Serial was probably the most groundbreaking podcast in 2014 — and, boy, did we learn a lot from it.
Many of us learned the American justice system isn’t quite as just as we had imagined and it opened our eyes to the fact many people in the United States are incarcerated despite their innocence. Not that we’re saying Adnan Syed, the subject of Serial Season 1, is — or isn’t — innocent of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee back, in 1999, but Sarah Koenig and the rest of the podcast’s crew certainly illustrated that investigators aren’t always interested in the truth as much as they are eager for a conviction.
Through Serial, we also learned an important lesson about our culture and society and what we expect from those who entertain us. We’re so used to our shows being neatly packaged for us that we become incensed when they aren’t perfect. While part of the allure of Serial was its raw nature, the show left many listeners yearning for more — more information, more production value, more organization. We were addicted to the show, but secretly (and maybe some of us not so secretly) we had ideas on how to make it better.
Now that Koenig has officially announced via newsletter that Season 2 will commence in the fall and there is a Season 3 in the works, all of us keyboard supersleuths are sitting at home wondering what kind of new case we should get ready to crack.
As fans of the podcast, we were infatuated with the premiere season, but here’s what we need from the series to make Season 2 that much more amazing.
OK, I’m kind of wishy-washy about this one. As we listened to the penultimate episode of Season 1, it was starting to become pretty clear that we weren’t going to find out what really happened to Hae Min Lee on January 13, 1999. Yes, we want to know what happens at the end of Season 2, partly because we can’t stand to feel the desperation and disappointment in Koenig’s voice coming through our earbuds again and also because we really can’t afford to lose anymore sleep over another unsolved mystery. But that’s also the beauty of Serial: Koenig is taking on real cases. We always want resolution, but in real life that doesn’t always happen.
2. More crime
We don’t have any details about the subject matter of the upcoming seasons, but the idea that it won’t be crime-specific has been thrown around. I’m honestly hoping that won’t be true. The “whodunnit” aspect of the podcast was what was so gripping about Season 1. In order to make the second and third seasons better than the first, we need another compelling mystery and it’s hard to imagine being so entranced by another story that doesn’t involve crime. Call it dark, but what else could hold our attention? A Koenig exposé on Bigfoot?
3. More anonymity
My “problem with Jay” wasn’t just the fact that he couldn’t keep his story straight. After reading accounts that Serial fans had researched his last name and even found where he lives and were thinking about confronting the guy, I started to feel guilty about being so caught up in the action myself. These are real people with real lives and the podcast was interfering with that. The guilt took me out of the story. Hopefully, Koenig and the other Serial producers will do more to protect their subjects this time around.
4. Allow us to interact
There were times during Season 1 where we were all yelling questions out loud to Koenig. For instance, why didn’t she probe further to find out why Syed’s prosecutors referred Jay to an attorney? It’s 2015 and social media is robust and Serial is being broadcast in real time, so why can’t we pose questions we’d like to have explored to Koenig via Twitter or the Serial website?
5. Moments of lightness
As stated above, we are hoping for another gritty crime story. However, it would be nice if Koenig could weave a couple more light moments into her reporting. We don’t want it to seem contrived, but sometimes we walked away from episodes feeling so yucky. It’s a true crime story, but it’s also still for entertainment value. Even Tony Soprano made us giggle every now and then between whacking people.
6. A less biased point of view
Like the need for a resolution in the upcoming season, I’m also divided when it comes to Koenig presenting a plot while remaining less biased. While I’m still completely confused about whether Syed is innocent or not and what Jay’s level of involvement was, I do agree with many listeners that Koenig presented Jay in an unfair light at times. Part of me hopes that Keonig will remain neutral in Season 2, whatever the investigation may be, but I also think that Koenig’s obvious connection to Syed made Season 1 more interesting. Koenig’s relationship with Syed was like a subplot that drew us into the story even more.
7. A new sponsor
Seriously, could we just not with the MailChimp jokes this season?