Who Do You Think You Are?: Season 1
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As seen on NBC
Stars trace their family roots through history
"Fascinating" --The New York Times
"Brings history alive in a way rarely seen on television … satisfying emotional journeys" --The Philadelphia Inquirer
To know who you are, you have to know where you came from. In this fascinating reality series, seven celebrities share their life-altering discoveries. Working with genealogists, historians, and researchers, they travel the world to uncover the secrets and surprises in their family trees.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s (Sex and the City) search leads back to the Salem witch trials. Dallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith follows his slave ancestors to Benin. Lisa Kudrow (Friends) learns the truth of her great-grandmother’s fate in the Holocaust. Tony® winner Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Glory) traces his family to battlefields in France and America. Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) unearths her royal connections. Oscar® winner Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking) explores the racy life of her grandmother. And Emmy® -winning director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X) meets a relative he didn’t know he had.
Intriguing, moving, and ultimately uplifting, this series proves that genealogy is more than a pastime. It’s a journey through history that changes everything.
Each episode unfolds with a stylish flair of mystery and includes moments of drama that are often genuinely moving as these famous faces all but melt when they make their individual discoveries. The journeys take each subject on lengthy field trips. Susan Sarandon makes a jaunt to Italy; Mathew Broderick travels to a World War I cemetery in France and Civil War battlefields in the Deep South; Lisa Kudrow discovers a painful family history in Belarus and Poland; and Spike Lee uncovers roots in the red clay of Georgia. The mini-documentary sagas are juiced with VIP celebrity treatment and ease of access to information that would probably take regular people months to track down. The subjects receive privileged entrée to top experts who have clearly done a lot of legwork in researching old paper records, microfilm, and computer scans. And the drama is often laid on a little thick as key documents are presented with a this-is-your-life flourish at key moments in the middle of historic settings. Invariably there are tears of emotion that the camera grabs onto with a schmaltz that sometimes borders on shameless. Nevertheless, the tears you find welling up at these poignant scenes may well be your own. (As a side note, you'll want to keep your finger ready on the fast-forward: the episodes are heavily padded with "coming up" spoilers and rehashes of what you've already seen on each side of the original commercial breaks.) --Ted Fry
Top Customer Reviews
So in summary, it gets 2 stars for the few limited genealogical tips it presents but otherwise this show is poorly presented, low on original content and very frustrating to watch if you have any sort of half-decent memory.
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.
Sarah Jessica Parker, for example, not only discovers that one of her ancestors took part in the California Gold Rush, but that another was accused in, yet survived, the infamous Salem witch trials.
In a later episode, her husband, Matthew Broderick, learns that his grandfather was a WW1 hero and that his great, great grandfather fought at Gettysburg.
Dallas Cowboys' legend Emmitt Smith traces his roots back to the days of slavery, and even journeys to Africa where his family originated.
In what is certainly the most heart-wrenching episode, Lisa Kudrow, who is also one of the series' executive producers, traces her father's family back to Europe where she learns the horrifying facts of how her great grandmother was murdered by the Nazis, but she also meets a distant cousin who managed to escape the Holocaust.
Discoveries made by Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon and Spike Lee are equally fascinating.
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.Read more ›
Of the seven celebrities here, two are husband and wife Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. Each, however, takes a separate journey to learn about their relatives. Another two (Actor/Director Spike Lee and Dallas Cowboy's player Emmitt Smith) are black and are able to trace their families back to slaves - though there are surprises there.
One of the celebrities is a "Friends" alumnus Lisa Kudrow, who is one of the Executive Producers and may have been instrumental in getting the others to join the project.
There is an obvious "product placement" here with each person eventually using the commercial genealogy site Ancestry.com It's listed as a sponsor at the end as well. There is nothing wrong with this, but viewers should be made aware that the service costs $69.95/year plus extra for images of U.S. census records. It is not a free service. But this is only if the show encourages you to research your family heritage through this method. It has no impact on the stories we see in the series.
My personal favorite episodes were those with Susan Sarandon, Parker and Broderick but you'll find your own.
The reason for my giving this DVD only four stars is due to the editing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My only complaint is that I can only get Seasons 1 & 2. I wasn't really into genealogy until I watched this show! Now, I am hooked!Published 13 days ago by SheSheWin
I love these episodes and you get rid of the commercials so it carries you through to the end.Published 12 months ago by Maggie Musselman
Heart warming to see the change in a person once they realize where they come from..who their families are and why they did the things they did........... Read morePublished 17 months ago by c
Loved it!! Waiting for more seasons to be added to my two.Published 23 months ago by Virginia Walls