Experiencing The Kennedys Miniseries

The sheer volume of words written about The Kennedys miniseries almost discouraged me from watching it. But, I did watch it, and yet somehow I lived to tell about it.

From the extreme partisan political intensity of what I had read in advance of actually watching the 8-part miniseries in its entirety, I was prepared mentally for overwhelming anti-Kennedy or anti-Democrat or anti-liberal propaganda. I can tell you that is not at all what this miniseries delivers.

I feel compelled to share with you my experience watching the 2011 miniseries from the specific perspective of someone who was just a teenager back when John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy both were assassinated. To me, watching The Kennedys miniseries at times was emotionally painful because I was reminded of the “bad old days” when I was young. Yet, I do recommend that you watch The Kennedys miniseries regardless of how many birthdays you may have celebrated.

If you were alive when JFK and RFK were alive, you share with me the experience of seeing with our own eyes how those famous brothers reached out to millions of Americans through television. If you were alive back then, you also lived through the jarringly unforgettable impact of network television showing us over and over again the images of heroes lost. And, like me, you may also have reached an untimely end of youthful innocence. But, we lived on, didn’t we? Our nation did not come to an end like we feared in those days it would. And the deep sorrow that we felt years ago should teach us many lessons about carrying on no matter what happens to us and to our heroes.

No doubt you have read the claims that the producers who made this miniseries wanted to smear the Kennedys. In that context, critics have written about their dislike of this miniseries. But I suggest you ignore all that partisan political chatter and just watch the entire miniseries for the cultural experience that it is.

What you will see is a work of fiction about real life people and real life events. You are (or should be) sophisticated enough to realize that, if nothing else is true, movies are storytelling. You should accept that not everyone can or will agree that a particular story has been told to please everyone in the audience. But, go ahead just set aside a few hours required to watch The Kennedys miniseries and let yourself get into the story and the characters.

The executive producer is Joel Surnow, who gave us all Jack Bauer on 24.