Thursday, July 24, 2008

TAL me a story

A while back, Netflix introduced this new "Watch Instantly" option for some of their titles. Now, in addition to however many movies you get in the mail, your subscription allows you access to some small subset of movies and shows online. It's a pretty cool idea, but they require you to use Internet Explorer, and in the beginning they didn't have all that much available that I was interested in watching. Yesterday, though, I browsed their selection again, and they've added a bunch of stuff. Notably, they've added several pay-channel (Showtime, HBO, etc) TV shows that I've wanted to check out. So I added Weeds, Dexter, and This American Life to the "Instant Queue."

This American Life started out as a weekly NPR program. Tom & I enjoy listening to it when we can catch it. Last year, they started making a TV version that airs on Showtime, so I've never had the opportunity to see it. This morning, I went ahead and watched the first episode.

I have to stop right here for a moment to say that Netflix, which I adore, is annoyingly buddy-buddy with Microsoft with regard to this whole "Watch Instantly" venture. MUST use Internet Explorer. MUST have the latest version of Windows Media Player installed. MUST download additional special WMP drivers. The video quality's great, I'll give them that, but I'm still a little miffed at the corporate whoring they've got going on.


The first episode of the TAL tv show featured 2 stories, both of which I'd already heard on the radio version of the program. It'd been a while though, so I was happy to sit through them again, and it's kind of neat to see images of stuff as they're talking about them. It's funny to see Ira Glass, the host, who looks nothing like I'd pictured him from listening to his voice. Basically though, the show is just the same as it ever was, same format and such, only there's stuff to watch in addition to the stuff you hear. And I think that's a good thing. I was kind of worried they would make the format all crazy for TV or something - crazy how, I don't know - but it was nice. I'm looking forward to watching more later.


MC Squared said...

Betsey and I went to see Ira give a talk at a church in Portland a while ago. He talked about the art of radio and TAL and the new Show. A lot of consideration went into the format and the opening scene settings (where he has the desk in crazy locations). He also talked about learning what works on radio that doesn't work on TV and vice-versa. They were trying to capture the feeling of the radio show, and from what I hear they've done a good job. I'm jealous you're seeing it and I'm not, but in a happy for you kind of way.

susan said...

You got to see Ira in person! Now who's jealous?