Monday, March 24, 2008

HBO Is On Target With "John Adams"

Almost equaling my love of politics is my love of history, especially American history. And one of the most interesting periods of our history (and least understood by the general public), is the establishment of our Republic.

We tend to put our Founding Fathers on a pedestal, but they were just humans who were called upon to do extraordinary things. They had their foibles and faults, but were able to rise above these in a time of great need.

Two of the most extraordinary people during that time were John and Abigail Adams, and yet today they are overlooked by many in their zeal to eulogize Washington, Jefferson and Franklin. So I was excited to learn that HBO was doing a mini-series on the Adams. But I was also afraid. HBO has done some very good things, but it has also done some unwatchable tripe.

But I shouldn't have worried. After watching the first three episodes, I have to admit that HBO (and executive producer Tom Hanks) are doing a remarkable job in retelling the lives of John and Abigail Adams. If the last four episodes are anywhere near as good as the first three, then there will have to be some Emmy nominations.

The production's creators have shown a respect for our history with an unerring eye for detail and truth. They also understand that John Adams was not a solitary hero. He and his beloved Abigail were a team, and he could not have achieved the things he did without her. She was his equal, and they had one of the greatest love stories in our history.

The casting is also perfect. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney as John and Abigail are both believable and compelling in the roles, and these roles give them ample opportunity to display their considerable acting skills.

If you have not seen this series yet, then I urge you to do so. This is one that HBO has done right.


  1. HBO and the producers did very well, but it helps that they had a great book to base everything on.

    Production values are important, as are skilled performances from the actors. However, the quality of the writing is what sets this (and the other HBO standouts like 'The Wire') apart from most of what's available on network and basic cable TV.


  2. I certainly can't argue with that!

  3. I was watching the HBO series John Adams tonight and there was a nod at George Washington's false teeth. It made me laugh because I remembered that those teeth are on display in Baltimore at The National Museum of Dentistry. Not only that, the map that the American delegation in France used to identify the United States of America at the Treaty of Paris, the actual map from George III’s library, is on display at the Maps exhibitions running at The Walters Art Museum. Check it out


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