The podcast format of casual conversations between friends or loved ones is a deceptively simple one in the ever growing genre that’s also notoriously difficult to replicate, and I say that as someone with two podcasts of that style. Great chemistry can’t be faked, and what may seem like jovial banter to yourself and your mates when recording can potentially be insufferable for others to listen to. When done well, I thoroughly enjoy such shows, but you have to tread through a lot of crap to get to the good stuff.
The first podcast I listened to regularly was the now defunct TV On The Internet, a discussion of television between husband and wife TV critics, and I’ve always wanted something to fill the hole it left. Fortunately for me, we have Extra Hot Great, the podcast for lovers of TV from the team behind Previously.TV, formerly of the late, great Television Without Pity.
Hosted by David T Cole, Tara Ariano, Sarah D Bunting and Joe Reid, the show is a rag-tag joke-a-minute mixture of review, quiz and snark. While I consider myself a more casual fan of television, the show is most certainly the work of TV obsessives, and it’s all the better for it. With a rotating table of guests and site contributors joining their satisfyingly long conversations, Extra Hot Great is never short of ideas or laughs. As someone who thoroughly enjoys listening to people discuss their passions, particularly if it’s one I don’t or only vaguely share myself, the show feels like a warm welcome.
The show benefits from the frankly astonishing levels of knowledge its hosts possess on the history of television, but it never feels dry. Instead, their focus lies on pure entertainment with a hefty dose of geeky information. With its origins in the pioneering bastion of pop culture snark, Television Without Pity, the show carries over that dedicated fanbase, who contribute much to the show and make for a truly communal experience, including some hysterically funny personal ads.
The sheer volume of segments – including “Is This Worse Than Jazz”, “I Am Not a Crackpot” and the true crime themed “The Blotter” provide hours of material, although the most truly informative segment is “The Canon”, where the week’s guest is invited to submit an episode of television into the aforementioned canon of all-time greats. Past submissions cover the entire milieu of the format, from the accepted modern classic of Breaking Bad to more of their time efforts like Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The strength of the segment lies in the passion of the submitter and their ability to convince the hosts of their choice’s strength and ultimate importance. Overall, it’s a strong reminder of the influence and evolution of TV and its status as art and entertainment. And yes, I’ve been practicing my fantasy submission in my head for a while.
The weekly quizzes are where the show excels. On my nightly walks, I find myself counting the points and rushing to answer before the hosts on topics as varied as “Is this a real Eurovision Song Contest lyric” and “Which two actors with rhyming names are being referenced in this riddle?”
Whether you’re a casual viewer or twelve hour a day devotee to the big black box in your living room/bedroom, Extra Hot Great has helped me make the often insufferably boring trek to 10k steps a day that much easier.