What’s new to listen to

Ximena Smith rounds up what we’re tuning into in the world of podcasts.



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Chameleon: Wild Boys Great truecrime media storytelling is a careful art: how do you do it in a way that explores the complexity of the perpetrator, without being too soft and minimising the impact of their behaviour? Chameleon: Wild Boys does a great job of striking that critical-but-empathetic balance, and while it’s not strictly true-crime, it will nevertheless tick a number of boxes for true-crime podcast fans. The premise revisits an old news story from the early 2000s, in which two teenage brothers wound up in a small Canadian town claiming they’d grown up in the wilderness only for their story soon starts to unravel. The podcast’s cliffhangers make it a very bingeable listen, and host Sam Mullins deserves much credit for his persistency throughout the ninepart series. This is the third season of Chameleon by US-based podcast outlet Campside Media – if you get to the end and you’re keen for more of the same, the first season, Hollywood Con Queen, is definitely worth a listen too. Scamfluencers One of the latest offerings from podcasting powerhouse Wondery is this new weekly show, which chronicles some of the most audacious con artists the world has seen in recent times. Co-hosts Scaachi Koul and Sarah Hagi delve into a wide range of juicy scams, with each one being told over the course of several episodes. So far we’ve heard about a Hollywood Ponzi schemer and ‘‘the Fyre Fest of the ballet world’’, with later episodes promising to explore grifts from the worlds of healthcare, religion, social media and more. The podcast’s stylistic audio flourishes, sound effects and music make it in keeping with Wondery’s signature ‘‘blockbuster’’ style of audio storytelling, meaning there’s never a dull moment. Narrative podcasts driven primarily through a conversation between hosts can be risky business, as scripted dialogue can sometimes veer into seeming stilted and unnatural, but the relaxed, easy-going chemistry between Koul and Hagi has made each episode of Scamfluencers an enjoyable experience so far. If you’re freshly finished with watching Netflix’s Inventing Anna and in need of some new scammer stories to fill that void, then Scamfluencers is just the ticket. Conviction: the Disappearance of Nuseiba Hasan The third season of Gimlet’s Conviction tells the heart-wrenching story of Nuseiba Hasan, a Jordanian-Canadian woman who went missing without a trace in 2006. The gripping eight-part series is a result of years of investigative work by host Habiba Nosheen, who uncovers a web of family secrets that have been kept hidden for two decades. Nosheen is a thoughtful and introspective host throughout the series, treating both Hasan’s story and wider themes like islamophobia and misogyny with care and nuance. The story is also deeply personal for Nosheen, as she shares with the listener her reflections on how parts of her own life paralleled what happened to Hasan. The first two seasons of Conviction are also both excellent listens, albeit with very different subject matters – the first followed the story of a vigilante private eye, and the second re-examined the Satanic Panic, four decades on.