As of this year, 21-34 year olds make up the largest portion of the workforce. We millennials have taken on day jobs to pay off our loans and fund our dreams, and those jobs take on many forms—some of them kind of tedious.
Like many of peers, my job includes a long commute, and regular jaunts into the realm of data entry. One way I keep my brain occupied is to listen to plenty of podcasts. There’s a big world of stuff to listen to, and it can be tough to figure out what’s worth your time. This column was born out of a desire to help the like-minded listeners among us navigate the field, helping you figure out what to listen to beyond This American Life and Radiolab.
Like many people, I became a Serial junkie last year, so when I first heard about Limetown, the promos for which sounded a lot like Sarah Koenig’s hit show, I was intrigued. I sat down at my workstation, popped in the earbuds and settled in with a cup of coffee and a spreadsheet.
Two episodes later, I emerged from my desk wide-eyed and shaking, with the kind of look that elicits comments from your co-workers. It’s a good thing nobody noticed, because if they’d said anything to me, I probably would’ve jumped out of my skin.
Limetown, thankfully, is fictional, not true-crime, but it’s no less scary for being made-up. The show is a seven-episode mini-series that’s part Serial, part Welcome to Night Vale and part War of the Worlds broadcast. Through the narration of investigative reporter Lia Haddock, We’re introduced to the strange tale of the shadowy research facility of the title, where a mysterious mass disappearance is supposed to have happened 10 years ago. Located in rural Tennessee, Limetown’s new agey experiments and self-sustaining community call to mind bizarro science enclaves like Lost’s Dharma Initiative.
Part of what makes a good horror story, whether it’s literature, film or even radio broadcast, is building a setting in which you feel genuinely unsure of yourself. Another is a sense of the unexpected, either through having no clue what’s going to happen next, or knowing what’s coming, but not knowing when to expect it.
Limetown provides atmosphere in spades, with great sound production, suitably creepy music and stories that are sometimes confusing, sometimes sad and always unsettling. It does a little less well in keeping its story fresh and unexpected–the more episodes that come out, the more cliched its arc sometimes seems. However, Limetown benefits hugely from being an audio-only experience, meaning that we aren’t sure when the scares are going to hit, or what they’ll sound like once they get there. Limetown also, wisely, saves its best scares for the very end of an episode, allowing the listener to get comfortable before things get supremely creepy.
It’s also the kind of show that encourages a cult following, with a detail-heavy storyline shrouded in mystery that requires repeat listenings to make sure you’ve got all the details. Lest you need proof, you can check out the show’s extremely active Reddit thread.
Limetown is a show with predictable moments whose story seems increasingly unpredictable the further in it goes, and the weirder it gets. As with Lost, one of its spiritual cousins, there’s the possibility that the eventual conclusion of the story will be less impressive than all the buildup made it seem. But for now, it’s a fun, creepy ride, and I’m excited to see where it goes. The show’s fourth episode came out November 2, with an undetermined amount of time until the next one drops. I’ll be checking my iTunes feed eagerly.Tweet This