Viewing posts tagged LeVar Burton

Sensor Scan: Reading Rainbow


Talk about Roots all you want, it definitely deserves it. But from my perspective, if you want to get a handle on LeVar Burton's personality, style of acting and overall legacy, there's only one place to look.

It doesn't get commented on anywhere near enough that Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation were on the air at the same time. Having started Reading Rainbow four years before being cast as Geordi La Forge and continuing an additional twelve years after the television voyages of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D came to an end, Star Trek was LeVar's night job, quite literally so in some cases. This makes him somewhat unusual among the Trek pantheon, and also means that between 1987 and 1994 he was arguably one of the busiest, most hardworking people in Hollywood. And consider what that was like for an entire generation that was at the age where they would have been familiar with both shows: Imagine how cool it felt to see one of your childhood heroes in costume onboard the Starship Enterprise on one of the highest rated and most talked about shows of the time.

One has to wonder if ...

Sensor Scan: Roots

Chalk this one up as another “we're covering it because there's no way to *not* cover it” kind of entry.

Roots needs no introduction, least of all from me. Based on the novel of the same name, Roots is a fictionalized and dramatized version of writer Alex Haley's attempt to trace his genealogy back across multiple generations to one man in Africa taken from his home and made into a slave. It was one of the most groundbreaking and influential television series of all time, capturing the imagination of an entire country through television in one of the last moments it was possible to do that, solidifying the miniseries as viable format for dramatic storytelling and making African history and heritage a central mainstream concern for one of the first times in modern history.

For my purposes, of course, the most obvious and superficial reason to tackle this show in the context of Vaka Rangi is because it introduces an up-and-coming young actor by the name of LeVar Burton in the pivotal role of Young Kunta Kinte, who will go on to play a rather significant role in the evolving history of Star Trek and the entertainment ...

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