Friday, March 11, 2011

Faces of America

Faces of America
Earlier in the week I checked out the 4-part PBS mini series, Faces of America with Louis Gates Jr. and I have to admit I couldn't leave my computer until I had finished watching all the episodes.
While the show focus is also about celebrities, the format is very different from NBC's Who Do You Think You Are?.  In many ways it is far more superior and definitely much more interesting. The shows move quickly as it  shifts the focus back and forth between the 10 featured celebrities and yet it manages to work.  Louis Gates Jr. is an enjoyable narrator and interacts with his guests throughout the whole series while presenting them with information about their ancestors. He even discusses some of his own personal research and brick walls. The fact that he solicits feedback and initiates dialogue during his interviews is interesting in it's own right. The show manages to combine a healthy balance of research and history and a bit of travel is thrown in just for fun. I also noticed he presents each of his guests with their own scrapbook with all the details of his research which include copies of ship manifests, vital records certificates and color coded family tree charts.  The final episode was all about DNA testing and what it can tell  you about your roots.
Hopefully they will consider doing another series in the near future.