The new HBO miniseries John Adams is now in its second week. So far, the film has been the buzz of almost every single blog and website that is dedicated to the American Revolution. It is wonderful to finally have a film on the American Revolution that the public is responding to.
Last week I gave the first two episodes ("Join or Die" and "Independence") some positive reviews. This week, however, I felt that episode #3, "Don't Tread on Me," was actually quite dreadful. This episode deals primarily with the experiences John Adams faced while in France from 1777-1781. My main problem with this episode (and I think this will be my main problem with the series overall) is that it only skims the surface of history. There is little to no "meat." Again, I understand that this is primarily the result of the limits of film making. With that said, I still found myself longing for much more from last night's episode. There was absolutely NOTHING on the war itself (again, I realize that this is a film on John Adams and not the Continental Army), which is an extremely important part of the revolutionary story. I also felt that Franklin's role in France was greatly diminished in the film. I understand the need to portray the Adams/Franklin feud, but at the same time is seemed like Franklin was often portrayed as nothing more than a lazy sex maniac, which diminishes his all-important role as America's finest diplomat.
The French were also portrayed in a somewhat negative light. Instead of depicting the French nobility as child-like and oblivious, I wish that the film would have shown the French as they were in the 18th century: as THE center of culture, sophistication and education.
Anyway, I sincerely hope that next week's episode will be more on the lines of episode #2, which I feel is the best so far.