Having been a huge fan of the radio show for years, I was excited to hear Showtime was going to air a television version of This American Life. I was all ready to be wowed and have to admit, I wasn't initially. It was disappointing to see that they decided to make the show a half hour as opposed to the hour long radio format, and often some of the stories featured suffer and feel less important because of it.
Still, the show got better each time I watched and a few so far have been extraordinary. Luckily the show was renewed for a second season (and hopefully a third) by Showtime, a move I was a bit surprised by because of the initial lack of advertising and support from the network. Of course, now we can see Ira Glass in every subway station, but nary a mention of the show could be found when it first aired.
This is one of the shows that has put Showtime, a once mocked and disreputable pay channel back on the map of cultural significance and has even made it a more favorable channel than the once powerful HBO. With programming choices like passing on Mad Men and originally passing the Sex and the City movie; then green lighting shows like John from Cincinnati and the dreadful Tell Me You Love Me, they totally deserve to have their butts handed to them and I love that a thoughtful and intelligent documentary program with public radio roots is doing it.
The stories, like the radio show cover the American experience. Their often insightful, funny, sad and thought provoking.