Best Podcast

Have you guys heard of the new true-crime podcast Serial? People have been buzzing about it, so last night, after the babies were in bed, I decided to take a walk around our neighborhood while listening to the first episode. AND OH MY GOODNESS IT IS SO SO GRIPPING AND GOOD.

Here’s the premise:

It’s Baltimore, 1999. Hae Min Lee, a popular high-school senior, disappears after school one day. Six weeks later detectives arrest her classmate and ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for her murder. He says he’s innocent—though he can’t exactly remember what he was doing on that January afternoon. But someone can. A classmate at Woodlawn High School says she knows where Adnan was. The trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found.

It’s a true story, and Adnan was convicted and is now spending his life in prison. But Sarah Koenig, who hosts Serial, isn’t sure he’s guilty—and makes it her mission to figure out the truth. Every week, the podcast goes deeper into the story. I’m already hooked and cannot wait to hear the next episode.

Are you listening to it? Will you? I would highly, highly recommend it!

(The staff of Serial, including Ira Glass)

  1. I only read this post yesterday and have been binge listening since and was so frustrated to find out I have to wait for the next episode. It’s soooo good. I never really considered listening to podcasts but this has opened a whole new world for me. Thank you!!

  2. I and my husband are actually listening to Serial in Sweden. We heard about the podcast on a show in Swedish radio, and not long after we went on a trip with the car. Of course we started listening to Serial! Very, very intriguing!

  3. This is soooo good! I’ve just told all my friends about it. Thanks Joanna, you’re always up on the best series. I loved that Ballet series too :)

  4. First time commenting, long time reader (all the way from Melbourne, Australia)! Thanks so much for posting about this Jo. After reading about this here, I have become an official Serial Podcast addict! And have told everyone I know about it! I don’t want to believe Adnan is guilty! Have you read / heard The Slate? They are now a podcast talking about The Serial. Crazy!

  5. I am so hooked – thanks for posting this! So far I feel like Jay is guilty and I can’t understand why they wouldn’t have looked into him more…only on week 6.

  6. If you like mysteries, you should also check out, (if you haven’t already,) The Bletchley Circle on Netflix. Smart women solving crimes with beautiful cinematography!


  7. Obsessed too! Are you listening to the spoiler special podcast about the podcast? Nice to have someone hash out the questions each week’s episode brings up.

  8. It’s all my friends and coworkers can talk about. We’re thinking about starting a Serial club, like a book club, to meet after work on Thursdays – once we’ve all had a chance to listen to the episode. We’ll listen to the Slate spoiler podcast together, which raises some great questions for discussion, and then talk about the case. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so engrossed in a series, and it’s also making me think in a different way about the way our justice system works.

  9. why did you do this to me!? I am going to be late for my classes now ;)

  10. I really think this is wrong. Making entertainment out of tragedy is bizarre. Ask yourselves some hard questions before you next tune in.

  11. I love serial! I checked it out through another blog, and I’m hooked! I just listened to two podcasts of it today, and I can’t wait until next week’s podcast!

  12. I scoot to work everyday here in chicago and listen to podcasts (mostly radiolab and TAL). I now love Thursdays when the new episodes come out. I am so engrossed in this story. I feel in my heart he is innocent. What an incredibly sad and mysterious story.

  13. I’m totally hooked and can’t wait for the new episode every week. It makes me want to be an investigative journalist.

  14. Yes, Joanna! My boyfriend and I are hooked. We have listening dates every week! I’m so into Thursdays. :)

  15. Yes, I’ve listened to every episode! It gets more and more compelling as it goes and I’m so curious to see if it comes to any clear conclusion!

  16. I immediately downloaded it and have been listening to it at work. I even stayed late yesterday because I was so hooked!

  17. Kate – there is a picture on each podcast link on the serial website so not sure how you’ve avoided seeing any pictures having to do with the case.

  18. My husband and I listened to the first 7 episodes on a road trip but haven’t since. We might have to skip an evening show and catch up soon!

