Liberty! Patriotism! Grown-up Sex!

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

A seriously great piece of history, made into a seriously great piece of art.

A seriously great piece of history, made into a seriously great piece of art. Source: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Some historical miniseries are like eating your vegetables — I confess, I was afraid that HBO's John Adams would be a beautiful piece of asparagus. If it is, it is smothered in perfect hollandaise sauce. I can't stop talking about it — it's a really intimate version of the birth of the country. Yes, there's a revolution, and a less then genteel tea party — but most of that happens off camera. History is written in the arguments — and the passionate commitment and conversation of Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin (a scene-thieving Tom Wilkinson), and the wonderfully patient Abigail Adams. John Adams is one of the only times I've seen a really adult relationship portrayed — Abigail and John are a heartbreakingly beautiful love story, as well as patriots (plus, there's a wonderful love scene — grown up sex, finally, on tv). Paul Giamatti is so good — so virtuously eccentric — I find myself fending off tears at least twice an episode. We're talking to Tom Hooper, the director, today, and boy, do I have a lot of questions. Been watching it? What are yours?



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My father is a noted historian for Lafayette and as such is much more critical of these shows than others because he is constantly seeing - "the errors" in this case I think he liked the show very much.

I personally was most impressed with the indirect way - that distance and slowness in communications was frustrating. I kept turning to my spouse and saying gosh - if they only had had "email" or a quicker form of communication. I mean imagine hearing the news of the death of one's son thru a letter.

Sent by Mary Idzerda Perko | 3:33 PM | 4-15-2008

When will us folks that do-not have HBO be able to see this movie

Sent by Wilbur | 3:38 PM | 4-15-2008

What is the average time that it would take for news of events in New England to get to London and/or Paris? In other words, how long did it take to cross the Atlantic?

Sent by don zweig | 3:46 PM | 4-15-2008

This is the best thing I've seen on television in some time. I hope this team will produce a series for Washington and Jefferson.

Sent by Jerry | 3:53 PM | 4-15-2008

i thoroughly enjoyed listening to John Adams by David McCullough on disc. this HBO series has expanded my inner eye of how life was during this period. thank you so much for efforts. The behind the scenes session was great! thank you for your efforts.

Sent by donna mcfadden | 3:55 PM | 4-15-2008

Will HBO consider creating similar series which focus on the founding fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson. I think Stephen Dillane has done a superb job portraying Jefferson as a real human being while preserving his belief in the human spirit. I beg them to please at least consider it!

Sent by Lisa O'Quinn | 7:49 PM | 4-15-2008

In the segment on John Adams, it was mentioned, with humor, that the only time in history the French Navy won on a confrontation with the British Navy was the battle of Yorktown. This is incorrect. I am not sure if the French even consider Yorktown a French victory, but they do consider the Battle of Vieux Grand Port (Mauritius) to be a victory and I believe it is listed on the Arc d' Tremph in Paris.

Sent by Bill Jackson | 3:16 PM | 4-16-2008

I had the opportunity to read the book- a great read. President Adams was just very"underrated" to say the least. I was happy to watch the HBO series and see they stayed very close to the book- that was a home run. The next HBO series should be Chernow's book about Alexander Hamilton's. As good a read as the Adams book in many ways.

Sent by Bob Caruso | 12:17 PM | 4-22-2008