New True Crime Podcast
Every day, podcast announcements make their way among the onslaught of press releases that clutter inboxes. Once in a while there is something that gets delivered that is exciting and worth exploring.
The Thing About Pam, a new true crime podcast, happens to be one of those shows that just stands out from the crowd.
If I seem a bit interested in this specific title, there is a good reason. True Crime is one of those genres that just sucks me in and keeps me on edge as those tales of woe unfold.
While it is easy for me to check in on Forensic Files or Cold Case Files, those shows do not hold a candle to Dateline NBC, which is the team that brings us The Thing About Pam.
As the leader among True Crime TV, Dateline garners its acclaim not only for choosing compelling stories but for its top-notch presentation as well.
The Power Of Dateline
Dateline NBC has long been making moves to get in on the podcasting game. With more listeners to expand the franchise to and an emphasis on the genre it serves so well, the decision to create audio content made total sense.
The success of the iconic and long-running television show Dateline brings us squarely to the release of their debut podcast The Thing About Pam. This series presents listeners with what is arguably one of the franchise’s most interesting and surprising stories.
They not only repurposed a saga broadcasted initially on Dateline television but deliver additional content and insight on the story through the podcast version.
Of course, the right choice of host matters in making this work. While the entire Dateline team is stacked with great talent, it was only right that the hosting duties of their debut podcast go to the legendary Keith Morrison.
Keith Morrison Takes The Lead
If you have to ask who Keith Morrison is then you have failed in your duties as a regular Dateline viewer. Morrison has established himself as a legendary persona to the show’s fans.
The host with a knack for providing just the right presentation with an unmistakable voice may have been growing a following among the Dateline NBC diehards, but there is nothing quite like the homage from a comedy show which catapulted Morrison into the pop culture stratosphere.
Bill Hader, as well as some former Saturday Night Live cast members and writers, all proclaim themselves as fans of Morrison. It was only natural that the comedic actor takes a crack at portraying the reporter and host in a riff on the classic Dateline.
Interestingly enough, Hader did too good of a job and suddenly everyone was saying taglines they swore came from Morrison himself. It is an ironic and quite funny phenomenon that the Dateline star has tried putting to rest with limited results.
Somehow those last details make this podcast even more fun to listen to. It gives us Dateline diehards some fun in listening up for possible cliches and hidden gems that I somehow know that Morrison will never stumble into.
Comedic landmines aside, Morrison manages to keep the narration witty, insightful, and entertaining. He kept me engaged throughout and his ability to deliver stories more than shines through in this twisted tale.
Diving into this story is something that the listener will love to do. I soon discovered with the first episode’s initial tease that the tale being told was going to be unlike any other.
As a longtime Dateline viewer, I was surprised that I could not immediately recall this story from its previous televised coverage.
From the start, it is obvious that there is more to this tale than the usual parsing of simply who the guilty party is. Instead, the podcast clears up those answers much faster than you would expect allowing for room to explore other avenues of the characters.
So, let us get into the storyline. I am trying to stay spoiler-free here, but let us just say the title is oh so fitting for the material. Pam Hupp may not have been the subject of Dateline’s research about the murder of Betsy Faria, but she should always be in your focus.
Somehow, the show is able to aim glaring arrows at her while waiting for you to catch up on the details. I love that technique as the show unfolds and plays cat and mouse with its intentions.
Addressing The Characters
One of the things that this podcast does regarding Pam and the other people in this tale is to present just enough detail on their physical traits but not belabor them. For instance, Hupp’s blonde hair and presence are only touched on.
Russ Faria, Betsy’s husband, has his appearance briefly covered with enough detail to paint a picture with words. I enjoyed being able to ruminate on these people in my mind as the scant details flowed through the episodes.
Of course, there did come a time or two when I wanted to take a deeper peek at the personas behind this story. Whether listeners decide to stick with the provided descriptions or do some homework on the characters involved to support the podcast experience is ultimately not important to the story either way.
So how does the whole strange mess of this murder play out in podcast form? The answer is very nicely for this particular foray.
Of course, not all true crime podcasts can stretch out their story over several episodes in such an intriguing manner in the way that this one does. While many podcasts go for just the salacious details, it can often be hard to accomplish a premier true crime experience without the right mix of production elements as well.
For certain you need a dynamic narrator and this show has that locked down with Morrison. The details of the case also have to be something that works in an audio format. Check that off as accomplished here too, since this tale translates with a literary sense through the audio-only experience.
Is The Thing About Pam something you should try out? If you are a true crime fan, then yes absolutely, this is the choice for you.
More than just Dateline, it sets the tone and presents the story in a way that kept me listening for each new surprise.
The good news is you do not have to be a Dateline fan to become hooked either. It is a gripping story that gives the listener the twists they crave from any proper true crime saga.
If there is one minor thing about the podcast that could see it face some criticism, it could be the focus on one character instead of the events that surrounded her.
The story of Betsy Faria’s murder is both at the center of the podcast and somehow also a sideshow thanks to the unbelievable story of Pam Hupp.
Get past that mild critique and I shall say you are in for a true crime podcast that is destined to be one of the most talked-about shows from 2019.