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File:220px-Roots 25th Anniversary Edition 5734.jpg


 Omoro Kinte: Kunta Kinte, behold the only thing greater than yourself!


Roots was a Miniseries presenting a dramatized account about author Alex Haley's family line and their struggles coping with slavery from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his Civil War descendants' liberation. Based on a novel by Haley.

First broadcast in late January and early February 1977, the series was a tremendous success, prompting new public interest in genealogy and, in regard to television, established the Miniseries as a high profile prestige format for prime time.

The first Roots, the generally better received one, went only up through the Civil War, while a 1980 Sequel, Roots: The Next Generations, picked up in 1865 and went through to Alex Haley himself, culminating in Haley visiting Kunte Kinte's home village in the 1970s.

1988 brought a third (fictional) entry: Roots: The Gift. This was a single two-hour side story, bringing back LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte. As a piece of trivia, this film features a few actors who would be in Star Trek productions, just as Burton was. Avery Brooks (Captain Benjamin Sisko), Kate Mulgrew (Captain Kathryn Janeway), and Tim Russ (Lieutenant Tuvok).

Tropes used in Roots include:
  • Arc Words: "(Name), behold! The only thing greater than yourself!"; in the later episodes, the story each generation of Kunta Kinte's family tells about their family tree.
  • All There in the Manual: There is a somewhat obscure special called: Roots: The Gift that takes place between Parts 2 and 3 of the series that explains how Kunta and Fiddler moved to Reynolds's plantation.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Pettijohn refusing to stick his neck out again for Simon Haley and help save Ab Dekker.
  • Family Drama: Extended multigenerational.
  • Generational Saga
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: OJ Simpson is one of the random tribesmen in the first episode who Kunta runs into on his bird hunt.
  • I Die Free
  • Inspired By: The earlier parts, before Chicken George are all fiction. There was a Kunta Kinte and a Lord Ligonier, but neither have a proven connection to Haley. The rest may have been altered here or there for the sake of drama.
  • Made a Slave: Kunta Kinte.
  • Miniseries
  • The Man Is Keeping Us Down: And how! There are a couple of sympathetic whites, though, particularly George Johnson and his wife.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: The Tear Jerker variety - it's Kunta Kinte, not Toby.
  • Pet the Dog: Some of the masters have a couple of moments that could count — even Tom Moore, who would have been a Complete Monster otherwise.
  • Playing Gertrude: The actress playing Kizzy was 3 years older than the guy who played her son, Chicken George. (necessary though, since she also played a younger version of Kizzy.)
  • Rite of Passage: During the first episode, the adolescent boys of the village are taken out to a remote area and subjected to several rites of passage.
  • Stock Subtitle: Roots the Next Generations.
  • Two Plus Torture Makes Five: "Your name is TOBY!"
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Kunta Kinte/Toby