• Network: Showtime
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 22, 2007
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. 100
    It's really kind of a glorious little miracle, a half-hour series of little pictures of simple, complex and unfamous Americans breathing everyday lives, with a twist of kookiness, while they search for the Meaning of Everything and The Big Picture.
  2. 100
    The show falls prey to a faint preciousness in the voiceover narration from its correspondents and host Glass. They overarticulate the ironies instead of just letting you watch. Which you should do. Watch. [26 Mar 2007, p.37]
  3. Reviewed by: Sacha Zimmerman
    90
    The haunting and sometimes mirthful tales that are the stock-and-trade of "This American Life" are not lost in imagery but heightened by it.
  4. 88
    In their own bizarre way each episode is very American, very naive and very full of hope. Oh, yeah - and a lot of laughs, too.
  5. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    83
    This handsomely produced experimental series ought to please flexible fans. [30 Mar 2007, p.62]
  6. "This American Life" lost none of its authenticity in transition from radio to Showtime.
  7. Reviewed by: Randee Dawn
    80
    "Life" makes the ordinary extraordinary and along the way makes the world seem wider, bigger and an eternally more interesting place to be.
  8. 80
    Its power radiates from the screen as forcefully as it does from the radio.
  9. “This American Life” on TV achieves the same contemplative mood as the radio show. And it has a striking spareness of imagery, much as “Life” on radio has a spareness of sound.
  10. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    80
    They've translated the radio show's aural mosaic to the visual medium so effortlessly in this first season of six half-hours, we hope Showtime orders more of this life we all can recognize.
  11. 80
    "This American Life" features the same rich, rambling storytelling that makes the radio show so hypnotic, but it's enhanced by cinematography that's lovely and artful without distracting from the story lines or the tone of the show.
  12. The radio show is so much about voice and language and storytelling, I worried that the TV folks would mess it up. Luckily, the radio show's host, Ira Glass, hasn't allowed that to happen.
  13. This TV version not only has a distinct, appealing look, it also retains the radio show's sound and personality.
  14. The television version of "This American Life" does not ruin the fragile, hip beauty of the radio version. Glass and the team responsible for adding pictures to words have created a compelling television series.
  15. The show's attitudinal mix of the jaded and amazed, the shocked and amused, is supported by the production itself.
  16. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    70
    It's an ambitious if occasionally pushy effort.
  17. Reviewed by: Phil Gallo
    70
    The selections in the first two episodes possess compelling strength, whimsy and ambiguity in both the stories and the characters, providing a solid transformation from radio to TV.
  18. 70
    It's a welcome addition to nonfiction television and a loyal friend to the radio show.
  19. 60
    “This American Life” really begins to show its TV potential in episode three, when the show stops trying so hard to be perfect and lets its storytelling sprawl.
  20. If “This American Life” is all like this [opening] segment, it will be an immaculate and historic documentary series, with or without the storytelling pretext.

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