Sunday evening, the highly controversial series, “The Kennedys”, debuted on the Reelz Channel. This 8-part miniseries, starring Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes, and Barry Pepper, premiered on the little-known basic cable network over the span of 3-hours, including a half hour premiere party special and behind-the-scenes special immediately before and after the first part of the series.
The series, which was filmed throughout the summer last year in Toronto, came under a tremendous amount of scrutiny earlier this year when The History Channel decided to pass on airing the project on their network, siting its seemingly slanted perspective in regards to the personal lives and conversations of these American figures. After searching for a subsequent home, the Reelz Channel agreed to air it, being mostly known for airing movies and syndicated reruns of mid-90s TV shows.
Advance critical perception of the miniseries has not been kind, with most reviewers panning Holmes’s performance in particular as the iconic Jackie Kennedy. Furthermore, its salacious point-of-view on one of the most heralded presidencies in our history seems rather unfair. Presenting conversations and interactions between people who are long ago passed leave them without the benefit of contradiction, correction, or rebuttal.
Among the many critical reviews, the Boston Globe’s seemed to be the most succinct:
“The only reason to watch The Kennedys’? To find out how to flatten a few of the 20th century’s most dramatic historical moments and best-known figures into a slow week of One Life to Live. — Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe.
Sunday’s premiere seemed intent on setting a tone for a focus on the tawdry–John’s affairs, Joe senior’s philandering chauvinism, Rose’s harried fragility, and Jackie’s frequent pouting, all while showcasing particularly poor Massachusetts accents.
An encore showing of the opening part also took place on Monday evening, with the second part of the 8-part miniseries being shown on Tuesday night.
★ Boston set “Fringe” moves to Friday nights–not a good sign.
★ 2010’s “Best and Worst Movie Posters” feature movies made in Massachusetts, as well as New England stars and story lines.
★ The formely red-hot Mass. movie industry may be showing significant signs of decline but Mass. economic secretary plans a pow pow with LA studios, NBC-Universal, Walt Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, FOX, Paramount, and others to pick up the pace.
★ Newton’s Matt LeBlanc talks to Boston Magazine about his new TV show, and putting in a kitchen in Brighton.
Robert Greenwald, a liberal democrat documentary filmmaker, whose credits include “Iraq for Sale; The War Profiteers”, has created a website, stopkennedysmears.com in hopes of preventing a History Channel miniseries from ever being made. The website features a 13-minute video and petition to stop the project from being made under the premise of a documentary that would air on a network known for presenting films based on historical fact.
“The Kennedys” is currently in pre-production, and is being helmed by Emmy-winning creator Joel Surnow, whose credits include originator of the popular Fox show “24”. An admittedly outspoken conservative, and personal friend of Rush Limbaugh, Surnow’s planned eight-part series scripts have been viewed by a handful of outsiders, including those who are now protesting it. Greenwald’s short film in protest of the project features a number of historians who say the scripts contain numerous factual errors.
Screenwriter for “The Kennedys”, Stephen Kronish claims to have used nonfiction works as a basis for some of his writing, including works by Seymour Hersh, Robert Dallek, David Talbot and others. While the scripts will need to be legally and biographically vetted before they are approved according to the History Channel’s strict standards, Kronish maintains that the scripts are not even close to being finalized and may still be rewritten.
Watch dramatized portions of the script in this video created by stopkennedysmears.com and tell us what you think!
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