Roots: Miniseries Reviews

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June 12, 2018
The History network, in on-air partnership with Lifetime and A&E, has brought forth a Roots that stands tall on its own, but without surpassing the production that once gripped a nation and should still be seen by viewers of all ages.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
January 18, 2018
Wisely, Haley bought the rights back and decided the story needed the canvas that only TV can offer. It makes for fuller presentation and a larger audience. He made a wise choice, and so did ABC in showing it on consecutive nights.
June 6, 2016
This is a more intimate series, with extended looks at the personal relationships of the characters.
May 30, 2016
Just as the original Roots had a powerful emotional impact on Americans, the new one is likely to do so as well, especially given that questions of race are at the forefront of discussion as much now as ever.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
May 30, 2016
History's new vision of Roots justifies its existence almost immediately, reinforcing its worthiness through amazing performances and a tweaked narrative that puts more focus on the interior lives of the slaves.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
May 30, 2016
After spending about eight hours embedded with four generations of men and women, beaten down but not broken, bonded by blood and tradition, I feel genuinely affected. With so much storytelling out there, that's no small feat.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
June 27, 2018
It is unlikely that the four-night event will capture audiences the same way the original series did when it premiered in 1977, thanks to the advent of the DVR.
April 25, 2017
Highlights -- a queasy word to use here -- include a revolt on the slave ship and the flogging of Kinte to make him acknowledge his new English name.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
April 4, 2017
For the viewers, and how much more so for the actors involved, the knowledge of that past only heightens the involvement in this nuanced and poetic telling of America's (and Britain's) most shameful history.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
February 13, 2017
It's angry and beautiful, shameful and shaming, bloody and leathery and salty and viciously vital to any of our histories.
February 9, 2017
As Kunta/Toby, Malachi Kirby has a magnetic presence and brilliantly negotiates the transition from foolish young pup to stern rebel who makes his bid for freedom on a white charger. He's the most compelling reason to keep faith with this new adaptation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
February 9, 2017
While it is gruesome to witness the level of human suffering depicted here, it would be pointless to tell the story without it.
August 22, 2016
This new adaptation of Roots may have a fair amount of downtime throughout its six and a half hours, but it rises on the strengths of its emotionally powerful narrative and outstanding cast, making this a version that does justice to its source material.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
June 16, 2016
Roots' shocking disclosures about the cruelties of America's past were subject to revision. The discomforting history of man's inhumanity to man...is now turned to the advantage of modern political and cultural powerbrokers.
June 5, 2016
A thoroughly well-done version of largely the same story, reinterpreted respectfully, yes, but with an eye toward the kind of emotionally complex melodrama that made the original a sensation.
June 5, 2016
As a drama, it earns its considerable tension, heroism, and empathy by revealing how slaves fought to retain their humanity and dignity in a society that tried to violently stamp them out every day.
June 3, 2016
The story is just as powerful, the acting is equally affecting, and the message it imparts is still important -- in some ways, even more so -- nearly 40 years later.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
May 31, 2016
The new Roots is a strong one, in part because its leading man, the actor Malachi Kirby, playing a strong and educated Mandinka warrior as Kunta Kinte.
May 31, 2016
Whether you're a proponent or a critic of the new Roots, it's unlikely you'll quickly shake the image of Malachi Kirby's burning rage-filled eyes.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
May 31, 2016
The effort put forth by the writers, actors, and filmmakers have updated and reimagined the miniseries to be a powerful reminder of the past and how stories like Roots deserve to be retold.
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