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Mainstream - Roots The Next Generations DVD- Short Review

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Roots The Next Generations
James Earl Jones, Georg Stanford Brown, Ossie Davis
Henry Fonda, Irene Cara, Greg Morris
Based on the Alex Haley novel
4 double-sided DVDs / 7 episodes
Originally aired ABC 1979
Warner Home Video 2007
688 minutes

Roots and Roots The Next Generations were landmark TV miniseries almost thirty years ago. The 4 double-sided 7 episode Roots The Next Generations DVD set shows why. This was an important miniseries depicting the history of Black Americans through the people in author Alex Haley's family tree. It was also a generally fascinating series with great actors. The Next Generations has survived the years extremely well -including how it looks on DVD-- and is still touching, sometimes funny, often very dark drama.

The seven episodes of Roots The Next Generations cover Black history from 1882 to the turbulent nineteen sixties. Though this miniseries is story and character driven, it is also clear each character is a type and each episode represents a period in Black and American history.

Episode one covers the years after the war of secession.

Episode two is marked by Jim Crow laws being instated everywhere in the south and Black losing their right to vote because of the poll tax and literacy test.

Episode three of Roots The Next Generations sees the rebirth of the Klan, a look at the life of Pullman porters, and the inklings of WWI.

Episode four covers Simon Haley's (Alex Haley's father) time in the racist U.S. army and return to a post WWI America that has really not changed at all.

Episode 5 is about the federal farming subsidy, Simon Haley's involvement in it, and how southern landowners stole it from their tenant farmers, black or white.

Episode 6 of Roots The Next Generations tells the story of Alex Haley in the coast guard as he tries to figure out who he is and to become a writer in a still racist post WWII America.

Episode 7 is the story of Alex Haley (James Earl Jones) and covers his success as a writer and his discovery of his roots.

Although events in episodes four to six could have been condensed a bit and the make-up jobs aging the characters are sometimes dreadfully obvious, Roots The Next Generations was a fascinating miniseries and it is still interesting almost thirty years later as a DVD set.

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