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Thursday, March 13, 2008

John and Abigail Adams get the HBO treatment.

Alas, I don't yet have cable and so will have to wait to rent the upcoming HBO miniseries about John Adams, based on David McCullough's sympathetic biography. The seven-part miniseries airs on Sundays starting March 16. Here's a trailer:

Jill Lepore, in reviewing the series for The New Yorker, says that Paul Giametti's Adams is "the Ebenezer Scrooge of the American Revolution, slouchy, grouchy, and crusty, but mushy on the inside."

Meanwhile, if you haven't already picked up a copy of Forrest Church's lively history of the separation of church and state, this would be a great time to do it. The chapters on John Adams are among my favorites. An abridged section in UU World introduces Adams this way:

John Adams is the most vivid American founder. Everything Adams touched bore the imprint of his nature: petty, querulous, and vain; yet also candid, playful, and curious. Adams elevated self-scrutiny into an art. His diary drips with Puritan angst, yet Adams fell several tenets short of the basic requirements of Christian orthodoxy. For starters, he rejected original sin and the doctrine of predestination; the Atonement — "Christ died for our sins" — fit nowhere in his theology. He didn't think like a true believer, but he felt like a true believer. A lifelong churchgoing animal like his fathers and mothers before him, to Adams the Bible was the best book in the world and Christianity the one indispensable guarantor of public morality.

A character like that deserves dramatization. My favorite to date is William Daniels as Adams in the 1972 musical 1776, even though the script mashes bits of Sam Adams into the character, too.

("The divider," Jill Lepore, New Yorker 3.17.08; "America's founding faiths," Forrest Church, UU World Nov/Dec 2007)

Copyright © 2008 by Philocrites | Posted 13 March 2008 at 7:59 AM

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March 14, 2008 02:44 PM | Permalink for this comment

As much as I can't stand Paul Giamatti, I love John Adams so much I immediately subscribed to HBO and am willing to pay the $14 for the next two months to get to see this. I fear that Laura Linney may be a bit too dimpling to play a realistic Abigail but Tom Wilkinson as Ben Franklin is TOO awesome, and I just can't wait!

Come over and watch it with us!

P.S. I have an eternal serious crush on William Daniels for his portrayal of JA. Serious. Eternal.


March 14, 2008 06:57 PM | Permalink for this comment

"For God's sake, John, SIT DOWN!"

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