If you love podcasts on your commute or anytime you have some free time, you're in luck. 2021 looks like it's shaping up to be the year of the podcast. 

If you listen to podcasts while you drive, particularly if you have a long commute, it's a good way to pass the time and keep your brain engaged. Plus, you're reducing your risk of driving while distracted if you aren't fiddling with changing your music. 

The following are some of the best podcasts of 2021 that you might try. 

Start with This

Start with This is a podcase from NightVale Presents that asks you to "put your ideas into motion." Each podcast centers around a topic, and then you're given two assignments. One is something to consume and the other is something to create. The creators of this podcast also created Welcome to NightVale, which is good if you like something scary. 

During Start with This, you usually are given something like a book or TV show to watch, and then you're given a writing assignment. 

The goal of the podcast is to help you improve your creativity. 

Slow Burn

Slow Burn is a political podcast from Slate. In the current season, it covers the 1980s and 90s and the rise of White Supremacy. It includes David Duke's prominence and his election to the Louisiana legislature, and eventually the governorship. The podcast follows how a Nazi sympathizer and a Klansman became a mainstream figure and what it took to bring him down. 

How to Do Everything

How to Do Everything is an NPR podcast. It's produced by Mike Danforth and Ian Chillag of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

The podcast covers how to do things that might seem small but can induce stress. For example, you could learn how to spread cold butter on toast. You also learn what to do if you face certain dangerous situations. 

Listeners will present their how-to questions, and the podcast brings on the appropriate experts to answer them. 

Reply All

Reply All is a podcast that's all about the internet. 

The show originally aired in 2014 and now has around five million downloads a month. 

Many of the episodes center around how people shape the internet, but also how the internet shapes people according to its Wikipedia listing. 

The podcast is reviewed favorably among listeners. 

10 Things That Scare Me

10 Things That Scare Me is another NPR podcast. It is one where during each episode, a single person talks about their biggest fear. Each person on the podcast delves into what it is that keeps them up at night and how they form their decisions in many ways based on that fear. 

Wild Thing

Wild Thing is a podcast about all things unusual and strange that grab our attention and our imaginations. The podcast conversations center on wild people, places, and things like trying to find Bigfoot. 

Laura Krantz is the host of the podcast, and new episodes come out on Thursday morning. 

The most recently available episode features an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson. In that particular conversation, deGrasse Tyson shares his perspective on the rare earth hypothesis and also gives his take on the movie Aliens. 

You're Dead To Me

You're Dead To Me bills itself as the history podcast for people who don't like history. Host Greg Jenner brings together big names in both history and comedy. 

The style of the show is fun and upbeat, you can listen to it with kids, and it's informative at the same time. 

Fake Doctors Real Friends

If you miss Scrubs, you'll love the Fake Doctors, Real Friends podcast with Zach Braff and Donald Faison. 

The TV doctors go over their TV show one episode at a time each week. They discuss what really went down when filming the episodes and share their favorite moments. They also bring in cast members of the show for interviews, and if you're a super fan, they might spotlight you. 

In the most recent episode, Bill Lawrence comes on to join Braff and Faison. 

This American Life

This American Life is one of the most well-known and beloved radio shows on weekly public radio, and it's also a podcast. Each week on the podcast, a theme is selected and covered. More than two million people listen to the weekly radio show, and around 2.5 million download the weekly podcast. The show is hosted by Ira Glass and is an award winner. 

Office Ladies

Much like the Scrubs-themed podcast, if you're a huge fan of The Office, you might want to catch Office Ladies. 

The Office Ladies features Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who were co-stars and are also real-life best friends. Every week, they talk about an episode of The Office, giving your behind-the-scene stories. 

Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole is a New York Times podcast from tech columnist Kevin Rose. The show examines the effects the internet is having on our lives. 

In Bed with Nick and Megan

If you're a fan of Will and Grace or Parks and Recreation, you probably have a pretty good idea of who Megan Mullaly and Nick Offerman are. In addition to being two of the funniest TV actors ever, they're also a real-life married couple, and they now have a podcast.

They record each episode in their bed, and you can expect to hear details of their relationship, interviews with famous friends, and they'll just talk about life itself. 

Dealing

Finally, consider checking out the podcast Dealing, which delves into health and the things that make us sick. It's hosted by Mara De La Rosa and Nicholas Pilapil. Some of the topics recently covered include Lyme disease, celiac disease, polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis. 

This list gives you a good starting point to find some of the most compelling podcasts of the year that you can listen to in the car or otherwise. They're entertaining and informative and offer unique viewpoints that only podcasts can.