John and I have just started watching This American Life via Netflix. Since John worked at an NPR affiliate for eight years, we’re well acquainted with the wonderful radio version but we’ve just gotten the first disc of the Showtime TV series.
Ira Glass is a spectacular story teller. I don’t know if his approach is the same for television, but for radio, he went into the studio unscripted and just talked about each of the segments he was introducing. He’s so comfortable with this improvisational style that the effect is that he’s just talking to you.
One beautiful story from the TV show is about a woman living in a senior citizens community writing her first screenplay, casting her retiree neighbors and working with a filmmaker to actually produce her movie. It appears to transform everyone involved.
In the meantime, you can watch a short promo.