Jump to content
CofCinci

Serial

Recommended Posts

I'm very late to this party but I defn think this podcast was Peabody worthy.  Fantastic stuff.

 

After listening to the series I felt Adnan was guilty. Sorry bout it. I definitely think Jay knows who the killer really is and is heavily involved in some way, but I don't think Jay did it.  He had no reason to kill her unless Adnan was holding something over him - something bigger than he is a part time weed dealer of course. Or that he would "hurt" Stephanie.

 

I am super annoyed with the lack of DNA evidence.  Once the DNA is tested, I feel Adnan's DNA will be all over the place including underneath her fingernails.  I understand there will be a retrial, fine.  But DNA evidence MUST be part of that.  That will decide either way.  I only hope that the evidence has not gone missing.

 

One thing people seem to forget is that the test of reasonable doubt is quite a high one.  Lots of guilty people get released because of it, it is easy to murky the waters and start doubting.  I'm not for a minute saying that innocent people don't go to jail but my gut is telling me Adnan did it. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Adnan Syed, the convicted murder at the center of “Serial,” gets a new day in court.

 

 

The court order (pdf) granted today (Nov. 6) does not mean Syed gets a brand new trial. Rather, the court will only hear new evidence regarding Sayed’s whereabouts on the day of the murder—Serial listeners might remember that Syed’s lawyer failed to contact Asia McClain as a potential alibi witness—along with new evidence questioning the reliability of cell tower data that had been presented in the case. During Syed’s trial, the prosecution used cell tower records to argue that Syed made calls from the location where Lee’s body was found.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm a Veteran and just completely disgusted that Bergdahl is being featured. Guess this is how Hae's family felt? Now I feel guilty about being entertained by the first season.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm a Veteran and just completely disgusted that Bergdahl is being featured. Guess this is how Hae's family felt? Now I feel guilty about being entertained by the first season.

I'm not a veteran or in a military family; would you mind sharing what your concerns are about this story being covered? Are you worried that Bergdahl will be portrayed too sympathetically? I only know the headlines of the story, so I don't even know what the prevailing opinion of him is.

Share this post


Link to post

I am woefully ignorant about this story, so although the episode wasn't super exciting, the basic background info was good for me. I also enjoyed the end "That's me, calling the Taliban". Missed you, SK.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I also enjoyed the end "That's me, calling the Taliban". Missed you, SK.

 

That made me laugh so hard. Like you could pick up the phone and dial 1-800-TAL-IBAN or something. She gives good cliffhanger.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

I'm surprised they chose such a high-profile, highly politicized case this time. Many people have already made up their minds about Bergdahl, and have already read quite a bit about this story. I liked the blank slate of Adnan's case, where no one had preconceived notions about the story as it unfolded.

I listened to episode 1 and enjoyed it, but wasn't hanging on every word like with the first season. I missed Sarah and the music though -- those were great to hear! I had never heard of a DUSTWUN, so that was interesting.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm surprised they chose such a high-profile, highly politicized case this time. Many people have already made up their minds about Bergdahl, and have already read quite a bit about this story. I liked the blank slate of Adnan's case, where no one had preconceived notions about the story as it unfolded.

 

 

Exactly my feelings. I just listened to episode one, though, and am a little more hopeful than I was beforehand. If we get into some of the bigger picture stuff at play here around leadership, the ways Bowe could have handled it but didn't, and what the other people involved* think? I might be into it. 

 

*I was pleasantly surprised by all the bits from men who served with Bowe. I hope that continues, and goodness knows I'm interested to hear the Taliban's perspective. (I mean, how does one make a call to the Taliban?! That in and of itself will have me tuning into episode 2.)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

I'm one of the few people in the US who did NOT listen to season 1, and to my brother in law, the only other podcast enthusiast I know, that defies comprehension. So be it. ;)

 

Maybe I bring a different perspective, but having just heard the second episode of Bowe's story, I think the show so far  is interesting. Certainly a great deal of work has gone into the research, and I'm sure keeping track of all the military tactics, terms and information could not have been easy. My personal opinion, which Ep. 1 did nothing to change, is the Bowe deserted, plain and simple, and used the example of his superiors' failures as an excuse.  

