In January of 1977, a miniseries called Roots took the nation by storm. It forced America to confront its history of slavery, it rocketed a young LeVar Burton to instant stardom, it won a bunch of awards, and it got great ratings. Now the History Channel is remaking Roots, and it’s hoping to recapture as much of that success as possible—well, the awards and ratings, at least.
To do that, it’s going to pull a trick that the networks in the ‘70s couldn’t: It’s going to air the new Roots across three separate channels. When Roots premieres next year, it will simultaneously take over History, A&E, and Lifetime, ensuring that everyone in America will have no choice but to watch it and confront the country’s history of slavery—assuming, of course, that they don’t get any channels that aren’t History, A&E, and Lifetime. Even if those people do get other channels, though, they should watch Roots anyway. And no, they can’t just watch the original, because Variety says that the producers “will work closely with historians and other experts to incorporate new information about the historical period uncovered since the original book and mini were released.” That means this one will be better than the old one, which is a solid burn on things that are old.