We don't know about you, but we spent the end of 2014 in a constant state of anxiety. Why? Because we were trying to solve the murder of Hae Min Lee, of course, and decide whether or not her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, currently incarcerated for the crime, was innocent or guilty.
In case you're lost, we are talking about Serial, the record-breaking viral podcast that got over 250 million downloads and single-handedly reinvigorated the podcast genre. (If you haven't listened to that yet, perhaps stop reading now and do that first). After a rather lack-lustre second season, which focussed on American escaped POW Bowe Bergdahl, we're yet to get a third series - but there's a spinoff of sorts to get obsessed with in the mean time...
Enter S-Town, the latest podcast series from Serial's producers This American Life. After a teaser trailer dropped on the iTunes store in late March our interest was piqued - especially as this time round all of the episodes were available to download immediately on 28th March.
So, what's it about?
S-Town riffs on the same themes that made the first series of Serial so addictive - namely a real-life unsolved murder. Hosted by This American Life alumnus Brian Reed, it begins as an investigation into an Alabama murder, but goes on to focus on much more than that. It reportedly took 3 years to complete - in fact, the show idea even predates Serial.
According to the official press release, the show '… began when a man reached out to This American Life bitterly complaining about his small Alabama town. He wanted a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who had allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. [Reed] agreed to look into it. But then someone else ended up dead, and another story began to unfold—about a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure and the mysteries of one man’s life.'
So far, so The Jinx, right? (Again, if you don't know what we're talking about, get thee to a DVD shop and buy the hit HBO docu-series about murderer Robert Durst ASAP).
So, where is the S-Town town? The podcast is set in Woodstock, Alabama, and follows the real-life story of John B. Mclemore. As the press release hinted, it's a meandering tale, that focuses not just on the 'sh*t town' of the title, but also John's life and the lives of those around him. What starts off as a murder mystery quickly turns in to something quite different from episode 2 onwards.
Having binge-listened to the entire podcast, and read every S-Town review (and subscribed to the S-Town Reddit), we're hooked on the story of John B. Mclemore. Want to know how to download S-Town? Get thee to the iTunes or Google Play stores. Enjoy!