Are You Watching “Finding Your Roots” Season 5

by , under Finding Your Roots TV, Television

I have just completed binge watching six episodes of Finding Your Roots broadcast by PBS affiliate WVIZ. These new episodes have been broadcast in recent weeks on PBS but for one reason or another, I didn’t watch them as they were broadcast. Instead, I had my digital video recorder set to capture the series, and I am looking forward to watching episodes 7 through 10 as they become available (this was written on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Season 5 of Finding Your Roots is as well-done as ever, with Henry Louis Gates Jr. narrating. At the half-way mark of the 2019 season, the programming has proved to be dramatic, uplifting, and sometimes shocking. In several episodes, DNA research under the guidance of CeCe Moore has been key to finding ancestors and extending family trees.

I must say that you watch Finding Your Roots to be entertained. The two or three subjects in each episode are people of some note, often movie or TV stars. Some people complain about the focus on well-known personalities, but in my book, it is a good thing. Here’s why: While each subject often says Wow! – and says it a lot—she or he usually recovers from her or his amazement to make heart-felt comments.

For example, Felicity Hoffman offered the observation: “I feel whole with this information that has filled a void.” She had just learned about the deep ancestral roots of her biological father, who was not in her life growing up.
Michael K. Williams offered up “I have a lot of family members who are going want to hear this story” after learning that one of his African-American ancestors registered to vote in 1868, as soon as it became legal for former slaves to vote.

These two subjects appeared in Episode 2: Mystery Men. Each episode has a theme like this.

The first six episodes are available for viewing on the PBS website at

Here is the directory of all 10 episodes:
Episode 1 – Grandparents and Other Strangers, featuring actor Andy Samberg and author George R. R. Martin
Episode 2 – Mystery Men, featuring actors Felicity Huffman and Michael K. Williams
Episode 3 – Reporting on the Reporters, featuring journalists Christiane Amanpour, Ann Curry, and Lisa Ling
Episode 4 – Dreaming of a New Land — featuring entertainers Marisa Tomei, Sheryl Sandberg, and Kal Penn
Episode 5 – Freedom Tales – featuring actor S. Epatha Merkerson and athlete and television personality Michael Strahan
Episode 6 – Roots in Politics – featuring politicians Paul Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard, and Marco Rubio
Episode 7 – No Laughing Matter – featuring comedians Seth Meyers, Tig Notaro, and Sarah Silverman
Episode 8 – Hard Times – featuring filmmaker Michael Moore and actors Laura Linney and Chloë Sevigny
Episode 9 – The Eye of the Beholder – featuring director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, performance artist Marina Abramović, and painter Kehinde Wiley
Episode 10 – All in the Family – featuring actor Ty Burrell, and radio host Joe Madison.

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