  19. I have been listening and have been addicted since it began. I drive past the high school everyday. Lately I have been thinking about what it must be for Hae’s family to have everything brought up again, or if you served on the jury and are learning new stuff now, or to be A and knowing that everyone in america is thinking certain things about you again.

  20. I have been listening and have been addicted since it began. I drive past the high school everyday. Lately I have been thinking about what it must be for Hae’s family to have everything brought up again, or if you served on the jury and are learning new stuff now, or to be A and knowing that everyone in america is thinking certain things about you again.

  21. Thank you for the recommendation. I am on episode 4 and loving it!

  22. I haven’t heard it, but after reading your description, I just can’t get over that you walked around outside listening to it! You brave woman! My overactive imagination would have me constantly looking over my shoulder for a murderer! ;)

  23. OK, here’s a question though – can you please write a post about other good podcasts to listen to while you’re desperately waiting for the next Serial to come out? :)

  24. Been listening to it from the very start and love it! Hoping there’s another one after this ends.

  25. OMG Joanna, I downloaded all of the episodes yesterday and I’ve binge-listened to all of them! I can’t get enough!!

  26. I’m sorry to see that you uploaded photos of the people involved in the case without prompt. I have purposely avoided Googling or getting other insights/pictures from the case until it is over. You should include a disclaimer for those who don’t want to see this!

  27. Cannot make up my mind about Jay!

  28. I’m completely, completely addicted as well. I binged and now trying to wait for husband before listening to the new one.

  29. Wow – this sounds good. I have some drive coming up for the holidays, so I’ll be sure to check it out. Also – I’ve taken to listening to podcasts while running, and it’s great! Thanks for the recommendation!

  30. I started listening to this after a friend recommended it, she knows how much I love police procedural TV shows and crime stories, but I think I’m the only person on Earth who hasn’t been sucked in by it. To me it was a little bit too slow moving. To each their own, though–it definitely is intriguing and I can see why people love it, it just wasn’t for me.

  31. CANNOT. STOP. LISTENING. Thanks for sharing, it’s pretty amazing so far. I will be sad when I finish my binge-listening and will have to wait a week for the new episodes.

  32. E says...

    I just heard about this last week and have to admit I am feeling a little conflicted. If I started listening I’m sure it would reel me in, but in all honesty there’s something about turning a tragic true story into this kind of entertainment that doesn’t sit well with me.

  33. Yes, I have been listening since the beginning and I am totally hooked.

  34. i’ve never heard of it before but it sounds reaaallly interesting. i love crime-fiction story. and even better if it’s based on true story. thank you for sharing this.

  35. Totally hooked – I’ve been refreshing their website all morning waiting for the latest episode and it’s just appeared. I’m listening to it immediately even though I’m at work – it cannot wait!

  36. So good! I’ve been reading this blog for years but never commented- but I had to today after listening to all seven episodes of Serial. I’m hooked- thanks for the great tip!

  37. I love Serial! So happy tomorrow is Thursday!

  38. I have it on my phone, but haven’t listened yet.

    P.S. I’d love to know some of your’s and Caroline’s favorite podcasts.

  39. Serial is so well done. I always wonder how long it took her to figure out how she wanted to tell the story. It’s fantastic. There is a huge need for great podcasts.

  40. My husband works for a government agency headquartered in Woodlawn in Baltimore and both my daughters attend the agency’s daycare. On our way to get the girls tonight, we drove by the high school, library, and I got a glimpse of the Best Buy on our way home. So addicted/pathetic.

  41. Totally hooked! I live in Baltimore and knowing all of the locations they talk about during he episodes makes it that much more riveting!

  42. I just listened to the first episode on my drive home.
    It is gripping.
    I’m hooked.

  43. Oh my goodness! I’m so glad you drew my attention to this. I’m out of the States so I usually don’t know about these things. Now that I do, I can’t wait to get addicted to this one :)

  44. Me Too!!! I keep jumping on that refresh button like a crazy person waiting for it to be there- even yelling C’Mon!! then after I listen to the Sklate podcast about the lasteset Serial episode!!!

