the plot coupons of the radiotopia podcast passenger list.
Could a drama consist only of MacGuffins, those famous plot devices that push the plot along, but fade from significance as a story unfolds?
In a 1986 essay, the critic Nick Lowe imagined multiple MacGuffins as plot coupons, and sometimes the Radiotopia podcast Passenger List feels like it might pull off the trick of sustaining a story entirely on them. The story keeps unfolding and unfolding, its MacGunnins like a Russian matryoshka doll. It’s a wonderful way to approach the serial quality of the audio podcast, a form that really is just radio with a new kind of distribution model.