Posted by: Susan | March 26, 2008

The Best History Lesson

John Adams, an HBO miniseries.

I would just as soon have a root canal as watch a historical drama.  And such a drama in no less than seven parts must surely be excruciating.  But this one features some of my favorite actors, including Paul Giamatti (who can forget “Sideways?”) and Laura Linney as John and Abigail Adams along with David Morse as George Washington and Tom Wilkinson (“The Full Monty”) as Ben Franklin.  The only one missing is Philip Seymour Hoffman, and he would have been great in any role.  But I digress.  My husband, the history freak buff, promised me this would be good and nagged me to watch “just one” episode.  So what the heck?

I ‘m telling you I cannot wait until Sunday night and the next installment!  This one reminds me of “Apollo 13” in that you already know how it comes out in the end but you’re riveted anyway.   The hook here is the personalities and relationships among the founding fathers and the context in which our country was founded.  Who knew Abigail Adams was such a smart cookie politically (her husband was definitely not) and that she and John had such a love story; who knew that Ben Franklin was such a rake and a lothario?  Who knew that John Quincy (the son) went to Russia at 14 years old to act as secretary to the American envoy?   Well, maybe you history freaks buffs, but certainly not the history impaired like me.

It’s not too late to catch up if you haven’t seen the first three episodes (HBO is running repeats throughout the week).  Each installment really stands on its own, and there is a ton of info on HBO’s website.  If you don’t have HBO….well, er, um, I don’t really know what to suggest except that maybe they’ll put it out on DVD and you can get it then.  Or you can buy the book on which it’s based, which I am definitely planning to do.  It’s called John Adams, (duh) by David McCullough, who is a fascinating person in his own right.



  1. Geez, now I’m sorry I canceled HBO.

    BTW, I ordered one of those cat crappers I told you about the other day. I’ll keep you posted on how it does in managing kittycat kaka.

  2. The series started really losing me by that third episode. But I have to admit up front to being a bit of a history buff.

    Abigail was indeed one smart cookie, but they did not have to prove it by making Adams such an unstable child.

    But on the bright side, it brought you and your husband together for the same program.

    Here is my take on the series:

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