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TV Review: DirecTV Hometown Heroes – A New Series from DirecTV

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An original series entitled DirecTV Hometown Heroes, premieres April 6th on DirecTV’s original entertainment channel The 101.  As the satellite television provider continues to expand its home grown series lineup, how does its newest offering measure up?

DirecTV Hometown Heroes is a series saluting the heroes among us.  Well, in this case the heroes among us who also happen to be DirecTV subscribers.   The series is a collection of stories focusing on those who have improved their communities, generally through acts of giving, courage, and compassion.  Delivered in neat, 30-minute parcels – DirecTV Hometown Heroes brings to the table plenty of feel-good stories.  Just don’t expect much more than that.

Each episode features three viewer stories.  Hometown Heroes correspondents explore the good deeds and hard work select DirecTV subscribers have done on behalf of others.  Each feature runs about 9 minutes in length and shows the “hero” at work while the correspondent voices over with their story.

The first episode features DirecTV customer Carolyn Blashek, who founded Operation Gratitude shortly after the September 11th attacks against America.   The organization sends care packages to troops around the world with the goal of maintaining and boosting morale.   Care packages contain snacks, entertainment items, toiletries, and letters of appreciation from home.  Every once and a while, they throw in something really special, such as the brand-new Jeep featured in this week's show.

The second story on the debut episode tells the story of Larry Scott, Director of Corporate recruitment at Verbum Dei High School.  Located in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, the school has put in place an innovative work-study program to help parents offset the high educational costs normally associated with private schooling.  Each student works five days per month as part of a four-student team employed by local corporations.  The money earned by each student, over $6,000, goes directly to the school to help pay tuition.

Finally, tonight's third story is the inspiring story of DirecTV customer Joanna Bull, who helped found Gilda’s Club.  Bull, a psychotherapist who worked with Gilda Radner during Radner's cancer treatments, was inspired to form the club as a way to help others battling the disease.  Along with Radner’s husband Gene Wilder and Joel Siegel, Gilda’s Club has expanded to 30 locations across the nation.  A non-profit organization, the club brings together those battling cancer – along with their friends and families.  Support is the theme of the club, helping cancer patients find the social and emotional network they need at this important time in their lives.

DirecTV Hometown Heroes is hosted by Joan Lunden, the former Good Morning America anchor who has been out of the spotlight for the last few years.  Show correspondents include Dr. Winnie King, and former Eight is Enough star Grant Goodeve.  While some nice journalistic talent has been assembled, the correspondents are rarely seen in the features.  The correspondents mainly serve as voice-over talent for the pieces and this lends an over-produced feeling to the show.

Overall, DirecTV Hometown Heroes gives you that happy feeling inside, but leaves you wanting more.  Spending more time, and some probing into the minds, hearts, and motivations of the “heroes” would certainly enhance the show, giving it some needed depth.

DirecTV Hometown Heroes is currently scheduled to run for 10-episodes, Sunday nights at 9 ET.  The series is presented exclusively on the satellite provider’s original entertainment channel, The 101.

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