Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This American Life DVD on sale starting today!

Back in 1996 when I was first dating my husband-to-be, he turned me on to a radio show on NPR called This American Life. We'd listen while driving over the mountains at noon on a Saturday, or late at night at 10 o' clock. The stories were so good, it would keep us in the car, even after we'd pull up in the driveway.

Public radio was that thing your parents would listen to in the car when all you wanted to do was turn on some music, but this show is different. Each week, they'll choose a theme and do three to four stories, fiction or non-fiction, on that theme: for instance, fiascos, the allure of the mean friend, and, appropo to this blog, what I learned from television. Whether the story is real or made up, they are always told in the most gripping, suspenseful, what's-going-to-happen-next, way.

I had the pleasure of seeing host Ira Glass talk about how he interviews people and puts a story together and if I was ever half as good as he was, I'd be awesome, that's how good he is. It was at this event that I found out he was doing a TV version of his radio show, quirky stories and all, for Showtime--made me want to go upgrade my cable right there, but figured I'd wait till it came out on DVD.

The first season is finally out, as of today, exclusively at Borders, but also on iTunes. Below is Ira talking about it, followed by a clip from the first episode.

Showtime had the entire first episode, "Reality Check" for free on their website last year as a promo, unfortunately, this is all that is left. So here's the set up: a rancher has pet bull, named Chance, who dies. Rancher hears about a cloning project at Texas A&M, begs researcher to clone his dead bull, and gets--wait for it-- a Second Chance. But let's just say Number Two is not as friendly as Number One, and this episode deals with the the rancher coming to terms with the fact that he's not really got his friend back.

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