New York Times contributor Amanda Hess’s recent article, “The Best New Social Thriller Is a Podcast,” discusses how the fiction podcast has evolved in the last decade. Hess writes that in the past, “the experimental sandbox of the new form has produced sharp plots and intriguing aural soundscapes but few stories that seem to access something bigger than themselves,” until now. The fiction podcast has become a storytelling space ripe for social commentary and home to an increasing number of diverse storytelling voices.
One show that has ventured into this new terrain is The Truth Podcast on the Radiotopia network from PRX. On October 1st, The Truth will release a brand new weekly four-part series entitled, The Off Season. It’s a timely thriller set against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement.
In the current climate of celebrity comeback attempts, The Off Season follows the fallout of popular television host Bruce Alvarez (Peter Grosz, HBO’s Veep) when he is ousted for sexual harassment. Alvarez retreats to an empty beach house, only to find an aspiring journalist (Erica Hernandez, CBS’s The Late Show) squatting there during the off-season. He sees the potential for a comeback story. She sees an opportunity for a groundbreaking piece about the growing #MeToo movement.
As their respective ambitions go head to head, they take a deep dive into a world of crime, cover-ups, and whether or not redemption is even possible. The Off Season is a timely and compelling thriller about how the world enables and nurtures toxic men. It’s about how maybe, this time, things are going to be different. The Off Season was written by Marina Tempelsman and Niccolo Aeed and developed alongside The Truth Podcast.
Jessica Abel describes The Truth podcast as, “fiction that updates the tradition of classic radio drama with a distinctly modern ear for story and soundscape.” The Truth creates experiences in sound that are tonally cinematic, drawing on the highest quality sound design, naturalistic acting, and expert storytelling. Their stories sound like listening to short movies. Each is different, new, and surprising. Past performers include Jesse Eisenberg, Rachel Dratch, Austin Pendleton, Scott Adsit, and many others.
The anthology of stand-alone stories is produced and directed by Jonathan Mitchell and has over 400K monthly downloads and 135K listeners. The Truth is a pioneer in scripted fiction podcasting. Its stories have been broadcast all over the world, and are frequently featured on public radio programs like This American Life, All Things Considered, Planet Money, Studio 360, and Snap Judgment.
The Off Season premieres October 1st on The Truth Podcast and will be available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and elsewhere.