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Case Number 20856: Small Claims Court

Buy Who Do You Think You Are? Season 1 at Amazon

Who Do You Think You Are? Season 1

Acorn Media // 2010 // 293 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // March 7th, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum at least now knows where his boredom came from.

Editor's Note

Our review of Who Do You Think You Are? Season 2, published May 1st, 2012, is also available.

The Charge

Stars trace their family roots through history.

The Case

The origins of the genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? can be traced back to 2004 in Britain where it all began. Over there, the idea of watching famous people find out their roots must be pretty exciting, because the show is a huge hit in a country that's obsessed with family lines and their impact. Here in America, we're far less enthralled with royalty or heritage, and so the first year ran quietly on NBC Friday nights without much fanfare. It seems the DVD is about to get the same treatment.

Who Do You Think You Are? Season One only includes seven episodes spread out over two discs. We get to trace the familial origins of: Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker, Dallas Cowboy legend Emmitt Smith, Do the Right Thing director Spike Lee, Friends actress Lisa Kudrow, Ferris Bueller's Day Off's Matthew Broderick, Blue Lagoon survivor Brooke Shields, and Dead Man Walking Oscar recipient Susan Sarandon. We get to see each of them find out surprising things about their lineage. Sarah Jessica Parker is descended from accused witches, Emmitt Smith comes face to face with the history of slave owners, and Spike Lee has to grapple with the fact that he may be related to a suburban white woman. Most of it is actually interesting in a historical way, but it seems silly for us to care about where movie stars and sports heroes came from. I guess this could inspire me to hit Ancestory.com, but outside of that I only found it mildly entertaining.

Acorn Media gives us nice widescreen transfers, and that's about it. The picture and sound look just fine and dandy, and we get some subtitles. There are no extras or supplements, just the show. I suppose there wouldn't be many exciting excised scenes of genealogists scrambling to find out if Spike Lee has some white blood in him. I'm guessing there are no blooper reels of Brooke Shields cursing as she finds out she's really French. But seriously, no additional features? Ah well.

Who Do You Think You Are? Season One is interesting for the looks at history, but sort of middle grade since we're looking at people who are stars. I love Sex and the City and Thelma and Louise as much as anybody could, but I hardly lay awake at night wondering if the leads in those shows know where they came from. Let's face it, would King Henry IV of France really want to admit that his direct descendent modeled Calvin Klein jeans? This sort of thing is interesting when it is your family, but only passingly entertaining when you look at other people's stories. If you're a fan of tracing family trees or any of these stars then it's worth a look. But if you're not too curious about the heritage of Lisa Kudrow you might want to pass.

The Verdict

Guilty of being obsessed with the least interesting aspect of celebrity.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Acorn Media
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 293 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None

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