Serial

Publisher:
Serial, This American Life

Serial

4.7/5

Critic Rating

Serial is a podcast from Serial Productions, a New York Times company, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story - a true story - over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won't know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her. Each week she'll bring you the latest chapter, so it's important to listen in, starting with Episode 1. New episodes are released on Thursday mornings.


Critic Reviews

Score: 5

Patricia Nicol • The Times UK Sep 25, 2022

"...after listening to Serial’s bonus 13th episode, I returned to the first one. Immediately, I was pulled back in by Koenig’s precise, spare delivery, the drip-feed of its reveals and the sly way that earworm soundtrack marshals the narrative. It is a consummate, confident piece of audio storytelling."

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Score: 5

Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian Sep 25, 2022

"(Episode: Adnan Is Out) And Serial released a follow-up episode, with Koenig explaining, clearly and without bias, in less than 20 minutes, what has happened. She is such a good broadcaster, her script and delivery miles above everyone else’s. Plus, you get to hear that eerie theme tune again."

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Score: 2.5

Sarah Weinman • BuzzFeed Sep 21, 2022

"[Episode: Adnan Is Out) Listening to that episode was a deeply strange experience. It felt quaint, like a time capsule in which we were still stuck in fall 2014. True crime has evolved as a genre, for good and for ill. But you wouldn’t know it from Serial’s latest episode. Koenig’s first-person narration, meant to present herself as approachable and fallible, instead revealed the inherent naivete of her perspective as a white woman reporter. By failing to fully delve into the ethnic backgrounds of both Hae-Min Lee and Adnan Syed, Serial missed an opportunity to explore the ramifications of Lee’s murder and Syed’s conviction on the Korean American and Pakistani communities in Baltimore and beyond. …"

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Score: 5

Robin & Kristin • The Clink Oct 1, 2020

"Serial is a riveting account of the fallibility of the justice system. A must listen."

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Score: 4.7

Elyssa Lieu • Amador Valley Today Apr 18, 2020

"From the first day of Serial’s release, it stood out. Like, really stood out. Serial is at its best with the way it explains, summarizes, and most importantly, adds all these people’s stories into one another. In the end, Serial covers some hard, harsh topics. But that’s precisely why it’s so important to listen to it. The experiences Koenig covers are things that the majority of people reading this will never experience."

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Score: 4.5

Erin Bury • Quill Inc. Nov 16, 2019

"(Season 1) No narrative podcast has ever captured the flow, storytelling, compelling twists and turns, and absolute NEED to listen to the next episode quite like Serial. I often listen to that opening episode over and over..."

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Score: 4.9

Rebecca Lavoie • Vulture Oct 1, 2019

"The show also kicked off a shift of the public’s interest from crime stories with clear-cut “bad guys” and “good guys” to deeper narratives about flawed investigations and potential miscarriages of justice. And while Koenig’s singular style inspired a half-decade of haters and imitators, no honest podcaster can deny her unparalleled influence."

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Score: 5

Andrew Liptak • The Verge Sep 23, 2018

"[Season 3] The third season of Serial starts off with host Sarah Koenig introducing the place where the podcast listener will reside for the duration of its run. It’s a stunning, almost cinematic monologue. Serial demonstrated that this type of ongoing, narrative storytelling had legs, and in the years since, there have been thousands of followers using the same format and style, in ways that work and don’t. Serial demonstrated that this type of ongoing, narrative storytelling had legs, and in the years since, there have been thousands of followers using the same format and style, in ways that work and don’t. Serial’s third season is a return to form."

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Score: 4.6

Steve Greene • IndieWire Sep 21, 2018

"(Season 3) ...the show has retained a skill that it demonstrated in the Adnan Syed case and carried through its examination of Bowe Bergdahl’s capture...the contributions from reporter Emmanuel Dzotsi offer a valuable perspective...When condensing months (and in some cases, years) of reporting down into a single sentence to make terms or practices digestible for lay people, it’s done with an incredible efficiency and economy of words. Season 3 has already demonstrated a meticulous ability to separate out individuals within an organizational structure while still considering the institution as a whole. "

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Score: 5

Nicholas Quah • Vulture Sep 20, 2018

"(Season 3) Ambitious, Addictive, and Completely Different. At its peak, the first episode of this season fuses together two kinds of highs: the dopamine hit of a really good journalistic study, and the warm pitter-patter of a workplace drama. Between the richness of the script and the scale of its scope and the crispness of its execution — did I mention that the revamped theme song is just delicious this season? "

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Score: 5

Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian Nov 8, 2014

"(Season 1) ...the greatest murder mystery you will ever hear...Sarah Koenig’s weekly podcast examining an old Baltimore homicide is long-form journalism at its most riveting. I’m obsessed. What is really intriguing about Serial – what drags you in and keeps you listening – is that it isn’t a straightforward case. It’s a remarkable piece of long-form journalism because of this: we believe that we are walking alongside her as she works, but some of the programme was made a few months back. There’s a structure to this slow-drip storytelling."

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