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Old 12-31-2014, 04:40 AM
Dizzy Dizzy is offline
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Default Serial: A Podcast

Didn't see a thread, so.

I'm revving up episode eight of this series. I intend to finish it but I think it'll end with Sarah Koenig either not getting the resolution she seeks or leaning heavily on one possible answer.

I think it was somewhat clear from the first episode that there was simply not enough solid evidence (or discovery or whatever) procured to bring this case to trial and a man was wrongfully convicted. That man is not innocent of the crime here but he's just not guilty. I almost think episode seven made that really fucking clear but there's still five episodes left so who knows.

My one complaint is the awful piano theme. It's like they took a few bars from the opening song of Magnolia "One (is the Loneliest Number)" and set it on repeat until it achieved a grating quality. It also sounds too cheerful and naive for the show. This is probably what Koenig hears when she walks around in public.
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:15 AM
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I don't know if this will be a spoiler, so in case, what the reader should/shouldn't expect at the end:

If you expect a neat resolution that puts a bow around Adnan's guilt or innocence with the true murderer of Hae Min Lee revealed by episode 12, you're in for a lot of disappointment.

To Sarah Koenig's credit, I think the question listeners should be trying to answer is this: if you were a juror, is there enough evidence to declare Adnan guilty of Hae Min Lee's murder? Serial, if nothing, demonstrates how messy and complicated murder investigations can be.

- Eddie
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:39 AM
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I got about halfway through and had to stop. I started to lose interest when Koenig expressed surprise that Syed thought she didn't know him all that well. She acted like they should be buddies, rather than a journalist and her subject. He's trying to get his conviction overturned, she's trying to spin his life into entertainment, and pretending otherwise doesn't help anyone.

This American Life folks are at their best when telling a story, and at their worst when doing investigative journalism. I never feel like I can trust the evidence they're giving me because their storytelling impulses always override their journalistic impulses. Serial tells a great story but ultimately feels exploitative.

That said, I hope the questions it raises about the justice system bear fruit, and I'll definitely listen next season if they're dealing more with the human condition and less with solving a murder.
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:43 PM
Dizzy Dizzy is offline
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Alright, I finished it. I am Officially Cool™

In fact, that was the whole goal of binge-listening this series.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't pay close attention to every episode. So everything I have to say below is more or less crap. Side note: I don't know why I'm using spoilers but erring on the side of not-getting-shat-on in any case. If there were any actual spoilers (and if there was an actual answer to the case) this series would have been structured quite differently.

I think these people said some smart things.

It just got too tedious for me and Koenig never seemed to pursue the most interesting or broader angles to this case. I think she either surveyed them superficially or dismissed them entirely while pursuing her own obsession (fucking cell phone towers; Adnan Syed as criminal mastermind psychopath) and following her own narrative.

The entire podcast is designed like a week-by-week TV murder mystery (ONLY IT'S ALL REAL) but it's very much a work of a journalism by a journalist with (I suspect) inadequate criminal justice, sociology and psychology background. Though I think Koenig mentions doing some crime reporting at the Baltimore Sun? Not any better than watching 100 episodes of Law & Order.

It's also a really old ass case. She's heavily reliant on ground sources (leading to a lot of he-said, she-said muddiness), experts/government officials (and almost naive about what officials say), does some of her own (sketchy) detective work and document parsing.

I give her credit for reaching out to every person imaginable and I think she went above and beyond analyzing this case. The shit about Syed's lawyer having health issues and sneaking cigarettes into the hospital was probably not essential the project, but hey why the fuck not. But I think her mental or journalistic framework was somewhat flawed going in, if not totally flawed.

I figured from the first episode this was a screwed-up case and Koenig sets that theme by challenging the accuracy of memory right in the beginning. There just wasn't enough information gathered and vetted from this poor girl's death (though I personally lean on Jay Wilds as the culprit).

I think it would be great if this first season kicks-start a conversation of just how bizarre, screwy, biased and prejudiced the process of criminal investigations and our justice system tends to be.

But this case in particular will be the one puzzle everyone wants to crack even though there's probably thousands just like it coming down the pipe of our court systems ever year. Already Mr. Wilds is coming out with interviews giving his "side" and challenging Koenig's journalistic integrity and blah blah blah
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
fucking cell phone towers; Adnan Syed as criminal mastermind psychopath

The shit about Syed's lawyer having health issues and sneaking cigarettes into the hospital was probably not essential the project, but hey why the fuck not.
I don't think the series is perfect, but I had totally different reactions.

The fucking cell phone towers are essential to the prosecution's case because they either affirm or dispute Jay's testimony. Sarah does a good job of stating that some of towers confirm Jay's testimony while others do not. I think its a pretty important point that the defense didn't key in on.

Also Syed's lawyers health issues is important to the case. Can you imagine if you or your close friend was represented by a lawyer with significant health issues? I think significant health issues impact how well a lawyer can argue a case.

This American Life is nice, but I think in terms of impact Serial will be remembered as a very important podcast. It has brought in-depth long-form reporting to a new medium and it has brought it to the mainstream.

I'm very much looking forward to the next Serial series.

Last edited by Voncaster; 12-31-2014 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:09 PM
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Serial will be remembered as the podcast that made people go "hey, have you heard about this thing called podcasts?"
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Old 03-02-2017, 08:11 PM
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SPOILERS

Adnan is guilty

/SPOILERS
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