Thursday, May 7, 2015


I just finished Serial. In case you've been living under a rock or you're not a millennial (and therefore not familiar with the purple app on your iPhone), Serial is a popular podcast. What is a podcast? A podcast is essentially a radio program you can access via the internet. Below is the premise for Serial:

It's Baltimore, 1999. Hae Min Lee, a popular high-school senior, disappears after school one day. Six weeks later detectives arrest her classmate and ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for her murder. He says he's innocent - though he can't exactly remember what he was doing on that January afternoon. But someone can. A classmate at Woodlawn High School says she knows where Adnan was. The trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found.

I gave Serial a go because so many listeners I spoke with were absolutely obsessed with this podcast. They exclaimed I just HAD to give it a listen. I was wary at first. I love to read: books, magazines, articles, blogs. So when would I find time to sit and listen to a podcast? It didn't seem appealing. But then the weather changed and I started going for long walks. That's when I had my "aha" moment -- long strolls are the perfect opportunity for podcast consumption.

I completed the Serial series in an embarrassingly short period of time. It is, in fact, addictive. However, I had thought I'd be drawn to Serial simply for the murder mystery story. A surprising element that kept me coming back was host (and producer) Sarah Koenig. Koenig has a soothing narration voice but she doesn't sound radio host-like, per se. She sounds like a friend in conversation, with typical inflections and pauses. And of course she speaks clearly and confidently.


While I enjoyed hearing Koenig every week and learning about the story as Serial unfolded, I was a bit disappointed when the podcast had no neat conclusion. It's not surprising that a radio show couldn't solve a real life crime already played out in courts, but it was certainly disappointing.The one thing that became clear throughout the series is that while we don't know who murdered Hae Min Lee, we also don't know that Adnan Syed is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. And yet, Syed is still behind bars.

Serial Staffers

Adnan Syed


P.S. Serial parody via Cup of Jo

P.P.S. If You See Sarah Koenig From ‘Serial’ on a Plane, Don’t Talk to Her: She’s Afraid and Watching Legally Blonde (Also, Stop Trying to Talk to People on Planes) via NY Mag

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