Winner of four Emmys® and a Peabody, The Adams Chronicles created a sensation when it debuted in 1976. Lauded by contemporary critics as "the best and highest-rated series in the history of American public television," its vitality and historical integrity now prove timeless. This lavish series dramatizes four generations of Adamses and 150 years of American history from the birth of the Revolution through the Gilded Age. You meet John Adams -- passionate revolutionary and second president; John Quincy Adams -- proud son of a famous father and sixth president; Charles Francis Adams -- skillful minister to Great Britain during the Civil War; and Henry and Charles Francis Adams, Jr. -- historian and railroad magnate, respectively.
Going well beyond politics, this television masterpiece portrays these men as husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons, as well as leaders. Based on the family’s personal diaries and correspondence, The Adams Chronicles not only educates as a true historical epic, but also captivates as a fully human family saga.
Adams (also paid detailed homage in both David McCullough's biography and the HBO miniseries starring Paul Giamatti) was a more low-key Revoluntary figure than, say, George Washington or Benjamin Franklin. But his political stealth, and fervent beliefs in liberty and freedom, helped mold the very country at its birth. The Emmy-nominated George Grizzard is nuanced as Adams, whose conscience must forever be reconciled with political reality. His relationship with his intelligent wife, Abigail, is depicted lovingly. Years after the Revolution, living in France as a diplomat for the still-unrecognized United States, Adams greets his family whom he hasn't seen in several years. When Abigail asks, simply, "How are you feeling, Mr. Adams?", he replies, holding her gaze, "Twenty years younger than yesterday." The 13-hour series traces John and Abigail's children, and their children, and so on, up through the Civil War and then the turn of the 20th century. By then there is no doubt that the Adams family is America's family, intertwined with the great upheavals, and achievements, in the young country. --A.T. Hurley