This is neither television nor movies, but it's still entertaining mass media and never having listened to a serialized podcast like this, I have no idea how to classify it within my media consumption.
Serial is a podcast from This American Life that tells one story a week at a time. The first story (assuming they'll do others, I'm not really sure) is about a murder case from 1999. A high school aged guy was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and has been in prison ever since -- but he maintains his innocence, and many believe the case built against him is inconclusive and his attorney mishandled things.
For one reason or another, the whole thing landed on the lap of Sarah Koenig, a producer for This American Life, and she started digging in and unraveling the details of the case...which is basically what the podcast is, Sarah telling the story of her own exploration into the case 15 years later, trying to figuring it out in a way. It's heavily supplemented with conversations with the accused and other key figures in the case, who she visits frequently.
Sarah herself comments about how strange it is to be drawn into a murder case like this when there are actual real people in this story. It IS weird to be so enthralled by a gruesome murder case where a young woman was strangled and abandoned in a park, but the elements that come together make it hard to look away. Not like a train wreck kind of obsession, but an honest curiosity because nothing is what it seems. The first episode opens with testimony that seems really clear that the kid was the murderer. Then immediately, it flips upside down. This happens a lot. It's fascinating.
It's kind of like a weird mix of a radio drama, true crime book, and a documentary. But it also feels more personal, or instant. I'm not really sure.
Serial started sending out episodes in October, and I only just caught up this weekend. Number eight comes out tomorrow, so I guess I'll have to listen in the slow way again, like everyone else. It's strange, I've even seen tweets about listening parties for episodes.
Anyone else listening? Can I come to your house and listen with you and make themed snacks? Would that be weird?
I listened to the first two episodes last weekend, when its existence finally trickled its way to my information sources, and I'm totally digging it. I'll probably catch up again by the end of this coming weekend.
I assume that it won't have a conclusive ending, though, but I don't think that will really matter, because the journey is probably going to be worth not having a destination. But that'd be cool if it pulled a Thin Blue Line and actually changed someone's life in the near future. Then again, I don't know what information has been provided in episodes 3-8 yet...