What’s gone wrong with Serial?

serialI saw a social media update yesterday saying the new episode of Serial was coming soon. I didn’t care, I haven’t listened for weeks.

What a change from the first season. Personally I couldn’t wait for each fresh episode. People were talking about Serial as the podcast that would make podcasts mainstream. The internet was awash with people talking about Serial, theories, parodies, deeper information. There were even several podcasts about the podcast.

When Serial first came out it topped the iTunes Podcast Chart for weeks. As I write it’s sitting at number 17 on the UK Charts and number 7 in the United States.

In theory this season should be even better than the first. It’s better funded with more advertisers on board and during the first season listeners stumped up donations to pay for a second.

The answer, as it so often is, is all about the content:

  1. The story they’re following isn’t as good – they hit on a goldmine of a story for season one.
  2. The story isn’t as relatable. We could all relate to a story anchored in teenage romance, mis-deeds and anger. Fewer of us have experienced conflict in the Middle East.
  3. This season isn’t habit forming. Going to a new episode every two weeks wasn’t a good move. Especially for a podcast that billed itself as “one story told week by week”
  4. It set a high bar in season one. We had nothing to compare it too. This season might still be of an incredibly high standard but it suffers as “not as good as the last one”.
  5. There’s no “live” feeling. Very cleverly for a recorded podcast you got the impression they were telling you the story as they found things out. This time out feels more contrived. It’s obvious they know most of what is going to be said already.
  6. There’s no relationships. At its heart season one was a story of relationships. Romance, friendships, allegiances and double-crossing. One of the most appealing parts to listen to was Sarah Koenig’s relationship with Adnan. That played out in phone calls between the two and her voiced doubts about what was going on between them.

Those are the main reasons for me, I’m sure there are more. I was such a fan of the first season I hope they get their mojo back for season three.


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About the Author: Euan

With over 20 years media experience, Euan McMorrow is a multi award winning radio programmer with a track record in boosting radio station ratings and nurturing talent on to bigger and better things.

Known for his creativity and no-nonsense style he’s also deeply experienced in branding, product launches, new media, PR, stunts and coaching.

Many of his ideas and presenters he’s worked with can be heard on radio stations all around the world.