With the advent of mobile technology in our society, people have gained easy access to different forms of entertainment across different platforms, including Netflix, eBooks, social media, and a variety of other sources. However, a new form of entertainment has gained steady support over the past few years: podcasts. Podcasts offer listeners the opportunity to become familiarized with a broad range of subjects, hear original and unfiltered perspectives, and spend their “in-between” time learning a new thing or two. While several podcasts have garnered significant recognition for their content and delivery, one of the currently most critically acclaimed podcasts is “Serial.”
Developed by the creators of a weekly broadcasted radio show called “This American Life,” “Serial” is in the midst of its second season and is narrated by journalist Sarah Koenig and produced by Julie Snyder. Koenig is the perfect complement to the content of “Serial,” as she is a host who is unafraid to voice her opinions and has a savvy mind and a witty, dry sense of humor, qualities that many listeners appreciate.
The podcast can be predominantly categorized within the “true crime” genre, and it serves as a pensive character analysis that explores real life crimes while simplifying and breaking down the justice system in a clear, almost effortless fashion. Through this style of narration, listeners are not bogged down by legal terminology or the nitty gritty details of legal proceedings, but nevertheless are educated thoroughly.
In its first breakout season, “Serial” broadcasted and picked apart the 1999 case of Hae Min Lee, a Baltimore teen who goes missing after school one day and is found dead in a ditch within a nature park. Hae Min Lee’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, is charged with the crime and faces a life sentence. Koenig scrutinizes all available resources regarding the case and even publicly broadcasts her conversations with friends and family of the victim, potential suspects, fellow experts, and Adnan himself.
“I like ‘Serial’ because it’s suspenseful, and Sarah Koenig is a great storyteller. Season one’s case wasn’t when I was in high school, but the people involved were my sister’s age so I felt a connection with some of it,” history teacher Jaime Fields said.
The second season focuses on the 2009 case of Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who was stationed in Afghanistan but leaves his post and is taken captive by the Taliban for five years. When Bowe is finally brought home, he is not welcomed with open arms, and in fact the army opens an investigation to determine if he had ulterior motives for leaving his post. Koenig once again surprises listeners by broadcasting recorded tape between her and the Taliban, and even supplements the podcast with 3D graphics and videos available on the “Serial” website.
“The stories of Adnan and Bowe Bergdahl are so complex and interesting, it’s impossible not to listen to [them],” senior Laine Corfield said.
Overall, “Serial” has gained success on its ability to appeal to the logos, pathos, and ethos in all of us. So next time you find yourself bored driving, running on the treadmill, or with a free moment, consider investing that time in “Serial.” You won’t regret it.