Plot: What’s it about?
John Adams (George Grizzard) began his adult life as a simple farmer, but he would find success beyond the farmland and take his place in history. He would move from the farmhouse to the courthouse to the White House. He would become Vice President first, then be the President of the United States, quite a lofty accomplishment indeed. Adams was known as an emotional person, driven and outspoken when his mind was determined. His son John Quincy Adams would follow a similar path and find himself in the Oval Office as well, but his road was softer spoken. In his later years, John Quincy Adams would battle against slavery and carve his own spot out in the historical record. While these two Adams would be the best known, the generations that followed would leave their own marks on the world as well. In The Adams Chronicles, the entire family is explored for several generations to see how the Adams were able to impact history like they did.
While PBS has had numerous acclaimed mini-series, The Adams Chronicles is perhaps the crown jewel. The Adam Chronicles spans over one hundred and fifty years, so to call it epic is a given. The series has a lot of ground to cover and does so well, with great performances and storytelling elements. The main issue is the lack of budget, which prevents this from being overly lavish, but the attention to detail is remarkable. There is such period realism here, from the costumes to the locations to the props, the entire production design is simply excellent. You could get distracted just looking at all the small touches and period elements, that is how well done this is. But there is substance to go with that style, bringing history to life and making these figures seem so real. I think The Adams Chronicles is an excellent mini-series, so if you have an interest in historical epics or period dramas, then by all means, give this one a chance.
Video: How does it look?
The Adams Chronicles is presented in full frame, as intended. The visuals here won’t wow anyone, but given the source, I think the mini-series looks acceptable. The show’s low budget is evident, as the visuals have a soft, worn texture at times, but some scenes look quite good. The lighting also impacts some sequences, but again, most look fine. I found colors to be warm and accurate, while contrast is a little shaky here and there, but overall performs well. So not ideal, but taking the material into consideration, Acorn has done well with this treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is basic, but good enough. This mini-series is all about dialogue, so since the vocals come across well, I see no reason to be overly critical. The elements do sound thin at times, but such is the nature of the beast with a lower budget production like this one. So expect some thin moments and a touch of harshness, but an overall solid presentation.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes text based supplements that are informative, but rather dull to peruse.