CBS (8-10 p.m. ET)
Alex Haley and Norman Lear collaborated on this eight-hour series (six additional episodes air on successive Thursdays), but only a few old chestnuts have been produced from those mighty Roots. It’s a Huck Finnish story, with a raft of clichés, involving a white and a black boy whose friendship transcends racial enmities in the rural 1930s South. It is not entirely coincidental that Palmerstown preempts The Waltons for its tryout.