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Sons of Liberty

Rafe Spall and Ben Barnes play John Hancock and Samuel Adams, respectively, in the History miniseries "Sons of Liberty."


Having had success with the Emmy-winning “Hatfields & McCoys” and, more recently, with “Houdini,” History is back with another miniseries.

This time it’s dramatizing the major players from the Revolutionary War in “Sons of Liberty.” The three-part, six-hour miniseries will air over three straight nights beginning at 8 tonight (Jan. 25) on Time Warner Cable channels 49, 135 and 1135.

The story focuses on Samuel Adams (played by Ben Barnes) and how he comes together with his cousin John Adams, Dr. Joseph Warren, Paul Revere and John Hancock to spark a nation to revolution.

Supporting characters include Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Gage, the British general sent to quell rebellious colonials.

This is indeed a dramatization, with several violent scenes played up for effect, including one in the opening two hours involving a young boy being shot, which may or may not have happened. But what the heck, it helps progress the story.

Viewers will get a kick out of how each character is portrayed from what we know today about them from history texts and biographies. Samuel Adams likes his beer, Benjamin Franklin his women and John Hancock his money.

Particularly entertaining is the way Rafe Spall portrays Hancock as devious, greedy and just downright slimy. I would love to see a six-hour miniseries about the flamboyant founding father.

AMC proved last year with “Turn” that the Revolutionary War is ripe for (re)telling. History takes a stab at it with “Sons,” an action-packed look at our earliest American heroes. Grade: B

Across the remote

* Amazon Instant Video is asking for feedback from viewers on seven possible new series. They recently made pilot episodes available of “Cocked,” “Mad Dogs,” “Point of Honor,” “Down Dog,” “The Man in High Castle,” “Salem Rogers” and “The New Yorker Presents.”

Of the group, “The Man in High Castle” looks the most promising. It’s based on Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning 1962 novel about what would have happened if the Allied Powers had lost WWII.

* CBS, The CW and Fox already have renewed some its shows for next year. CBS will bring back newbies “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Scorpion” and “Madame Secretary.” The CW also renewed two freshman series -- “The Flash” and “Jane the Virgin” -- as well as “Supernatural,” “The 100,” “Reign,” “The Originals” and “The Vampire Diaries.” At Fox, newcomers “Gotham” and “Empire” will be back along with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

* In honor of its upcoming 40th anniversary, VH1 Classic (Time Warner Cable channels 253 and 1253) will air a 433-hour “Saturday Night Live” marathon. Episodes will air back-to-back, running from 7 p.m. Wednesday to Feb. 15, beginning with those from season 39 and working backward.

* Fox will finish off its freshman series “Red Band Society,” beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday. The final two new episodes will air back to back at 7 p.m. Feb. 7.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7213 or On Twitter @LJSjeffkorbelik.


Features editor

Jeff Korbelik is the features editor and covers dining, performing arts, TV and local media. Follow him at @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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