Friday, January 30, 2015

A Curious Omission: Sons of Liberty

You usually expect a high quality product coming from the History channel, and with the mini-series “Sons of Liberty” you definitely had that. The visualizations of eighteenth century Boston were very good, while the cast that they had brought in to play the rag tag, to aristocratic gang of rabble rousers brought credibility to the acting. I was pleasantly surprised with the output, and probably don’t have much to add other than I suggest that anyone with “In Demand” of some sort, que in on this series if they haven’t seen it already. It will end up on Netflix sooner or later if you avoid the cable companies.

Unfortunately I do have a critique of the series that will probably be unpopular, but should be said to maintain a historical aspect. The History channel took a very cowardly approach to a certain set of facts that I think many try to wash away. Most of the people involved with the revolution were religious to the point of zealotry. This fact should have at the very least made an appearance here and there, as it was so evident in the writings of these revolutionaries of the time. For the most part it seemed completely scrubbed from the storytelling, and I can’t exactly tell if it was from the network itself of the major sponsors behind the series.

You do need to put that into perspective. The entire series did appear to be a perfect vessel for the Samuel Adams brewing and the Boston Beer Company. Who could blame either for stirring up this relationship? Sam Adams was not a great brewer in his day, but was a great revolutionary. He was also a very strong Christian, and from all accounts spoke glowingly and often of God. Of course it was the times; just like selling beer now means that at every commercial break the sound of the Dropkick Murphys would signify that it is time to hear about the sponsors, and amazingly enough the band that represents those sponsors is the exact opposite of the liberty that the miniseries speaks of.

I would definitely suggest that you see this series, but afterwards please pick up a book and get some reading in about these guys. The screenplay itself that the History channel put together is quite good, but missing some of the key aspects of the revolution (mainly God of course) and it was slightly disturbing, but not enough to make me poo poo the whole series. Just enough to make me wonder if this is going to be the new direction of the History channel, which usually was pretty fearless about telling it like it is, even if it involved actual history where Christianity was involved.