For the past eight weeks, Thursday mornings have been dedicated to listening to the Serial podcast. Most episodes I listen to before I get out of bed, some I’ll listen to while making breakfast and only once have I been able to save a new episode for a few hours while I get something else done.
Like all those people in your Twitter feed are saying, Serial is pretty addictive. Despite these headlines, I seem to be having trouble getting friends to check it out. My wife listened right away, but she got me into listening to podcasts and NPR in the first place, so it’s not much of a stretch for her. My brother who is studying journalism in school has not bothered to listen, nor have I heard any feedback from other friends that I’ve recommended it to. I have this need to get people on the Serial train while it’s still rolling so 1. I have people to discuss the episodes with and 2. They can enjoy the ride while it’s happening, complete with the week-long anticipation that accompanies each new episode.
I have a feeling that Serial’s audience is going to continue to grow, even long after Season 1’s last episode has been posted. I remember when I tried to get my brothers to check out Napoleon Dynamite when it was still playing in the little arty movie theaters, only to have them wait to see it until everyone was quoting “Your mom goes to college” 50 times a day. I want them on board before “Best Buy Parking lot” becomes a thing.
Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about. Maybe you’re tired of seeing the word “Serial” capitalized in your RSS feed. Maybe you listened to it and thought it was boring. Maybe you’re addicted like me and you’re willing to re-read all the same description of Serial over and over. Cool.
Serial is an episodic podcast from the creators of This American Life. It revisits the 1999 murder of 17 year old Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland. Lee’s ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was convicted of her murder and is still in prison today. Serial host Sarah Koenig regularly speaks to Adnan on the podcast, as well as other people that were classmates of Lee and Syed and others that were involved in the case.
The series is a roller coaster. One week you’re sure Adnan did it, the next you think he’s innocent and you’ve got a new suspect that you’re 100% sure about. It really might be easier to wait until the first season is completed so you can binge listen to the whole season, but you’d be missing out on all the fun of watching other people try to wrestle with each week’s new evidence.
If you’re stumped on the whole listening to a podcast thing, there are plenty of ways to do it. The easiest is to just go to the website: serialpodcast.org Scroll down, press play, you’re good to go. There are other ways that Ira Glass’ friend Mary can run you through:
Serial is destined to be a crossover podcast, pulling in listeners that have never heard of podcasts and who previously had no interest in figuring out what a podcast is and how on Earth to listen to one.
I don’t really need lean on my friends to have someone to discuss Serial with, because I have the /r/SerialPodcast subreddit. The conversations and theories going on over there are pretty interesting. People are creating their own maps and timelines. It could get a bit out of hand but it’s fun to watch. Some weeks I check out the post topics on Reddit just to glimpse at early reactions to new episodes. Usually, I like to keep it fresh for myself and then dive in to Reddit afterward to see what extra insight they may have due to many varied interpretations.
If you’re all caught up on Serial and you’re wondering how you’re going to make it until next week, maybe check out the new podcast StartUp. It follows Alex Blumberg of Planet Money and This American Life as he attempts to start a company. As the website says, it’s “A new podcast about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one.” It’s pretty entertaining. As of episode seven, no one has been murdered yet, but there’s still time.