 

I really am looking forward to having my mind changed about this, but I'm doubtful it will happen. I will, however, continue to listen.

Edited by A Boston Gal

Share this post


Link to post

I wish it had been a similar case to season 1 as well rather than something high profile that hasn't been closed off yet.

 

Also, I didn't get the mail chrimp ad in episode 1, I'm glad to have its return on the second.

Share this post


Link to post

After two episodes I am definitely not as invested in the story. I read on another board that something that made the first season so compelling is that it felt like Sarah was doing the investigating herself, taking us along for the ride. In this case, much of the information is already out there. She's not even doing the interviews with Bowe. She hasn't convinced me that I should care WHY he left his post or been clear about what point she is trying to make.

 

I will listen to all the episodes but I won't be rushing to listen as soon as they are released.

 

I'm really curious what season 3 will be about.

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post

I'm of the opinion that Serial should have a season that's as different from what's gone before as possible.  Just because so far the stories they've covered involve trying to reconstruct a single criminal or possibly treasonous incident in Rashoman-like fashion doesn't mean that's all the podcast can be about.  To do another true crime story next season and you've forever pigeonholed the podcast. Maybe that's what Sarah Koenig likes but she could take after the podcast's progenitor and pick a new theme every time.  The problem is finding a subject big and twisty enough for a season that can be covered through their team.

 

Here are ideas for other types of stories Serial could build a season around.

 

Someone tries to do something big. Does he or she succeed?  Running for office, starting a business, winning a championship, a lawsuit.

A big cultural issue, seen through all sides. Gamergate, abortion, guns. 

A year in the life of...  A school, an arts institution, a city.

Family stories. Tracing the trajectories of an interesting family.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm liking S2 so far. I feel like much like S1 it's all about questioning our perceptions of what we know and how we know it. In this case it's about questioning what we know about the war. E2 did it for me and I started to understand where they're going with this. For your typical NPR audience it would be easy to see Beau as a whistle blower risking his life to shed light on a military action that has always slid up and down the sloap of truth and fact. I defiantly am someone who fit into that category. E2 really showed me the military point of view. He put all these lives at risk and amped up tensions between the military and the locals...for what? What was it he was trying to expose? Bad conditions I guess? An operation he didn't think was well done? It's so extreme and I'm still still unclear about what he was trying to do. You can start to see why people wondered if he was helping the enemy because the story he's giving everyone is so dumb. So what do I really know? What do I think? What can I prove?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

 It's so extreme and I'm still still unclear about what he was trying to do. 

 

I believe you're having trouble because his story is bullshit. I don't mean that as a criticism of you, just that his story makes no damn sense. So Occam's Razor tells me he is a deserter. 

 

I wonder how much the push for filing court martial charges was generated because of the start of this season's podcast. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

After two episodes I am definitely not as invested in the story. I read on another board that something that made the first season so compelling is that it felt like Sarah was doing the investigating herself, taking us along for the ride. In this case, much of the information is already out there. 

 

I hadn't even thought about that, that's so true. That's what helped to make the first season so unique, it felt like an active investigation to the very last episode. This seems like...I don't know, we can only rely on his word at this point. There's no smoking gun (there wasn't one with Adnan's case but that was sort of the beauty of it, you spent the however many episodes waiting for one).

 

Plus it's just way too enmeshed in military protocol and that's not at all interesting to me. I'm rolling my eyes when they drop acronyms and stats and I'm not here to study, okay?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm liking S2 so far. I feel like much like S1 it's all about questioning our perceptions of what we know and how we know it. In this case it's about questioning what we know about the war. E2 did it for me and I started to understand where they're going with this. For your typical NPR audience it would be easy to see Beau as a whistle blower risking his life to shed light on a military action that has always slid up and down the sloap of truth and fact. I defiantly am someone who fit into that category. E2 really showed me the military point of view. He put all these lives at risk and amped up tensions between the military and the locals...for what? What was it he was trying to expose? Bad conditions I guess? An operation he didn't think was well done? It's so extreme and I'm still still unclear about what he was trying to do. You can start to see why people wondered if he was helping the enemy because the story he's giving everyone is so dumb. So what do I really know? What do I think? What can I prove?

