The final installment of HBO’s wonderful mini-series about this most enigmatic early leader of the US airs on Sunday April/20. Viewed as weak by many historians John Adams was in fact a glorious leader, one who sought the peaceful ‘high road’ over the ‘low road’ of bloodshed. A trait that is sadly lacking in modern times.

1803 finds John Adams out of office, and in retirement. Yet even retirement brings little rest to this man that has dedicated his life to the birth of America. It is no longer the US that needs him, it is his family, a family that he has neglected for the good of the country.

The disasters within the family come fast and furious, the death of his daughter Nabby to cancer, and then his beloved wife Abigail to Typhoid fever. Forgotten at the time, but much remembered now, John Adams seeks solace in an unlikely place. We often hear the phrase ‘The Power Of The Pen’, and indeed the pen is a mighty tool. It is his old friend and adversary Thomas Jefferson that John Adams confides in.

The average life expectancy in the 1800’s was somewhere around 45, John Adams lived twice that long, and it was on July 4, 1826 that he took his last breath. 50 years to the day that America declared independence from Britain, it was also the same day that Thomas Jefferson passed away.

By anyones standards John Adams has been a great series. On more than one occasion I have heard people say that ‘history is for old people’. I disagree entirely, history is for everyone, and we can all learn from it.

Paul Giamatti has done a fabulous job of playing John Adams, and Laura Linney was nothing short of magnificent in her portrayal of Abigail.

Everything about this series is top notch, HBO spared nothing on this production. They took the very best people, and gave them free reign. I had hoped to finish this review with an interview with one of the production team. Alas that was not possible, it wasn’t that they were ‘out of the office’, they were ‘out of the country’ working on new projects! My hat goes off to them, these are people that ‘give a damn’, everything they do is at 150%.

“Who shall write the history of our revolution” John Adams asks! Maybe the answer is HBO.

Part seven of John Adams airs Sunday April 20 at 9pm (ET/PT), and if you want to catch up on the series, please read my reviews of the earlier episodes:

Join Or Die


Don’t Tread On Me 


Unite Or Die 

Unnecessary War 

Great series, great production, great everything!

Simon Barrett

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