Wednesday, January 14, 2009

HBO's John Adams: Your Thoughts

UPDATE: If you came to this page after doing a search for this HBO series as it pertains to kids, note there is a more recent post here on the topic.

A while back, I posted the following:

The HBO miniseries John Adams, starring Paul Giamatti, just won a number of Emmys and has certainly caught my attention. I added it to our Netflix list, even though I noticed its “TV 14” rating (“This program contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age.”). After scanning a few pages of reviews (yes, mostly positively glowing), I’ve yet to see anything by a viewer explaining this rating. I had to stop reading after four or five pages, as my brain lost the power to process the actual words, since they were so redundant (“brilliant,” “superb,” “incredible”)

Have you seen John Adams? If so, can you articulate what might make it unsuitable for kids under 14 (or so)?

Ok, so now that it won a Golden Globe or two, I noticed a good number of keyword searches in the last few days bringing people here to KidsFlix involves this HBO series: parents want to know whether it's suitable for the kids or not (keyword search: "HBO John Adams for kids," etc.).

If you have seen this show, please post here and share your thoughts! I hate to see folks landing here with no information, and yes, I should put at the top of my list. I will, I will. (At least searches for the likes of "50s cat fight" and "miniaturizer movie" and "penguin heading in wrong direction" all panned out for my readers!)


  1. just saw 1st segment. There is a tar and feathering scene with full frontal nudity of the man being tarred and feathered. Very brief. Interesting enough, I did some research on this and found that customs officers were beaten at this riot, but no one was actually tarred and feathered.

  2. Wow. You're the first to mention this scene! Thanks for posting, I appreciate it.

  3. The tar and feathering scene was inaccurate and highly offensive to me. I am afraid to watch the rest of the movie, even though I thought the rest of the movie was a fine piece film.

  4. There is also a scene in the middle of John and Abigail's reunion in France after many years, which shows a fairly graphic depiction of their re-coupling, i.e. sex. That concerns me too.

  5. Thank you all for this information, I couldn't find this anywhere else. We will not be watching HBO's John Adams now. I should have known not to even wonder when HBO has produced it (HBO's productions usually lack creativity and go straight for the graphic and shocking) too bad that ruined a potentially beautiful story.

  6. In what way is the tar and feathering inaccurate? That is what they did during this time period and it most certainly happened to one of the tax collectors representing the mother country at the time?

  7. According to IMDb, episodes two and four are TV-MA, while the rest are TV-14, although this might not be accurate; episode three seems most violent to me.
    IMDb Parental Guide and Episode Guide:


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