The insightful 'Our Towns' premieres April 13 on HBO and HBO Max

Our Towns
(Image credit: HBO)

It's extremely easy to get upset these days. It's harder — much harder — to slow down and think and take a look from a higher level while also seeing what things are truly like from the ground. But that's exactly what authors James and Deborah Fallows did with their bestseller "Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America." 

It all started 2011 with a column for The Atlantic asking readers to share stories about their hometowns. And for the next five years, the Fallowses flew from town to town (he's a private pilot) to experience those stories for themselves. Thus the book was born. That book also paved the way for a lecture series (I caught the couple when they gave their talk here in Pensacola, Fla., in 2018), and now it's become an HBO documentary — Our Towns — which premieres on April 13. 

The cameras follow the couple through eight U.S. cities — San Bernardino, Calif.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Columbus, Miss.; Eastport, Maine; Charleston, W.Va.; and Bend, Ore.

Here's the official line, from HBO:

introduces us to a wide range of civic leaders, immigrants, educators, environmentalists, artists, students, and more, witnessing their love for their communities and the innovative ways they are improving them. The film provides an expansive perspective on America that finds unexpected connections between personal stories, community actions, and the arc of history. Although filmed before the pandemic, OUR TOWNS speaks to how the country, and by extension the world, can find a way forward.

The documentary will be available on HBO as well as on-demand as HBO Max. The latter remains available on every major streaming service, which mean you can watch HBO Max on Roku, or you can watch HBO Max on Amazon Fire TV.

HBO Max remains priced the same as the legacy HBO service — $14.99 a month.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.