 

I just finished episode 2 and I agree that it gets more interesting, and hopefully will as it goes on.  I don't know all that much about the case, but I did find the different military accounts and the local accounts interesting.  It sounds like Sarah (or whoever is making the documentary) is going to be able to get some good information and so far some of the "characters" that have been introduced have been honest and funny, at times.  I wasn't hooked after this season's first episode, but I also found much of the Adnan case to be less than thrilling as well.  So I am looking forward to seeing where this one goes.   

Share this post


Link to post

If I weren't already familiar with the series based on season one, I would have unsubscribed after the latest episode.

 

First of all, Bergdahl is a deserter. Despite his after the fact rationalizations, even he admits to being guilty. The show has tried to get some mileage out of the question of if he was a collaborator, but, frankly, I don't care.

 

Secondly, there's no real investigative story here. Regardless of how one felt about Adnan, there were a lot of questions raised about how the story got to were it was years after the case. Did the prosecutors interview everybody they could? What the hell was up with Jay? The phone? Adnan's lawyer?

 

Season two is straightforward. Bergdahl deserts. The military puts themselves at risk to find him even as they increasingly resent him. And the Taliban treat him horribly.

 

Nothing new has been reported.

Edited by xaxat
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

If I weren't already familiar with the series based on season one, I would have unsubscribed after the latest episode.

 

First of all, Bergdahl is a deserter. Despite his after the fact rationalizations, even he admits to being guilty. The show has tried to get some mileage out of the question of if he was a collaborator, but, frankly, I don't care.

 

Secondly, there's no real investigative story here. Regardless of how one felt about Adnan, there were a lot of questions raised about how the story got to were it was years after the case. Did the prosecutors interview everybody they could? What the hell was up with Jay? The phone? Adnan's lawyer?

 

Season two is straightforward. Bergdahl deserts. The military puts themselves at risk to find him even as they increasingly resent him. And the Taliban treat him horribly.

 

Nothing new has been reported.

 

I agree on all points, xaxat. I understand that they deliberately chose to move away from the murder mystery topic of S1, but they also seem to have moved away from the investigative aspect, which was always my favorite element. In S1, Sarah was interviewing people, driving to locations to check out routes (which I realize isn't achievable with the current story), uncovering inconsistencies... I realize this season still has a way to go, and may move in a different direction, but I really miss the hands-on intensity of S1. IMO it was a mistake to pick a topic where she was unable to interview the key player herself. S1, for example, wouldn't have been nearly as effective if it was all based on Sarah replaying tapes of someone else interviewing Adnan.  

Edited by ElleBee

Share this post


Link to post
Guest

After listening to episode 1, I'm not exactly riveted.  So a young private decides to desert his post, thinking he's being a hero like Jason Bourne, because his platoon is mismanaged and there is danger at their outpost in Taliban Afghanistan?  I'm not a veteran but aren't respecting the chain of command and manning your post kind of essential to the job those men are being paid to do?  

 

I haven't read about the story but I'm not sure where the tension will come from.  He's accused of desertion, he admits he deserted.  I'm sure the Army sucks but he signed up and deserting isn't going to improve it.  

Share this post


Link to post

I've actually enjoyed Slate's podcast about Serial more than I've been enjoying Serial this season.  They bring up something that I think is key: 

 

Secondly, there's no real investigative story here.

 

Well and this isn't original to me, the Slate podcast actually raised the question and I thought it was a good one:  The question isn't whether or not Bowe deserted, because he did walk away from his post intentionally and that is desertion.  He's an admitted deserter.  It seems the more interesting question is what was this guy, who seems to have spent a lot of his time in some boring, yet bizarre, fantasy of being Jason Bourne (??) doing in a combat situation, ever, at all.   

