1: Making John Adams
See the technology and artistry behind the making of the epic John Adams miniseries.
2: David McCullough: Painting With Words
In this intimate, informal portrait of an artist as a historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough welcomes viewers into his public and private world, exhibiting the infectious curiosity, humor and humanity that have defined his work and life. Director Mark Herzog travels with the celebrated writer as he delivers a speech to rapt legislators; climbs the same Philadelphia church's steeple tower as did John Adams two centuries earlier; returns to the Massachusetts Historical Society to again study an original Adams letter written to his wife Abigail a day before July 4, 1776; visits his old Brooklyn neighborhood and makes his annual trek across the Brooklyn Bridge; sings songs, paints pictures, and reflects on his undiminished enthusiasm for writing while sitting in his tiny "world headquarters" (shed-like though not a shed, he insists) on the grounds of his home. Accompanied in most of these journeys by wife Rosalee (whom he met the summer before college), McCullough provides an insightful, anecdotal look into his life and career, while displaying a refreshing approachability and genuine interest in people he meets along the way.
Sunday, March 16th, 2008
1: Join or Die
In an emotionally charged trial John Adams defends the British sentries involved in the Boston Massacre who contend they were provoked into firing on the assembled crowd. John's success brings him offers of positions in the Massachusetts government. But after John Hancock rouses a crowd to tar and feather a representative of the British East India Tea Company and the British respond to the growing unrest with oppressive measures, John instead speaks against the British policies and chooses to represent Massachusetts in the Continental Congress.
Sunday, March 16th, 2008
After viewing the dead and wounded on the battlefield of Concord, John Adams takes up the cause of Independence. Frustrated by the caution of delegates from colonies that do not share Massachusetts plight, the inexperienced politician is abrasive, obnoxious and even insulting. But with the advice of Abigail and Ben Franklin he soon learns he has allies, to cultivate them, to bide his time and to seize opportunities. Following John's nomination, George Washington takes charge of the army and enjoys successes despite supply shortages. Back at home, Abigail and the children risk supporting the war effort in most tangible ways but find Mother Nature more threatening.
Sunday, March 23rd, 2008
3: Don't Tread on Me
Over the emotional objections of Abigail, John Adam and his son endure turbulent seas and an encounter with the British Navy to join Ben Franklin on a diplomatic mission to Paris. But Ben cannot restrain John's abrasive personality which is even less well suited to Paris than Philadelphia.
Sunday, March 30th, 2008
Following the surrender of the British, John secures a long sought loan from the Dutch and returns to Paris to oversee the peace treaty. John can no longer bear his absence from Abigail and invites her to Paris which immediately overwhelms her with its opulence. John is appointed ambassador to England but soon longs to return home to participate in the formation of the new government and, like Abigail, to be reunited with the children. They return home to an overwhelming welcome and John reluctantly returns to public service.
Sunday, April 6th, 2008
5: Unite or Die
John Adams chaffs under the mantle of Vice President for its utter lack of authority and responsibility. Despite his abhorrence of the divisiveness of political parties John is drawn to the Federalist camp favoring a strong executive. Divisions even reach into the President's cabinet, exacerbated by war in Europe.
Sunday, April 13th, 2008
6: Unnecessary War
Following the peace treaty with England President Adams struggles to avoid war with France despite pressure from his Federalist cabinet and French provocation. John finds the price of peace to his career and the price of his long career of public service to his family is indeed high.
Sunday, April 20th, 2008
In retirement John Adams laments the perils of a long life; loss of loved ones and growing irrelevance. But out of tragedy John rekindles his broken friendship with Thomas Jefferson and lives to discuss John Quincy's ambitious presidential agenda with him.