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

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Announces ‘Finding Your Roots: Season 4’ Release Date

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Fans of PBS’ hit genealogy series Finding Your Roots will soon be able to own the series’ fourth season.

PBS and Public Media Distribution announced Monday that the series’ fourth season will be released Tuesday, Feb. 6 on DVD and digital HD.  Season Four sees host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. interviewing celebrities such as Ted Danson and his wife Mary Steenburgen, Bryant Gumble, Fred Armisen, William H. Macy and even presidential candidate Bernie Sanders among many others.

Over the course of the season’s 600-minute run time, audiences will learn that one of William H. Macy’s family members was a member of America’s very first Air Force.  Also of interest is the revelation that Sanders and entertainer Larry David have quite the interesting and unexpected connection.  Christopher Walken and Amy Schumer receive their own emotional surprises in their interviews, too.  Between all of this and more, audiences have a lot to enjoy in Season 4.

Season Four is spread across three discs and will retail for MSRP of $39.99.  It can be pre-ordered at a reduced price of $34.99 via PBS’ online store now.  More information on Finding Your Roots is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/finding-your-roots

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FindingYourRootsPBS

 

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Audiences Will “Find” Plenty To Like About Finding Your Roots’ Third Season

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

Later this month PBS and PBS Distribution will release the third complete season of PBS’ hit hybrid series Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  The latest installment of this series, it boasts plenty of positives that are not weighed down even with its one lone con—its lack of an episode guide.  That will be discussed later.  In regards to its pros the central pro is its list of celebrities featured throughout this season make up just one of the set’s pros.  The list of celebrities featured in Season Three spans the entertainment universe.  This will be discussed shortly.  The history presented behind each celebrity is the finishing touch to this season.  Together with the season’s featured episodes, these two pros cannot be outweighed by the set’s one lone con.  Keeping that in mind Season Three in whole still proves to be just as welcome in any home setting as any classroom setting.  It could be argued that despite financial support from a certain genealogy website the program refuses itself to be come just a glorified advertisement for said website (unlike a certain other similar program on another network).  But that goes without saying.   Keeping all of this in mind, the third season of Finding Your Roots With Henry Lous Gates, Jr. serves to prove once again why PBS remains the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.

The third season of PBS’ Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is another impressive and enjoyable installment of the hybrid history/genealogy-based series.  Compared to its counterpart over on TLC (and other potential counterparts) the series continues to stand out proudly.  The central reason for this is again its featured guests.  Yet again the series featured guests from across the entertainment universe.  That broad list of guests includes: Sean Combs and LL Cool J (both music stars), entrepreneur Richard Branson, actors Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Hader, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Maya Rudolph, and Juliana Margulies (actors), Soledad O’Brien and Bill O’Reily (news personalities), John McCain and Gloria Steinem (politicians), Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Maher (entertainers), Norman Lear (author/writer), activist Shonda Rimes, and so many others.  There are even famed architects interviewed for this season of Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr..  Simply put, once again this standout series has once again covered as much ground as possible in its guest list.  This is nothing new for the series, either this far into its run.  It shows a valid attempt to spread the wealth so to speak as much as possible and hot have any bias towards one group or another regardless of profession, gender, or ethnic background.  It’s nice to consider and just one part of what makes this season of Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. On a related note, the reactions of some of Gates’ guests are just as important to this season as their inclusion.

The guests that are featured in this season of Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. are important in their own right to the season’s overall presentation.  The reactions on the part of Gates’ guests are just as important as the guests themselves appearing on the show.  Those that watch through the season’s ten episodes will notice that some of Gates’ guests are truly moved and curious about their roots more so than others.  Rappers LL Cool J and Sean Combs are just two of those that are most visibly interested and moved in their interviews.  Just watching their facial gestures and listening to their reactions, it’s clear that they had a genuine appreciation for Gates’ work and that of those with whom he worked.  Celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich and author Azar Nafisi are also visibly intrigued and moved by the revelation of their families’ histories as were Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow.  That isn’t to say that any of the season’s featured celebrities were not appreciative of the research done to reveal their histories.  But some guests’ reactions were more visible than others.  On the surface this doesn’t seem overly important.  But on another level, that visible reaction helps establish a connection for viewers.  That is because in most cases, the guests’ roots are quite humble, just like those of most viewers more than likely.  Considering this, the reactions of Gates’ guests are, while minor on the surface, just as important as the guests themselves.  The guests featured in Season Three and their interaction with Gates both do plenty to make it enjoyable for audiences.  As important as they are to this season there is one factor tied in to both that takes away at least a certain amount from the season’s presentation.  That factor is the season’s lack of an episode guide.

