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Miniseries debut: The Kennedys April 10 on History Television

In television on 04/10/2011 at 8:59 am

Series name
The Kennedys

Debuts
Sunday, April 10 at 9 p.m. ET on Canada’s History Television

Regularly airs
Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on History Television through May 1

Premise
Irish-American Catholic has White House ambitions, which he crushes by advocating America trust this Hitler guy and stay out of WWII. Aggressively foists his presidential hopes on his sons. Tragedy ensues. Ditto philandering, spinelessness as well as remarkable accomplishments, dynastic mythology.

Primary cast and crew
Greg Kinnear as John F. Kennedy
Barry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy
Tom Wilkinson as Joe Kennedy Sr.
Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy

Buzz buzz
This was originally commissioned by the U.S. History Channel, which then declined to air the miniseries.As did many other major U.S. broadcasters and cable outlets. Why? Pressure from the Kennedys? Offended by narrative liberties taken? Buckling to pressure from a campaign called stopkennedysmears.com? More than a few have offered another theory. It’s awful.

But what do I know anyway? After having seen the pilot I predict…
Much has been made of the actors’ struggles with the New England accent. Legit point, though like any accents, if you concentrate just a little you can get over it. Much has also been made of the poor quality of the dialogue. This is also true and much harder to get around. The main actors spend a lot of time in exposition, the future president included, who offers these fine lobs to Father Joe: “What do you mean?” and “To do what?”, the latter in reply to Joe’s “It’s up to you.” To make matters worse, after previewing the first two hours, this story of the rise of the Kennedy clan is telegraphing that it will take far too long to tell a poorly crafted reworking of the American Camelot tale. Too bad. I would have loved a well-done project taking the stuffing out of the Kennedy story. On the plus side, the acting is decent, given what they’re working with. Also, the project is pretty to look at, but not enough substance or air of authority to hold anyone but Kennedy fanatics.

Other reviews
Twenty-four critics weigh in at metacritic.com with an average rating of 50 out of 100.

— Denise Duguay

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