PBS’ ‘Finding Your Roots: Season 6’ Home Release Is A Partial Success

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Almost nine years ago to the day this week, PBS launched what has become one of the network’s most beloved series in the form of Finding Your Roots.  The series has now run a total of seven seasons and has welcomed guests from across the pop culture and political realms.  With Season Six officially in the books, it is scheduled for release Tuesday on DVD.  Audiences across the board will find Season Six just as interesting in its new home release as in its original airing.  That is due to the history that audiences learn through each star’s session.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the history and celebrities featured in this season makes for its own appeal, the season’s home release does struggle from one key negative, its episode listing.  This will be discussed a little later.  The set’s pricing is its own positive to the presentation and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this three-disc set.  All things considered, they make the home release of Finding Your Roots: Season 6 a worthwhile watch for any genealogy and history aficionado. 

PBS Distribution’s home release of Finding Your Roots: Season 6 is a presentation that longtime fans of the series will find worth watching at least occasionally.  That is due in part to the history that is revealed through some of the season’s celebrity genealogy sessions.  Case in point is revelation that Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet’s ancestors actually changed the family name when they came to America.  As is revealed, the name change happened at the time because of the view that Americans had against Germans at the time.  In relation, it is revealed that Germans, at the time in question, were put into internment camps of sorts here in the U.S. just like Asians would later in World War II.  That is something that few if any history classes teach in America’s schools.  It is somewhat disconcerting to see how readily Americans would turn their backs on even   those immigrants who were themselves fleeing conflict.   Another example of the interesting history revealed here comes during a session with actress Justina Machado.  It is revealed that her grandfather was jailed in Puerto Rico simply for being homosexual.  In other words, America is not the only nation that has ever persecuted the homosexual community.  It makes for its own share of discussion even today since the acceptance of the LGBTQI+ community is more front and center among Americans today than ever before.  On yet another note, viewers learn in National Public Radio personality Terry Gross’ session that her ancestors were treated as second class citizens in a region of Russia that was largely populated by Russian Jews.  The mistreatment of those people is another sad example of how far back the persecution of Jews went worldwide going even back to the 19th century.  It serves as a starting point on that topic and is just one more example of what makes this season’s history so important to the season’s overall presentation.  Between it and so much more history revealed throughout the season’s 16 total episodes, the whole proves why that content is so important to the season’s presentation.   

For all that the featured history does for the presentation of Finding Your Roots’ sixth season, the matter of its episode listing detracts from that presentation to a point.  As with so many of the series’ existing season sets, the episode guide is on-screen only.  There is no episode guide printed anywhere on the set’s art wrap.  The result is that audiences are forced here to take extra time deciding which episode(s) they want to watch by going through each of its three discs.  Making things even more complicated is that the on-screen menus use titles rather than the names of the celebrities featured within the episodes.  This artsy form of titling the episodes is more burden than boon for audiences because even those audiences who have already watched Season 6 likely forgotten which celebrities are featured throughout the season.  In turn, audiences are going to be forced to spend just as much time  finding  the episodes’ featured stars either just by going through the discs or by checking them online through Wikipedia.  Regardless of the chosen course, the fact of the matter is that the extra time taken in either path will lead to some frustration for audiences.  It is not enough to doom the season’s home DVD release, but is enough to detract from the overall presentation to some point.

While the matter of the season’s episode guide is a hindrance that one cannot overlook, it its negative impact is offset at least to a point thanks to the set’s pricing.  Using listings at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and PBS, the set’s average price point comes to $35.72.  Season 6 was not listed through Target (though for some reason Season 7 is listed there) and Books-A-Million.  Amazon and Best Buy offer the set’s least expensive listing at $27.99 each.  Walmart actually has the most expensive listing this time, at $42.63.  While that listing is exorbitantly high, it should be stressed that it is not actually through Walmart, but through M and N Media, LLC, one of the many third party sellers with which Walmart works.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers and PBS each list the set at $39.99.  Taking all things into consideration, the two less expensive listings through Amazon and Best Buy become even more appealing even coming close to the $30 mark.  Add in that many DVD sets with just as many discs (and sometimes more) run roughly at the same price if not more expensive.  To that end, those two listings prove to be their own positive.  What’s more, fans will note that even buying the set through Amazon or Walmart, a portion of the money from those sales will still benefit PBS.  Add in the amount of content here and the prices prove even more affordable.  When that is considered along with the content and featured stars, this season proves that much more worth watching at least occasionally and purchasing.

PBS Distribution of Finding Your Roots: Season 6 is a presentation that the series’ longtime fans will agree is worth purchasing and watching at least occasionally.  That is due in large part to the set’s featured history and stars.  They in themselves make the set worth watching at least occasionally.  While the season’s content does its own share to make the collection positive, the concerns raised through the set’s episode listing detract noticeably from the set’s presentation.  That is because it forces audiences to have to take extra time deciding which episode(s) to watch.  Luckily, the concerns raised in that matter are not enough to completely ruin the collection.   Keeping that in mind, the set’s pricing proves at least somewhat positive.   That is because at least two major retailers list the collection below the average price point of more than $35.  Those two less expensive listings are just below the $30 mark.  In comparison to other DVD and BD sets of the same size, that price is right on par with some and even less expensive than others.    Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this box set.  All things considered, they make Finding Your Roots: Season 6 at least a partial success.  The box  set is scheduled for release Tuesday.

More information on Finding Your Roots is available online now at:

Websitehttps://www.pbs.org/finding-your-roots

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/FindingYourRootsPBS

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/HenryLouisGates

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