S-Town is a podcast hosted by Brian Reed from Serial Productions, a New York Times company. The story follows a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who's allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But when someone else ends up dead, 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.
“If you keep your mouth shut, you’ll be surprised what you can learn.”
“Has anybody called you?”
“Tedious and brief.”
“If anybody could find it, it would be me.”
“Nobody’ll ever change my mind about it.”
“Since everyone around here thinks I’m a queer anyway.”
Like so many others in the reviews here, S*Town was the first sort of podcast series I listened to and I wish it weren’t because nothing else measures up. The storytelling, production, atmosphere and of course the rants and musings of John B. McLemore - all add up to make these seven episodes something I come back to time and again. Don’t know if you could come close to this if you tried. This was lightning in a bottle, off the whim of a person sending an email and NPR deciding it was worth enough time for Brian Reed to go check it out. The end result was nothing relative to the reasons for Reed going to S*town, meaning I and many others just have to except that serialized podcasts have been ruined for us.
Still my favorite podcast!
I just finished the series for the third time. Originally introduced to it by my sister two years ago I’ve yet to find a story that tops it! An amazing story that sticks w/ you. This coming from a person who splits their time between Los Angeles & rural Alabama. So much of the story is typical life in a poor Alabama county but the big draw is the big personality of John B and secondarily Brian for telling the story as a New Yorker refraining from judgement. The only thing I’m left wanting for is more of the story which cannot go on for obvious reasons once you hear it. Love, love, love and will be very fortunate if I ever find another story that holds a candle to this one!
You should be ashamed of yourselves.
This podcast picks at the life and secrets of a deceased person like a vulture. And for what? In service of good storytelling? Eh. To tell some deep truth about people? I don’t think so. I was suspicious when Brian started to get into the family disagreements around John B’s possessions; this is a normal thing that happens when people die and it’s not his business? But later on Brian Reed even discloses information about John B. that he said *was off the record*- and Brian justifies it incredibly weakly. I stopped listening out of respect for the dead. I’m horrified and disgusted by this cheap podcast. Truly. Brian exhumed a dead person’s past with no respect, class, restraint, or ethics. I would not wish this fate on my worst enemy. I can’t believe this was allowed to be made. Truly.