Television rewatch shows are taking over the podcast zeitgeist. It’s kind of an easy sell—creating content around something that has already won the hearts of a dedicated audience, hitting us with nostalgia feels and offering a chance to reflect on the evolution of pop culture and TV—bonus points if anyone who made the show is involved.
But with so many of these shows out there, we thought it’d be helpful to name a baker’s dozen of our favorites. Some of these shows offer particular we-were-there insights, or just extra funny snark; some are able to squeeze insight out of fluffy subject matter, others are so entertaining they stand on their own, even if you never watched the show they’re focused on. (And stay tuned until the end for a pair that are mostly—or completely—fake, but maybe the most brilliant of them all.)
Office Ladies (The Office)
The Office is probably one of the most rewatched shows of all time, and Office Ladies is definitely one of the most popular rewatch podcasts. Co-stars (and best friends) Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey run through the entire series and give exclusive behind the scene stories peppered with deep dives, fan mail, banter, and lots of laughing. It’s a hit of nostalgia, capturing exactly what you loved about the show the first time you watched it, boosted with the joy of discovering new things from Jenna and Angela, who will show you a side of The Office you’ve never seen before. It’s not really a pod about behind-the-scenes dirt—it turns out everyone working on the show was great and nice and loved their jobs, which isn’t great for gossip, but does make for a very soothing walk down memory lane.
Fake Doctors Real Friends (Scrubs)
Fake Doctors Real Friends is the Scrubs rewatch podcast that started during the early days of the pandemic when things slowed down for actors Zach Braff and Donald Faison, who played best friends JD and Turk on the show, which ran from 2001-2010. True fans know that they’re best friends IRL, too, and this podcast puts their friendship on display in a way that will heal the broken hearts of anyone who watched, loved, and mourned the ending of Scrubs during the early aughts—it’s really an extension of the TV show. Plus, Zach and Donald made the decision to have their producers, Joelle Monique and Danl Goodman, play active roles in the show. They’re not only seamlessly integrated into the content within the podcast, but they represent the perspective of the fans listening at home.
And That’s What You REALLY Missed (Glee)
Was there there ever a show with behind-the-scenes tumult more at odds with what unfolded onscreen than Glee? A massive global phenomenon in the mid-aughts, the TV series about the misfits in a high school show choir turned its unknown young cast into international stars overnight—and launched countless whispered rumors about on-set infighting and multiple real-life tragedies, including the deaths of three prominent cast members. On And That’s What You REALLY Missed, Stars Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) and Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang) unpack all the drama and trauma as they take us through every episode of the six-season Fox hit, interspersed with long form interviews with the show’s writers and their fellow cast members, including co-creator Ryan Murphy, who talks about the mistakes he made trying to be both a boss and a friend to the kids; and Chris Colfer, who discusses being “outed” by playing a queer character before he was even out to himself. This is actually Kevin and Jenna’s second go at a recap podcast, and version 2.0 is a lot more personal, and a lot more real.
Zack to the Future (Saved by the Bell)
Mark-Paul Gosselaar (aka Zack Morris) hasn’t watched Saved by the Bell since it ended in 1993, and hasn’t seen some of the episodes he starred in at all. For Zack to the Future, he jumps on the mic with Dashiell Driscoss, who wrote for the SBTB series reboot and was behind the Funny or Die series “Zack Morris is Trash” to blow through the show episode by episode. Mark-Paul remembers almost nothing about his time playing Zack, so it’s hilarious to have him discover it kind of for the first time. Classic cast members join to reminisce about all the drama of their awkward teenage years, both on and off screen. Hardcore SBTB fans will learn secrets about personal relationships, what it was like going to school while being a hit TV star in the ‘90s, and try to make sense of the outlandish storylines, which seemed comical then and absolutely outrageous now. Like, why was Principal Belding always in Zack’s room? Nobody knows. But let’s talk about it anyway.
And if you can’t get enough SBTB, comedian April Rich’s rewatch pod Go Bayside! reviews the entire series from the point-of-view of a die-hard fan (who still recognizes that the show was absolutely ridiculous).
Lovecraft Country Radio (Lovecraft Country)
Lovecraft Country was an HBO show based on a novel by Matt Ruff’s novel that followed Korean war vet Atticus Freeman, his friend Letitia, and his Uncle George on a journey across 1950s Jim Crow America as they battled white supremacists and terrifying monsters ripped from an H.P. Lovecraft paperback. It was dark, beautiful, and a lot of fun, and demanded a lot of attention and unpacking. Lovecraft Country Radio was the show’s official podcast, hosted by Ashley C. Ford and series writer Shannon Houston, who not only recapped the story but offered unique insight into the Black culture and horror elements that made the show so extraordinary. There is so much crucial information shared in these episodes, it’s almost a necessary listen in order to fully appreciate the show.
Again With This (Beverly Hills, 90210/Melrose Place)
On Again With This, TV recap pioneers Tara Ariano and Sarah D. Bunting break down every episode of definitional ‘90s prime time soaps Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place with the same lacerating, take-no-prisoners wit they brought to Television Without Pity, the groundbreaking TV recap site they co-founded in the late ‘90s. (Motto: Spare the snark, spoil the networks.) This is a recap podcast for people who love to hate (or hate to love) these ‘90s time capsules, from the clunky writing, to the often hatable characters, to the stunning (in every sense of the word) fashion choices. They’ve already completed all 293 episodes of 90210 and are in the midst of season six of Melrose, so you have a big backlog to get through—and make sure you don’t miss the hilarious visual aids.
