Thomas Jefferson

Watch Thomas Jefferson

  • 1997
  • 1 Season
  • 7.7  (799)

Thomas Jefferson is a historical drama based on the life and times of one of the founding fathers of America, Thomas Jefferson. The show, which aired on PBS in 1997, features an all-star cast including Sam Waterston, Blythe Danner, Ossie Davis, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The focus of the show is on the contradictions that are at the heart of Thomas Jefferson's life - on the one hand, he was a proponent of equality, human rights, and freedom, but on the other, he was a slave owner who fathered children with one of his slaves. The show explores how these contradictions came about and how they shaped Jefferson's beliefs and actions.

Sam Waterston plays the titular role of Thomas Jefferson, and he gives a stunning performance, bringing to life the complex personality of this iconic historical figure. Waterston effortlessly portrays Jefferson's brilliance, wit, and charm, as well as his flaws, such as his stubbornness and tendency towards isolation.

Blythe Danner plays Martha Jefferson, Thomas's wife, who dies early in the show, leaving Thomas to raise their children alone. Danner's performance is understated but powerful, and her portrayal of Martha Jefferson as a wise and loving mother who deeply cares for her husband and her family is heartwarming.

Ossie Davis plays Cato, one of Thomas Jefferson's slaves, who is deeply conflicted about his situation. Although he is loyal to Jefferson, he is also desperate for his freedom, which makes for some tense and emotional scenes between him and Waterston's character.

Gwyneth Paltrow plays young Sally Hemings, a slave owned by Thomas Jefferson who later becomes his mistress and mother of his children. Paltrow's performance is nuanced and sensitive, and she portrays Sally as a complex character who is both a victim of her circumstances and a survivor.

The show is set in the 18th and early 19th centuries and takes the viewer through some of the most significant events in American history, such as the American Revolution, the Constitutional Convention, and the Louisiana Purchase. The production value is high, and the show's attention to detail in terms of costumes, sets, and props is impressive.

One of the strengths of the show is its ability to convey the complexity of the historical context in which Jefferson lived. The show does not shy away from the darker aspects of American history, such as slavery and the treatment of Native Americans, but it also highlights the optimism and idealism that were at the heart of the American Revolution.

Overall, Thomas Jefferson is a powerful and thought-provoking show that does an excellent job of exploring the contradictions and complexities of one of America's greatest historical figures. The performances are top-notch, and the show's attention to detail and historical accuracy make it a must-watch for anyone interested in American history.

Thomas Jefferson is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (2 episodes). The series first aired on February 18, 1997.

Thomas Jefferson
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Part 2
2. Part 2
February 19, 1997
As Burns's documentary continues, Thomas Jefferson clashes with the Federalist Movement and has an affair with his house slave, Sally Hemings.
Part 1
1. Part 1
February 18, 1997
Ken Burns takes a look at consummate American leader Thomas Jefferson -- including the contradictions between his personal life and political ideals.
Where to Watch Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson is available for streaming on the PBS website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Thomas Jefferson on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon and PBS.
  • Premiere Date
    February 18, 1997
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (799)