It looks like the popular podcast Serial will be getting its own TV Series sometime soon. Phil Lord and Chris Miller -- the people behind The Lego Movie -- will be producing the series. And it seems like the television series will follow Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder as they "chase and report" a story.
After Serial had sprouted from This American Life (another wildly popular podcast) it instantly became a pop culture sensation. I can still remember all the smoke break/water cooler conversations I would have at my old job about the podcast. "Have you listened to the new episode?" They'd ask. Then we'd discuss it.
Then something strange would happen (and I'm assuming it would happen to you too if you were a fan of the podcast), we'd start asking each other if Adnan did it. And suddenly we all became amateur sleuths. We were weekend detectives, "Well, I've done some of my own research" one would say, "But listen to the sound of his voice, he's very sure of himself" another would comment.
In a way, Serial did something that directly affected the way we viewed ourselves. It made us feel important, like we could do something. And with that in mind, isn't Serial one of the most problematic pop culture sensations in the early to mid 2010s?
Here we have factual documentation of a person's life. A life that may or may not have been ruined. A life that this person, Adnan Syed (below), has to experience everyday.
"Serial is so good!" a co-worker would tell me over lunch. But why? Doesn't it fall into that idea that the American audience really enjoys watching a car crash? I mean, here we all were, listening to the same podcast about someone who is spending life in prison.
And let's say he didn't do it, right? What are we gaining other than some sort of false sympathy for someone we never met. "I don't know what I'd do if I was in that situation" another would comment.
And if he did it, why were we listening? Why were we trying to connect or listen to a potential murderer? "He's such a sociopath, you can tell. Ugh, it really scares me. You never know who anyone really is" one would comment while smoke escaped their nose.
Don't get me wrong, I loved listening to Serial. It was a great way to pass time at work and I really was engaged every week. But is there a problem with why I was engaged? And will the TV show about people who -- maybe exploit -- other people's lives exacerbate this issue?