Pod Yourself a Gun (The Sopranos)
Comedians Matt Lieb and Vince Mancini love The Sopranos, and their enthusiasm for it oozes through every episode of Pod Yourself a Gun, on which they review every episode of The Sopranos with help of friends, fans, actors, writers, and TV critics. Despite what Matt and Vince say, it is not the only Sopranos podcast, but it’s certainly the silliest. Matt and Vince throw away the rules of podcasting to focus on generating as much comedy as they can with the crew from Jersey as their guide, all while managing to provide interesting context and analysis about the series. (Matt seems to have invented his own vocabulary and uses hilarious words and phrases that are both from nowhere and perfect.) Watching The Sopranos is good, hearing Matt and Vince talk about it is great. They followed up with another recap series that’s also on the feed, Pod Yourself the Wire, which looks back at HBO’s The Wire.
Gilmore Guys (Gilmore Girls)
On Gilmore Guys, Gilmore Girls superfan Kevin T. Porter and his friend Demi Adejuyigbe, a first time viewer, watched/rewatched all seven seasons of the show, bringing on special guests (many who had also never seen Gilmore Girls) to analyze it. Kevin and Demi are hilarious in their own right and have a chaotic energy that makes Gilmore Guys hilarious whether Kevin and Demi are talking about Gilmore Girls or going off on silly tangents. (Though their analysis of the show is deep whenever they do manage to stay on topic.) For every serving of praise there is an equal dose of mockery, as they consider the beauty and nonsense of life in Stars Hollow and beyond. When Gilmore Guys wrapped up their Gilmore Girls reviews, they returned to recap series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s other series, Bunheads and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but nothing beats the original.
The Always Sunny Podcast (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
The Always Sunny Podcast takes a look back across 15 seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia with creators/stars Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, and Rob McElhenney, along with producer Megan Ganz. In sharing their memories (and lack thereof) they also talk about the nitty gritty of show running, divulging the secrets of their creative process. They mock each other and go on incredible tangents that are comedy gold on their own. Special guests like Lin Manuel Miranda and Danny DeVito occasionally appear. Hearing them outline the ridiculous storylines and unforgettable drop-in characters (and even the stuff that hasn’t aged so well) reminds us how hard this show has worked to make us laugh over the years
Pod Meets World (Boy Mets World)
Pod Meets World takes us back to 1993, when we were glued to ABC’s TGIF and Boy Meets World. Cast members Danielle Fishel, Will Friedle and Rider Strong reunite to rewatch every episode of the show, sharing memories and behind the scenes moments. Eric, Topanga, and Shawn were so embedded in the lives of ‘90s teen culture that they almost felt like friends, and Boy Meets World fans will appreciate the throwback energy, remembering first crushes and first kisses, and all the life lessons the show offered, however clunkily.
The Worst Idea of All Time (Various bad movies, over and over)
OK, so this is about movies, but it’s still a magnificent exercise in rewatching torture. On The Worst Idea of All Time, New Zealand comedians Tim Batt and Guy Montgomery watch and review the same film every week for a year. To make matters worse (or better,) it’s usually a film considered pretty bad, and it’s always one that Tim and Guy have not seen. They reviewed Grown-Ups 2 in season one (not having seen the first Grown-Ups). Other films covered include Sex and the City 1 and 2, We Are Your Friends, Home Alone 3, and the French/American Emmanuelle series of softcore porn flicks. For season six, they’re watching the entire Fast and Furious franchise in reverse order. Each movie will be watched the number of times that corresponds to where it falls in the series. First up: F9, nine times. This is such a bad idea that it goes past bad and back to good.
Meet My Friends the Friends With Tom Scharpling
Less a Friends rewatch podcast than a primal scream against the perceived laziness of the entire rewatch genre—but also still kinda a Friends rewatch podcast—Meet My Friends the Friends does indeed recap and review every episode of the mega-hit sit-com in order. But it also often gets sidetracked by a (fictional) power struggle going on between host (and radio/podcasting mainstay) Tom Scharpling and his co-hosts/producers, who argue with him on air, engage in petty power plays, and ensnare him in a life-or-death struggle with the evil owner of a competing podcast conglomerate. It’s mostly making fun of how inane recap shows can be, but it’s also a satire of Hollywood and the podcast industry in general. All that and it manages to actually recap the show. Sort of. Sadly, MMFTF has been on hiatus for a while, but there are a bunch of seasons to catch up on, and episodes tend to be pretty short.
In the Scenes Behind Plain Sight (Behind Plain Sight, which doesn’t actually exist)
So far all of these recommendations have been for shows that exist. But audio legends Ian Chillag and Mike Danforth (Ian’s the guy behind Everything Is Alive, and they are the co-creators of How to Do Everything) created a whole rewatch podcast about a TV show that never was. In the Scenes Behind Plain Sight is ostensibly based on the show Behind Plain Sight, which purportedly followed a man in hiding at a nudist colony in Florida, but doesn’t actually exist. They plan a podcast cruise, read fake ads, call their listeners “Behinders,” and do tons of other playful things that skewer the form of rewatch shows and podcasting in general. At the end, when podcasters usually read the credits, they tell us that the production team has actually asked not to be named. (They’re truly committed to the bit.)
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