So, let’s say you’re Kirk Ellis — the guy who got the chance to turn David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, popular biography of American founder John Adams into a top-shelf, seven-part HBO miniseries. You could stick to the facts of Adams’ life, which are more than dramatic enough, in telling a gripping tale.
Or you could construct a totally bogus subplot about how Adams’ son, Thomas, drank himself to death due to resentment over his father’s (inaccurately represented) long absences from home. That is just one of the many, many needless and pointless inaccuracies, not to mention egregious distortions, in the miniseries. After all, what better way to honor a national hero than to lie relentlessly about his life and family?
Look, screenwriters: If you want to make stuff up, write fictional screenplays. If you want to write “fact-based tales,” then stick to the facts as opposed to, say, conveying the notion that Adams’ daughter Nabby’s husband deserted her and her family when in reality he did not. Whatever. I keep telling myself I will stop getting worked up about this sort of thing, but I am compelled to watch these biopics and then discover how brutally and stupidly they disort the truth.