On Sunday March 23rd we get to enjoy part three of HBO’s lavish miniseries John Adams. Last week we met John Adams the lawyer and John Adams the politician. This week we discover another facet of his character, John Adams the emissary.

John Adams (Paul Giamatti) finds himself yet again torn between his family and his country. Much though he loves his wife Abigail (Laura Linney), when he is asked to go to France as the Minister of Plenipotentiary to join Benjamin Franklin his country wins. Married for 14 years, yet separated from Abigail for nearly half that time, once more the family must face the harsh realities of being apart.

Back in 1777 getting to Paris was not a question of just hopping a 747, it was a 3000 mile sea voyage aboard a tall ship. A tough proposition for a seasoned mariner, never mind a land lubber and his small son John Quincy.

A skirmish with a British warship reveals the true horror of war on water, there is nowhere to run!

Somehow they make it to France. But, once again John Adams finds road blocks to his dream for American independence.

Once again it is actor Tom Wilkinson playing the part of Benjamin Franklin that steals the show. He absolutley has the best lines! Prior to meeting with the French government to ask for their financial and military aid he says “No doubt you require a bath Mr Adams, the French put great store in personal hygiene when dealing with other nations”. It is delivered with such sincerity and yet sarcasm that I burst out laughing. This is followed up by some tips about diplomacy, “Here in France you must accomplish much, while appearing to accomplish little”. Oh how true those words are even today!

The production quality of this series cannot be overstated, a 120 foot boat (a floating sound stage if you will) was constructed for this series. Through the wizardry of the special effects team it is as real as real can get.

John Adams – Don’t Tread On Me premiers at 9pm (ET/PT) March 23 HBO, don’t miss it!

According to the Nielson ratings, last weeks first two installments were the TV smash hit of last weekend, and I can certainly concur. This was the best rated miniseries since Nielson started keeping records (2004) with 2.5 million people tuning in.

Simon Barrett


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