Little things get me going, like a nice day, happy people, cute dogs. A good movie can make me feel good and frankly, good television excites me, too.
Tonight on HBO, a 7-part miniseries starring Paul Giamatti as "John Adams" premiers. I love it when history is told through television, but more often than not, it's ruined for me because these sort of documentaries are cookie-cut to fit prime time America's version of history. But after reading the reviews of "John Adams" in today's Sunday paper, I can't wait to see it tonight. It's about our country's first 50 years. It's about ideas and one man's political education and really, it's rare for television to do this.
Paul Giamatti says, "The language alone was something that made it hard for me to believe that somebody was actually going to put this on television. To have people talking at this high level and with this amount of intelligence is just utterly unique for commercial TV."
Ok, now I REALLY want to see it. Tonight is supposed to open against a backdrop of a dreary and endless gray of a New England winter. And the entire mini-series is filled with actors who are speaking in historically accurate English accents, complete with all the big ideas from the 18th century. You know, ideas like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
This show is produced by Tom Hanks, whom I've always admired. It's based on a book written by David McCullough, who I remember from PBS' American Experiece. Today's Baltimore Sun says that "the opening sequence is representative of the way in which the series successfully pulls viewers out of the present and transports them to 18th-century life as it was brutally lived on the ground - rather than in the peretrified portraits of Founding Fathers that hang in schools."
Wow! Ok, they had me at Paul Giamatti and Tom Hanks, but now I simply must see this series. Did I mention that Laura Linney plays Abigail Adams? This could be really good.
You know, you hear people say that life back then was 'a much simpler time'. And I've never thought so. It was damn hard back then. To travel from Boston to Philadelphia on horseback, in the dead of winter, well THAT'S hard. It's why the mortality rate was lower. I don't think I'd like seeing some of the scenes, which, from what I've read, include a tar and feathering (ouch), and Abigail Adams' children being innoculated against small pox. There's no needles involved. Apparently, only knives (I'll probably close my eyes). But it goes to show how much we take for granted today. It took guts to survive in the early part of our country's history.
And I can't wait to see this show when it premiers tonight. If you're interested, it's on HBO at 8 PM.
(image courtesy ABCnews.com/images)