There are many promising things about John Adams to recommend it. Firstly, it looks amazing. The art direction and cinematography are miles beyond what a history lesson, going for the Emmy type of television miniseries usually aspires to. The acting too, despite myself not being a particular fan of Paul Giamatti's high minded stammering nor Laura Linney's “what fools are men” judgey glaces, is pretty top notch all way round. I am a fan of Danny Huston as Sam Adams, who you may remember from Nick Cave's The Proposition. I also love the hunky, though odd addition of Justin Theroux as John Hancock and I look forward to the appropriately handsome Rufus Sewell as, sigh, Alexander Hamilton.
In fact, so far, it is the surrounding characters that seem more interesting and at times I wish the camera would follow Sam Adams as he gets fired up and brews beer rather than following John Adams to yell at his kids to pick stuff up.
It's great too to get a (mostly) engaging history lesson in what was a very interesting time historically and politically. But therein lies my only problem with the show. It reads too often way too much like a history lesson. I can't imagine everyone at all times spoke in such eloquent speeches. I have only seen the first episode (of seven) so far, but I do hope a little more human elements enter the scene.
Still, for a show that I had really no intention of watching or liking, John Adams has caught my interest.