The Returned mets Serial: welcome to Limetown

I came to the podcast Serial midway through its run—just in time to still be a bit of a tastemaker, but way behind the real cool kids—based on recommendations but without any real knowledge of what I was getting into. Now I don’t mean I didn’t know what it was about, I mean I didn’t actually know what it was: a few episodes in, I wasn’t 100% sure if it was a documentary or a drama, and I was totally OK with that.

It was, of course, a real story, well told. But what if? What if this had been a drama. Limetown is a new podcast that seems to answer that question. It’s a drama, played as a radio documentary, about a mysterious unexplained disappearance in the fictional community of Limetown. If you can imagine The Returned meets Serial then you’ve got a good sense of what this is.

The show captures the Serial style well. ‘Lia Haddock’ is your Sarah Koenig, and the show is produced for ‘APR’ (American Public Radio, standing in for NPR or PRX). The producers have captured the signature flourishes of quality podcasts well: the way Lia leads into her audio packages, the way they use music beds, and the way that they pace the story-telling. It’s all very crisp. The only places where the mask slips is in some of the dialogue. Most of the talk seems natural enough, but some of the packages/scenes slip into a rapid Q&A format which don’t really seem to fit the model. Hopefully as the season progresses and the writers gain confidence in what they’re doing, they can reel that back in.

There’s only been one episode so far, so you can get in early with the cool kids. It’s an interesting format and I hope it can deliver across the whole run.

No coding necessary — for your free audiobook download

I’ve just started listening to the podcast Criminal, having heard about it when it joined the Radiotopia collective. It’s good, you’d like it, especially if you’re jonesing for Serial. But that’s not what I’m talking about right now.

I’ve listened through the first couple of episodes, when the show was boxfresh, and the latest one, after it joined Radiotopia, and whilst the programme itself hasn’t changed there’s one big thing that’s new: the ads. Continue reading No coding necessary — for your free audiobook download

Glengarry, Glen Cars

I didn’t quite get into Serial hipster-early, but I just got the jump on the popular rush after a few people who really like podcasts tipped me off. Inevitably when they did they all said “…from the guys at This American Life.” And I wasn’t hip to that either.

Well, today it was time to find out what I’d been missing. Everyone suggested the same gateway episode: 129 Cars.

It’s Glengarry, Glenn Ross with cars as a sales team try to make their monthly target: it’s fascinating, emotional, funny and dramatic and it’s a super tight piece of radio production. Go listen, now.

A week in domain names

If a week is a long time in politics then it’s a fucking age on the Internet, and it’s an epoch for the online commentariat.

So it seems like an aeon has passed since Tuesday when everybody lost their collective minds and forgot how domain name registration actually works when UKIP’s domain name appeared to expire. Continue reading A week in domain names