 

So I miss the "I must hear more!" of last season and thus far my mind has not been materially changed.  My opinion of Bergdahl is essentially the same, although he is at once far stranger and somehow boring in that oddity, than I had previously imagined. 

 

However, I don't know, as someone who already is just anti-war, I'm still having difficulty drumming up sympathy for him.  That he wasn't fit for that posting is pretty clear and whereas I have sympathy for the man, I have more sympathy for the people he endangered through his actions.  I get that Bergdahl is a symptom of a bunch of larger issues, but I keep running up against an active resentment of this guy...and I'm not in the military.  I don't have family members in the military.  I'm not coming at this from some deep affinity for the military, but I just can't get away from the feeling that whereas it is starting to emerge that he likely shouldn't have ever been there, I'm really not sure that anyone other than Bowe Bergdahl was ultimately responsible for his actions.  

 

Just saying, as viewed from current times, he does seem unfit for duty, but I can't really tell if it's a story he's making up to get out of being tried for desertion and even if it isn't a story he's made up?  I have a deep feeling of ambivalence because right, wrong or indifferent, the bulk of my sympathy lies with the other soldiers he endangered by his actions.  

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
what was this guy, who seems to have spent a lot of his time in some boring, yet bizarre, fantasy of being Jason Bourne (??) doing in a combat situation, ever, at all.

 

I feel the same as you about Bowe so far (not sympathetic), but I feel like most of our armed forces personnel probably have a secret fantasy that they could be Jason Bourne, and that's part of the appeal of the job.  And if they weeded out those men, we'd have no armed forces at all virtually.  You could probably say the same about any police force.  Even the recruiting commercials play to that part of our psyches... the wannabe action hero.  

 

I wonder if Koenig picked him because like Adnan he's somewhat attractive, personable and articulate, and she's hoping listeners will again take up some crusade for him because surely someone with those traits must be being railroaded by The System, not actually guilty, even if he confesses (in Bowe's case).  

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not sure she has motivations about what to make people think. She is seeking to inform and entertain. She must have thought she could give info on the story that people wouldn't otherwise know. She did, really. The interviews with the director, the interviews with Taliban, etc. The research is impressive and new, but it doesn't change the overall conclusion: Deserter. Serial 1 had the basic debate of Guilty vs Innocent, but this one has no debate. For me it doesn't make the interviews any less interesting, but I can see how it might not be grabbing others.

Share this post


Link to post

Those are good points, although I don't find him personable or attractive as a personality, I do agree with the concept that "Yes, he's a deserter, but he was a POW for five years....he's been punished enough."  

 

But that's about all I've got.  The Slate Serial podcast was also talking about how the value of individual life and how that also came to play in the resources deployed in searching for him. 

Share this post


Link to post
Guest

I'm not sure she has motivations about what to make people think. She is seeking to inform and entertain. She must have thought she could give info on the story that people wouldn't otherwise know. She did, really. The interviews with the director, the interviews with Taliban, etc. The research is impressive and new, but it doesn't change the overall conclusion: Deserter. Serial 1 had the basic debate of Guilty vs Innocent, but this one has no debate. For me it doesn't make the interviews any less interesting, but I can see how it might not be grabbing others.

I feel like that was a big part of the appeal of season 1-- that it felt like a whodunit, where you were trying to figure out if this guy was lying or not.  At least it was for me.  Though it was a drag knowing that the season would end without an answer, unlike a fictional whodunit.  

 

I guess also that it was just kind of a WTF crime, which Bergdahl's is, too.  But less so, I think.  I could envision about anyone deserting an outpost with horrible living conditions.  I can't envision many teenagers deciding to strangle their ex-girlfriend to death after school one day, almost out of the blue.  

 

I'm watching HBO's The Jinx right now and I have no doubt Durst killed them all but am still riveted, so I guess a good enough tale of true crime doesn't always need the whodunit aspect.  He's got the WTF aspect, for sure. 

