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Why The Jinx is Everything Serial Should Have Been

On February 9th, 2015, CBS News reported that NPR’s podcast Serial had been downloaded more than 68 million times. Since concluding its run on December 18th, 2014, Serial has occupied the #1 slot of the iTunes top podcasts list for four months. It took that spot even before it debuted. It broke records as the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads, and was lauded in the New York Times as “Podcasting’s first break out hit.” Serial was huge. You couldn’t miss it. I couldn’t either.

“One story, told week by week” was how Ira Glass explained Serial when it first aired on This American Life. It was all there in the title: Serial. As in serialized drama. In 2014, as consumers, we were living in a golden age of revitalized serialized drama, but this was a new slant on the staling formula – it was journalistic, even investigative.

Documentaries originated as an industrial medium for journalists to explain their findings. Now, they serve as creative powerhouses of opinion and entertainment. At first, a modern documentary could reach millions of people. Now, it can reach millions of people and their wallets. Still, despite the myriad of biased, entertainment focused documentaries that the last ten years of yielded–think Jesus Camp, Food Inc, and Supersize Me–I have never encountered something as morally bankrupt as Serial.The first red flag was how hard the team at This American Life worked to sell the premise of Serial. It was a serialized drama, to be dispersed one tantalizing bit at a time. It would feature cliffhangers. It would have villains. We would discover the truth along with our investigators. All of these things feel great to me with fictional drama. The problem with Serial was that it was real. This dramatic show, this tantalizing labyrinth of villains and cliffhangers was the real experiences of people that had been hurt and victimized in so many ways. To do it again in order to tell a riveting story seemed so unaware of it’s own irony that it felt like borderline parody.

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Opinions

Better Call Saul Could Still Be A Disaster

Better Call Saul concluded it’s first season last night. The episodes were a fragmented and rudderless mess devoid of tonal consistency or narrative. Somehow, despite that, the show still managed to be masterful in it’s writing and mesmerizing in it’s execution. So, I guess that makes Better Call Saul the Dark Knight Rises of television.

That being said, we’re not out of the woods yet. I still haven’t forgiven The Dark Knight Rises for that goddamn Bruce Wayne in Paris scene. I took that lesson hard. I will never forget that anything which seems dicey enough innately possesses the potential to make a sharp right into garbagetown despite managing a decent juggling act for the majority of it’s narrative. Like The Dark Knight Rises, there are many warning signs in this first season of Better Call Saul, as well. Continue reading

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Satire

F*ckability Status of House of Cards Characters

Oscar Wilde famously said or wrote or whatever that “everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” Since House of Cards is seemingly about power, it must actually be about sex. So let’s talk about sex. Specifically, let’s talk about the House of Cards characters I’d bang.

I’m specifically talking about the characters, not the actors. This is about whether or not I’d fuck the character in the universe of House of Cards. That being said, the fact that the character is played by the actor is a reality we will take into consideration. Continue reading

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Satire

Top 5 Reasons Fifty Shades of Grey is Great

This is it. All seventeen hours of Ya Shoulda Seen This by Now have been building to this crucial point: Fifty Shades of Grey. I have never seen anything like it and I’m not kidding when I tell you that half way through the film my brain flipped some sort of switch and I started enjoying the flick. I’m serious.

My brain just said “I guess this is what movies are, now. This is what we like.” I can’t explain it any better than it has to be the same feeling that Morgan Spurlock got when filming Super Size Me. After super sized McDonald meal number fourteen his body just said “I guess this is what food is now.”

I don’t have to tell you this movie is bad. You already know that it is bad. All of modern history has told you that it is bad and, in this episode, Frank and I are going to tell you how it is bad. So, I’m going to use this post to tell you why it’s good. Read more after the bump… Continue reading

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Updates

Audio Issues

Look, I’m aware that there have been some audio issues with this first batch of six episodes, alright? I don’t think they’re deal breakers but I know that I’m capable of better as the audio producer and engineer on the show. To be honest, I thought you all were going to give me a break on account of being so handsome but now I’m realizing that podcasts seem to be a auditory format. Look, regardless, there have been some things, and those things people didn’t like and, to be frank, I didn’t like them either and I’m getting it together – alright? Lay off. Continue reading

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Updates

An introduction to ‘Ya Shoulda Seen This By Now’

Alright, let’s get this thing started. I’d like to tell y’all a little bit more about our operation. And by “y’all” I’m obviously referring to our current readership & listener base—so hi Mom. I’ve already explained a little bit about what we do, but let’s take it a step further. As you may well know, Ya Shoulda Seen This By Now is a podcast about movies. Most episodes will be focused on a single film, although there may be times when Dan & I discuss a franchise, genre or specific filmmaker. I don’t know, we haven’t crossed that bridge yet, but anything is possible. Point is, this is a movie-related podcast. So if you don’t like movies, now’s a good time to bail. Continue reading

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