So as you may now if you’re a regular reader of this here corner of the Interwebs, I’m a huge fan of the podcast “Serial.”
Taking the world by storm when it debuted four years ago (I mean seriously, how many podcasts were memorialized in SNL sketches multiple times?), “Serial,” a weekly show spun off from “This American Life” was instantly a classic. Following the murder case of a Baltimore girl by her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, “Serial” was positively gripping, and led, eventually, to Syed getting a chance at a new trial.
Season 2, about the kidnapping of Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban, was very good but not quite as amazing as Season 1. Happily in Season 3, which was just released a few days ago, Sarah Koenig and her team didn’t try to re-create the Season 1 magic; instead, they’ve taken a different tack: They spent a year inside one U.S. city’s criminal justice city. Cleveland. They sat in on meetings and cases with prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, public defenders, people charged with a crime, those in jail, all of it.
And basically by reporting all the ordinariness of what goes on in our incredibly flawed and biased American system, are presenting an extraordinary, eye-opening look at things.
They’ve released two episodes so far and both have been fabulous. We learn about how simply being related (or not being related) to a former judge makes a huge difference in how one arrested white woman gets treated; we see the leeway and freedom judges have to basically hand down whatever sentence they want, and we see that far, far, too often the primary motivation for all court personnel is just to get cases over and done with, move along, and who cares if justice is done.
“Serial” is a tremendous investigative program, and in looking at one city, they’re looking at every big American city.
Cannot recommend “Serial” enough; it’s on iTunes and all the other places you get podcasts. The only negative thing so far? Mail Chimp isn’t a sponsor any more. Dammit, I loved those ads!
**Next up today, nothing to see here, just a 7-year-old girl named Malea Emma absolutely crushing the national anthem at an L.A. Galaxy soccer game last weekend. This is spectacular, especially at the end. Even the players seem kind of blown away.
**And finally, I almost missed this last Friday but so glad I didn’t: Google decided to make a stop-action animation video paying tribute to the great Mister Fred Rogers. So perfect in its simplicity and beauty.