Podcasts have always been the perfect medium for telling stories. There’s something about the accessibility and intimacy of the platform that lends itself so well to investigating and unpacking slices of life. And while we always try hard not to bring everything back to Serial, it’d be reasonable to say that WBEZ’s 2014 phenomenon was instrumental in developing the mystery genre of shows we see booming today.
Early years of podcasting were dominated by talk shows and round table conversations, and it’s the lean towards more journalism and storytelling that brought us the biggest hits of the past three years. But despite the popularity of this growing sub-genre, there’s something about so many of the mystery podcasts available today that fall flat.
For the most part- unless a mystery is told incredibly well, without a real conclusion or answer it ends up feeling pretty dissatisfying. Starlee Kine’s Mystery Show was one that never failed to disappoint; even though each case did have a conclusion, what made the show so incredible was Kine’s storytelling ability, not necessarily the stories themselves.
On the other hand, you’ve got shows like this year’s first huge podcast Missing Richard Simmons. Despite incredible storytelling from Dan Taberski, the weekly delivery of an ongoing investigation led to an abrupt ending. Don’t get us wrong, Missing Richard Simmons is one of the stand-out shows of 2017, but anyone going into the first episode expecting an uplifting conclusive finale will be disappointed.
Hosted by Kaleigh Rogers, Science Solved It is a weekly show that introduces a whole range of mysteries that were solved by science, alongside insight from the researchers who cracked the case. Stories covered on the two episodes available so far include ‘the bloop’ and Death Valley’s crawling rocks.
Sure, Science Solved It doesn’t feature any large-scale original investigations like Mystery Show or Missing Richard Simmons, but the inclusion of stories that have already been solved makes the show satisfying in a way so many of today’s biggest mystery podcasts just aren’t.
Alongside brilliant guests and careful sound design that complements the story, it’s Rogers’s hosting that helps makes the podcast so great. Her presentation is friendly and laid back, and makes us actually feel like we’re going on a journey with her, instead of being told a bunch of facts the host already knows.
And Science Solved It isn’t Motherboard’s first great foray into podcasting. Back in March we highlighted pluspluspodcast in our weekly Podcasts We’re Listening To digest. Motherboard’s current commitment to combining great hosts with great stories makes them an excellent midseason contender for Podcast Network of The Year, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.
Science Solved It is available from Motherboard, iTunes, or wherever you download podcasts from.