Each episode of Biography centers around a significant historical figure, though a guilty-pleasure series this is not. Even Biography's music sets a serious tone. If you are a fan of any of its subjects, such as Darwin or Catherine the Great, you'll savor host Matt Smith's rigorous pace and intellectual conversations. This relatively new Aussie series is a great choice for the most historically inclined listeners, but perhaps even a less invested layperson might let Biography lull them to sleep while raising their IQ.
You Must Remember This makes history sexy. Host Karina Longworth condenses massive amounts of research into tight narratives with engaging soundscapes and voice-overs. Her show recalls early podcast mania, when the idea of reacting to any subject in real time without a major budget or advertisers was nothing more than a pipe dream. But given Longworth's film and journalism skills and her substantial investment of time, her passion project came to life, blowing past other new shows that lacked the pedigree and passion. The show hits its stride with the "Charles Manson's Hollywood" series, and keeps us coming back for more lessons in Longworth's latest, "The Blacklist."