Sunday, March 23, 2008

John Adams

Finally got around to watching the second episode. Actually had to force myself to see it. Wow. It was like watching an hour of C-SPAN. Maybe that was their intention. I should have gotten a clue when John Adams spent the first fifteen minutes griping about how boring sitting in Congress was. Who knew they were going to prove their thesis. If the main character is griping about the show ...

(BTW, I hope the real Thomas Jefferson wasn't as chronically depressed as the one on the show. He made John Adams look like a ray of sunshine.)

The actors, however, are great. I LOVE Tom Wilkinson's Benjamin Franklin. He really makes you believe all the legends: Franklin the ladies' man, Franklin the wit. Laura Linney's performance is really the only major one that seems a bit weak. Maybe she's feeling trapped by her accent (or her corset)? It reminds me of certain Meryl Streep performances where the accent is the performance. Or maybe it's just a typical Laura Linney performance. All her characters seem stifled and in need of a corset loosening.

I wish the writers could have remembered they were doing drama. John Adams is the TV equivalent of reading something with intrusive footnotes. That's the problem when you're too enamored by a book. And you want to deliver truth, justice and the American way. Even Hollywood Bible movies have more fun. Maybe that's what's missing. Charlton Heston. Anne Baxter. Yul Brynner. They should have channeled Cecil B. DeMille. Or at least taken a class with Andrew Davies. I can't believe I was actually rooting for some battle scenes -- and I hate the stuff -- but anything with a little momentum! When you can actually see quotation marks coming out of people's mouths, that's when you have to just throw in the towel. Certainly tempted here.

No comments: