When a TV network offers new programming that’s entertaining, inspiring and substantive it’s enough to renew our faith in miracles. HBO’s epic eight hours on John Adams is precisely that sort of pop culture miracle: a lovingly-rendered tribute to the most misunderstood, most under-rated of our founding fathers. Aside from admirable attention to historical detail, the HBO miniseries offers perfect casting—with Paul Giamatti as an Adams who’s simultaneously brave, pompous, and selflessly patriotic. The luminous Laura Linney captures Adams’ wife Abigail, with dialogue based frequently on actual letters, providing a singularly moving portrait of a romantic, richly functional, lifelong marital partnership. The series also stresses the nobility of politics – without which, even battlefield heroism could come to naught. David Morse is appropriately noble, charismatic and dignified as George Washington while Tom Wilkinson enjoys the role of Ben Franklin nearly as much as Franklin himself enjoyed his long life. Every American over the age of ten should see this rewarding piece of work – while prepared to see brief, disturbing glimpses of war time violence. The John Adams miniseries runs on HBO every Sunday night through April.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
John Adams Miniseries: A Pop Culture Miracle