  45. YES! I am loving this podcast. Thursday is my favorite day of the week now… New Serial, New Scandal, New How To Get Away With Murder!!

  46. So obsessed! Can’t wait until tomorrow. What you do a post on your favorite podcast? I would love to find more I like as much as Serial.

  47. I JUST heard about it! All my friends are hooked! I am about to start now.

  48. Oh my gosh I’m so glad I stopped by your site today!! I’m so into this kind of stuff. Dateline, 48 hours, Investigation Discovery, and 20/20 are on the top of my tv lists, so this is right up my alley!



  49. oh my goodness i have been listening to this EVERY week its so good!!!

  50. I can’t wait for each episode every week! Thursday’s are the greatest days :) I just hope there’s resolution at the end–if anyone could do it, Sarah could!

  51. One of my favorites! Love + Radio; Welcome To Night Vale are really good, too. And of course, This American Life and Radiolab.

  52. This is so interesting you posted about Serial today. My toddler is terribly sick with croup, so we cuddled all day yesterday and I binge listened to all seven episodes. The most recent podcast–the seventh–was SO GREAT! Can’t wait for the next.

  53. i want to give this a try but just can’t. since the birth of my baby i can’t handle true stories of murder and mayhem…

  54. I love Serial so much. I found out about it last week and proceeded to listen to all available episodes one after the other while at work. I wish they would come out more frequently, but then again, it def. leaves me something to look forward to each week.

    rae of love from berlin

  55. My friend and I were just talking about this this past weekend! I’m a little nervous to listen to it, but it’s definitely on my list!

  56. I haven’t listened to it yet, but there was some pretty interesting commentary about the fact that the murder of a real person is being consumed like entertainment and the worrisome trend of profiting from stories that revolve around abuse/abuduction of women:

    Again, I haven’t listened and it sounds intriguing (no judgement against anyone who is enjoying it), but I thought this was worth considering.

  57. YES! I’m so obsessed. I’m even in a Facebook group about it. I’m from the same area as them (I’ve probably been to Woodlawn for some school related event or other) and I was a a senior in1999. I’m also a Korean-American female. I think I vaguely remember hearing about this back then. So glad to hear you’re into it too.

  58. Like anyone else who has listened, I got instantly hooked and honestly wait anxiously each week for the new episode. They hit it out of the park with this idea.

  59. I just started yesterday and already finished all 7 … good thing the next one comes out tomorrow!!

  60. It is an interesting theory.

    Do they share if the victim’s family signed off on this project? Can’t find that on the website.

  61. I binge listened to the first 5 episodes and now I anxiously await Thursdays…It sure has made my walking commute more enjoyable!

  62. Oh yes, I love it too. I’m so bummed after I listen to an episode, knowing I’ll have to wait a WHOLE WEEK for the next installment!

  63. All I can say is OMG YES. I’ve been obsessed. My partner and I have listened to it together while in the car, or washing dishes.

    There seriously need to be more awesome podcasts out there like this one.

  64. Thank you so much for this! First city.ballet and now Serial! You guys are awesome, and totally improving my commute. What else ya got? ;)

  65. AHHH I cannot wait to listen to this. I have always loved Sarah Koenig’s stories on TAL so I’m super happy she is hosting a show now. YAY!!

  66. Ahhh It’s SOOOOO good! The week drags whilst I wait for the new episode. Refresh, nope… how about now? No. 2 minutes later… no.

  67. Just started listening! I’m hooked!
    Kinda feeling out of the loop though about podcasts! What other podcasts should I know about!?!?

  68. Yup, I’m hooked! It’s all the rage here at work, Thursdays are chock-full of cube-side Serial gossip.

  69. I had been hearing about this so started listening. It is SO not for me. These types of things stick with me forever and are highly disturbing. I’m a little baffled by the popularity, but maybe just because I’m sensitive to violence/crime type stuff!!

