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Weirdly enough, just the other day I was bemoaning the fact that there aren't really any fantastically trashy treatments of major figures in US history. The Tudors, the Borgias, even Kublai Khan have all had their turn, but the US seems to be locked out of the market. The Kennedys could have been an in, but it was a bit of a damp squib.

 

Well, coming from the History Channel this very month, here's Sons of LibertyStarring Ben Barnes as Sam Adams, Henry Thomas as John Adams, Dean Norris as Benjamin Franklin, Rafe Spall as John Hancock, and so on. Trailers below.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfMW2icxVlo

 

 

--it ain't John Adams (which I'm watching now and enjoying) by a long shot. But it's so darn rock n' roll. Let's say it's Spartacus to the other series' Rome.

 

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"The uploader has not made this video available in your country."

 

Okay, now I *really* want to know how they show the American invasion of Canada.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The AV Club:

 

Sons Of Liberty plays out more like an action movie than a historical drama, which is exactly what History is trying to do with its newest miniseries event. Following the massive success of Hatfields & McCoys, the network has taken more stories of legend and heroism (depending on the side you’re rooting for), and brought them to life with violence and enough sex to satisfy a crowd that normally eschews History’s documentary traditions. It’s through that lens that History tells the story of the early goings of the American Revolution, the stories that took place before the Continental Congress, before the signing of the Declaration Of Independence, before most of the colonies even agreed that the United States should exist as an autonomous nation.
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Huh. The AV Club says the show's good in the battle scenes. Matt Zoller Seitz, meanwhile, says it's good between the action scenes:

 

Although this miniseries stages large-scale action reasonably well (with the occasional lapse into visual cliches, such as the silent/slo-motion Boston Massacre), and has a marvelous atmospheric quality, it seems more generic and un-special the more conventionally "exciting" it's trying to be. Once the bargain-bin Last of the Mohicans score gets going, you know you can safely go refill your coffee or check text messages. The real dramatic action is happening between men in bars or studies, sitting at tables, talking. "If a populist isn't given the chance to prosper, then unrest and even violence is inevitable," Franklin tells British overlords, looking very hungover but also speaking sense.

Edited by NBooth
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First episode streaming--in the US, anyway--on the History Channel website.

 

First ten minutes--I'm not even kidding--and you have rioting in the streets, Sam Adams parkour, and some guy urinating on a portrait of King George.

 

45min in and I'm not nearly as engaged as a show this promisingly batty should make me. I'll finish it later, I guess.

 

EDIT: Nope, back like a moth to the flame. Sam Adams invents speakeasies? Maybe this should be called Boardwalk Empire: Boston.

 

I could seriously do with more Franklin here. And more Hamilton. Like, all of the Hamilton. I mean Hancock, obviously.

 

Finally finished with the first episode. It's rubbish, and not in a fun way. Alas. Back to waiting for the Great Trashy American History TV Series.

 

EDIT: One other thing. The last couple of minutes dramatize the Boston Massacre, and really drive home how clever John Adams was in not doing so (that I recall). Also, Sam Adams does his hero walk down the street and arrives just in time to see the event. Um.

Edited by NBooth
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Started in on this tonight. First thing that hit me was Sam proposing a boycott of tory businesses. A word that didn't come into use for almost a century. 

 

Next think I noted was that it probably was a pretty easy sell for ads for Sam Adams beer.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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