I was excited to find out that they are remaking the Roots miniseries. I was first introduced to family history by watching this show in 1977. While I enjoyed it at the time, a recent rewatch made me realize that some parts of it haven't aged very well. I look forward to watching the remake.
I know some people criticized Alex Haley for making up a lot of the story of his ancestors. When I finally read the book, I realized how little of it is actually based on known fact of their story when I read the bit near the end explaining how Mr. Haley had put together pieces of the family oral tradition with stories passed down in the family still in Africa.
I know that most any movie or book that tells stories about the history of a family will incorporate much in the way of fictional dialogue for certain and most likely fictional events also. Most personal historical stories are not that detailed and even if they are, the events of the majority of a person's life weren't written down. I intend to write up the story of my great-great-granduncle, Tom Doran some day. There are some known facts and a couple of significant events he was involved in. However, I know the known facts won't make for great reading or watching. I'm trying to figure out how to add detail and dialogue to make it interesting but remain true to the spirit of the story. In this, I believe Alex Haley did a tremendous job. Yes, much of it was imagined but if it wasn't, you'd be reading a very short write-up about a slave being taken from Africa and founding a family in America. An important story to be sure, but if he used only known facts, it wouldn't have caught the attention of the nation.
You can read more about the new Roots miniseries here. It will star Lawrence Fischbourne as Haley, Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte, Rege-Jean Page as Chicken George, Forest Whitaker as Fiddler and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Tom Lea. It is currently scheduled to air over four nights around Memorial Day 2016. It will be simulcast on A&E, Lifetime and History.
You know I'm going to enjoy it.