Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Classic TV: Roots (1977)

 ABC took a chance with its first major miniseries, Roots, based on Alex Haley's best-selling novel, in the winter of 1977. The network, and producer David L. Wolper, were rewarded with several Emmy awards the following fall.

Personal note: As an 8th grader, I was assigned to watch the first episode, at least, and report on it. Difficult to do, since Roots aired past my bedtime, but I tried my best.

Wolper assembled an all-star cast, including Georg Stanford Brown (The Rookies), Leslie Uggams, John Amos (ex-Good Times, The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Lorne Greene (ex-Bonanza), Chuck Connors, Ben Vereen, Scatman Crothers (Chico & The Man), Robert Reed (ex-The Brady Bunch, The Defenders), Sandy Duncan, Todd Bridges, Louis Gossett, Jr., Cicely Tyson, and Edward Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), and introduced LeVar Burton to American audiences.

The success of Roots spawned a sequel, which completed Haley's story, a few years later. In 2016, Wolper and A & E, with Burton serving as a producer, presented a remake of Roots, shorter in terms of length than the original, to mark the 40th anniversary of Haley's novel.

Following is a short trailer that set up the opening chapter:

I didn't watch the complete miniseries for reasons described above. No rating.

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