Gripping. Heart-wrenching. Intense. Dramatic. These and many other words can be used to describe the emotional journey taken while watching the 1977 mini-series, Roots. This special 40th Anniversary Edition takes viewers behind-the-scenes of what was once the most-watched show in TV history.
In 1977, Roots consumed audiences with its story of a young African man, Kunta Kinte (LeVar Buron), who is ripped away from his peaceful home and loving family only to be brought the United States and thrown into the vile and deplorable bonds of slavery. The mini-series follows Kunta Kinte and his family through generations of enslavement, and the lessons learned through his experiences offer a sobering look at a past a mere century-and-a-half old.
Roots dominated in the ratings with an estimated audience between 130 million and 140 million viewers. In 1977, with the U.S. population at 221 million, this meant that between 66% and 80% on TVs were tuned the eight-part series when it originally aired between January 23 and January 30, 1977. It’s no wonder that Roots is a definite classic and a must-watch.
This special edition blu-ray is packed with excellent special features, which include:
Roots: The American Story Continues
A discussion of the impact the mini-series had on American culture in 1977.
Roots: The Cast Looks Back
The cast reminisces about making the mini-series and how it affected them personally both during production and over the decades since Roots initially premiered.
Crossing Over: How Roots Captivated an Entire Nation
A look at the social and cultural impact that Roots had on nationwide audiences in 1977 and how it led to new perspectives on race and genealogy.
Connecting with the Past
An in-depth analysis about the importance of knowing where your ancestors came from and how that can have an impact on your present and your future.
The Struggle to Make Roots
Take a look behind-the-scenes of how this amazing mini-series went from script to screen and the challenges that were faced and surpassed along the way.
LeVar Burton: Original Screen Test
Alex Haley Interview by David Frost
Roots: One Year Later
A documentary aired one year after the initial airing of Roots that discusses the impact the mini-series. Hosted by Louis Gossett, Jr.
This special anniversary edition also includes a supplemental booklet with info about each episode and a list of the mini-series’ cast members.
My one issue with the set is the color choices for the Menu buttons. The basic color and the one used when selecting are so similar it’s hard to see if you have selected what you want. Other than that, this is an excellent box set.
Roots left a lasting impression on audiences that continues to have an impact to this day. Now that I have read Alex Haley’s remarkable novel and seen the adaptation of his work I strongly, strongly recommend that you read and watch both. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
Roots: 40th Anniversary is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download.