The miniseries is now on DVD and a friend was talking to me about it. Here’s what I said for anyone interested in John, Abby and the accuracy of the series. Warning… Lisa and I are serious John & Abby geeks. We’ve read much about and by them, and researched the facts behind the miniseries when it aired… so we are kinda snotty about this 😉
We actually got HBO to see it when aired. I was impressed with how powerful that scene and John’s court scene were. I knew those *facts* but this helped me see and feel them (how brutal that was, and the full stress of the court case).
As John Adams snobs, we were bothered by a few things… they show Abigail as very witchy, unsupportive, nagging. They show her having a fairly fake conversation with Washington. They show John as unsure, insecure, mousy. They show their relationship as stressful, combative. They show her as very alone, scrubbing her floors. They had lots of family around, servants, etc.
They showed him as uncaring as a father and blame him for one son being a bum (by making it look like they never saw each other, where really John brought him on one of the Europe trips for years).
I suggest that an easy, fun, fast read to get their personalities and relationship right is ‘The Letters of John and Abigail Adams‘. Private letters, in their own words paint a much truer picture of them.
The David McCullough book that the series is based on is also stunning and a great read. Funny how much of the complaints about the HBO series are presented directly opposite of how McCullough wrote about them… ah well, books being turned into TV…
Otherwise, it was worth seeing the film. It gives a lot of life, context, reality to the facts we’ve read about.