TV critic John Griffiths responds to my colulmn on The Kennedys by noting that History Channel made the right call. They may be the channel of reality shows like “Ice Road Truckers,” but they are also sponsoring exhibits throughout the Smithsonian. He doesn’t see why there is a need to make great leaps of license when the (proven) historical record has ample drama.
Having seen the full eight hours of the controversial miniseries, I frankly do see why there’s been “such a fuss.” The History Channel is not The Sexed-Up Or Maybe Even Made-Up History Channel, and it would do its brand a distinct disservice by airing a show that plays less like a dramatic take on a political dynasty than season three of Dynasty. And Joel Surnow should’ve realized as much.
Even Variety notes that The Kennedys’ original draft was “incendiary.” Meanwhile, Surnow undermines himself greatly when he says that the project is “100 percent historically accurate” and then goes on to assert that any riveting historical tale “has to play as if it is a fiction . . . if you are going to tell events the way they are laid out in the history books, you don’t really have much of a drama.” He says the “key” is to “keep it dramatic and to keep it faithful to the known elements of history.”