Unique in television history is this six - volume chronicle of eighteenth and nineteenth century black life from African enslavement to and beyond Civil War emancipation.
The show is a triumph in most aspects - writing, production and historical fact - it is an illuminating look into a tragic side of American social history.
The show broke many boundaries in the themes and acts that were depicted and while it's certainly tame now, the fact that almost all the ocurrences here are true makes it confronting no matter which generation you witness it in. One of the low points of the show is the acting, laughable is an understatement. Even taking into account the 70's factor it's very hard to excuse some of the performances here.
Some outstaning exceptions however is Lou Gossett Jr. as the wise and diplomatic antebellum house servant Fiddler, Ben Vereen as the ebullient, post - Civil War freeman Chicken George and of course Ed Asner as the Captain of the slave ship having a struggle with his faith and conscience.
It's not only the areas of black life that are chronicled which makes this show amazing but the fact that their success in America is continuing and this show is only a launch pad for their culture with the election of the first African - American President, i like to think of it as the unofficial final chapter.
Whether you watch this show for homework, as a blast from the past, to leer at the flesh on show or if you have 540 minutes you want to kill; Roots is something to be treasured for years to come.