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I watched "Roots" when I was fifteen years old, having absolutely *no* real-life experience to lend the series context - I lived in a sheltered, upper-middle class suburb, and had absolutely no exposure to any of this, except what I was taught in school. Having recently watched movies such as "Django Unchained," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" "Do the Right Thing," and "12 Years a Slave," I thought it was high time for *me* to do the right thing, and get back to the roots of all these movies - the original 1977 miniseries, which caused an incredible stir when it was released. It was hard to watch then, and I suspect it will be even harder to watch now that I have life's experiences behind me. I remember very well, about twenty years ago, a Jewish friend of mine watched all of "Shoah" - no small task - because he promised himself that he would, as a Jew, in order to educate himself and remember what happened to his people. For a similar - but opposite - reason, I'm watching Roots: Not because of what happened *to* my people, but because of what my people did *to* another race of innocents. Do I feel *personally* responsible for what occurred? I wasn't born yet, so how could I? Do I feel a responsibility for what occurred? Of course I do - primarily because it's still going on. A successful television broadcast is now considered to be about 10 million viewers - even though Roots got off to a relatively slow start, episode #1 was the only episode of the 8 - which ran every day for a week - that pulled in less than 30 million. It was remarkably successful, and well-received by both critics and the general public alike. Roots won 9 Emmy Awards with 28 nominations, and 1 Golden Globe Award with 2 nominations. Maybe I'm being a touch dramatic, but I hope this post inspires others to rewatch this important series. Amazon has the first episode for free, hoping to reel in viewers who will purchase the entire series for $34.99. I refuse to pay this, and am wondering if anyone knows where it can be viewed for less money. Alex Haley wrote the book (see below for additional information), and is implicitly credited as a Writer in all six episodes. There are simply too many stars in this series to do anything but add simple links for them - refer to their Wikipedia links for all the other work they've done - this would be a fool's errand for me to attempt. Jan 23 - Jan 29, 1977 - Episode List and Timetable Episode 1 - Directed by David Greene (Director of "Sebastian"), Written by William Blinn (Screenwriter of "Brian's Song") and Ernest Kinoy (Writer of "I Wouldn't Start from Here" on "Route 66") Featuring Edward Asner, O.J. Simpson, Ralph Waite, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Maya Angelou, Moses Gunn, Thalmus Rasulala, Hari Rhodes, William Watson, Renn Woods, Levar Burton, Cicely Tyson, Ernest Thomas, Rebecca Bess, Henry Butts, Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4 - Episode 5 - Episode 6 - When the first episode ended, the first thing I thought of was the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda: A few *morons* with letter openers brought down the World Trade Center, killing thousands in the process. It takes so little to do so much damage, and although slavery was a large institution, the protagonists in Episode 1 were just a few dozen idiots. Ironically, the victims of this crime against humanity were Muslim. I'm not sure how historically accurate that is (Alex Haley was caught plagiarizing parts of his book), but in Ghana, i,e., Northwest Africa, it's not impossible. "Miniseries: Roots Special" on pbs.org May 27, 2016 - "Roots: Behind the 1977 Series that Started a National Conversation" by Alynda Wheat on people.com
I wanted some comfort food last night, so I (re-)watched "Star Trek Generations." This movie has one of my personal-favorite openings of any movie I’ve ever seen (okay, okay, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” might be a tad better), but still: I’m surprised Captain Harriman didn’t offer Captain Kirk the helm when he gave the order to “Take us out” on the Enterprise B - it would have been touching, although the way Kirk is playing his role (at least initially), he’s being a bit aloof, and “touching” isn’t in keeping with his demeanor. Oh my goodness - when Kirk found out there were no photon topedoes, and just now said, “Don’t tell me … Tuesday,” I braced myself for what I fear is going to be some awful filmmaking and acting. This was not funny, it was not cute, it was … for children. (“Computer, remove the plank!” was pretty damned funny.) There is *no way* that Jordi (or Data) would implant the emotion chip without first consulting with Captain Picard. That said, Data “hating his beverage” was highly amusing, in an obvious kind-of way. Picard’s grief scene over the death of his brother and nephew was so well done that every other foible in this movie, at least up until this point, can be forgiven so far. Data’s amusing “Life Forms” song is performed in D-major. Unfortunately, it was negated by his stupid, “Oh, shit” comment. The extended saucer-crash scene was really well-done. I’m certainly no expert at being able to tell whether or not it was realistic, but to these layman’s eyes, it was very much so. I wasn’t even sure I’d seen this movie, but I remember Kirk’s “Oh my” scene like it was yesterday, so I’m certain I saw it upon release. As a film, there isn’t all that much here; as a bonus, extended, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode? I think it’s just keen.