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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Big No/Say My Name: KUNTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.