Franklin docudrama portrays founding father’s perilous mission to save America


'Franklin' portrays founding father’s perilous mission to save America
Michael Douglas plays a suave, sexy Benjamin Franklin in new Apple TV+ biopic.
Photo: Apple TV+

A Benjamin Franklin docudrama now on Apple TV+ has the founding father taking on the dangerous task of convincing the king of France to financially support the American Revolution.

Legendary actor Michael Douglas has the title role of Franklin, a limited series that runs through mid May.

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Apple TV+ Franklin docudrama is thick with political intrigue

In 1776, Benjamin Franklin is sent to France to convince the monarch to underwrite America’s experiment in democracy. Against the odds he succeeds and [Spoiler alert] the fledgling United States wins the Revolutionary War.

As Apple TV+ says:

“At age 70, without any diplomatic training, Franklin convinced an absolute monarchy to underwrite America’s experiment in democracy. By virtue of his fame, charisma and ingenuity, Franklin outmaneuvered British spies, French informers and hostile colleagues to engineer the Franco-American Alliance of 1778 and the peace treaty with Great Britain in 1783.”

It is easy to picture Franklin’s mission to Paris as a bunch of men standing around discussing diplomacy, but the trailer for the Apple TV+ series emphasizes the intrigue and danger … because of course it does.

So much talent

Michael Douglas has over 50 years of acting experience. Among his many accolades are two Academy Awards and five Golden Globes.

The Apple TV+ series is based on the book A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America by Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff.  The adaptation was written by Kirk Ellis, who also wrote HBO’s John Adams, which was showered with awards.

The drama also stars Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) as Temple Franklin, Thibault de Montalembert (Call My Agent!) as comte de Vergennes, Daniel Mays (Line of Duty) as Edward Bancroft, Ludivine Sagnier (Lupin) as Madame Brillon, Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan) as John Adams and Théodore Pellerin (There’s Someone Inside Your House) as Marquis de Lafayette.

The series was directed by Tim Van Patten (The Pacific, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire).

Available now on Apple TV+

Franklin premiered globally on Apple TV+ on Friday, offering the first three episodes to get viewers into the story. These will be followed by one new episode every Friday through mid May.

Watch on Apple TV

Watching comes with a subscription to Apple TV+. The service is $9.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. You can also get it via any tier of the Apple One subscription bundle.

And Apple’s streaming video service also includes much more than historical dramas, of course. There are comedies, science fiction, children’s shows, nature documentaries, etc.

Want more tips on what to watch? Read our guide to the 15 best shows on Apple TV+.


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