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The Jacksons: An American Dream- The Complete Miniseries
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The Gary, Ind., Jacksons guide Michael and their other children to show-business success; features 38 songs.
The miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream begins in the 1940s, when Joseph Jackson (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) and Katherine (Angela Bassett) meet and fall in love, and ends in the 1980s, when their sons reunite for the 1983 Victory Tour that brought them back together as the Jacksons. During the first part, "The Early Years," the couple starts a family, and although times are tough, Joseph still finds time to play music on the side. When he discovers that his sons have inherited the same talent, the Jackson 5 are born. They sign with Motown and start churning out the gold records. The second part, "The Success Years," begins in 1970 at the peak of their fame, but by 1976, the hits have started to dry up. If the acting is uneven and the story somewhat sanitized, Bassett is affecting, and the series includes Emmy-winning choreography and a combination of original and re-created material, ranging from "I Want You Back" (1969) to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" (from 1982's multi-platinum Thriller). --Kathleen C. FennessySee all Editorial Reviews
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All aside I think this miniseries fills in many of the gaps to their family life, such as how Joe worked double shifts to earn enough money to feed the family, also his brutality with the children. It really made you cringe when one of them was getting a whipping. Also what they used to eat when he got laid off and how the family just loved babies and why they had so many, which also tails into how Michael loved babies. I do believe they were happy being a large family. It also goes into 'finer' detalis such as Jackie wanting to have more freedom as a teenager and sneaking out at night, but still having to look after his younger brothers. Also Reebie doing many of the chores in bringing up the younger children. Life in Gary, Indiana seemed brutal outside the home and both Joe and Katherine wanted a better life for their family. This is probably what drove them to work the children such long hours.
The actors chosen for the miniseries were very credible. It must have been interesting for Jermaine Jnr to play his father, especially the scene where he was with with a groupie in his room on tour. The screenplay also follows the books of Jermaine and Katherine quite closely. It is really like the series is told through Katherine's eyes, from when she met Joe up to when she knew he was seeing other women.
Overall this gives a very realistic portrayal of the Jacksons and not just when they became successful.