• A scene from the remake of miniseries Roots. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Audiences gripped their seats when US miniseries 'Roots' first aired in 1977 and a 2016 reboot sets out to do nothing less.
NITV Staff Writer

6 Jun 2016 - 1:32 PM  UPDATED 6 Jun 2016 - 1:33 PM

A reboot of seminal 1970s TV series Roots, revealing the all-too-true horrors of slavery, is coming soon to NITV to stir people the way the original did nearly 40 years ago.

The story begins with the world of Kunta Kinte, played by Malachi Kirby, who was kidnapped from his home in Africa in the mid-1700s and sold into slavery in America.

The narrative weaves through the lives of his family into the next Century as they endure the Civil War and beyond.

Anika Noni Rose, who plays Caroline, the daughter of Kunta Kinte, in the new version produced by the History Channel, told InStyle the story still holds as much relevance today.

"It can give us insight into why we treat each other the way we treat each other now. Why young people of colour are being mowed down by cops in the streets still,” Rose says.

“It’s important not to have kids saying, ‘That was so long ago. Why can’t we stop talking about it? That’s the past.’

"It's the truth of who we are, and as long as we tell the truth, we can continue to move forward."

The cast also features award-winning actors including Laurence Fishburne, Derek Luke, Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Matthew Goode and Mekhi Phifer.

LeVar Burton, who played Kinte in the original series, has kept a foothold in this production, taking on the role of co-executive producer.

“Nearly 40 years ago I had the privilege to be a part of an epic television event that started an important conversation in America,” he says.

“I am incredibly proud to be a part of this new retelling and start the dialogue again, at a time when it is needed more than ever." 

When Roots first aired, it was the most-watched TV drama in US television history, securing 100 million views on its final night, according to TIME.

It's influence was felt across the Trans Pacific, becoming Australia’s tenth most-watched program of the 20th Century, according to Fairfax citing ACNielsen.

This time around, Australia helps to tell the story with award-winning directors Philip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence) and Bruce Beresford (Mao’s Last Dancer, Driving Miss Daisy, Breaker Morant) taking the reigns of some of the episodes of the eight-hour drama.

America's Thomas Carter and Mario Van Peebles from Mexico directed the other episodes.

The historical hit, which won a Golden Globe and won nine of 37 Emmy Award nominations, is based on the 1976 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley.

The New York Times bestseller introduced the character Kunte Kinte, who is famously known as the slave who fought back. 


Watch the premiere of Roots on NITV, Saturday 30 July at 9:30pm.