We first got into Homecoming while tearing through the mountains of Arizona and needing to pass the time with something that was long, yet engaging. Enter the episodic podcasts that have been the backbone to many of our road trips. After listening to years worth of interview-style podcasts of the same damn people over and over, having a teleplay backed performance was a breath of fresh air.
I was a little surprised when I read that Homecoming would be coming to the small screen. In my head, I couldn’t see how it would work. And if it did work, it surely wouldn’t work well.
Also, I’m wrong a lot.
The Amazon series is completely different from the podcast lineup, and I LOVED the podcast lineup. The character’s voices are fantastic. I could listen to Cathrine Keener talk all day. If you listen to the podcast without commercials or credits, Homecoming offers rich suspense while driving.
Does the TV series line up? Storywise, to a T. The aesthetics, while not what I imagined, also work. There were a few storylines that were trimmed up to a point where they seemed redundant in the TV series but were vital to laying out the themes of the plot (everything to do with the retirement community, for example, just got washed over by the end of the third episode). Throughout the TV series are these masterful shots that provide a hugely voyeuristic element – as though we are listening in or seeing something we shouldn’t be – all carrying over from the idea of the original podcast building from a “found footage” aesthetic, but for the ears.
Overall, it’s worth watching. A handful of 25-minute episodes might be what the doctor ordered in this world of enormous, mini-movie episodes the streamers are pouring on us.
But what does this say for the medium – for podcasts to be adapted to the screen? I’ll never tell someone they shouldn’t mix two oddities. War of the Worlds became a movie a few times over. The margin between true-crime podcasts and serials and the stuff that shows up on shows like Making Of A Murderer or American Vandal. The problem is more or less what happened with the Pod Save America kids going to HBO – the initial presentation is watered down not to be interesting enough to the dedicated fanbase, but not introductory enough to attract those who might not have ever heard of them before.
You know – the age-old issue of trying to expand one audience, while not abandoning the other. With creative rights being as strange as they are, why not continue the podcast on one thread that follows a story that suits that medium, while creating something more universal for the streamer crowd?
Writing would be great if it weren’t the only thing I knew how to do.
I publish as much as I can, you’ll just have to wait for the rest.