- Alternate Character Interpretation: Benjamin Rush is given so many lines singing Adams praise and stating his popularity with the people (despite much evidence to the contrary) that he can almost come off like an obsequious toady who Adams keeps around seemingly for the express purpose of flattering him - almost certainly not what was intended by the writers. They seemed to just be condensing many of Adams' friends into this one character, in truth Rush wasn't even present for (and, in some cases, even still alive for) many of the situations he's placed in.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: Although American audiences may be somewhat prejudiced, the inaguration of President George Washington feels this way. It's also Subverted in the immediate aftermath of the passage of the Declaration of Independence when it shows the delegates sitting silently in a room during a thunderstorm pondering the immensity of what they just accomplished.
- Liberty will reign in America!
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: John's confession to Abigail upon their reunion in France that "My pen was silent not because you were absent from my thoughts, but because you were too much in them." Imagine - Abigail lived alone, raising her children, with her husband overseas, knowing next to nothing of what was happening there, with only occasional word from him - this must have eased a worry that has haunted her for months, if not years. And Laura Linney makes viewers feel every bit of it.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The opening is pure patriotic goodness, and sets the tone perfectly.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: "Rejoice! Rejoice, evermore!" After a lifetime of fighting and struggling and butting heads and fretting over what legacy he would leave behind, an aging John Adams finds himself at peace in his gardens and with his family. The revelation is such that it gets Adams, who at this point in his life is near-blind and frail, to once more call upon the fiery passion of his youth.
- Fandom Rivalry: The negative portrayal of Alexander Hamilton was naturally quite controversial among fans of the musical Hamilton if they came to the miniseries afterwards. Of course, this is also complicated by which portrayal is more historically accurate, as much as that can actually be known.
- Squick: Do you hate needles? Heh, who doesn't? DEAL WITH IT. Be thankful you weren't born in the 1700's! Where instead of a little poke, you get a crushed up infected BOIL shoved into an open wound. And then probably die anyway.
- Not to mention the horrific implications of an early 19th century mastectomy!
- Nightmare Fuel: Nabby's mastectomy. Truth in Television and Shown Their Work, though they did tone down the horror a bit.
- The tarring and feathering of the British tax collector in the first episode. It's in no way played for laughs, is clearly shown to be incredibly painful, and Adams is just as horrified and disgusted as we are.
- One-Scene Wonder: Tom Hollander as King George III. His total onscreen time is about minutes and their dialogue consists almost entirely of extremely formal avowals of mutual respect, but he holds his own against Paul Giamatti.
- Tear Jerker. After knowing Abigail Adams the entire series her death and, especially, John's reaction to it makes us feel the loss that he felt after decades of her as his best friend and wife. Likewise the death of Thomas Jefferson, even though the two of them had split apart for many years, the fact that he and Adams were two of the last great Founding Fathers and died on the same day reminds the viewers of the passing of an age.
- This is even sadder when you consider the day they both died: July 4, 1826. Fifty years to the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document that Jefferson and Adams had a major role in writing.
- John Adams disowning his own son, Charles, for drinking his life away. What makes it worse is that up to this point, during their final confrontation, John was speaking as a furiously disappointed father. Charles merely replied that his father had been a curse on his life. Upon hearing this, John disowns Charles, and the latter is terrified at the thought, begging his father to show him mercy.note
YMMV / John Adams
Note: these are for the the Mini Series John Adams, not the president it is based on.