Anna Paquin

Reflections on 'Roots' by stars of History's new version

Will history repeat itself with the remake of "Roots" ?

The original miniseries, based on Alex Haley's best-seller, became a national phenomenon in 1977 as it told the multigenerational saga of his forebears, beginning with Kunta Kinte, a West African teen captured in the mid-1700s by slave traders and shipped to America.

Now, four decades later, "Roots" is being retold in a lush new production that, while running about 6.5 hours versus the original's about 9.5 hours, boasts a brisker pace with a heightened focus on the suffering and triumphs of Kunta Kinte and his descendants, and less attention to Americans along the way.

Airing Monday through...