'Roots - The Next Generations'
(Georg Stanford Brown, Kathleen Doyle, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / (1979) 2007 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Could there be a worthy follow-up to the most-watched miniseries ever? "We felt the other did so well," Alex Haley said, "that we should just let it hang there." But Haley began carrying around a tape recorder, dictating more of his family's tales as they came to his memory. Those remembrances filled a 1,000-page transcript: raw material for Roots: The Next Generations. Winner of the Emmy for Best Limited Series, this landmark continuation of a landmark event - with 53 stars and 235 speaking parts - "is in many respects a superior achievement," Newsweek said in comparing this to Roots.
DVD Verdict: Oh boy ... I cried through out watching this powerful movie. The Next Generations documents the history of Alex Haley's family from the time they were set free from slavery all the way up until Alex is reunited with his family in Africa. This movie is inspirational in that I can identify with these people since my family was also taken from Africa and enslaved.
Roots: The Next Generations first aired in February of 1979, two years and one month after the original mini series. Picking up a dozen years after the first series ended, Next Generations starts off in Tennessee, where Tom Harvey (Georg Sanford Brown), the great grandson of Kunta Kinte, has relocated his family in the years following the Civil War. A successful blacksmith, Tom is also something of a leader within the black community of Henning, fighting for equality of his people. As the years pass, Tom's daughter Cynthia (Bever-Leigh Banfield) marries Will Palmer (Stan Shaw), and they have a daughter, Bertha (Irene Cara). Bertha goes on to marry Simon Haley (Dorian Harewood), and they have a son, Alex, who grows up to be played by James Earl Jones. And we all know who Alex Haley was, because he's the one who wrote Roots in the first place.
The most fundamental problem with Roots: The Next Generations is that when all is said and done, it is a sequel. The original series had been in development for many years (in fact, Haley had yet to compete the book before production began), and it is clear that Roots was very much a labor of love for everyone involved. By comparison, the sequel was pretty much rushed into production on the heels of the first series' success. Not as much time was spent writing the scripts or developing the series. And it shows. Not as much money was spent on the production. And it shows. Not as much heart and soul went into the production. And it shows.
I would urge everyone to view this movie for the history that it offers. The acting was also great. Alex Haley, thank you for sharing your wonderful history to the world. This is the best movie that I have ever witnessed in my life. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Roots: The Next Generations: The Legacy Continues