  70. I’m at the sixth episode and the excitement is starting to wear off :/… hoping it picks up again!

  71. I love it! I came in a few weeks after it started but I am hooked! I hope they do more of these!

  72. YES, I am listening! My husband and I listen together each week and find ourselves discussing it all the time. One week we’re sure Adnan is guilty and the next week we think he is innocent. The entire series is fascinating and I hope it continues (on different yet equally fascinating topics) forever. In a way, listening to a radio program (even on the Internet) each week feels wonderfully old-fashioned in 2014, doesn’t it?

  73. I’ve heard great things about this podcast!
    I have it ready to go and can’t wait to start listening to it tonight at the gym!

  74. I’M OBSESSED WITH IT!!!! Wish there was more like this!

  75. I’m trying really hard not to Google the true story and results to see if there’s an ending. I also dislike the 30 minute episodes….too short!

  76. If you like Serial and Gone Girl you HAVE to read Gillian Flynn’s novel Dark Places. So so good, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

  77. I’ve been listening for a few weeks (and also very into the subreddit on it – so many theories/thoughts/discussions!) and I’ve told ALL my friends to listen, too. It breaks my heart but it’s also so very fascinating…

  78. I’m hooked on it too! It’s amazing and it gets even better!!!

  79. Just started tonight while I was cooking dinner and I am so hooked!! It’s so suspenseful and even thrilling.

  80. I just listened to the first episode in between of doing things at work and I am so intrigued! Thank you for this recommendation, I’m hooked!

  81. I have been so addicted to Serial! I look forward to it every Thursday! I listen to it on my walk to work and talk about it with my co-workers in the morning. Then I have an in-depth analysis conversation on the phone with my best friend at night. It’s amazing!

  82. They are so good! I’m all caught up and it’s amazing. The episodes get shorter – about 30 minutes each, but they also get more complex and fascinating. Love it! And love the team of This American Life.

  83. Yes!!! My husband and I now have a Saturday ritual….. Get up, Park Run, get pastries, listen to Serial. Best Saturday morning ever. We love Serial and this American Life. They are so interesting and we always talk for ages afterwards about the differences between Britain and America.

  84. I have never heard of this, but it is right up my alley! I will totally give it a go.

    Every movie/documentary I have seen that you have recommended has been excellent, so at this point, I’ll check out anything you say to :)

  85. My friend is the production manager, Emily Condon. I’m so happy it’s such a big success. I’m hooked too!

  86. Already listening! Wish it came out more than once a week!

  87. A friend recently told me about this podcast, so this past weekend as I was road tripping to Austin, I “binge listened” to the first 7 episodes. Needless to say, I am hooked! It’s certainly an interesting look into our judicial system.

  88. How long is each podcast?

  89. JC says...

    OMG…I found it recently and finally started listening to yesterday. I spent the evening getting caught up…I even listening while in the shower.

  90. Agree, the series is really well done. I keep getting stuck on the question of, if Adnan didn’t kill her, who did? His ‘motive’ isn’t super strong, but I haven’t heard of a single other person with ANY reason to kill Hae either, or to set Adnan up for doing it, so without him on the hotseat, the crime makes no sense. Can’t wait to see how it all ends!

  91. We started it last week and are caught up. What is crazy is they sent this young adult to jail (I don’t know if I think he did it or not yet) for life and there was never concrete evidence he was guilty. It felt a lot like 12 Angry Men.

    Plus let’s throw in the fact that it was pre 9/11. Would his race be a bigger factor to the jury at this time or not?

  92. I’ve never even listened to a podcast…I know, I’m way, way behind. I will begin listening to this, however. I’m from Baltimore, and Woodlawn Senior High is about 5 minutes away from where I work – I see it daily on my drive to work. I don’t remember this case…I will look it up to get the background.

  93. Hevuva, that is the GENIUS of all this- the podcasts are released in real time. Sarah Koenig is writing and researching as I write this, probably! That’s why you can’t binge listen. It’s like we are on the journey with her. SO SO GOOD.

