Badlands is “a true crime podcast that dives deep into the real stories of the famous at their most infamous.” The fourth and latest season of the Double Elvis-produced series just dropped in its entirety via Amazon Music, with new episodes focusing on Winona Ryder, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, Sharon Tate, and more.
I had the honor of scripting the season finale, which focuses on Robin Williams’ sexploitations and his lifelong struggle with addiction — and how that all does, or does not, connect to the true story behind his tragic death by suicide.
Part of the fun of the Badlands podcast family (including its cousin-slash-progenitor, the rock-n-roll-themed Disgraceland) is the dramatic storytelling element, an almost noir-ish sensationalism that helps to convey the thrilling transgression of the stories being told. This is exactly why I leapt at the chance to tackle the subject of Robin Williams. I’m pretty open about my own mental health, and I’ve also lost some very close friends to suicide, and I wanted to make sure the topic was covered with sensitivity — without losing the levity, or salaciousness. As a result, I poured a lot of myself into this one, and I think I did a pretty damn good job with it. I hope you think so, too.
You can listen to the full season now via Amazon Music (which I believe is included with all Prime memberships anyway). If you prefer your podcasts another way, the individual episodes will drop one week at a time for the next two months or so; and I’ll certainly be back here to remind you when it’s available everywhere on or around July 14.
Badlands, Season 4 — Robin Williams: A Manic Mind at Breakneck Speed, an Addiction to Laughter, and the Devil’s Dandruff [Jake Brennan / Thom Dunn / Double Elvis Productions and Amazon Music]