“Serial” (Am I late to the party?)


So to be honest, I’ve never been entirely sure what a podcast was.  Thats embarrassing, I know.  But I have this idea of them being mostly either chatty radio talk show-type programs or something instructional.  My dad for one listens to a lot of podcasts on photography so that may have put me off.

And then I came across “Serial” last night.

My synopsis isn’t going to do it justice but its sort of like if NPR and Dateline teamed up.  It’s a nonfiction episodic show hosted by Sarah Koenig.  This particular story follows the murder of a high school student.  Although her ex-boyfriend is serving life for the crime there are some who believe him to be innocent.  Koenig delves into the case, interviewing witnesses, experts, attorneys, and the accused.

Now, maybe Dateline isn’t the best way to describe it.  Its much too intelligent for that.  Koenig is quick, witty, and thorough.  The case is incredibly detailed without seeming sensationalized.  But its more than that.

One of the coolest things about podcasts, as I’m now discovering, is this weird intimacy.  Does anyone else feel this way?  Like it’s just me and this woman whose talking to me.  I’m solving this case with her.  It’s not the same as a blaring television in a room.

I’ve also realized that I’m terrible at processing through audio.  I’m sure that’s something most of us can relate to, what with television, videos, movies, etc.  But I also think I’m just better at reading.  I’ve been able to do it as long as I can remember so its weird not having a book as an option.

With the podcast, I have to concentrate, especially in a show with so many names, places, and technical details.  I often find myself having to rewind a couple of minutes whenever my mind starts to wander.  It feels almost as if I’m engaging a whole new part of my brain.

Not to mention there’s something so wonderfully old-timey about it.  I’m constantly hearing about radio shows from my parents (both born in ’52) and how wonderful the fictional stories were.  It’s difficult for me to even imagine listening to a soap opera for instance rather than watching it.

But so far I’m really enjoying this.  (I enjoy anything that feels remotely old-fashioned) Today for instance, I drove home (about an hour) in the snow, while listening to “Serial”, to find my mother had left a pot of stew on the stove.  So cozy.

So has anyone else heard it?  Do you get what I mean?