The latest season of PBS’ Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. gives audiences plenty of reason to watch through all ten of its episodes.  That is visible through its once again vast array of guests and their equally vast reactions to the revelation of their families’ histories.  While both of these elements are plenty of reason in themselves to watch this season of Finding Your Roots they also tie in to the season’s one con.  That con is the season’s lack of an episode guide.  Unlike certain other imitator shows out there that try to copy this show’s format, this series doesn’t just focus on one guest per episode.  It focuses on anywhere from two to three per episode.  So having an episode guide of any sort would have been very good here considering this.  Season One came with an episode guide printed on the back of its case.  This critic will admit to not knowing if Season Two came with an episode guide of any sort.  Even having the comparison between just the two seasons, it can be said that having the episode guide included in the standalone set is a clear positive.  Without that guide, audiences are left to try and memorize which guests (episodes) appear on which of the set’s three discs.  On the surface this might seem minor.  But it does save time for audiences regardless of whether or not audiences already saw the episodes in their original broadcasts.  Keeping this in mind, the lack of an episode guide in this season does prove problematic in its own right.  Luckily though, it isn’t enough of a con that it ruins this season’s overall presentation.  The history behind the guests’ families couples with the guests and their reactions to more than make up for the lack of an episode guide this season.

The third season of Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. offers audiences plenty of viewing pleasure through its featured guests and their reactions to the revelations of their families’ histories.  They more than make up for the set’s one clear con, its lack of an episode guide.  They are not the set’s only pros.  The family histories that are put on display are just as important to the season’s presentation as the guests and their reactions to their family histories.  The family histories of Bill Maher, Bill O’Reilly, and Soledad O’Brien are clear examples of that importance.  Audiences learn through their family histories that apparently despite being white, Irish immigrants did not exactly receive what would be considered a warm welcome.  Rather many were treated as second class citizens.    This is so interesting because the Irish that settled in the U.S. came here to escape things like the Irish Potato Famine as well as religious persecution and other issues.  Even the view of the Irish for the jobs that they took was anything but positive.  It shows blacks and Asians weren’t the only groups that were discriminated against in America’s youth.  Viewers will be just as interested to learn in celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich’s interview the trials faced by her family during World War II as a result of Italy’s role in the conflict.  It’s interesting to learn that even innocent Italians who did not support Mussolini suffered just because they were Italian.  Even more interesting is that they suffered not at the hands of the dictator but at the hands of other Europeans that fought him and his forces.  It is no wonder that Bastianich is so moved in her interview especially considering what she did and didn’t already know about her family’s history.  As if that isn’t enough, audiences also learn that LL Cool J’s love of boxing actually has roots in his family history in his interview.  He apparently didn’t even know that himself until his interview, either.  And Senator John McCain learns that he isn’t the only member of his family that had ever been a POW.  And actress Juliana Margulies’ interview revealing her father’s role in Alka-Seltzer’s famous “Plop, plop-Fizz, fizz” campaign is sure to generate its own share of discussion.  Gates says that her father is responsible for the jingle.  However that has been debated by some groups.  There are those that allege not he but Tom Dawes, of The Cyrkle, was the man responsible for the jingle, and that Margulies’ father was an executive at the agency that came up with the jingle.  It would definitely be interesting to learn who in fact was truly behind that jingle whether it was her father or Mr. Dawes.  Again regardless of who really was responsible, this point of Margulies’ interview makes her family history just as interesting to discover as that of any of the season’s other featured guests.  All things considered the histories that are revealed throughout Season Three make for their own share of interest in this season.  Together with the season’s spread of guests and their reactions to their respective family histories all three elements give audiences plenty to appreciate about the season’s presentation even with the season’s lack of an episode guide.  That lack does take away at least a little bit from the season’s presentation.  But with everything else that goes into the season it isn’t enough to ruin the season’s presentation.  All things considered Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Season 3 proves in the end to be yet another installment of PBS’ hit hybrid history/genealogy-based series that will be just as welcome in home setting as in classroom settings.

