I love every David McCullough book. Whether it’s "The Bridge," "Mornings on Horseback," "1776" or
something else, McCullough does it for me. Every work is a masterpiece.
So, as might be expected, I couldn’t wait to see HBOs take on the McCullough book, "John Adams." And, while I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve also found myself wincing at times.
Having read the book, I knew how critically important Abigail Adams was to John’s success and stability. But, the HBO series focuses on the marital angle to the detriment of the rest of the story. So, instead of seeing Adams negotiating with the vanquished Brits at the Paris Peace Treaty conference we, instead, see him dropping his drawers and ravishing Abigail. That’s way too much information, especially with Paul Giamatti playing the lead role.
HBO also took great pains to ensure the octogenarian Benjamin Franklin (played by the scene stealing Tom Wilkinson) is seen cavorting with French tarts. Talk about revolting. The whole thing gives new meaning to the phrase ‘founding fathers’ and diminishes what, in my mind, is an otherwise outstanding contribution to cable programming.
I’ve enjoyed the series, but I’ve really struggled with Paul Giamatti playing the lead role, both in an out of the embrace of Mrs. Adams. It’s been a distraction for me throughout. Conversely I think Tom Wilkinson and Laura Linney have shined.