December 28, 2014

The Serial Conclusion

A few weeks ago I wrote about how awesome the “Serial” podcast was and speculated about how season one would end. Now it is over, and I am much less positive about the show. I guess it is my classic style to start out loving something and then over time start to dwell on all of the faults, in the end deciding it was never quite as great as I once believed.

“Serial” was extremely well made and I can’t deny that I enjoyed Koenig’s take on this crime story. In the beginning it felt like a storyteller… well… telling a story. Over time it sunk in that this was an actual case and these are actual people. It started to feel more like an episode of Dateline, where they go back and look at the details of a case.

Here is a quote from an interview Sarah Koenig

I’ll present what my reporting bears out, and that’s my responsibility. It’s not my responsibility to entertain you with some wonderful, perfect ending. I don’t mean that in a holier-than-thou way at all—it’s just—I’m a reporter.

I’m not sure why, but that made me uncomfortable. “Serial” didn’t feel like reporting. It wasn’t just reporting the facts. Every episode was filled with opinion. Lots of opinion. Whatever “Serial” was, is way more entertaining and engaging than reporting. I couldn’t wait to listen each week, which I have never said about the news. I don’t care that “Serial” didn’t stay objective, but the way it all came off was a bit strange. Then for the producer to say that she was just reporting the facts kind of took me off guard.

As a listener I’m not sure how much we really know about Adnan’s trials. I didn’t go out and read anything else about the case. When it was all said an done I tried to find something to take away from “Serial”. I think this piece in the New Yorker sums it up for me…

Episode twelve conclusively proved that what we’ve been listening to is not a murder mystery: it’s a deep exploration of the concept of reasonable doubt, and therefore an exposé, if unwittingly so, of the terrible flaws in our justice system.

Koenig announced before the end of the series that they had enough support to come back for a season two. I will for sure listen. I hope it isn’t a continuation of this case. I hope that it isn’t a crime case at all. Unless season two is a full year out, I’d imagine they’d have to be working on at least one story already. I hope its a good one.

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