Harvard educator Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosts this enlightening PBS series that examines "the DNA of American culture" through an extensive discovery of the ancestors of today's celebrities.... See full summary »
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Harvard educator Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosts this enlightening PBS series that examines "the DNA of American culture" through an extensive discovery of the ancestors of today's celebrities. In each episode, a set of featured guests view their ancestral histories, learn connections, and discover secrets about their lineage, while sharing the emotional experience with viewers. Gates guides them as they see results and details derived from the background work competed by expert genealogical diagnosticians, who have analyzed genetic code and traced bloodlines that leads to documentation and the occasional confirmation or debunking of long-held beliefs. A variety of guests have included musicians, authors, chefs, and more. Actors who've made an appearance include Julianna Marguiles, Stephen King, Ben Affleck, Sally Field, Mia Farrow, Anderson Cooper, and many others. Written by writermaia

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25 March 2012 (USA)  »

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When Stephen King appeared on the show, he looked through a scrapbook very much like the one from It (1990), based upon his novel. See more »

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Stephen King: [after a DNA test] I'm 99% European, baby!
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Show needs a reboot
30 June 2015 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Genealogical research is often fascinating, illuminating and addictive. But here's the thing about televising something that involves a lot of library time and reading -- you have to make it engaging. Finding Your Roots means well but it is nowhere near as fun or interesting to watch as another genealogical show, Who Do You Think You Are, currently airing on TLC. Unfortunately, it is Gates himself that is a drag on the show. He is a scholar and a professor and his sit downs with his guests come across like a dry lecture. The guests show up like good students for the lecture but they have had little or no personal involvement in the quest up to that point. And frankly some of them don't look too interested in their own stories.

I've been involved in genealogical research for many decades and I have learned some remarkable things at the hands of Professor Gates and his association with PBS. I don't want the show to disappear but I would encourage PBS to reformat it in favor of engaging both the guest and the viewer to a higher degree. They have the perfect opportunity to do that in the wake of the revelation that Gates and the show's producers covered up the facts of Ben Affleck's slave owning ancestry.


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