Bill Steigerwald

Will we see an accurate portrayal of President Adams' now-politically incorrect dislike of democracy, his signing of the Alien and Sedition acts or his attacks on press freedom?

Has Linney's Abigail had her considerable political influence over her husband exaggerated for dramatic or contemporary political reasons?

Who really knows? It's a docudrama.

"John Adams" is not perfect. But Hanks, HBO and McCullough deserve great credit for taking the highest, classiest road to telling history.

The trio already is busy turning McCullough's "1776" best-seller into a miniseries. If they tell us the story of that miraculous year -- and do for statuesque George Washington what they have done for tubby John Adams -- the American living room will be a much better, smarter place.

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald, born and raised in Pittsburgh, is a former L.A. Times copy editor and free-lancer who also worked as a docudrama researcher for CBS-TV in Hollywood before becoming a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a columnist Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bill Steigerwald recently retired from daily newspaper journalism..