New Roots a Slave to Scheduling

TVNZ Ondemand will not be fast-tracking Roots here ahead of its TV One premiere in July.

The miniseries re-make goes to air today in the US and Asia, where it will air on four consecutive nights on the History Channel, and will screen in most territories in June.

But NZ and Australian networks appear to be in no hurry to air the eight-hour slavery saga that includes Anna Paquin in the cast.

TV One has slated it for 8.30 Sundays following the completion of Blindspot and The Family, which end their runs on June 26, while across the Tasman SBS has yet to announce an air date.

Often TVNZ will use TVNZ Ondemand to fast-track a significant series it can’t put to air day-and-date with the US (the latest examples being The Catch, which has just started, and Aquarius, which returns on June 17).

But a spokesman told Screenscribe.tv: “Roots will play first on TV One.”

Early US reviews have been positive, averaging high scores on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes (where it was summed up as “a powerfully impressive — and still relevant — update on a television classic”).

“This new Roots is very good, indeed,” The Hollywood Reporter says.

“With only a small letdown in its fourth night, each part of Roots builds to its own sometimes rousing, sometimes infuriating, sometimes emotional climax and is directed with confidence and propulsive energy by Phillip Noyce, Mario Van Peebles, Thomas Carter and Bruce Beresford, there’s a satisfying cumulative punch at the end.”

“This is not sugarcoated slavery,” argues Deadline Hollywood, “but the raw truth of an evil system with a lot of disturbing violence and the N-word frequently and true to the times coming out of the mouths of masters and even children without hesitation.”

Variety calls it “an unabashedly populist, accessible entertainment that, at times, works best on the level of myth and allegory … Yet the miniseries’ sincerity and its cumulative power can’t be denied.”

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One Response to “New Roots a Slave to Scheduling”

  1. Major disappointment with Roots not being fast tracked. One would of thought they would play Roots over three consecutive nights before the airing of Happy Valley to maximise the publicity being generated.

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