After literally months of intense anticipation, the day of deliverance has finally arrived! HBO's new blockbuster miniseries "John Adams" aired for the first time last night, giving its audience a double feature of sorts, as they aired the first two parts of this seven-part miniseries.
So what did you all think? Did you find these initial two parts entertaining? Were they historically accurate in your opinion? What did you like/dislike about it?
As for myself, I realize that there were several small specifics that were not as accurate as they could have been. It is virtually impossible to get all of the small details completely accurate in any portrayal of the past, so I will not dwell on these. Besides, I am sure that many a historian of the American Revolution will be sure to point out every single one of these historical "infractions." Instead, I will focus on some generalities (both good and bad) that I observed from last night's show.
The Good Stuff:
1.) HBO did (in my opinion) an excellent job of recreating the 18th century colonial world. As one can imagine, colonial America in the 18th century was a difficult place in which to live. After all, colonial America was essentially on the fringe of established civilization. This show did a wonderful job of bringing to light those difficulties that made life hard for many colonists. The scene where Abigail Adams decides to inoculate her family is an excellent portrayal of how hard these times could be.
2.) This miniseries has also done an excellent job of portraying the American Revolution as an intense, confusing, and scary time for its participants. In today's America, the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution are often romanticized to death, which prevents us from understanding the true nature of their accomplishments. This film, however, effectively demonstrates the fact that the American Revolution was anything but certain for its participants. The portrayal of fighting and arguing in the Continental Congress helps to capture this in the film.
3.) The John/Abigail relationship is captured with incredible accuracy. HBO should feel good about how they portrayed John and Abigail's marriage in these first two parts of the miniseries. It was very well done in my opinion.
Things to be Desired:
1.) I think that starting this miniseries in 1770 was a bad idea. It omits too much of the initial conflict between Boston and Britain. There is no mention of the French & Indian War, the Stamp Act, the Declaratory Act, etc. These are extremely important factors that shaped the Britain/Boston feud. I understand that the film has to omit some stuff (even if this miniseries were 1000 hours long it could never capture it all), but for an American audience that is sure to be unfamiliar with this time period, a brief introduction into these events would certainly have helped.
2.) These first two parts of the miniseries move very quickly through six years of extremely important history (1770-1776). Again, I understand the need for this, but I feel that the audience loses out on so much history. There is a great deal of important information that is breezed through, recieving nothing more than a brief recognition.
3.) The role of John Adams in the early years of the American Revolution is a little overplayed. Don't get me wrong here, John Adams was a very important figure at this time. The film, however, depicts him as the principle player in the revolution in many cases. I wish that this film would have portrayed the fact that Samuel Adams and John Hancock were the main movers and shakers during the initial years of the American Revolution. Again, I understand why the focus is on Adams. After all, the miniseries carries his name. I just wish that there was a little more of a focus on the contribution of the other characters.
Again, these are just some general factors that I noticed in last night's show. Overall, this film is excellent! I found myself enthralled with the storyline from beginning to end. I cannot wait for next week! Now that we've declared independence, the series is sure to pick up steam!