About ten minutes into the second installment of the series I decided that I am just in it for the scenery. Its apparent that by now you need to come to the conclusion that Sam Adams is awesome, otherwise..well… you are in it for the scenery.
The Boston Tea party is essentially a Sharks verses Jets scenario as Sam Adams dares the redcoats to fire on his men as they empty cargo of tea into the harbor. Governor Hutchingston urges the redcoats not to fire on the vandals because he doesn’t want to create a martyr out of Sam. So in front of everyone, Sam’s men empty valuable cargo into the bay because apparently, if the American’s can’t have nice things, the British can’t have them either.
But this scene is about as close as the series gets to the under riding political causes of the Revolution. Politics, societal tensions and religion are overlooked in a muddled attempt to make the conflict a personal story of one man’s rage against the British empire. If you didn’t know better, you would conclude that Sam Adams sullen angst launched the Revolutionary war. Its apparent that the History channel isn’t going to bother with messy social political realities.
At this point I find it necessary to issue an apology to the good people over at the Journal of the American Revolution. In a previous post on this series, I suggested that historical accuracy gotcha gets tiresome. At times it does, but after watching The History channel butcher history into an unrecognizable heap, I suggest you read this post in order to undue any damage done by watching Sons of Liberty. In the piece, Thomas Verenna shows signs of exhaustion and eventually gives up pointing out the inaccuracies pushed on us by the series. Why bother with pointing out errors in what in reality is an alternate history program? It wasn’t worth the effort.
History is a rich tapestry of compelling drama, interesting facts and captivating people. But it takes work to tell the story right. To depart from historical accuracy in an attempt entertain is an easy way out. Sons of Liberty boils down to a children’s story of good vs evil. Its lazy TV, and offers nothing more than what I could get from my kids Saturday morning cartoons. Sadly, the History channel misses yet another opportunity to enlighten people about our past and dig into the complexities that make our history and our world so fascinating.