Podcasts

Serial Withdrawals

by Lindsey

It’s been months since Serial season one ended, and I’m still not over it. I realize the world probably doesn’t need another post about this blockbuster podcast…but that’s never stopped me before, friends. So, let’s talk about some suggestions for how to fill the void it’s left behind.

I’ve been a fan of true crime for a long time. That sounds creepy, and I promise I’m a generally pleasant, very non-violent person. Basically, I’m not a fan of crime itself. That’d be (literally) insane. However, if crimes happen – which they have/do/will – I like reading the stories about the mysterious incidents, people gone bad and even the trials that follow. I don’t mean to trivialize it. For me, crime writing is like a glimpse into a world I hope I never visit and minds I cannot understand.

If you, like me, are still a little sad when another Thursday comes around without additional layers of case detail, then this post is for you. I’ve complied a list of a few podcasts, articles and books that might entertain and/or horrify you. Maybe you’ll be inspired to become a detective. Maybe you’ll want to hide in your house and never leave. I waffle between the two. Mmmmm…waffles.

Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde from This American Life

Dr. Gilmer and Mr. HydeThis American Life

This is the particular podcast that made me a fan of both Sarah Koenig AND This American Life. It’s a heartbreaking and compelling story that includes a murder, a medical mystery, and overall great reporting. Start here.

The Psychopath TestThis American Life

I told you I was a fan of This American Life. This one is more light-hearted than it sounds, and it’s truly eye-opening, especially in regards to the prison system.

Animal InstinctsCriminal

It’s been suggested that I should check out the movie The Staircase about Kathleen Peterson’s murder. Since it’s not streaming, I listened to this short, alternative theory about the Michael Peterson case.

Serial Killer Archive – Longform.org

I love longform journalism, so I love Longform.org. Browse through their archives, and you’ll never be bored.

Crime Archive – Longform.org

See above, please.

Zodiac – Director David Fincher

It’s David Fincher, so you know the movie looks good. It will also creep you out and make you want to read everything you can about the Zodiac murders. Bonus: Jake Gyllenhaal!

Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

Did you know the Chicago World’s Fair housed a serial killer? Well, it totally did, and here’s the story. Plus, it goes into great detail about all the effort it took to make the Chicago World’s Fair happen. Fascinating stuff all around.

The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson

If the This American Life episode wasn’t enough, check out Jon Ronson’s book. He actually contributed one of the stories from his book to the podcast. I always find him funny in the typical dry, British way.

The Stranger Beside Me – Ann Rule

Ted Bundy, man. I don’t like to throw around the word psychopath/sociopath, but if anyone was – it’s him. Ann Rule tackled this story like a woman who knew him at his best, most charming self…because she did. Watch her ideas about him change over the course of the book.

Bonus NOT True Crime Shows: If you want the mystery without reality, stream one of these!

True Detective – HBO

True Detective is trippy, deep, and well-acted. Modeled like Serial‘s a-different-story-each-season, I can’t wait to see where they go with season two.

Luther – BBC America/Netflix

If you missed Luther on my former post about British mysteries, you may want to go check out that list, too. For now, I’ll just say two words: Idris Elba. Oh, and Alice Morgan (played amazingly smart/creepy by Ruth Wilson) is a great character to watch.

The Wire – HBO/Amazon Prime

I just finished season one, and I’m totally hooked. I’ve heard so many people say that this is their favorite show of all time that I had to give it a try. You should, too. (Also: Idris Elba.)

Pretty Little Liars – ABC Family/Netflix

Okay. Please stop laughing. My cousin and her husband were telling me over Christmas how much they loved this show, and I laughed. Honestly, I think it’s the name. Good show, dumb name. It’s the most brain-candy piece of media on this list, yes, but it is a show that will suck you in big time. Who is “A,” people?!

Anything you’d add to the list, readers?

 

 

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Love/Hate: Welcome to Night Vale

– by Lindsey and Kelsey

This blog is just a little over a month old. As with any new baby, it’s creators are going to experiment a little to see what makes it stop crying/makes the neighbors happy. Thus, we’re trying a new column today called Love/Hate.

If you’ve read our bio section (which I’m sure you all have, right?), you know that we sisters don’t always agree. If we did, we’d probably be robots or weirdly psychic twins or crazy. We are not the first two of those things. This column will be about those topics/things that one of us can’t stop talking about and the other really wishes they would. We’re starting with a podcast: Welcome to Night Vale.


Lindsey loves.

In recent years, my drive-time listening has taken a rather dramatic turn. Whereas I once only listened to CDs and my iPod because I “can’t stand any talking,” I now listen almost exclusively to NPR and podcasts. I won’t go deep into the why of this change, but I find the calm voices and more involved stories help take my mind away from my driving/traffic related anxiety issues. NPR (and the like) has become my pacifier.

However, sometimes I miss that feeling of emotional surprise that comes when you listen to a new song. I also really like creepy stories, and the typical podcast only has so many Halloween/scary episodes. Enter my new obsession: Welcome to Night Vale. It’s difficult to describe to the uninitiated, but I like to think of it as the best little public radio station in the worst small town. Horrifying news is reported without distress. Odd stories continue throughout the series, so you become attached to the weirdos as things get weirder. I like to listen as I work to their SoundCloud stream here. If you want some idea of the humor without actually listening, check out the Night Vale Radio Twitter feed. It’s dark and sarcastic in a lie-joke kind of way, if you know what I mean. Mara Wilson (yes, Matilda), who does voice-over work on some of the episodes, wrote that a friend of hers said, “I feel like this fills a void I didn’t know I had.” I completely agree. I mean, one of the characters is a faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home. What more could you want?

Often, when I love something this much, I’ll repeatedly blab to Kelsey about just how much I love it. However, she didn’t feel the same way…

Kelsey hates.

Like my sister, I’ve also developed an odd taste (compared to my former prejudices) for podcasts while I’m driving or cleaning etc. It allows my brain to feel engaged while I’m doing something not necessarily brainless, but not very interesting. And I love love love scary stories (this is coming from a child with vivid nightmares that once developed a series of night terrors from a book cover). I regularly watch Ghost Hunters, Celebrity Ghost Stories (so bad that it’s good) and track down frightening paraphernalia (such as Jezebel’s annual Spookiest Stories contest).  That may be one of my issues with this podcast. I tried to make it through a few installments, I really did, but I never made it past around ten minutes. I wanted scary, and I received weird, which isn’t enough to satisfy my podcasting needs. Voices are also uncommonly significant to me in that if I find your voice grating, I won’t listen to your podcast. Period. This American Life is a remarkable podcast, but Ira Glass, bless him, has a voice that only a mother could love. Night Vale, on the other hand, is like listening to a robot that’s slightly more advanced at human pronunciation than your average GPS, but still comes off odd and halting.

Finally, the podcast clearly details strange happenings around Night Vale, which somehow, no matter how odd and satirical the delivery, still conjures memories of sad small-town radio stations. Those crackly AM stations that announce spaghetti dinners and social events alongside depressing local news.

All due respect and admiration to Night Vale and its listeners, but I just can’t.


 

That’s love/hate for you. What do you think of Welcome to Night Vale, readers?