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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Who else is watching JOHN ADAMS on HBO???

DAMN if this ain't one of the best things done for television in a long time!

I've been watching it since the first part a few weeks ago and have become absolutely hooked! John Adams is based on David McCullough's biography of the second President of the United States, played in the series by Paul Giamatti. Part 1 began the story on the night of the Boston Massacre in 1763, and followed Adams as he successfully defended the British soldiers involved in the incident. During the ensuing weeks we have watched Adams' involvement with the Continental Congress, the increasing tensions between the colonists and Britain, the trip that Adams and Benjamin Franklin made to Europe, and tonight's chapter found Adams coming to terms with being the first Vice-President in the new country's history.

It's beautifully played and all exquisitely portrayed. HBO did an amazing job with Rome during the past two seasons and in some ways John Adams is even better. I don't know if there's been a series this epic since Lonesome Dove, or perhaps even The Winds of War. This is the unvarnished birth of America, warts and all (be warned though: the scene in "Part 1: Join or Die" where the British agent gets tarred and feathered literally had me screaming in agonized disbelief). All from the perspective of a man who has perhaps gone unappreciated for the role he played in the creation of this country... until now.

I'm loving every minute of John Adams. But at the same time I'm extremely frustrated while watching this mini-series. Just listening to the way these people talked and more important, their thoughts: these were such an enlightened citizenry. They had drive and passion and they weren't afraid to stand their ground and fight for what they believed in.

And then I think about people of my own era and I have to wonder: what the hell happened to us?

Where is that old, bold blood that flowed through the veins of our forefathers? What happened to that noble race, in spite of whatever flaws that they possessed (something that I'm glad John Adams is not glossing over for sake of a "glorified" American history)?

I think about the America that the Founders strove and sacrificed for, and when I look around me today... well, where is it?

Could we ever have that America again? Not without sacrifice from our own part. And to be honest, I don't know if we have that wondrous balance of will and humility within us any more.

But my landlady in Asheville used to tell me that yes, the "old blood" is still there, waiting for the right time to rise again. I pray she was right. Watching John Adams just makes me yearn for it that much more.

If you've missed it so far, don't get yer powdered wig all in a twist 'cuz John Adams will be coming to DVD on June 10th. It's already on my "must-get" list :-)


Abas KS said...

Hi, Chris

How are you?

His portrayal as the psycho villian in Shoot em Up really is the best performance I have seen from him. It is interesting to see him in a more epic character in the John Adams tv series. Paul Giamatti is a versatile actor!


Unknown said...

I have been watching since the beginning. Very good, historically accurate series. Learned a few things they didn't teach in school!


Anonymous said...

What happened to us?

Simple-- we became the land of Lincoln and his successors -- Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Clinton, Bush and their offspring... political correctness, empire building, murder of native Indian populations, feminism, group identity over individual rights, destruction of the 10th amendment, megacorporations and "free trade" etc

Most Americans today don't "think" or "believe" at all. They are pavlovian dogs that salivate over Britney, Paris, Xbox, Hollywood, etc and wouldn't know a real news story if it slapped them in the face. The marketers "ring the bell" and the lemmings respond.

The sun is setting on the American empire.

Chris Knight said...

rgroland, did you see the preview for next week's chapter? I LOVED the part where Adams told Hamilton that he was insane!

"anonymous", you put in three short paragraphs everything I've been trying to say in this blog over the past four years. This part is particularly true:

"Most Americans today don't "think" or "believe" at all. They are pavlovian dogs that salivate over Britney, Paris, Xbox, Hollywood, etc and wouldn't know a real news story if it slapped them in the face."

As Pat Buchanan said a few weeks ago, "We are an unserious people for a serious time" :-(

Unknown said...

Yes, can't wait for next weeks chapter.. I am finishing up reading the two books by Jeff Shaara, " Rise to Rebellion" and "The Glorious Cause". Awesome books on the Revolution. I will be starting McCullough's biography "John Adams" next. Just got my hardback from Amazon. (Only buy used!!).