the internet is losing it over 'serial' follow-up 's-town'

The top trending place in America is an isolated, impoverished town in Woodstock, Alabama.

by Hannah Ongley
29 March 2017, 6:10pm


If 2016 was the year the podcast went mainstream, 2017 is the year it became crucial. Commutes and morning routines, far from being tune-out time, are now bonus opportunities to make sense of America's cultural climate and the chaos stemming from the White House. But the appeal of stories not beginning in Washington is more forceful than ever. Take This American Life's new Serial followup S-Town, set in a tiny rural town of Woodstock, Alabama. The much-anticipated podcast finally premiered yesterday, transporting millions of listeners all over the world to the isolated, impoverished Southern community from which the series takes its title. "S-Town," we learn early on, is actually called "Shittown."

S-Town, like Serial, features a murder and true stories. However the genre isn't strictly true-crime. S-Town's blurb reads like that of a Southern Gothic novel. The story follows "a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it," S-Town's website teases. "He asks Brian 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, and the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man's life." Quartz calls the series "Faulkner-esque," referring to one of the literary subgenre's most esteemed authors. Just when you thought America couldn't get any more supernaturally macabre.  


Text Hannah Ongley
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