The Gary, Ind., Jacksons guide Michael and their other children to show-business success; features 38 songs.
The miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream begins in the 1940s, when Joseph Jackson (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) and Katherine (Angela Bassett) meet and fall in love, and ends in the 1980s, when their sons reunite for the 1983 Victory Tour that brought them back together as the Jacksons. During the first part, "The Early Years," the couple starts a family, and although times are tough, Joseph still finds time to play music on the side. When he discovers that his sons have inherited the same talent, the Jackson 5 are born. They sign with Motown and start churning out the gold records. The second part, "The Success Years," begins in 1970 at the peak of their fame, but by 1976, the hits have started to dry up. If the acting is uneven and the story somewhat sanitized, Bassett is affecting, and the series includes Emmy-winning choreography and a combination of original and re-created material, ranging from "I Want You Back" (1969) to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" (from 1982's multi-platinum Thriller). --Kathleen C. Fennessy