Someone Dies In This Elevator

Someone Dies In This Elevator is a murder anthology podcast produced by Tal Minear, the creator of Sidequesting and What Will Be Here. They’re a prolific writer, voice actor, sound designer, and all-round pillar of the indie fiction podcasting community.

After listening to season one of SDITE, I described the podcast as a ‘reverse murder mystery’. The premise of the show, as the title suggests, is that someone dies in an elevator in each episode. The mystery remains in the who, how, why, when, and where. Some kind of death is inevitable in some kind of elevator, but the rest is up to the writers to create, and for the audience to discover. Each episode is a completely new interpretation of the show’s title, and it really showcases the creativity of the fiction podcast community; in that each writer had the same concept to write about, and the season contains a very diverse set of stories and characters. There are episodes set in the past, present, and future; there are discussions of colonialism, depictions of modern society, and an April Fool’s episode takes a humorous look at experimenting with storytelling in audio.

Someone Dies In This Elevator boasts a huge and impressive cast and crew of talented creators, and 65 individuals have been involved in the creation of the show’s second season. One of the things I love the most about this podcast is this sense of collaboration, with folks coming together from the fiction podcast community to create and tell stories together. Season one’s writers included Null/Void’s Cole Burkhardt, Desperados Samy Souissi, and Seen and Not Heards Caroline Mincks, among many other talented creatives.

Season one launched in April 2021, with Three Superheroes Walk into an Elevator, written by Minear themself. This episode alone contains an impressive cast, with many notable voice actors and creatives familiar to folks who frequent indie podcasting’s corner of the internet. Here, we meet a group of superheroes on their way to a party, in a reality where they are so common they have their own dating app. It’s an intriguing start to the series, and the beginning of the episode had me questioning how even superheroes could succumb to the inevitable death in an elevator.

The most memorable episode for me, and many others whom I’ve seen mention the episode on social media, is Hot Wheels, the eleventh episode of the show’s first season. Written by Erin Kyan (one of the co-creators of the delightful Love and Luck), who is a wheelchair user, and portrayed by disabled voice actors Rue Dickey, Alice Wong, and Becca Marcus, this episode is a heart-wrenching portrayal of structural ableism in our society. Two wheelchair users are stuck in an elevator in a burning building, unable to escape, as nobody has taken this eventuality into consideration.

Before the launch of the crowdfunding campaign for the show’s second season, Minear promised a special bonus for anyone who signed up to be notified when the campaign went live – and the bonus turned out to be an episode of the upcoming season. In the spirit of giving away absolutely zero spoilers, I’m not even going to mention the episode’s title, as it gives a big hint as to what happens in this story. I will say however that it brings a completely new setting to anything we’d seen in season one of the podcast, which I very much enjoyed; and a very interesting interpretation of the show’s premise, as well as the story’s genre.

Speaking of the crowdfunding campaign, Someone Dies In This Elevator is currently raising funds for the upcoming second season on Indiegogo. As of the publication of this post, there are 16 days left to back the talented cast and crew of the season, which includes creatives of colour, disabled artists, and LGBTQIA+ folks. The second season is due to launch on the 5th of September, with exciting new cast and crew announcements posted on the show’s Twitter account.

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