  94. I’m not a person who listens to podcasts. I thought that all you listened to were speeches and lectures. I had no idea that it can also be like a TV show! And the best part is that you can just lie in bed with your eyes closed while listening to the podcast. It’s really interesting how this series is based on a true story! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  95. I am completely obsessed and have gone down the rabbit hole. The other day I found myself printing out Adnan’s cell phone records and analyzing them for myself and then listening to Slate’s podcasts on the Serial podcast.

    The fact that it is true and has such real consequences is also so heartbreaking.

  96. I spent all day yesterday getting caught up! I can’t wait until the next episode comes out tomorrow!

  97. obsessed.

  98. I’ve been listening to this since TAL featured it, and it is outstanding.

    my only issue is this sinking feeling that we’re not really going to get any closer to the truth. I mean, if they’d found some lovely exculpatory evidence during Sarah’s year of reporting, I feel like it would have made the news.

  99. Thanks for sharing. I love podcasts and this sounds fun!!

  100. Great podcast! I also can’t decide if I think he’s guilty or not. The one question I keep asking is why did he kind of roll over and not fight hard to get the conviction overturned for FIFTEEN YEARS. He had plenty of time in jail and the interviews with him seem so casual like he isn’t that mad about being locked up and losing his life (he was about to go to college). It makes me wonder…

  101. I am not super into it… I just finished the second episode, but am hoping to get into it more, soon!

  102. I’ve downloaded the first five episodes and can’t wait to dive in! Still catching up on my This American Life though (only listen when I have to walk in to work).

  103. Love, love, love this series! Each time an episode ends I gasp, “ahhhhh!!!”. It’s so hard to wait for the next one!

  104. Absolutely addicted! Dare I say I like it more than this american life??

  105. I’m absolutely hooked! I listen on Thursdays getting ready for work and can’t believe I need to wait a whole other week for a new one! So gripping!

  106. OMG I’m so hooked too! I literally wait for each episode to come out each Thursday and listen on my subway ride to work…makes for great lunch convo with my coworkers who are also listening!

  107. I just started listening this past weekend and I’m HOOKED! I’ve sped through and now I’m on episode 6– I don’t know what I’ll do when I have to wait a week for a new one!

  108. It is a great podcast. I am all up to date and wait helplessly for the next weeks podcast to upload. You might also like StartUp.

  109. When I saw “best podcast” I knew it had to be Serial! My friend told me about it last week and I listened to the whole thing straight through and then told everyone I knew to listen, too. It’s so good, glad you found it, too!

  110. Listening to the new episode is the first thing I do every Thursday morning! I’m so obsessed, and every week I think “that was the best episode so far!”

  111. We are so hooked on this podcast at my house. My husband and I listened to the first three episodes on a long car trip, and now it’s basically all we talk about. It brings up so many questions about guilt, innocence, evidence, youth, justice.

    By Wednesdays, we are giving each other excited, wordless looks that basically mean, “TOMORROW A NEW SERIAL EPISODE IS COMING OUT!!!”

  112. Yes I am OBSESSED with that podcast.. so gripping! It has me wondering what will come of all this. I change my mind every episode as to who I think is guilty. Thanks for sharing!

  113. The best way to get through a long drive!

  114. I am so glad you are posing about Serial. I think it is the best podcast available right now. I’ve been listing since week one and I count down the days until Thursday when the next episode is released. Bravo Sarah and the Serial team.

  115. OMG YESSSSSSS! Just started this last night and I’m trying to sneak in episodes between my work.

    What a difficult case and it’s heartbreaking to think if he’s innocent he’s spending his life in jail based on one testimony and nothing solid like DNA. But I still can’t come to a firm conclusion. I’m hooked to see where Sarah takes this…

  116. I just started to listen to this today. Full disclosure- when Ira was advertising it on This American Life- I was looking up “Cereal” not “Serial”.

  117. This comment has been removed by the author.

  118. Yes! I started listening a few weeks ago and I’m hooked.

  119. Oh! This sounds amazing! I’m off to listen!

  120. It’s so good… I’m hooked! I still can’t decide if he’s guilty or innocent but I think that’s the fun of it.