‘Serial’ is an investigative journalism podcast that follows true crime stories in every season. It is a spin-off of a popular radio program, ‘This American Life’. The current rise in popularity of podcasts is majorly attributed to the success of the first season of ‘Serial’. Receiving critical success, it became a cultural phenomenon and continues to be the record-holder of the most downloaded podcasts, the fastest one at that. Its break-out success is mainly attributed to its storytelling, following the events in a serialised manner, a trope that has now become a norm in podcast storytelling. It received a Peabody Award in 2015.
The first season also serves as the premise for an HBO documentary, named ‘The Case Against Adnan Syed’, that released on March 10, 2019. Two more seasons followed, both of which are quite different from the first one. The podcast is produced by Sarah Koenig, Julie Snyder, Dana Chivvis and Emily Condon.
Who is the Host of Serial Podcast?
Sarah Koenig is the host of Serial and also serves as its executive producer along with Julie Snyder. She has held this job for the three seasons, and we can’t imagine someone else replacing her for the fourth. Previously, Koenig has worked as a reporter for The New York Times and has also contributed to the Concord Monitor and The Baltimore Sun. She became a part of ‘This American Life’ in 2004. She has received Peabody Awards for both ‘Serial’ and ‘This American Life’.
Emmanuel Dzotsi is another important part of the team. You might not hear his voice on the podcast, but his involvement with the project is as important as anyone else’s. He serves as the reporter. He also produces the podcast alongside Ben Calhoun.
Ben Phelan is the researcher and the fact-checker of the team. He has also employed his talents for ‘This American Life’ and ‘S-Town’, another remarkable podcast. Sharing his title of Researcher is Whitney Dangerfield, who also acts as the Digital Editor.
One of the things that catch attention while listening to ‘Serial’ is its music. Be it the theme song, or the melancholy sound that plays in the background while we ponder the actions of the protagonists of the story, the music matters a lot. The score for the third season is a result of the collaboration between Adam Dorn and Hal Willner. Stowe Nelson serves as the sound designer and mixer.
What is Serial About?
Each season of ‘Serial’ is a self-contained story. It plays like an anthology series, and the listeners are introduced to a new setting with a new season.
The first season of ‘Serial’, which became a monumental event in the history of podcasts, follows the investigation into the murder of Hae Min Lee. She was an 18-year-old girl, studying at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore. She had disappeared on January 13, 1999. Four weeks later, her dead body was found in Leakin Park, after it was discovered by a passer-by. After following certain leads of the case, the police directed their attention towards Hae’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, after they received an anonymous tip about him. Adnan was finally convicted to a life sentence in February 2000, currently serving his sentence. The podcast revisits the whole story, making some startling discoveries and chasing some details that hadn’t been taken seriously the first time around.
The second season follows the case of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, whose story might feel like an episode of ‘Homeland’ to you. For this story, Koenig collaborated with Mark Boal. He is known for his work in ‘The Hurt Locker’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and is a recipient of an Academy Award. In 2009, Bergdahl had deserted his post, the circumstances of which remain a subject of debate. He was then captured by Taliban and was released in May 2014 in a prisoner exchange program. After the release, he was held at trial for court-martial under the charges of desertion. In the second season of ‘Serial’, we get his side of the story and try to understand not only why it all happened, but also how the meaning of war and a soldier’s duty have changed.
The third season of ‘Serial’ focuses on the justice system of America. While the previous seasons focus on one remarkable case at a time, each episode of the third follows a different story. From menial cases to the shocking ones, from normal proceedings to the ones that make legal dramas feel feeble, it captures the nuances and opens you up to hard reality. In one case, we meet a woman who faces trial even after being harassed herself; another focuses on the bias of the judges and how it adversely affects cases. One of the episodes explores the complicated image of police officers in a community, while in one story we follow a minor and his experiences in the juvenile detention centre and the county jail.
Serial Season 4 Release Date: When Will It Premiere?
‘Serial’ Season 3 premiered on September 20, 2018. This season was marked as “the return to form” by many critics. The series was appreciated for presenting the face of the justice system in a light that hadn’t been shined on it before. The second season had received some criticism from fans, but with the third season, they agreed that it flowed in the same vein as the first. As of now, there is no new development regarding the fourth season of the podcast. The creators haven’t discussed the potential story for the next season. Hence, to anticipate its release is also a tricky task.
The difference between the first and the second season was of almost a year. However, with the third season, the podcast saw a change in content and strategy, and it took longer to make. It aired almost three years after the second season. What content they pick up for the next season decides how much time it will take for them to research, fact-check and finally record it. Our estimate based on everything we know is that Serial season 4 could release sometime in 2020. As soon as we get to know more about it, we will update this section.
Meanwhile, there is another interesting way available for you to indulge with the podcast. If you think that there is a story around you that could very well be another season of ‘Serial’, then you can contact ‘This American Life’ with your story pitch.
Where Can I Listen to Serial Podcast?
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