Tuesday, March 25, 2008
john adams: perhaps better with sam adams?
Although my spring break won't start for a few weeks yet, I found myself gifted with a four-day Easter weekend which I somehow managed to squander away in the least productive manner possible.  Which is fine.  I should do better to remind myself that every free day need not be spent organizing my closets.  However, after making the conscious decision to spend my free Monday in a manner that doesn't involve grading, cleaning, straightening or organizing a single solitary thing, I needed some activity to divert my mind away from the guilt I knew I would ultimately start feeling over not spending this time grading, cleaning, straightening, or organizing a single solitary thing.  And since watching television is usually the best way to stifle thought (which can be a pesky, pesky beast from time to time) that's how I decided to spend the day - hanging out with my television.

But then comes the issue of what to watch on a Monday morning.  Since my dad had raved about HBO's John Adams mini-series over Easter dinner, I figured I'd take his usually sound advice and catch the first two episodes on On Demand.  And since I found myself incapable of not starting a load of laundry about 45 minutes in, I guess it was with this decision where my dream of doing nothing failed.

I know most of my readers have been watching it, so I'll spare the details and cut to the opinion.  It's not that it's bad, exactly.  The acting is great and the actors well-chosen, but...well...damn the Continental Congress makes for boring television!  And I'm honestly rather surprised that I reacted this way seeing how I love history, and would have minored in it had I not listened to some whack job college advisor who was a bit too convincing that a Earth Science minor would make me more marketable than a History one.  (For the record, it didn't.)  

Actually, the first thirty minutes of the first installment were pretty engrossing, but then somewhere between tarring and feathering a British merchant and Abigail Adams's fight with small pox I became all fidgety and unable to resist the sexy pull of all that unfolded laundry.  The wonky camera angles were irritating in their frequency and nonsensicality (tilted to show the burning intensity John Adams must have felt when spreading manure over his farmland, I suppose?) and by Episode 2 the whole thing felt a bit interminable.

I don't know.  I'm loathe to quit when in the middle of something, so I might finish it despite all that.  

But then again, I might not.



Blogger Nathan said...

I only saw a bit of the John Adams mini-series. I found it mildly interesting but poorly paced. I saw about 40 minutes, thought it was interesting, and then wondered why it took 20 more minutes to advance the story.

The story of John Adams is greatly interesting and David McCullough writes compelling biographies (the source material for the mini-series) but this fell flat.

The performance of Paul Giamatti and the other actors was fine but I felt the screenplay needed a handful of help.

I realize I'm basing this on only about 40 minutes of viewing and that might not be fair. I am interested in the topic but have lost any desire to watch the show unfold.


Have you watched the whole mini-series? Should I watch the rest On-Demand?

Blogger Carrie said...

Did you just watch the first two? Cause I don't think it got any better with the third one. It's all, watch John Adams move to France and be completely inefficient at ambasador-ing. Seriously. It's as exciting as it sounds.

Blah. I'm not sure if I can stick with the rest of it. Paul likes it, for reasons unclear to me, and I'm undecided if he'll have company for the remainder.

Blogger Mrs. White said...

I only watched the first two and am debating whether or not to bother with the third, but based on your comment, Carrie, I might not.

And I think Nate's totally right about the pacing. It's like they wanted to make a seven-hour mini series so that's what they did, even if it meant big, hulking spots where the plot just crawls along.

Strangely, I'm still interested in reading McCullough's book, though. You'd think this might turn me off, but nope.

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