Your Cliff Notes Guide To Serial, The Podcast Everyone Is Talking About
I don't want to act like a mindreader or anything, but you've been hearing a lot about something called Serial lately, right? Or maybe you thought it was ‘cereal'. No shame in that. But either way, you can relax, because I'm here to tell you exactly what it is and why people are so obsessed with it.
And in case you're worried at all, I won't be sharing any spoilers in this cliff notes guide. I'm not trying to ruin your day like that.
What is it?
It's a podcast.
But I hate podcasts!
I know, same here, but I love this one, so hear me out.
From whence did it come?
It's a spin-off of the very popular This American Life podcast and is hosted by Sarah Koenig, one of the veteran producers there.
What's the format?
The idea is to take a suspenseful true story and explore it over multiple episodes, each one adding information, as many as it takes to reach some kind of resolution.
How long are the episodes?
Depends! It varies, but so far they've all landed at between thirty minutes and an hour. Super manageable.
What's this season about?
Well it's the first season, and it's a true crime story, which hits me right in my sweet spot. It's about the 1999 murder of a young woman named Hae Min Lee, for which a man named Adnan Syed, Hae's ex-boyfriend, is currently serving a life sentence.
Sarah Koenig was attracted to this case in particular because family members of Adnan came to her to express their concern that he was wrongly convicted, so the podcast has been attempting to unearth information that would point satisfyingly either to Adnan's guilt or innocence. Or I guess it could end with no resolution, but I refuse to go down that path unless absolutely necessary.
Is Adnan guilty?
I HAVE NO IDEA THAT'S WHAT MAKES THIS THING SO MARVELOUS. No but seriously, all caps aside, it makes you feel very powerful and at the center of something, watching the story play out like this.
How can I listen to it?
Either by subscribing to Serial through the ‘Podcasts' app on your phone, or by going to their website and listening there, which is a better idea if you have an internet connection, because the site also provides a bunch of supplementary information that couldn't get crammed into the podcast.
How many episodes are there?
Seven so far, with a new one coming out every Thursday!
Does that mean I'm too far behind to catch up?
Nope! Like I said, these episodes are pretty short, and super absorbing, so you'll breeze through them in no time. I particularly recommend them for your morning commute.
Are there any parodies of it yet?
I'm so glad you asked because yes! There are! Here's one that serves the dual purpose of giving you a feel for the tone of the host and also tickling your funny bone. What could be better than that?
Okay, now enough time-wasting. Get yourself onto the internet and subscribe to Serial so I have more people to talk to about it.