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TV Review: Roots “Night 4”
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Roots Night 4-09

Roots
Night 4
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Written by Lawrence Konner
Based on the novel by Alex Haley
Starring Laurence Fishburne, Regé-Jean Page, Anika Noni Rose, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Mekhi Phifer, T.I., Erica Tazel, Anna Paquin, Sedale Threatt Jr., and Malachi Kirby
The History Channel | A&E | Lifetime
Air Date: Thursday, June 2nd, 2016, 9:00pm

The past 3 nights, A&E, The History Channel, and Lifetime have simultaneously aired the first 3 parts of the “Groundbreaking Series Reimagined” – Roots, based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel. The original 1977 series starring Levar Burton and John Amos as warrior turned slave (but a warrior forever in his heart), Kunta Kinte, followed him and his generations of family through the brutal history of America. This week we cried and cringed and laughed and raged with these strong characters and brilliant actors. On Night 1, we met Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby) ripped away from his happy life in Africa, to be whipped and chained as a slave in America, always trying to escape. On Night 2, Kunta loses half a foot for running, and settles down with his wife Belle (Emayatzy Corinealdi) and his daughter Kizzy (E’myri Lee Crutchfield), teaching her the ways of a warrior. Kizzy is sold to another, ripped from her parents loving arms. Night 3 was the story of Kizzy (Anika Noni Rose) and her son George (Regé-Jean Page), product from a rape by her new owner, Tom Lea (Jonathan Rhys Myers). As much as George tried to gain Tom’s approval and love, in the end Tom sold him for a debt, and George was ripped away from his wife, babies, and mother.

Spoilers below.

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TV Review: Roots “Night 3”
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Roots Night 3-07

Roots
Night 3
Directed by Thomas Carter
Written by Charles Murray
Based on the novel by Alex Haley
Starring Laurence Fishburne, Regé-Jean Page, Chad L. Coleman, Shannon Lucio, Anika Noni Rose, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Michael James Shaw, and Malachi Kirby
The History Channel | A&E | Lifetime
Air Date: Wednesday, June 1st, 2016, 9:00pm

Last night on Roots, time passed and Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby) still dreamed of running away. He almost made it too, joining the British against the rebels for his freedom. That didn’t work out well, and soon he was back at the Wallers minus 5 toes. Doc Waller (Matthew Goode) took him in, and the beautiful Belle (Emayatzy Corinealdi) nursed him back to health. They married and had Kizzy (E’myri Lee Crutchfield), and Fiddler (Forest Whitaker) died saved their lives. Kizzy grew up friends with the Wallers’ daughter Missy, as much as a slave and an owner’s daughter can be friends. After the boy Kizzy loved was shot to death, she was sent away because it was found out she could read (and betrayed by her “friend” Missy). She was brought to Tom Lea’s (Jonathan Rhys Myers) farm, and he raped her. She had his baby and named him George the Mandinka way.

Spoilers below.

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TV Review: Roots “Night 2”
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Roots Night 2-08

Roots
Night 2
Directed by Mario Van Peebles
Teleplay by Alison McDonald
Based on the novel by Alex Haley
Starring Laurence Fishburne, James Purefoy, Matthew Goode, E’myri Lee Crutchfield, Forest Whitaker, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Mandela Van Peebles, and Malachi Kirby
The History Channel | A&E | Lifetime
Air Date: Tuesday, May 31st, 2016, 9:00pm

Last night on Roots, Mandinka warrior Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby), had a beautiful life, until he got caught and sold to the English by a rival tribe. He was thrown into the bowels of a slave ship traveling to America. They were chained and lined up like sardines, and when they tried to take over the ship, it got bloody. The English won, and some slaves were beheaded, included Kunta’s Uncle Silla. Kunta was sold to a plantation owner, Waller (James Purefoy) with a cruel overseer (Tony Curran). Another slave, Fiddler (Forest Whitaker) befriended Kunta, caring for him when he got viciously whipped.

Spoilers below.

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TV Review: Roots “Night 1”
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Roots Header

Roots
Night 1
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Teleplay by Lawrence Konner and Marc Rosenthal
Based on the novel by Alex Haley
Starring Laurence Fishburne, James Purefoy, Matthew Goode, Anika Noni Rose, Forest Whitaker, and Malachi Kirby
The History Channel | A&E | Lifetime
Air Date: Monday, May 30th, 2016, 9:00pm

Roots, the 1977 miniseries based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, turned America upside down with its powerful story of warrior and slave, Kunta Kinte, and his descendants. With Levar Burton and then John Amos as Kunta Kinte/Toby, Roots made television history with unprecedented ratings and tons of Emmy nominations. A+E Networks brings Roots back tonight, in a reimagined series simulcast on three of its networks, The History Channel, A&E, and Lifetime. With Malachi Kirby in the lead role, it’s starting out as powerful as the first.