Share this post


Link to post

I'm with kind of all of you -- I'm not as riveted as I was in S1 but I am interested.  Honestly, I hadn't heard anything about this guy before the season so the entire thing is new to me.  I'm also a little intrigued because, thanks to WikiLeaks, we actually have some classified information about his desertion.  But, regardless of his motives, he deserted and he did it in a manner that he knew would put others at risk.  And, although five years in captivity is a pretty severe punishment, I don't know that I'd be okay with him not facing a court martial.

 

(Also, I cannot help but think Bowe was a partial inspiration for Brody in Homeland (I've only watched the first episode but it came out two or three years into his captivity, right?) and I'm strangely curious to see if that will ever be mentioned.)

Share this post


Link to post

I think the best parts of the series are the interviews with the enlisted men who served with or who were tasked with finding Bergdahl. The conversations about being tasked with finding a man who they suspected to be a deserter and their frustration with trying to find Bergdahl in in Afghanistan when it was commonly believed that he was in Pakistan. Their voices are rarely heard in the media. It's usually officers and politicians. 

 

 

I feel the same as you about Bowe so far (not sympathetic), but I feel like most of our armed forces personnel probably have a secret fantasy that they could be Jason Bourne, and that's part of the appeal of the job.  

 

Between friends and family, I have known people who have served in all branches, officer and enlisted, and none of them aspired to be Jason Bourne. To the contrary, they probably would think anyone with those fantasies to be delusional.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Guest

I wonder if Koenig picked him because like Adnan he's somewhat attractive, personable and articulate, and she's hoping listeners will again take up some crusade for him because surely someone with those traits must be being railroaded by The System, not actually guilty, even if he confesses (in Bowe's case).  

 

I ran across this paragraph below in a THR review of another true crime show and it reminded me somewhat of what I wrote above, though his point is probably better.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/making-a-murderer-tv-review-849646

When approaching a long-form true-crime saga, it helps if you have a main character who is simultaneously morally ambiguous and easy to pigeonhole. Whether he did it or not, whether we believe his side of the story or not, there's something compulsively watchable about Robert Durst's lizardlike venality or Adnan Syed's cow-eyed sincerity. They fit with fictional archetypes like Daniel Holden of Rectify or Walter White of Breaking Bad. They're antiheroes, and TV viewers know what to do with antiheroes.

 

Share this post


Link to post

I think she's doing a good job of further proving (since most of us already know this from experience) that 23 year olds are idiots.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Guest

Ha, I guess that's the problem I have.  I don't care much about the guy's fate, because I think he's guilty and I'm not sympathetic.  And whether he's court martialed or not, fate's already punished him plenty.  So I'm a bit apathetic.

 

And I can't personally relate to his experiences or circumstances.  I think most of us could relate to being a stupid teen hurt by unrequited love, like Syed.  And/or someone with a creepy ex, like Hai.

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
The new episode just didn't keep my attention.

Same here. I used to love going to the gym on Thursday's during season 1 to listen to new episodes, and today (Saturday) I could barely pay attention to it while working out. It's just, eh...not very riveting. I'll keep listening, and am kind of interested to hear next week what the US was/was not doing to try and get Bergdahl back, but it's no where near appointment listening like it used to be.

Edited by hendersonrocks
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Yesterday, they made the announcement that they'll be moving to bi-weekly episodes for the rest of the season.  The cynic in me thinks that they realized this season isn't grabbing people as much as last season, and they're scrambling to either find a new angle, or rework what they already have.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Wow, that's interesting. My main criticism with this season is that I don't yet know the point and it's episode 4. I don't know where the focus is; I can't get what SK is trying to tell us. If she's reworking that, I'm all for it. However, this season seems to have lost a lot of steam and bi-weekly eps probably won't bode well.

Share this post


Link to post

After listening to episode 1, I'm not exactly riveted.  So a young private decides to desert his post, thinking he's being a hero like Jason Bourne, because his platoon is mismanaged and there is danger at their outpost in Taliban Afghanistan?  I'm not a veteran but aren't respecting the chain of command and manning your post kind of essential to the job those men are being paid to do?   