The third season of PBS’ Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is yet another welcome addition to PBS’ hit history/genealogy-based series.  The central reason for this is the season’s vast spread of guests.  The featured guests come from a wide variety of professional and ethnic backgrounds.  And they are relatively well-balanced in regards to the ratio of male to female.  Their family histories and reactions to said histories add even more interest to each episode.  Even the lack of an episode guide this season isn’t enough to detract from those pros.  Because it isn’t, the end result of the season’s presentation is a ten-episode run that proves to be just as welcome in the living room as it is in the classroom.  It will be available Tuesday, April 12th and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=85849896&cp=&sr=1&kw=finding+your+roots+season+3&origkw=Finding+Your+Roots+Season+3&parentPage=search.  More information on this and the first two seasons of Finding Your Roots is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news at:

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FindingYourRootsPBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HenryLouisGates

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Gates “Digs Up” More Celeb Histories In FYR’s Third Season This Spring

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution

PBS just recently wrapped up the third season of its hit history/genealogy-based series Finding Your Roots. And officials with PBS and PBS Distribution are making sure that audiences won’t have to wait long to own Season Three for themselves.

PBS and PBS Distribution will release the third season of Finding Your Roots on Tuesday, April 12th. Season Three will feature twenty-eight more well-known figures from across the worlds of entertainment, politics, literature, and more. The list includes names such as: Actor Neil Patrick Harris, rappers LL Cool J and Sean Combs, Senator John McCain, Actress Patricia Arquette, political activist and organizer Donna Brazile, celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich, and many others. The entire run is totals at six hundred minutes and is spread across three-discs. Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discussed the series’ third season in a recent interview noting that it is human to want to know where we came from. He added that he hoped that this season would influence audiences to research their own family histories, especially among younger audiences. “There is something essential in human nature that drives us to wonder where we came from,” he said. “We can’t truly know ourselves until we know something of our origins. With new DNA technology we can learn more about this past and go further back than ever before, and we hope that the new season will inspire people to find out more about their own personal family stories, and spark an interest among young people in genetics, anthropology, history, and the pursuit of science.”

Season Three finds that actresses Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette, and Senator John McCain all have very deep, rich military roots. Those roots have helped each to develop a sense of strength and integrity. Sean Combs and LL Cool J both discover in their interviews that have some rather interesting family histories that leave them thinking about things in ways they never thought possible. And Donna Brazile tries to get answers about her family’s name while polarizing feminist Gloria Steinem learns in her interview that she is not the first of her kind in her family. These are just some of the secrets that are unearthed over the course of Finding Your Roots’ third season. Bill Hader, Jimmy Kimmel, and Norman Lear each learn about the highs and lows of their families’ histories while Ty Burell is left shocked to learn about his African heritage. All of this and so much more is in the third season of Finding Your Roots.

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will be available on Tuesday, April 12th. It will be released exclusively on DVD. It will retail for MSRP of $39.99 but can be pre-ordered at a discounted price of $34.99 via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=85849896&cp=&sr=1&kw=finding+your+roots&origkw=Finding+Your+Roots&parentPage=search.  Audiences can view a trailer for this season online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJwt-aiI0uA.

 

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS DIstribution

Courtesy: PBS/PBS DIstribution

 

More information on this season of Finding Your Roots and the series’ previous seasons is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FindingYourRootsPBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HenryLouisGates

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

PBS Announces Release Date For “Finding Your Roots Season 2”

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS will release the second season of its hit celebrity-based historical series Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. this fall.

Officials with PBS announced this week that Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Season 2 will be released on Tuesday, December 16th.  Gates meets some of the country’s biggest names in the series and examines their ancestry in each hour-long episode.  In the series’ second season, Gates studies the ancestry of big names such as: Derek Jeter, Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Sting, Tina Fey, Sally Field, Stephen King, Nas, and many others.  In all, twenty-nine celebrities are featured throughout the course of Season Two.

Gates goes into even more depth with his guests in Season Two than was possible in the show’s premiere season. He studies his guests’ specific ethnic roots, cultural traditions, and the inner works of his guests’ families. New advancements in DNA testing even allows for study of genetic genealogy. The advancements allowed for revelations linked to questions of paternity, geographic origins of his guests’ ancestors, and even tribal Native America ancestry in other cases. It is all revealed over ten episodes spread across three discs.

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Season Two will be available only on DVD Tuesday, December 16th. It will retail for MSRP of $39.99 and can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=46207086&cp=&sr=1&kw=finding+your+roots&origkw=Finding+your+roots&parentPage=search#Details. Audiences can access more information on the series, and watch videos from the show online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FindingYourRootsPBS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/henrylouisgates

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.