From the cringe-worthy comedy of My Dad Wrote a Porno to the compelling reportage of S-Town, podcasts hold a special place in our hearts. And none more so than Slate's Culture Gabfest, a weekly dispatch of the best in popular culture, from movies, books, TV, and more. 

Here, Artistic Director Michaela McGuire introduces the show and shares her five favourite episodes. 

'I was first introduced to Slate’s Culture Gabfest about six years ago, when a good friend’s dinner party chat suddenly got noticeably more erudite, wide-ranging, insightful and witty. After a few months of wondering at this transformation, another dinner guest accused him over pot luck of shamelessly presenting the Gabfest hosts’ takes as his own. I’d never heard of the podcast, but started listening that week and have never stopped.  

The show’s three hosts — Slate editor Julia Turner, film critic Dana Stevens and critic at large Stephen Metcalf — act as a weekly barometer of pop culture, highbrow and low. As an introduction to their show, here’s a selection of five of their best episodes, where they hold forth topics including the new movie Get Outwhat it means for a film (The Lego Movie) to be branded, and whether bad times make for great art.

Another favourite is the Gabfest’s annual 'Summer Strut' edition, where listeners submit the songs that make them want to dance down city sidewalks. Some hero has uploaded the 2016 playlist onto Spotify, and I’ve still got it on regular rotation.

Finally, there’s a brilliant episode where the hosts discuss the three elements of language — vocabulary, conversation and voice — delving into their favourite writers, least favourite linguistic tics, and self-evidently proving the art of good conversation.'

— Michaela McGuire, Artistic Director