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  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 16, 2008
John Adams Image
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 111 Ratings

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  • Summary: The seven-part miniseries on the life of the second US president is based on the book by David McCullough.
  • Genre(s): Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Writers Kirk Ellis and Michelle Ashford do justice to McCullough's narration, and director Tom Hooper has a straightforward style that gives flesh-and-blood dimension to names from history books. Best of all are two extraordinary performances at the center: Paul Giamatti as Adams and Laura Linney as his wife, Abigail.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    91
    Who says TV doesn't make history thought-provokingly exciting?
  3. 90
    A rich, intelligent and often moving miniseries.
  4. 80
    Both the book and the miniseries sketch admirably human portraits of historical figures such as Adams, Jefferson and Franklin.
  5. Reviewed by: Misha Davenport
    75
    While John Adams succeeds as entertainment, it utterly fails as a history lesson.
  6. 70
    Far from epic, John Adams is a biopic as intense and moody as the man himself.
  7. There are moments when John Adams stirs up the passion its author clearly had for the subject -- Adams firing off a rifle in the middle of a battle at sea with a British warship, the first public reading of the Declaration, George Washington (David Morse, in the second-best piece of casting other than Giamatti) whispering his oath of office at his inauguration -- but too often it's just as muddy and dull as its subject was accused of being.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 75
  2. Negative: 6 out of 75
  1. Oct 3, 2011
    10
    JOHN ADAMS is (or, rather, was) an HBO mini-series telling of the historical figure of the same name. By the simple title and the promotionalJOHN ADAMS is (or, rather, was) an HBO mini-series telling of the historical figure of the same name. By the simple title and the promotional poster, you would think that this would only be a shallow feature, giving only textbook information, if that. As surprising as it is, that is definitely not true. The performances are believable, and the story introduces more facts that possible to learn if they were just spat out at you like a textbook (except in a video, of course). Quite surprising, worth checking out if you can find it on the Internet or re-running on HBO. Expand
  2. LukeS.
    Apr 17, 2008
    10
    it is dead on history and inflammable acting to how john and the rest went about pulling Americas government to its feet.
  3. GeorgeJ.
    Mar 17, 2008
    10
    This is a powerful, moving drama. The production values are top-notch, You get the sense this is an accurate portrayal of what actually This is a powerful, moving drama. The production values are top-notch, You get the sense this is an accurate portrayal of what actually happened. It's a fantastic account one of the greatest events to happen in human history, the birth of the American nation. Do not miss this series! Expand
  4. TaylorM.
    May 3, 2008
    10
    Excellent and well scripted tv show. I feel i have learned more of the nature revolving the creation of our country than any other Excellent and well scripted tv show. I feel i have learned more of the nature revolving the creation of our country than any other public-school textbook or teacher could have provided. And, one must admit, with profound eloquence and thoughtful narrative. A Must See. Expand
  5. WilliamC
    Mar 17, 2008
    9
    Thank you, thank you HBO. A great portrayal of early America....Linney and Giamatti are great together. The set is amazing and the costumes Thank you, thank you HBO. A great portrayal of early America....Linney and Giamatti are great together. The set is amazing and the costumes so authentic.....I'm hooked. Expand
  6. HemanthK.
    Apr 25, 2008
    9
    I was impressed with the eye for detail in all of the miniseries. But what bothered me through all the series was the impression that I was impressed with the eye for detail in all of the miniseries. But what bothered me through all the series was the impression that Giamatti was over doing his role. I am not sure if history records him to be of a suspicious nature. Expand
  7. RaysaJ.
    Mar 16, 2008
    0
    Are you kidding.. is this a comedy? What a mess. The casting seems to be a fatal mistake.

See all 75 User Reviews