As someone licensed in the social studies, I was interested in the HBO series from a couple years back based on David McCullough's book, John Adams. Though I haven't read the book, I thought the HBO adaptation was exceptional in the way in created new possibilities for educators teaching history and fresh opportunities for students interacting with historical texts. Using the John Adams series as an example, several activities come to mind.
1) While reading from a chapter of McCullough's book (and prior to watching a portion of the HBO series), students could create a storyboard (anyone aware of an free online story-boarding resource?) that highlights critical moments in the text, allowing them to develop visual representations of their historical interpretations.
2) Using Fodey (fodey.com), a newspaper clipping image generator, students could respond to part of the HBO series by constructing a handful of newspaper articles. This would enable them to organize historical events and provide their own version of how the events unfolded.
3) Through the writing of a blog or the creation of a VoiceThread, students could review a chapter from the book, along with an episode of the HBO series. In their review, they could explore ways they were effected by each medium. Then, they could compare and contrast the chapter from McCullough's book with one they are reading in their spare time, as well as the HBO episode with a show they enjoy watching outside of school.