Yeah, my first thought on that was if you want a job where your input and opinions are taken into consideration before decisions are made...don't join the fucking Army.  It ain't no democracy!

 

Between friends and family, I have known people who have served in all branches, officer and enlisted, and none of them aspired to be Jason Bourne. To the contrary, they probably would think anyone with those fantasies to be delusional.

I have two good friends who are recently retired from the Army, and neither one has any interest in S2 of Serial.  They don't want to give the guy any more attention than he's already received.  One worked in mental health services and has colleagues who participated in Bergdahl's debriefing; according to them he's a serious whackadoodle (technical term).

Share this post


Link to post

I have two good friends who are recently retired from the Army, and neither one has any interest in S2 of Serial.  They don't want to give the guy any more attention than he's already received.  One worked in mental health services and has colleagues who participated in Bergdahl's debriefing; according to them he's a serious whackadoodle (technical term).

 

I totally see their point but I would counter that SK speaks to other soldiers about their experiences and what they had to go through when Bowe went missing and that this is one of the very few (possibly only) places I have ever heard a former service-person discuss the realities of being in Afghanistan.  Which episode was it where she talked to the soldiers who were sent on search missions for weeks away from base?  To me, that is the most interesting part of this story -- the other soldiers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Guest

So the latest is SK saying she's decided to make new episodes available every other week instead of every week.  Gah.  I understand she has access to new info she wants to tack on the end without rushing but why not let the series run weekly and then have some new/update episodes a month or two later instead of making it two weeks between episodes?  I think that's a bad decision.  I may wait til the end then binge-listen but I'm not going to wait two weeks between episodes, on principle.  

Share this post


Link to post

So the latest is SK saying she's decided to make new episodes available every other week instead of every week.  Gah.  I understand she has access to new info she wants to tack on the end without rushing but why not let the series run weekly and then have some new/update episodes a month or two later instead of making it two weeks between episodes?  I think that's a bad decision.  I may wait til the end then binge-listen but I'm not going to wait two weeks between episodes, on principle.  

 

I really find I lose momentum wrt my investment and interest when this happens. I need to look forward to a new episode otherwise it's out of sight out of mind.  

 

I have to say Season 1 didn't live up to the hype for me at all and this season is just odd to say the least. I don't really know where she's going with it and I find her way of saying stuff pretty annoying. I'm sticking with it because the descriptions of what it was like for him are pretty interesting but I could really do without her lame attempts at humor.

Share this post


Link to post

Do you think we can demand a detour and spend the rest of the season learning more about the couple who were taken hostage and had a baby in captivity? That sounds WAY more interesting than weeks more of semi-interesting insights into a story I already know.

Edited by hendersonrocks
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Do you think we can demand a detour and spend the rest of the season learning more about the couple who were taken hostage and had a baby in captivity? That sounds WAY more interesting than weeks more of semi-interesting insights into a story I already know.

 

The "circumstance of capture" discussion hit very close to home as, although I did not post an online comment, when I read about Carl Rutherford, I remarked to friends and family, "what kind of idiot goes on vacation to an active war zone?"  So when Caitlin Coleman and her husband, Joshua Boyle, chose to go travelling through Afghanistan while she was pregnant... well, those are some unfortunate circumstances of capture.

 

Sadly, it appears that all three of them are still being held by the Haqqani, so it would be really unwise to report on them extensively.  (They were taken in 2012.)

Edited by dusang
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Sadly, it appears that all three of them are still being held by the Haqqani, so it would be really unwise to report on them extensively.  (They were taken in 2012.)

 

Wow. That's awful. It did seem like Koenig brought them up and then kind of left their story hanging, and I guess this explains that - especially since she's said that the Taliban and Haqqani are listening to Serial.

 

I also had a hits-close-to-home moment in the last episode; one of the other hostages she named is someone I knew (we used to work together). I try to keep remembering him and his family, and the unspeakable horror they went through, as I listen to these episodes.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×