The Adams Chronicles (Acorn Media)
Long before HBO’s recent John Adams, the 13-part Adams Chronicles debuted in 1976 during celebrations for the American bicentennial and immediately became a classic of its kind. In 1776, William Daniels memorably played John; but here he plays the son, John Quincy. George Grizzard plays John with a grizzled wit, and Kathryn Walker -- whose Abigail is as self-sufficient as Laura Linney’s on HBO -- more than matches him. Lavish for its time, with 250 studio and location sets, The Adams Chronicles explores the personalities of one family colored by the epochal events of politics and history. Those whose appetite was whetted by the HBO series must see this far more persuasive and memorable sweep through early American history.