Thursday, July 3, 2008

John and Abigail Adams--They're Just Like Us

It has come to our attention that HBO plans to re-run the excellent John Adams miniseries in its entirety tomorrow on the 4th of July. This is great news for those who might have missed it the first time, and even better news for fanatics like myself and my fellow Nose bloggers, who are only too happy to watch it over and over again. The John Adams miniseries is one of the most remarkable productions to come out of HBO Films. The quality was flawless, (I would put the cinematography in the Academy Award winning zone), the cast was amazing (Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney as John and Abigail--they will be nominated for buckets of Emmy Awards) and the writing was authentic and suburb. But beyond all that, the thing I liked best about this series, was how incredibly real and human it made the founding fathers of America seem. Not a dried up picture on the wall, not a boring chapter in a school text book. Real. They loved, they fought and they worried about their kids. Just like us.

Since this is 4th of July Eve, it is a great day to remember one of my most favorite scenes in the John Adams miniseries. The Delaration of Independence is signed and then read to a cheering crowd. Imagine hearing these words for the very first time. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." This miniseries gave viewers the opportunity to feel like they were right there in the streets of Philadelphia in 1776.

But we are not in Philadelphia and alas it is 2008, not the dawn of a new nation. The economy is going down in flames, gas is $4.60 a gallon and thanks to drought and global warming, a lot of places in California won't even have fireworks. Yet the words in the document still have the power to thrill, even on the verge of doom. As John Adams said, "People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity". Americans are a tough and hopeful lot. If we don't like the way things are, we kick the bums out and and write a new script. So it was over 200 years ago. And so it continues today. Happy 4th of July everyone. And don't forget to watch John Adams!


Dean Treadway said...

Cannot wait to see this on DVD!! Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait! I've been saying we need to re-examine our history through movies and now between this and Speilberg's "Lincoln," it seems like the execs in LA are finally getting the message! Yayyyyy!

Jane said...

I can't wait to read Lisa's John Adams post...digging deeper into the human side of why we so adored this series. I will be first in line for the DVD as well. Back in the old days of TV, we would always talk about what would hold up in "re-runs". Even though we know the outcome, this series is so layered, so bears multiple watching. I see something new each time. I love it.