The first season of the podcast “Serial” was a phenomenon in all ways. I was hooked right from the beginning, becoming more addicted each week as the host, Sarah Koenig, walked us through a 1999 murder case involving a Baltimore teenager who allegedly murdered his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.
Millions of people like me argued about the case with friends, read about it on Internet message boards, and came to the end of the season still not 100 percent sure whether Adnan Syed was guilty (I came down on the side that there certainly was enough reasonable doubt to acquit him.)
Season 2 of “Serial,” which broke every downloading podcast record imaginable, started two weeks ago, and I’m happy to say it’s shaping up just as compellingly as Season 1.
This year they’re investigating a much more famous case, that of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who famously walked off his platoon’s base in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban, held as a prisoner for five years, then finally released.
Immediately after his release, there was a counter-narrative to the idea that Bergdahl was a hero, and I have to say, after two episodes of “Serial,” I’m of the mind that what he did was extremely dangerous and incredibly disrespectful and hurtful to the American war in Afghanistan.
Episode 2, which detailed the incalculable risks and effort it took to try to find Bergdahl in the months after his disappearance, features numerous interviews with fellow soldiers who talk about the agonizing toll of the search. Day after day, hour after hour, plunging themselves into highly-dangerous situations that could’ve been a trap, just acting on small bits of intelligence that Bergdahl was in a certain location.
So far we’ve only heard bits and pieces of Bergdahl’s explanation of his actions, but right now, he looks awfully guilty of abandonment and other crimes.
Then again, Adnan looked guilty for a while last season, too.
New “Serial” episodes come out every Thursday. If you’re not already on board, I highly, highly recommend it.
**Next up today, one of the many, many things I love this time of year are videos of professional athletes singing cheesy holiday songs and showing varying degrees of enthusiasm.
Not surprisingly, there are quite a few gems out there this year, but the Montreal Canadiens singing “Let it Go” from “Frozen” has to be my favorite. P.K. Subban, God bless him, seems to be the only Habs player putting some feeling into it, although as always, the non-native English speakers do their best to channel Elsa.
**And finally, this is something that was destined to be invented in this age of television binge-watching. Netflix, the service that basically invented binge-watching of TV shows, has just come out with an innovate pair of socks that (get this) pauses the TV show you’re watching if the socks detect that you’ve fallen asleep.
How does it work? There’s an accelerometer built into them that detects when you’ve stopped moving for a prolonged period of time. A light on the top of the sock will go off to warn you your show is about to be paused, and if you don’t move after that, the socks know you’re asleep and pause the show for you.
Cool, right? I would totally want a pair… until I read this story in the Washington Post explaining their significant cost, that you have to put them together yourself, and they’re a pain to wash and could be blocked by your coffee table or blanket.
Still, if you’ve got $80 to spend and are constantly missing “House of Cards” last five minutes, this is the gift for you.
Me? I think I’ll just rely on a cheaper “you’ve fallen asleep” product: my wife’s elbow into my ribs. I get that for free.