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               August, 2011

      Charles Hansen, Editor

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  Who Do You Think You Are? A review.
  — by Charles Hansen

       Wost of us have been watching the NBC show, Who Do You Think You Are?, on Friday nights from when it started a little over a year ago, and now the second season is being rerun again on Friday nights during this summer. It is a clone of the British series of the same name that has been popular in England for years.

       I liked the second season better than the first season as they do more researching or story telling than the first season where they kept repeating what had happened before the last commercial. I have read a lot of reviews of the show by other genealogists and most agree with me that all that repeating was kind of boring.

       The second season follows Vanessa Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O'Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, and Ashley Judd. All have been interesting and very entertaining, and while it looks like they solve all the brick walls in an hour, getting to the hour on TV takes a lot more time than that, and it seems like they go for the famous ancestors to help keep the non-genealogists interested.

       One review I read compared this show to what the old Perry Mason show did for lawyers. Since Perry could always solve the case in an hour, people got the idea all trials should end in an hour and we all know that is not how any court works, and of course finding our ancestors always takes more than the hour that Who Do You Think You Are? is broadcast. They did show more of the sources this year, so that is good, and traveling to the places ancestors of the stars lived is very interesting and sometimes very hard to watch the conditions in which the ancestors lived.

       So what would improve the show for the third season? A few of the reviews I read said they should use common people not stars, but I bet many non genealogists watch to see the stars, and would probably not watch John Doe or Jane Doe unless they were related to one of them, and numbers are what the networks use to decide if the show will be renewed for the next season. I would like to see more of the background research, but the one hour format may require that they continue to show some and travel to the places where the star's ancestors live or worked.

       Any comments on the show? Have you been watching, Who Do You Think You Are? Will you continue to watch? Answer on the message board.




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