“When an antique clock breaks, a clock that’s been telling time for 200-300 years, fixing it can be a real puzzle…” begins S-Town, the new podcast from the folks behind the addictive Serial.
All seven installments, all around an hour in length, debuted Tuesday. The new mystery tells of a man named John, who asked This American Life to investigate the son of a wealthy family for bragging about getting away with murder. It begins with a clock metaphor for the tortuous process of uncovering what happened.
“I’m told fixing an old clock can be maddening,” producer Brian Reed says at the front of S-Town. “You’re constantly wondering if you just spent hours going down a path that will likely take you nowhere and all you’ve got are these vague witness marks, which might not even mean what you think they mean. So, at every moment along the way, you have to decide if you’re wasting your time or not.”
By the end of the first episode, the planned investigation diverts and the story becomes something else entirely.
“S-Town is totally different from anything I’ve heard before,” executive producer Julie Snyder previously teased. “Since we first announced the series, I’ve seen a lot of speculation that we’re doing a ‘true crime’ show, but I don’t think that does S-Town justice. It’s just a story that goes beyond any expectations.”
Ira Glass, Sarah Koenig, Starlee Kine, and Neil Drumming serve as editorial advisors on S-Town, which is the first of three original podcasts from the newly erected production company Serial Productions.