Studio: Serial & This American Life
Category: Personal Journals
What Is It
A producer for This American Life investigates a tip about a murder in a rural Alabama town and finds more than he bargained for.
S-Town has six episodes and they were all dropped at the same time back in 2017. You can get them all at the show’s official site. They run around an hour, sometimes a bit less, sometimes a bit more.
What About It
The show starts when Brian Reed, a producer for This American Life, gets a message from John B. McLemore who lives in the tiny community of Woodstock, Alabama. He’s familiar with Reed’s investigate work in the past and he wants Reed to look into a death that happened in Woodstock. A death that McLemore says was a murder that’s been covered up by the wealthiest man in town. From there, the show takes you on a real roller-coaster ride and introduces you to a fantastic group of people and the strange town where they live. McLemore is key to the show; he’s a decidedly weird guy, incredibly entertaining, befuddling and kind of a genius. I would encourage you to go into this show knowing absolutely nothing; I was spoiled on one of the major twists in the show and I wish I hadn’t been. Anyway, it’s a short show, immaculately produced and full of suspense, humor and empathy. There has been discussion and even a lawsuit or two I think, surrounding the question of whether Reed “exploited” the subjects of the series. That’s definitely a question that produces a couple of kind of uncomfortable moments in the show itself, but I liked those moments. And I think the criticism of Reed exploiting the subjects misses the fact that the subjects are themselves performing and even manipulating Reed himself. Anyway, this is a brilliant, brilliant show and I recommend you grab the whole show and give it a start to finish listen. It’s a hell of a ride. And again, avoid all spoilers!
You love compelling storytelling.
Avoid Like the Plague If
I don’t even know.
Best Starting Place
Like I said, just grab the whole series.