by Joe Vallero
A few weeks ago I suggested you check out the Atomic Blonde trailer. I hope you did, it's a lot of fun and I can't wait for that film. I am back this week to suggest something new.
I have been listening to podcasts for quite awhile. It seems we are in the middle of the podcast golden era. The medium is seemingly being defined everyday and redefined just as quickly. That is where S-Town comes in. A new podcast from the creators of Serial and This American Life. Two of my all-time favorite shows. The interesting thing about S-Town is that it's a perfect combination of it's two predecessors. It has a hint of the "true-crime" investigation of Serial and a considerable amount of This American Life's small town, Studs Terkel, every person has a story, story-telling style.
The host Brian Reed, a This American Life veteran, takes you on a journey of a small Alabama town and into the life of one of the most unique individuals I have ever encountered. The show centers on John B. McLemore and as the story unravels the twists and turns are so unique they would seem to be made up. S-Town proves the old adage that life is truly stranger than fiction. The show drips with irony and human contradictions, it's jaw dropping at times. The various characters we meet always have more under the surface and when you think you have a footing the storytellers rip the rug out from under you. While it doesn't have the addictive nature of Serial it is an engrossing and dynamic story.
The other interesting aspect of the show is S-Town takes the Netflix model and drops all the episodes at once. It is not a week to week release but allows you to binge listen to the whole story at once. This has a great affect on the listener but it also would seem to be a result of the phenomenon of the first season of Serial. While Sarah Koenig was reporting and releasing the episodes of season one of Serial the podcast became a large part of the story. The fans of the show took the story and ran with it. Digging up information on their own. Serial analysis podcasts popped up all over iTunes. While that is great for a show it probably did impact the creation process. Crafting all 7 episodesand releasing them at once allows S-Town to create the narrative they wanted entirely in a bubble. I am hear to say, it is damn great story telling and well worth the listen.
I hope you check it out.