This American Life : Season 1

  • Network: Showtime
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 22, 2007
Season #: 1, 2
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 4 out of 20

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User Reviews

  1. KevinN
    Mar 30, 2007
    9
    This nearly perfect television show surprised me in a couple of ways. Showtime's clearly taking a risk by airing this unusual take on the human-interest story from the nightly television news of decades gone. A minimalistic take on storytelling accompanied by a spare soundtrack encourages a kind of philosophic contemplation in the viewer. The tone is both sad and hopeful. 'This This nearly perfect television show surprised me in a couple of ways. Showtime's clearly taking a risk by airing this unusual take on the human-interest story from the nightly television news of decades gone. A minimalistic take on storytelling accompanied by a spare soundtrack encourages a kind of philosophic contemplation in the viewer. The tone is both sad and hopeful. 'This American Life' is unlike any television show I've seen and elegantly captures the spirit of its public radio progenitor. Expand
  2. CB
    Apr 6, 2007
    10
    It's the best show on TV and RADIO.
  3. snortch
    May 5, 2007
    10
    While the movies let me down sooo often, I am now discovering that TV seems to have the most compelling stuff. TAL on TV is really really great. I thought that I wouldnt like being shown the imagery, but this is a perfect translation from radio to TV. Don't get me wrong...I still really enjoy the little pictures that develop in my head when listening on the radio...but this is shot While the movies let me down sooo often, I am now discovering that TV seems to have the most compelling stuff. TAL on TV is really really great. I thought that I wouldnt like being shown the imagery, but this is a perfect translation from radio to TV. Don't get me wrong...I still really enjoy the little pictures that develop in my head when listening on the radio...but this is shot in a way that is not heavy handed. There are still many dots left to connect. I really enjoyed the last act of episode 2. Haunting and poignant as the photographic equipment slides up and down and left to right. Well Done! Expand
  4. ChrisR
    Mar 20, 2007
    10
    Love the radio show, and the TV version is great too.
  5. AndrewH
    Mar 23, 2007
    10
    Ira Glass. Dramatic tension. Straightforwardness. Like nothing else on television or in radio or in books. Keep watching, listening, attending to the sensibility of the show and you will start living better and getting more out of your own life. I think the radio show is just as good or better, but there is a silliness in Glass that you don't get if you can't see him. He's Ira Glass. Dramatic tension. Straightforwardness. Like nothing else on television or in radio or in books. Keep watching, listening, attending to the sensibility of the show and you will start living better and getting more out of your own life. I think the radio show is just as good or better, but there is a silliness in Glass that you don't get if you can't see him. He's attached to a body! And a desk, apparently! Expand
  6. DaleD
    Mar 26, 2007
    10
    I thought that you couldn't possibly get any better than the radio show. I know now that you can equal it!!!
  7. buzzc
    Apr 18, 2007
    10
    perfect.
  8. leef
    Mar 23, 2007
    10
    real people are so much more interesting than made-up people
  9. RonW
    Mar 23, 2007
    10
    This is real for the real and life for those who love to live it. Phenomenal production. Shadows on the ground and clouds in the sky. True love hurts and through pain we can grow. Bravo Mr. Glass.
  10. OthoS
    Mar 28, 2007
    10
    This American Life translates beautifully to TV, although I miss the radio program's reliance on Glass' dulcet tones. I think that Maureen Ryan of the Trib gave it a lukewarm review simply so that she wouldn't look like parochial by praising a Chicago-originated program. It's okay, Maureen, Chicago is a big city. We're fairly sophisticated here. it doesn't This American Life translates beautifully to TV, although I miss the radio program's reliance on Glass' dulcet tones. I think that Maureen Ryan of the Trib gave it a lukewarm review simply so that she wouldn't look like parochial by praising a Chicago-originated program. It's okay, Maureen, Chicago is a big city. We're fairly sophisticated here. it doesn't matter what the New York Times says. You can like the show without looking like the television reviewer for the Des Moines Register. Expand

Awards & Rankings

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. 70
    It's a welcome addition to nonfiction television and a loyal friend to the radio show.
  2. 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.
  3. “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.