Sons of Liberty ignites the revolution tonight!

The History Channel's new miniseries Sons of Liberty (9-11 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday)may be “historical fiction,” but its found a clever balance between fact and action, and let's face it history has never looked so good. Most viewers will walk in knowing some of the most famous moments in American history, but there are plenty of surprises in store. Sons of Liberty takes huge liberties with history, but it makes for a very captivating viewing.

Ben Barnes leads the talented cast, bringing a scruffy, sexier version of Samuel Adams to life. He plays the hero as a swash-buckling rebel with a broken heart of gold. Barnes, as Adams is utterly swoon-worthy whether he's drowning his sorrows in a pint or hatching plans of rebellion.

The battle for independence begins 
(Michael Raymond-James as Paul Revere).
Photo by Ollie Upton/HISTORY

Copyright 2015
Sam is a tax collector for the crown, who really isn't all that good at his job. He refuses to press his cash strapped fellow Bostonians, earning him a high regard among the people and the thugs that makes Boston look like a scene out of Gangs of New York. And it's one of these mobs who offer Sam protection when the Governor's men try to capture him, ultimately ending with the mob ransacking the Governor's house, and making Adams the Governor's #1 target.

Wealthy merchant, John Hancock (Rafe Spall) is called in to handle the situation but doesn't in the way that the Governor expected, causing the foppish Hancock to lose favor with the Governor. When taxes are raised and his ships seized Hancock demands Adams' assistance to remedy the situation, which sparks revolution. A silversmith named Paul Revere (Michael Raymond-James), a doctor, Joseph Warren (Ryan Eggold), and Sam's cousin the smart and level headed John Adams (Henry Thomas) round out the group working for freedom. The miniseries covers the pre-Revolutionary unrest in Boston through the Boston Massacre in 1770, to the Boston Tea Party, to the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775.

George Washington (Jason O’Mara)
Photo by Ollie Upton/HISTORY
Copyright 2015
Many of the actors making up the superb cast of America's founding fathers are not actually American. Besides the British Barnes (Sam Adams), Rafe Spall (John Hancock) and Emily Berrington (Margaret Gage) are also British, and Irish actor Jason O'Mara is George Washington. O'Mara puts in a commanding performance as Washington, and Spall is a scene stealer as the sneaky dandy smuggler Hancock. He's got the genius down though as the man who would sign the Declaration with such flair that signatures would later be synonymous with his name. The acting is fantastic throughout the entire series, whether its the snobbish and domineering English, or Joseph Warren ( Ryan Eggold) charming the pants off of his enemy's wife.

Just as the acting is fantastic so is the production value. Sons of Liberty brings great sprawling sets, with historical accuracy to life. The costumes of the era are beautifully done. Ben Barnes fairly gushed about them during his interview. The set pieces alone are amazing, and then there's the soundtrack. Hans Zimmer composed the music, and it is a delight to the ears. He is truly a master at his craft.

General Gage (Marton Csokas) shows no mercy.
Photo by Ollie Upton/HISTORY
Copyright 2015

While sexed up, Sons of Liberty doesn't quite get the CW Reign treatment, it is rowdy and entertaining, but it does stay closer to history. Here the revolution isn't bogged down by powdered wigs and lengthy speeches, but ignited by mob savagery and secret smuggling operations. It's much easier to get enthralled in the three part miniseries, than it was to the overly long, and sometimes droning Turn that AMC premiered last year which followed a ring of Washington's spies. Sons of Liberty rather follows a similar feel as History Channel's smash hit Vikings which begins its third season February 19th. It lays down the facts, and ramps up the action where the facts get murky.

If you're looking for an accurate reenactment you can write your history paper off of, look elsewhere this isn't a documentary. But if you looking for some excellent entertainment with headlines ripped out of history, then Sons of Liberty is perfect. It's engaging, and may even make you want to pick a history book or two, which may just be better than if it had stuck purely to facts in the end. Just don't be disappointed when you get over to Wikipedia and find that the real Samuel Adams lacks the smolder that Barnes delivers and isn't pin up material.

Sons of Liberty begins tonight on History Channel at 9/8c.

1 comment:

  1. TOo bad the series did not continue as the rest of the History shows pale in comparison.


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