Tuesday 12 December 2017

What is S-Town? Everything you need to know about your latest true-crime obsession

The makers true-crime podcast Serial are back with another compelling story

S-Town is your next podcast obsession
S-Town is your next podcast obsession
S-Town
The clock-maker: Brian Reed interviews S-Town's first major character Credit: via Instagram
Serial thrillers: Host Sarah Koenig, Ira Glass and executive producer Julie Snyder

Adam White

Just when you thought you'd jumped ship, they've somehow managed to pull you back in. If you just couldn't make it through Serial's second season, which revolved around deserted soldier Bowe Bergdahl, then you probably weren't alone. But for fans of Serial's breathtakingly compelling first season, you'll undoubtedly be excited by the impending debut of S-Town, a new murder mystery podcast from the creators of Serial, which promises to be just as blindingly addictive as the mystery of Hae Min Lee's tragic murder.

As it gears up for its launch this week, here's everything you need to know about your next audio obsession.

What is S-Town?

stown4.jpg
 

S-Town is the first official Serial spin-off series, from the newly-formed Serial Productions. While we won't be treated to the polarising tones of Serial host Sarah Koenig, we're being left in the hands of journalist Brian Reed, a regular on popular podcast This American Life.

According to Reed, S-Town came together as a result of a message from an Alabama resident. As written on the S-Town website: "John despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who's allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man's life."

Crime Writers On podcast host Rebecca Lavoie has already speculated to the International Business Times that the central story of S-Town involves the death of a John Willie Smith, an Alabama resident who is believed to have buried $100,000 worth of gold shortly before he died. That might turn out to be complete hokum, however.

When does it start?

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S-Town
 

S-Town will arrive March 28, but in an intriguing twist, all eight episodes will arrive at the same time. Unlike those horrifying weeks during Serial season one where you had to wait a full seven days for the next episode, S-Town will employ the Netflix model of release, unspooling every individual episode in one go. Who else is up for just binging the entire mystery in a few hours?

How can I listen?

S-Town can be listened on iPhones via the Podcast app, and on Stitcher or RadioPublic if you're an Android user.

What's with all the clocks?

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The clock-maker: Brian Reed interviews S-Town's first major character Credit: via Instagram
 

If you're already following S-Town on Twitter or at its official website, you'll notice the strange clock motif running throughout its promotional art. In the two-minute preview released two weeks ago, Brian Reed narrates the difficulty of trying to fix an antique clock, how easy it is to wind up following dead ends, and how you need to follow so-called 'witness marks' in order to solve the mystery.

Could it be an elaborate metaphor for murder? Yes, it's a metaphor for murder. Turns out that the man who has sent Reed on this wild goose-chase is an Alabama clock-maker, bringing all those pretty visuals into perspective. We've solved our first mystery of the series!

And what's happening with Serial?

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Serial thrillers: Host Sarah Koenig, Ira Glass and executive producer Julie Snyder
 

Despite all the negativity, Serial's second season actually surpassed the amount of listeners of its first season, with its final episode surpassing 50 million downloads -- so people are still thirsty for mystery. Even if said mystery is enormously dull. That said, Serial's third season will return to the subject of murder.

Recorded concurrently with season two, it is speculated that Serial 3 will revolve around a triple murder in Ohio, which resulted in gang violence and retaliatory shootings. Sarah Koenig was spotted at an Ohio murder trial in 2014, which adds credence to the theory.

What we do know for certain is that the third season will debut this summer. Until then, S-Town awaits...

Telegraph.co.uk

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