Sunday, June 24, 2007

Soul Food Season Two Coming To DVD

The 2nd season of "Soul Food", the only successful TV drama to feature a predominantly African-American cast, is scheduled to be released on DVD on 8/7/07. Based on the hit 1997 film of the same name, "Soul Food" was a TV rarity: a realistic portrayal of black family life. The fact that it's been the only successful black drama says alot (none of it good) about the mentality of many TV execs.

Because it's been four years since the release of the season one set of "Soul Food", it looked doubtful that any of the remaining seasons would ever be made available on DVD. Apparently, many fans spoke and Paramount Home Video listened.


Pjazzypar said...

You bring up a good point about "Soul Food" being the only successful drama featuring a predominately African American cast. That is not to say that this show has been the first attempt or even the best attempt...It's just the most successful attempt.

I remember a show in the mid 90's on the FOX network called "South Central" that depicted inner-city life in a real and meaningful way. This show made it clear that people who reside in the city have values and morals just like suburbanites. Moreover, not every African American adolescent male is in a gang or a drug dealer. It was truthful and as you know many television viewers "can't handle the truth". Stereotypes and generalizations die extremely hard.

James Earl Jones has tried to bring drama to the masses with "Under One Roof". The show featured a stellar cast which included Joe Morton, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Essence Atkins, and Merlin Santana. Of couse it only lasted a few episodes. Then there was the hospital drama "City of Angels" led by Blair Underwood. It offered some very compelling storylines and lasted for two seasons, but alas it also fell by the wayside.

I don't know why the television executives can only envision African Americans as "Martin" or "JJ" or even "Heathcliffe Huxtable" and not as a multifaceted, diverse group of people, with multiple goals, dreams, and aspirations. There are a multitude of stories yet to be told, but the powers that be are too narrow-minded in their thinking to develop them. So KUDOS to the producers and actors involved in "Soul Food". Hopefully the ground you broke will lead to the exploration of more dramatic shows.


Malcolm said...

Excellent points about the sad state of successful black dramas on TV. That is why I am grateful for channels such as Showtime.

I remember all the shows you mentioned...unfortunately, I can't remember specific episodes of "South Central". I watched it when it was briefly on FOX. Given that it was on FOX, I am surprised that they didn't stick with it a little longer than they did because it got strong reviews.

I really enjoyed having TV One because they surprisingly reran "Under One Roof" and "City of Angels". Because Fenton has a different cable system than Flint, I don't get TV One anymore.

Another fondly remembered black drama is "Up and Coming". Since it hasn't been shown much in the last 25 years, I get alot of blank stares if I mention it to anyone under the age of 30. When En Vogue hit it big, I was sure that a channel like BET would have reaired "Up and Coming" because of Cindy Herron. Who knows, it may have been a rights issue.

Pjazzypar said...

I forgot all about "Up and Coming". I remember one episode that spotlighted Laurence Fishburne and Renee Brown (I wonder whatever happened to her) as a couple who was expecting a baby. Which brings me to another drama that only aired a few episodes called "Harris & Company". It starred Brown, along with Bernie Casey, Bibi Besch (Samatha Mathis' mother), and David Hubbard (Sly on James at 15). It might have been a good show but it was not allowed to gain an audience with only four episodes.

Malcolm said...

Hey Pjazzypar: The two-part episode of "Up and Coming" that Laurence Fishburne appeared in was one of my favorites. I started to mention "Harris and Company" in my previous comments. I figured you would remember that one.

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