The groundbreaking public radio show This American Life comes to television tonight on Showtime at 10:30 p.m. ET (and repeats frequently).
The series follows the same structure as the PRI and Chicago Public Radio broadcast, telling multiple personal stories on the same theme. Each episode, however, is just 30 minutes long. The first, “Reality Check,” “tells three stories of people who set out to make their dreams come true, but were snapped back to reality by unpleasant outcomes,” according to Showtime.
After watching the first episode, I was surprised how seamlessly Ira Glass and his producers managed to translate the radio show to television. Watching the show feels like listening to the radio, except there are images, which is perhaps really obvious. But the tone and pacing feel the same, even though it works as a TV show, a format that requires a whole different approach, as Glass explained to Terry Gross recently.