This American Life 2 Seasons 2008

Amazon Instant Video

Season 2
(18) IMDb 8.1/10
Available in HD

1. Escape TV-MA CC

Teenage boys find ways to impress girls using a mode of transport obsolete since the 19th century; a young man's fight for independence from his mother would be normal for most kids, except for some special circumstances.

Starring:
Johnny Depp, Ira Glass
Runtime:
29 minutes
Original air date:
May 4, 2008

Available to watch on supported devices.

Escape

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Season 2

Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Christopher Wilcha, Adam Beckman
Starring Johnny Depp, Ira Glass
Season year 2009
Network Showtime
Producers Alex Blumberg, Mary Anderson Casavant, Ken Druckerman, Jane Feltes, Jocelyn Hayes, Robyn Semien, Julie Snyder, Banks Tarver, Nancy Updike, Christine Vachon, Kevin Vargas, Christopher Wilcha
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

It's sad that they are no longer producing the show.
Jonathan Thurmond
With almost five hours worth of video including the extras, it's very over-compressed and some of the gorgeous cinematography really suffers.
J. S. Sevakis
The comedian Mike Birbiglia who is said to appear in the episode never appears in the 15 minutes and 40 seconds of footage.
J. Larsen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Sevakis on January 28, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This American Life is easily the best show on the radio, and with season 2 it can safely be said that its television adaptation joins the ranks of the best on that medium as well. While Season 1 faltered slightly, constrained too much by the differences in format and perhaps a bit too indulgent in stories that weren't as interesting as the producers thought, Season 2 is nothing short of astonishing. It's funny, it's deeply moving, and introspective about what makes us all human. The final, longer episode, "John Smith", reduces me to a sobbing mess every time I watch it. It's simply one of my favorite pieces of film ever made, ever, and I've spent the better part of my life sifting through eclectic movies and television.

Unfortunately somebody at CBS DVD made the bone-headed decision to stuff all six episodes onto a single disc, which is a shame. With almost five hours worth of video including the extras, it's very over-compressed and some of the gorgeous cinematography really suffers. I would kill for a Blu-Ray of this series. Or even the exact same thing on a two-disc set.

With that limitation in mind, you simply need to see this show. Skip season one and head straight for this extremely low-priced disc. You will not regret it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By ReadingSound on July 30, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This American Life was the first radio shows with which I became absolutely enthralled, revolving my Saturday morning schedule around its airing until other means of listening came along. So I was happy about Showtime picking at up, and not at all skeptical that a TV version would disappoint.

And it didn't, at first. Season one of the television show did not disappoint, and neither, truthfully, did season two. If I were to judge season two by nixing any preconceived notions about This American Life (either in radio format or the format laid out by season one of the TV show).

Something in season two was lacking for me right off the bat. It remained pure speculation as to why season two did not strike the same chord with me. I finally figured out that it was lack of Ira Glass's narrative. You see, the DVD has a live presentation as a bonus feature. And in it I see Chris Wilcha (co-director of the TV version) and Ira Glass discussing how they chose in season two to have Ira Glass be involved as little as possible(!).

This was the profound difference between season one and two. Chris Wilcha and Showtime mistakenly believed that it was wise to relegate Ira Glass to the background as much as possible, instead of letting him narrate the show as he had done in season one. From what I gathered, those whom had misgivings about a TV version agree that episode one of first season soothed those fears. The show was still lovable. No matter how many moving pictures were added, it was definitely still This American Life. Believing that Ira Glass wouldn't surrender so much creative control, I had none of these misgivings and the TV show did not disappoint-- in season one. That was season one though.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 2, 2009
Format: DVD
I still remember when I first came across the radio show for This American Life. My wife and I were first dating, and, coming back from a movie, we sat in the car from 11pm to midnight, listening to the story that so captivated. In the 12 years since, I have never missed an radio show.

Ira Glass has taken his ear for story and married it to a beautiful eye. Each episode this season is lovingly filmed, the themes running through each episode are familiar, yet meaningful, and the stories will stay with you for most of your life.

From the first episode in the series, "Escape", which chronicles the life of an young man striving to be on his own but constrained by a disease that leaves him physically helpless, to the last episode in the series, "Meet John Smith", which chronicles a year in the life of 7 men named John Smith at different ages, this is what you Edward R. Murrow must have hoped TV would become.

Not a wasteland of reality TV shows and laugh tracks, but a respectful and deep record of the dignity and challenges surrounding everyday life.

I got this season on iTunes, but I would highly recommend that you pre-order this season. You will not be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 11, 2009
Format: DVD
"This American Life, Season Two"
(Showtime, 2009)
-------------------------------------------
Like many fans of the PBS radio show, "This American Life," I have to struggle with myself regarding my feelings about the television version of the unique, irony-filled documentary program. Having watched the first two seasons of the TV show, I am still partial to the original radio program, which engages me more on an imaginative plane -- however, the Showtime program is still provocative and consistently surprising. This season seems less dependent on wacky imagery to compensate for thinner narrative structures, although the cinematography is still quite nice. The stories are frequently uncomfortable -- the first program is about a child who has a progressively degenerative skeletal disease; watching this bright, funny person trapped inside a crumbling, constrictive body is quite difficult, but also quite moving. Likewise, an episode that captures a marriage as it implodes is mesmerizing yet sad. The season finale is an ambitious project, in which several people of different ages -- from an infant to a senior citizen -- who all share the name "John Smith" have their life stories stitched together in a way that suggests a continuous narrative. The conceit is clever, but the concept seems somehow exploitative and misleading, particularly in sequences such as when "John" makes the unlikely transition from drug-rehabbing slacker to high-tech exec at Microsoft. There are some similar themes -- dealing with health issues, raising children -- but the John Smiths do not cohere into a working composite, and ultimately viewers may wonder what the point really was. Regardless, the show is still puckish and unique, and certainly more of a legitmate "reality show" than the tawdry contests seen on the networks. Definitely worth checking out. (Joe Sixpack, Slipcue film review blog)
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