Roots

Series 1 - Episode 1

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Review

It’s one thing to know the facts of slavery, it’s another to see the human experience played out harrowingly in your living room. Which is why the original Roots series had such an impact. It was a landmark of the 1970s, a watershed in the public consciousness of what slavery meant. So why remake it now, many asked, when this big-budget version was announced. To which the best answer was, why not? It’s a chapter of history that bears – that needs – retelling.

The story opens with Kunta Kinte as a teenager in 1767 in the West African town of Juffure, where his father has a feud with a clan that trades slaves to the British. Kunta goes through his training as a Mandinka warrior but is then ambushed, abducted and shipped across the Atlantic in horrific conditions. The anguish and pain of this are portrayed so sharply that some scenes – a forced amputation, a vicious flogging – are almost unwatchably brutal. But we are very much caught up in Kunta Kinte’s story, all over again.

Summary

A remake of the iconic 1977 series, adapted from Alex Haley's book, chronicling the saga of a young African slave sold in America, and the story of his descendants. In Juffure, West Africa, Kunta Kinte is kidnapped and sold to English slave traders, who transport shiploads of enslaved Africans to America. After an attempted rebellion on board the ship, Kunta is eventually brought to Maryland and purchased by tobacco baron John Waller.

Cast & Crew

Kunta Kinte Malachi Kirby
Fiddler Forest Whitaker
Alex Haley/Narrator Laurence Fishburne
Omoro Kinte Babs Olusanmokun
Jinna Simona Brown
Silla Da Bibba Derek Luke
Kintango Chris Obi
John Waller James Purefoy
Elizabeth Waller Katie McGuinness
Connelly Tony Curran
Dr. William Waller Matthew Goode
Samson Hakeem Kae-Kazim
Sitafa Kedar Williams-Stirling
Director Phillip Noyce
Executive Producer Mark Wolper
Executive Producer Mark Rosenthal
Executive Producer Marc Toberoff
Executive Producer Will Packer
Executive Producer Barry Jossen
Executive Producer Lawrence Konner
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