Directors: David Greene, Marvin J. Chomsky, John Erman, Gilbert Moses
Starring: Ben Vereen, John Amos, LeVar Burton, Olivia Cole, Vic Morrow, Louis Gossett Jr.
Number of discs: 3
Rated: Not Rated
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: June 7, 2016
Series: 5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars
“Roots” is a modern piece of TV history. This series had stood the test of time with some of the best performances since on TV ever. It is brutal sometimes, hard to watch but simple outstanding. Especially with the rebooted series which just aired on TV this past month, this is the perfect time to revisit this classic. It is presented in it’s original broadcast with all the program bumpers intact at the beginning and end of each episode. If you haven’t seen this series ever or not for a long time, now is the time to revisit this for sure!
Official Premise: His name was Kunta Kinte. Kidnapped from Africa and enslaved in America in 1767, he refused to accept his slave name of Toby. Heirs kept his heroic defiance alive, whispering the name Kunta Kinte from one generation to the next until it reached a young boy growing up in Tennessee. His name was Alex Haley. And he proclaimed Kunta Kinte’s name to the world. Through the lineage of one family, Haley and his Pulitzer Prize-winning ROOTS told a story for all America and the world. Seen by 130-million viewers during its premiere telecasts and the winner of dozens of awards, the David L. Wolper production remains a vital and engrossing entertainment landmark decades later.
This 40th anniversary release includes all the episodes in their original aspect ratio of 1:33, which has never looks better. Strangely the box specs say that the video is 1080i and that audio is Dolby Digital but that is definitely not the case because this series boasts a solid 1080p 24 frame video with sharp DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 sound, especially for a 40 year old TV series. You can tell that they actually did a lot of work to keep this series looking better than it ever has. The real bonus for me is that there is also a digital HD copy of the series included for you to watching streaming additionally.
The special features are also jam packed with content include two news features. The first is
“Roots: The American Story Continues” which features Whoopi Goldberg, James Earl Jones, Blair Underwood, Debbie Allen, Tavis Smiley, Shonda Rhimes and Reverend Al Sharpton talking about the effects of the series on their lives. The second is “The Cast Looks Back”, which includes original cast members including LeVar Burton, John Amos, Louis Gossett Jr., Ben Vereen, Cicely Tyson, Ed Asner, Sandy Duncan, Georg Stanford Brown and Lynne Moody share reflecting on the series.
Also included are a few great features like “Crossing Over: How Roots Captivated an Entire Nation”; “Connecting With the Past”; “The Struggle to Make Roots” and even an original screen test from Mr. LeVar Burton. Lastly there is an Alex Haley Interview by David Frost and a look back into the series with “Roots: One Year Later”. So if you are a fan of this series, you will not be let down with the additional content included in this very special 40th anniversary release.