Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. weaves together genealogical detective work with cutting-edge DNA analysis to trace the ancestry of a diverse array of trailblazing public figures. The result is a captivating cross-section of history.
Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps actor Andy Samberg and author George R. R. Martin answer family mysteries when DNA detective work uncovers branches of their family trees. The DNA analysis upends family history and reveals new relatives.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps actors Felicity Huffman and Michael K. Williams discover a wealth of hidden family history. Both grew up knowing little about their biological fathers, and seeing their lost ancestry restored proves empowering.
Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. shows journalists Christiane Amanpour, Ann Curry and Lisa Ling that the stories within their own family trees are every bit as compelling as the news stories they have been covering for the world.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores with Marisa Tomei, Sheryl Sandberg and Kal Penn the tremendous challenges faced by their immigrant forebears. From Italy, Russia and India, their histories show success could take generations to achieve.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. delves into the roots of two African-American guests, actor S. Epatha Merkerson and athlete and television personality Michael Strahan. Both discover unexpected stories that challenge assumptions about black history.
Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the diverse family histories of politicians Paul Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard and Marco Rubio. They each see a shared vision of the great American melting pot reflected in their ancestors’ stories.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. shows comedians Seth Meyers, Tig Notaro and Sarah Silverman that their family trees are filled with people whose struggles laid the groundwork for their success. Gates also reveals news of an unexpected DNA cousin.
Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the family stories of filmmaker Michael Moore and actors Laura Linney and Chloë Sevigny—three people whose distant ancestors overcame great hardships in ways that resonate with their lives today.
Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. shares the family histories of director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, iconoclastic performance artist Marina Abramović and painter Kehinde Wiley. These visionary artists find their identities challenged—and affirmed.
The family stories of actor Ty Burrell, radio host Joe Madison and political strategist Valerie Jarrett. Also a look at how a summer camp for children is using genetic genealogy to help people better understand their burgeoning identities.
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This show is a multidisciplinary work crossing over film, science, history, drama, and popular culture. The family histories of the black guests are the most compelling because they almost always include ancestors who were originally slaves. The historically accurate, dramatic re-enactments of the ancestors lives bring these people and the history of slavery in America to light and to life. And all told within the personal history of a living public personality that we know. Then Dr. Gates explains the personal characters and strengths of the people we know as based in the lives and histories of their ancestors. It may be a bit of dramatic license but he does it masterfully so it inspires me to think about my ancestors and how our shared DNA has shaped me. Michael K. Williams was a standout on The Wire and his story was spell-binding to watch as Dr. Gates connects, explains, and seems to heal the guest's painful legacies. It's the only thing I can watch when all the other media outlets are reporting repeatedly on another devastating piece of news.
I've followed this show for all five seasons (so far) and have been both entertained and informed. I wish there was more detailed DNA analysis, but that's a quibble.
The reason why I'm writing this review is that for a relatively small group of guests, they've certainly had their share of controversies after the show wrapped. Only one had to do with the show itself. Let's list them, shall we?
* Season 5 - Felicity Huffman. Accused of using extralegal measures to get her child into college. So far the show is still up.
* Season 4 - Aziz Ansari. Accused of behaving inappropriately with a coworker. The show has survived so far.
* Season 4 - Garrison Keillor. Accused of behaving inappropriately with a coworker. He was yanked from his scheduled episode and replaced with Maya Rudolph (who was also on in season 3).
* Season 2 - Ben Affleck. Killed reporting of unwanted news about slaveholding ancestor. The whole episode was yanked from streaming services (like this one), but still available on DVD.
What is with this? I was watching this series, included in my prime, now they want $2 an episode. I rarely have time to sit and watch something, so when I do it is very annoying to find the goal posts have moved. I think it's called bait and switch.
Captivating episodes filled with genealogy, one of my favorite subjects! I went ahead and rented the episode with Marina Abramovic. I love delving deeper into heritage, and I assure you it is much more interesting than someone’s AncestryDNA account!