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4.5 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

As seen on NBC

Stars trace their family roots through history

"Hits the historical jackpot" —New York Daily News

"A rare and surprising treat" —Entertainment Weekly

Join eight beloved celebrities as they journey through time to trace their family trees. Working with genealogists, historians, and researchers, they uncover long-buried secrets, come face-to-face with their ancestors, and learn surprising, often life-changing truths about their families and themselves.

VANESSA WILLIAMS (Desperate Housewives) finds that breaking down barriers runs in her family.

Country music superstar TIM MCGRAW discovers the source of his own pioneering spirit. Emmy®-winning talk show host

ROSIE O’DONNELL follows her mother’s roots to the grim realities of the Irish potato famine.

KIM CATTRALL (Sex and the City) learns why her grandfather abandoned his family.

Grammy®-winning singer and songwriter LIONEL RICHIE explores his great-grandfather’s mysterious past.

STEVE BUSCEMI (Boardwalk Empire) uncovers a family history of depression. Oscar® winner

GWYNETH PALTROW explores both sides of her family, which couldn’t be more different.

And ASHLEY JUDD, actress and activist, learns she’s not the first in her family to fight for human rights.

Touching, sometimes shocking, and profoundly inspiring, these stories are more than glimpses into the personal lives of famous people. Each is "a look inside the human heart" (Slant).

Special Features

SDH Subtitles

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012
  • Run Time: 335 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007701UGY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,877 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 23, 2012
Format: DVD
This is the second season of the NBC TV "genealogy" series "executive produced" by actress Lisa Kudrow. I reviewed the first season here on Amazon when it was released. This second season is similar to the first - but with a different array of celebrities searching for their ancestry.

Like all reality TV shows, once one becomes a hit there are copycat shows. I'm not sure which came first (and it really doesn't matter) but there is a similar show that aired on PBS (and on DVD, of course) titled "Faces of America" in the first season and "Finding Your Roots" in the second season. I've been watching both second season DVDs and enjoying both. I thought I'd point out the differences in both of my reviews.

Since "Who Do You Think You Are?" (WDYTYA) is on a commercial network, it obviously had commercials. With those deleted for the DVD, each episode runs only 42 minutes. And, because the producers want you to remember what happened before each commercial break (short-term memory loss? <g>), they rehash what came earlier after each of the six commercial breaks. As you will see by other reviews of both seasons, this is the biggest gripe both others and myself have with this series.

While the PBS show is hosted by Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr,, who brings all the materials he finds about the subjects' family to them and acts as narrator, the celebrity subjects on WDYTYA narrate their journey themselves, with some additional info being supplied by a narrator. And on WDYTYA the subject does a lot of their own research and, for effect, travel to the locations of their ancestors.

WDYTYA obviously has some funding from the commercial website because that is where mose of the research starts and the celebrity meets with staff of
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Format: DVD
In the second season of this one-hour documentary series, eight popular celebrities (Vanessa Williams, Tim McGraw, Rosie O'Donnell, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Steve Buscemi, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd) look back through time, exploring their ancestral histories and sharing their life-altering discoveries.

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? plays like a fascinating mystery, as stars travel cross-country and, in some cases, across the globe to learn the stories of their ancestors.

Vanessa Williams, for example, discovers that one of her ancestors was a former slave, who later served in his state's legislature.

In a later episode, Tim McGraw finds out that one of his great great grandfathers was an associate of George Washington.

Aside from being entertaining, this documentary series is also a helpful "how to" guide for viewers who might wish to explore their own ancestral roots. The various historians explain how old census records and visits to libraries can serve as an invaluable starting point for a search into one's past.

If the series has a flaw, it's that the individual episodes do not have enough material to fill a one-hour program. This results in a lot of annoying repetition; unnecessary recapping at the start of every segment of material we've already seen.

This is an engrossing, often touching, journey into the ancestral history of celebrities, as well as a useful lesson in how one can explore his/her own origins.

A 2-disc set from The Acorn Media Group

© Michael B. Druxman
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Format: DVD
An episode accidentally provided a link to my own past. This is good stuff for those interested in genealogy, history, &/or lives of entertainment stars. The largest downfall of this series is the fact that they make the research look so easy. For most of us, it is years of digging. Stars, and the show, spend tens of thousands getting their ancestry story.
For me, this season was a gold mine. On an antique document shown on camera, I noticed a potential link (a name, right place & time) of one line of my own family and their probable Europe to America crossing. A needle found in a haystack. You probably will not get that lucky. But you can enjoy celebrities' family searches using highly trained professionals. Some connected to significant moments of American history.

SUBTITLES for Season 2's 8 new celebrity searches aired in early 2011. Safe family viewing.

If you're a person who's interested in seeing where people came from and what made them what they are today, then this is definitely the show for you. A different celebrity focus with each episode. Some ancestors of these celebrities were involved with significance moments in history.

Vanessa Williams finds both slave and freeman in her search through a past in NY, DC, MD, & TN. First black Miss America, 1983, is an actress who believes family is important.

Tim McGraw, son of a legend, wants to learn of the baseball player's family & why it was so secret. The episode where I discovered my own `home run.'

Rosie O'Donnell takes a roller-coaster genealogy ride from NY to Irish workhouses. Would those Irish sufferers approve of today's rich & famous stars like Rosie and their lavish lifestyles?

Kim Cattrall and a grandfather mystery of family abandonment, hardship, and poverty.
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