Spoilers for Roots: Night 1 below.

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‘Roots’ Casts Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, & More!
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Forest Whitaker Roots

More casting news has just been announced for the upcoming miniseries, Roots, based on Alex Haley’s 1976 epic novel, that took the world by storm, during that time. Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Last King of Scotland), Anna Paquin (True Blood, X-Men), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors, Dracula), and Anika Noni Rose (The Princess and the Frog, The Good Wife) have been tapped to play Fiddler, Nancy Holt, Tom Lea, and Kizzy respectively.

Check out the cast descriptions below.

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Laurence Fishburne Is Alex Haley In ‘Roots’ Remake
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Roots Laurence Fishburne Header

Lawrence Fishburne has been cast in the small but pivotal role of Alex Haley (originally played by James Earl Jones), in Roots, the remake scheduled to be simulcast on A&E, Lifetime, and The History Channel. Haley, is the author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family, the basis for the miniseries, along with historical research.

Check out the press release below.

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TV Review: The Lizzie Borden Chronicles 1.8 “Capsize”
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The Lizzie Borden Chronicles 108-08

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles
Episode 1.8 “Capsize”
Directed by Constantine Makris
Teleplay by Richard Blaney, Gregory Small
Story by by Richard Blaney, Gregory Small, David Simkins
Starring Christina Ricci, Clea DuVall, Chris Bauer, Cody Ray Thompson, Matthew Le Nevez, Amy Forsyth, Michelle Fairley
Lifetime
Air Date: Sunday, May 24th, 2015, 10pm ET

This is the end! It’s the last episode of the really fun ride known as The Lizzie Borden Chronicles! Spinning the tale of what life was like for Lizzie and Emma Borden (Christina Ricci and Clea DuVall) after the sensational trial of which she was acquitted, the story lands back in Fall River, and the blood never stops flowing.

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‘The Lizzie Borden Chronicles’ Interviews Pt 2: Writer David Simkins
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Lizzie Borden Chronicles 101-05

Lifetime’s The Lizzie Borden Chronicles comes to an end tonight, and I think I might miss it most of all. This fun and campy limited series, a continuation of the Lifetime movie, Lizzie Borden Took An Ax, gave us a fictionalized account of what Lizzie Borden’s life was like once she was acquitted of the murder of her parents. That life, which interwined real and unreal (really unreal!) characters, was a bloody romp. That couldn’t have happened without Christina Ricci and Clea Duvall, who played Lizzie and Emma Borden, respectively. Nor could it have happened without the writers Greg Small, Rich Blaney, Barbara Nance, Jason Grote, and David Simkins.

I had interviewed Rich and Greg previously, and then got the bonus chance of interviewing David Simkins, veteran TV writer and producer of such shows as Charmed, Roswell, Warehouse 13, Dark Angel, Grimm, and so much more.

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TV Review: The Lizzie Borden Chronicles 1.7 “The Sisters Grimke”
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The Lizzie Borden Chronicles 107 Banner

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles
Episode 1.7 “The Sisters Grimke”
Directed by Constantine Makris
Written by Richard Blaney, Gregory Small
Starring Christina Ricci, Clea DuVall, Chris Bauer, Ronan Vilbert, Steven McCarthy, Gage Munroe, Robert B. Kennedy, Adrian G. Griffiths, Gianpaolo Venuta
Lifetime
Air Date: Sunday, May 17, 2015, 10pm ET

Last week was the unofficial finale of sorts for The Lizzie Borden Chronicles. We know, thanks to writers, Rich Blaney and Greg Small, that originally the plan was for 6 episodes. Then, when two more were ordered, after the arc was pretty set for those six, the last 2 episodes were really an “opportunity” to explore, leaving the 6th episode with a finale-like feel. And boy! They weren’t kidding!

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‘The Lizzie Borden Chronicles’ Interviews Pt 1: Writers Small & Blaney
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The Lizzie Borden Chronicles Christina Clea

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles debuted on April 5th, 2015, on Lifetime, as a continuation of the Lifetime movie, Lizzie Borden Took An Ax. It tells the fictionalized story of what life was like for the Borden sisters, Lizzie and Emma (Christina Ricci and Clea DuVall), after the sensational trial of the murder of their parents, of which Lizzie was acquitted. As can be expected, life in Fall River was not ponies and rainbows, but chock full of more death and tons of blood.

Geeks of Doom got the chance to speak with 3 of the writers (Part 2 with David Simkins posts Monday) of this campy series (think 1890s Evil Dead-y), and while they didn’t give us spoilers, they did give us some insight into the story process, Christina Ricci’s dynamite input, and how lucky they were with the fantastic casting.

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