down a rabbit-hole into the world of bespoke internet porn with sharp-eyed humorist Jon Ronson. (7 parts, Audible)
An internet-dating horror story evolves into something more strange, and worse. (6 parts, Wondery/LA Times)
Compassionate, deeply reported Australian true crime, seeking an answer to a 37-year-old mystery. (5 parts, ABC)
Best Second Season
5 shows that nailed the difficult second album.
Has incrementally revealed itself to be the funniest, most stylish, most human radio on the internet. (Gimlet)
Standout episode: #10 Rose
A confident, world-expanding follow-up to 2016's game-changing drama, starring yet more A-list talent. (Gimlet)
Malcolm Gladwell's examination of overlooked and misunderstood moments in history became more political and more personal. (Panoply)
Standout episode: The Basement Tapes
More new ways to think and talk about love from a dream team of radio creatives. (CBC)
Standout episode: Undercover
A worthy prequel to the Romola Garai-helmed paranoid thriller. (BBC)
18 outstanding stories.
Love and Radio / Suitcase of Love and Shame
Archival audio exposes a doomed, forbidden love. (Radiotopia)
The Heart / Bodies: Meat
Startlingly original account of living inside a fat body, from the brilliant Jonathan Zenti. (Radiotopia)
Awful Grace / They Tell Me You Are Wicked
Structurally-daring two-hour feature about the shooting of two children in Chicago. (Indie)
This is About / #familyphotos
How a magpie saved a family. (ABC)
On Drugs / Miltown
The surprising story of the little-known forerunner to present-day anxiety medications. (CBC)
The Doc Project / The Smartest, Funniest Person You Know is Dead
Five roommates grapple with an unexpected death. (CBC)
The Big Loop / You
How it feels to be the last of your kind. (QRX)
The Documentary / Abdi in America
Follow-up to This American Life story Abdi and the Golden Ticket reveals how green-card lottery winner Abdi has fared in America. (BBC)
Radiolab / The Gondolier
A story about the first female gondolier in Venice becomes the story that everyone else missed. (WNYC)
Strangers / Wouldn't It Be Nice?
When the beginning of something is also the end. (Indie)
30 for 30 / The Trials of Dan and Dave
Outrageously fun account of two rival decathletes. (ESPN)
Here Be Monsters / Griff's Speech
Griff's baby babble never turned into speech, but that doesn't mean he's not communicating. (KCRW)
Earshot / Murder in a Small Town, Parts 1 & 2
Kate Montague revisits the murder that shook her hometown. (ABC)
Some Noise / 16. What Is It All About?
A valley in Northern California speaks its own language. (Indie)
Reveal / Richard Spencer's Cotton Farms
An expose of the infamous white nationalist's finances. (Center for Investigative Reporting/PRX)
The Daily / October 18, Disappearing Factory Jobs
The New York Times meets an Indiana factory worker whose way of life is disappearing. (NY Times)
How Do You Sleep at Night? / The Pokies King
Profiling the man who made his fortune in powerfully-addictive slot machines. (ABC)
Reply All / Long Distance, Parts 1 & 2
Alex Goldman versus telephone scammer. (Gimlet)