I first heard of S-Town through a friend last summer and was immediately interested. I’ve always liked listening to murder stories and podcasts, but haven’t necessarily found one that I’ve loved until S-Town. I’ve enjoyed listening to the stories shared on “My Favorite Murder” with Georgia and Karen, but I found this one to be more interesting with Brian Reed doing a real investigation. I don’t think I’ve binged a story like this since watching Sons of Anarchy.
When I first started listening to S-Town I was lured in after the first episode. Brian Reed has a real calming voice which made it easy to follow along and remember the important details that he brings up throughout the series. The eerie setting of a rural Alabama town was something I thought that really added to the intensity of the story. There was something about this John character that made me want to continue listening after every episode. The mix of a wealthy landowner with a rural Alabama mad scientist was the perfect character to add to a fishy murder story.
My first takeaway is that I felt that the maze that John had was very representative of the story as a whole. The maze, with 64 solutions, felt like the perfect depiction of how the investigation and story unfolded. The more and more Brian spoke with John and the people of Woodstock, the crazier the story became. I think this is a reason that I and many others found it so easy to binge-listen to S-Town. As soon as you thought you know what was going to happen and where the story was headed, something would pop up that would change the entire story.
John’s witty comments and funny sayings for everything kept me intrigued, but more importantly it was the way that Brian Reed and the creators formed such a narrative for the investigation. I felt invested in this little, small town and wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on. Listening to the podcast makes you feel like you’re there investigating the crime with Brian Reed. I think they did a good job of this through Brian Reed giving his personal thoughts and comments on different situations (for example: the tattoo parlor with Tyler).
I didn’t enjoy the way that the podcast ended and felt kind of empty. When John died, I really wondered what direction the story would go. I noticed that after he took his life, I found that I wasn’t as eager to listen to the next episode as I was in previous episodes. John was such an important character in this podcast and I feel like that is what made S-Town so successful. It is a story that is so weird, but you just can’t stop listening because it is so entertaining. Overall, I would recommend S-Town to anyone and think that it is one of the best podcasts in the last three years.