DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Another Podcast Comes to Video: 'Limetown' on Facebook Watch
October 16, 2019  | By David Hinckley
 

Podcasts have had problems in the transition to TV productions, and Limetown, whose 10-episode first season premieres Wednesday on Facebook Watch, doesn’t totally dodge that bullet.

Limetown does have a weapon others did not, which is Jessica Biel, starring as Lia Haddock, a public radio journalist trying to figure out why 326 people vanished from a research community in Tennessee 15 years ago.

That community would be Limetown, and while the story was all-consuming in 2004, most of the country and the media have since moved on.

Lia has not, not completely anyway. Her beloved Uncle Emile (Stanley Tucci) was among the vanished, and her sense of obligation to him nestles among the many ghosts and demons that haunt her.

For someone who looks at first to be a regular old reporter, Lia turns out to be almost as tormented as Biel‘s last character in USA’s The Sinner.

Nor does the larger arc of Limetown, which was developed as a podcast by Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie, lack for weird twists and dark undercurrents. Even beyond 326 people creating the biggest mass disappearance since Thanos.

To sell her editor on revisiting the story, Lia has to find fresh information. She starts with Mark Green (Omar Elba), the only journalist who covered the opening ceremonies of the Limetown community in 2004.

He seems as puzzled as the rest of the world by what happened. He explains to Lia that the leader of Limetown, Oskar Totem, was a charismatic professor who promoted the community as a place where the country’s most brilliant minds could work together toward creating a better world through a project that no one seems able to explain fully.

It all came to a sudden stop one night, the only clue a brief distress call. When the cops arrived 17 minutes later, the only evidence was a single violent and grisly death.

Green seems fine with sharing his fragments, right up until maybe he isn’t.

Lia’s big break comes with the sudden and somewhat unlikely appearance of a possible survivor, a woman named Winona (Kelly Jenrette). Whatever light she sheds turns out to be dappled at best.

Akers and Bronkie are old-school thriller writers in the sense that they leave much of the looming menace unseen, letting viewers share the characters’ disorientation and apprehension.

That technique, which harks back to radio dramas of a century past, helped make Limetown a popular podcast. As a streaming series, it plays at times like radio drama, which isn’t a bad thing. It just doesn’t always make for great TV.

Thankfully, it still has Jessica Biel.

 
 
 
 
 
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