John Amos Says Roots Remake Shows Hollywood Is ‘Creatively Bankrupt’

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

John Amos isn’t known for biting his tongue, and that has been well-documented, especially when his character James was killed off of Good Times. But now that the Roots remake is airing soon, the actor has voiced his opinion about the History Channel series and how he’s not sure that it’ll be as impactful as the original version was.


Roots, which originally aired on ABC in January 1977, was the most-watched series at the time, with the awards to prove its impact. Amos, who portrayed the adult Toby in the original series, spoke to the Huffington Post about why the remake may not do as well as the original.

“I guess it will be contingent upon how well it’s done, but I don’t think it’s gonna have the same impact for a number of reasons,” he said. “One, the circumstances that Roots was originally shown under was totally different circumstances than today. Today there seems to be tremendously more programming that has black subject matter and black characters, both on the screen and behind the scenes, than it existed with the development of the original. So much time has passed.

“I think there’s a great deal of apathy about the subject matter,” he continued. “I don’t think people are quite as interested. We had so many things going for us that made it such a unique and popular experience. One, the subject matter never [had] been delved into before. Two, it was derived from an international best-seller … so there were a number of things that led Roots to being the incredibly popular program it was.”

Amos also took a swipe at Hollywood and said that the History Channel’s decision to remake Roots is “further evidence, for the most part, that Hollywood is creatively bankrupt. They have to keep going back to what’s been done and what’s successful because they’re pretty much out of fresh ideas.”

Well, no one ever said Amos had a problem sharing his opinion.