When you hear your coworkers around the watercooler/kombucha scoby/beer tap dishing about their latest pop culture obsession, you would assume they’re talking Scandal, Hunger Games, maybe the latest book club page turner. But a podcast? Yeah, probably not — at least until Serial happened and brought us all to the edge of our shared social media seat. Over the last few weeks, the story of the 15-year-old murder of Hae Min Lee, and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed as told by NPR’s Sara Koenig has captivated the web, leaving heated debates, spinoffs and miles long reddit chains in its wake. This Thursday, it’s leaving us high and dry (even if we’re tofurkey-full and a little tipsy from cranberry cocktails) without a new episode. We get it, Koenig, we should be talking to our family about more than our theories on Don’s involvement. But if you, like us, just need your Serial fix, fill up your bowl with one of these subs ‘til 12/4.
1. Binge-Listen to the Podcasts About the Podcast: First of all, I thought I invented the term “binge-listen” and then I Googled it and that is not the case. Moving on! Like the turducken of the podcast world, there are spoiler-ridden, juicy debriefs of the podcast stuffed inside podcasts stuffed inside ye olde podcast store.
Anticipating a week without Sarah’s soothing voice (not to mention *that* theme music), I checked out Serial Serial this weekend, where Onion Inc. staffers gab about the episodes. With only two under their belt and a slight lack of focus (IDK maybe you guys could take better notes or call me in or something?), this one might only whet your appetite but it will make you “oh, riiiiight” and “huh, hadn’t thought of that” at least a little.
Slate’s Serial Spoiler Specials is a more in depth discussion of the podcast with multiple expert guests for each episode making it a pretty solid sub, especially this week where they released TWO episodes in exchange for no new Serial. Maybe the podcasts about the podcasts are more like the generic turducken, not AS good as the real thing, but damn you’re HUNGRY so you’ll make it work.
2. Charticles. Charticles. Charticles: Charticles are often/always the answer. Especially if the question is, “Hey, how can I kill five minutes of my workday that doesn’t involve Facebook?” Michelle Rial creates RT-worthy charts to visualize the fun “facts” that come up on This American Life and shares them on the must-follow Twitter @ThisAmericanChart. She took a break from 24/7 Ira Watch to make (pretty hilarious) charts for people obsessed with Serial (guilty, clearly) on The Bold Italic.
4. Watch Old Archival News Reports of the Case: Disclaimer: It is careless and crass to treat a real life murder of a young woman like a salacious whodunnit piece of fiction, but for the Serial completists (and the former J majors out there who appreciate diving into the archives for added context to a modern day story), Baltimore’s ABC affiliate posted old video from the 1999 investigation.
5. Google “Ethics of Serial.” Discuss: Besides podcasts dissecting each episode, and sites and articles devoted to the weeks-young cult following, there’s another debate that casts a much more critical eye to the podcast and our obsession with it. As the good investigative journalists we’re all now aspiring to be, contemplate a few of these articles instead of trying to find Jay on Facebook.
6. Pick Up Another Podcast: It might feel like it’s cheating, but we promise we won’t tell Sarah Koenig. We rounded up 11 storytelling podcasts here that should definitely keep your ears occupied ’til next week. If you need something to satiate the budding crime reporter in you, Criminal is a podcast sharing “stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” If justice is more your thing, give Slate’s Amicus with Dahlia Lithwick a play.
7. Go Down the reddit Rabbithole: Beware, clicking on this link is essentially throwing out your productivity for the day and coming across some “spoilers” or stories (um, again, remember, this is real life, people) you might not be ready for if you would rather follow Sarah Koenig’s journey.
8. Spend the Next Week Crafting the Best Tweet About MailChimp: (That hasn’t yet been Tweeted.)
Anything we missed? Are you Serial-obsessed? Share your thoughts, theories and feelings with us below!