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JOHN ADAMS the miniseries

JOHN ADAMS on HBO

Are any of you watching this miniseries? I had high hopes for it, since I generally like those particular actors, and I love learning about historical figures. Plus, there hasn’t been a good miniseries in a while.

Well, this one isn’t good either. I say that with regret, and I keep watching in case it improves. But instead, it keeps getting…. worse.

At this point – four installments into it – I have a basic question:

Are we supposed to like or admire John Adams as a man, a husband, a father or a statesman? At all? Because so far, I don’t on any score.

I am convinced that if this portrayal is accurate, then the man never deserved to be VP, let alone president. And certainly never deserved to be married to Abigail, although she doesn’t come off so well in this production either.

Meanwhile, the show commits the biggest sin of all – it makes a thrilling part of history seem a little dull. They insist on having all the big events happen off screen, which would be an interesting technique if the little events that happen ON screen weren’t so tedious. (I’m sure they do this in the name of “historical accuracy,” but slavish devotion to verifiable facts or letters or diaries, without trying to capture the underlying spirit or vitality, is simply not accurate at all. Apparently most of the scenes and dialogue are based on letters between John and Abigail, and that’s all well and good, but perhaps they didn’t write down many of the interesting tidbits, remarks, etc, and they kept their observations cryptic because letters in those war-torn days could easily be captured by the British. /rant)

Oh well… Maybe next week’s episode will be better.

P.S. The George Washington character is okay, but the actor who plays that role also played a serial killer in DISTURBIA, which I just saw for the first time a few weeks ago. So even that isn’t working for me. On the other hand, Ben Franklin is kind of fun. But honestly? There’s no one I really admire in the whole darned thing. If these guys are the fathers of our country, we’re in BIG trouble.

Side Note: The best scene by far was right after Jefferson finished writing the Declaration of Independence, and other people started editing him. He told them coolly that he had chosen each word very carefully. And that got me to thinking – this wasn’t just pre-computer, it was pre-typewriter (: - o), and yep, I’ll bet you really did choose each word with greater care when you knew what a mess it would make if you wanted to change something later. (According to this rendition, Jefferson didn’t really “hold these truths to be self-evident” – he held them to be clear and irrefutable, or words to that effect, but Franklin changed it. ) I’m with Franklin on that one, but still…..

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 11th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
John Adams
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 http://www.visitmybaltimore.com/video/438/

katedonovan
Apr. 12th, 2008 01:01 am (UTC)
Re: John Adams
I laughed at that part too! I had heard about the wooden teeth, of course, but I didn't know they were on display. How fitting (pardon pun) that they're at the Dentistry museum.

I visited the link you sent me, but I couldn't hear the video, even though the sound is turned up on my computer. I wonder what I'm doing wrong.

Kate
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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