Soul Food (TV series)

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For the film upon which this series was based, see Soul Food (film).
Soul Food
Soulfood-final season.png
Final season DVD
Format Family drama
Created by George Tillman, Jr.
Developed by Felicia D. Henderson
Starring Nicole Ari Parker
Malinda Williams
Vanessa A. Williams
Rockmond Dunbar
Darrin Dewitt Henson
Aaron Meeks
Boris Kodjoe
Narrated by Aaron Meeks
Theme music composer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds & Al Green
Opening theme "The Way Love Goes"
Performed by:
Al Green
(Season 1)
Al Green & Sy Smith
(Seasons 2-5)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 74 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 45 to 60 minutes
Production company(s) Water Walk Productions
Edmonds Entertainment (2000-2002)
State Street Pictures (2002-2004)
Fox Television Studios (2000-2002)
20th Century Fox Television (2002-2004)
Paramount Network Television (all episodes)
Broadcast
Original channel Showtime
Original run June 28, 2000 – May 26, 2004
Chronology
Preceded by Soul Food (1997 film)

Soul Food: The Series is a television drama that aired Wednesday nights on Showtime from June 28, 2000 to May 26, 2004. Created by filmmaker George Tillman, Jr. and developed for television by Felicia D. Henderson, Soul Food is based upon Tillman's childhood experiences growing up in Wisconsin, and is a continuation of his successful 1997 film of the same name. Having aired for 74 episodes, it is the longest running drama with a predominantly black cast in the history of North American prime-time television.[1][2]

Premise[edit]

Soul Food follows the triumphs, struggles, and rivalries of the Josephs, a tight-knit African American family living in Chicago, Illinois. The series picks up six months after the events in the Soul Food film, as the family tries to hold together after the death of the Joseph sisters' mother Josephine (Irma P. Hall, reprising her role in flashback sequences), usually referred to as Mama, Mother Joe, or Big Mama.

Episodes[edit]

Cast[edit]

Recurring cast members and notable guest stars[edit]

During the run of the series, only Irma P. Hall returned from the original film to appear in the series as her original character, albeit in flashback scenes as a guest star.

Response[edit]

Soul Food was ground-breaking for its time. It was one of the first long-running and successful dramatic series on television to feature a predominantly African-American cast. Short-lived series such as Under One Roof and City of Angels featured predominantly black casts but never gained recognition due to lack of ratings and viewership. The show tackled topics of politics, homosexuality, racial discrimination, and certain forms of abuse (drug, domestic, and sexual). Because it aired on Showtime, there was use of mild profanity and partial nudity. Certain episodes even served as launching pads for up-and-coming new musical artists. Many known performers such as Gerald Levert, Montell Jordan, India.Arie, Sunshine Anderson and Common have made appearances as well.

Popularity[edit]

Soul Food was an overnight success. Its popularity and huge fan base immediately earned the show a record-breaking renewal of 40 episodes in 2001. The show earned many awards during its five-season run on Showtime. It received five NAACP Image Awards nominations for Outstanding Drama Series and won three consecutive times in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Also, a three-book series was launched in 2002.

The Soul Food cast was interviewed by comedienne Mo'Nique about fan reaction to the series. The cast explained that fans of the show would approach them at various places, including the airport, and would talk to them about story lines that they enjoyed or disliked. Nicole Ari Parker commented on studio executives telling the cast and crew that they weren't marketable overseas, yet, after the show ended, the series gained a fan base in France.

Syndication[edit]

In 2004, Black Entertainment Television (BET) acquired the rights to air reruns of the series (in the United States). The episodes have been edited to allow for commercials, and to meet FCC content standards for basic cable networks. BET aired syndicated reruns of Soul Food for several years, until it shifted the series to its sister network, BET J (now known as Centric). On March 15, 2010, the principal cast members (excluding Rockmond Dunbar) appeared together on the BET late-night talk show The Mo'Nique Show. TV One began airing reruns of the series in January 2012.

DVD releases[edit]

On June 24, 2003, Paramount Home Entertainment released the first season of Soul Food on DVD, just two weeks after the series wrapped its fourth season. After a long delay, the remaining four seasons were released in 2007 and 2008 by Paramount and CBS Home Entertainment. While season one (billed as "the complete first season") runs in its unedited form, seasons two through four do not, primarily due to musical licensing issues.

International rights to the series are held by Fox, who have yet to release DVD sets in other territories.

DVD name Ep # Release date
Season 1 20 June 24, 2003
Season 2 20 August 7, 2007
Seasons 3 & 4 20 February 5, 2008
Final season 14 July 8, 2008
Complete Series 74 July 8, 2008 [4]
  • Seasons 3 and 4 that originally aired on Showtime are combined as the Season 3 DVD.[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Status Year Award For
Winner 2001 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress - Aaron Meeks
Winner 2002 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Drama Series
Winner 2002 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Debbi Morgan
Winner 2002 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress - Aaron Meeks
Winner 2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Drama Series
Winner 2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Vanessa A. Williams
Winner 2004 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Drama Series
Nominee 2001 Emmy Award Outstanding Main Title Theme Music - Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Al Green
Nominee 2001 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Drama Series
Nominee 2001 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Nicole Ari Parker
Nominee 2001 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Vanessa A. Williams
Nominee 2001 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Irma P. Hall
Nominee 2002 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Nicole Ari Parker
Nominee 2002 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds
Nominee 2002 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Boris Kodjoe
Nominee 2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Nicole Ari Parker
Nominee 2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Malinda Williams
Nominee 2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Boris Kodjoe
Nominee 2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Aaron Meeks
Nominee 2003 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Kimberly Elise
Nominee 2003 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Supporting Young Actor - Aaron Meeks
Nominee 2004 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Nicole Ari Parker
Nominee 2004 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Malinda Williams
Nominee 2004 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Vanessa A. Williams
Nominee 2004 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Darrin Dewitt Henson
Nominee 2004 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Boris Kodjoe
Nominee 2004 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Terri J. Vaughn
Nominee 2004 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Supporting Young Actor - Aaron Meeks
Nominee 2005 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Drama Series
Nominee 2005 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Nicole Ari Parker
Nominee 2005 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Malinda Williams
Nominee 2005 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Vanessa A. Williams
Nominee 2005 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Darrin Dewitt Henson
Nominee 2005 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Diahann Carroll

References[edit]

  1. ^ "No black dramas left on television", MSNBC.com, May 24, 2004. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  2. ^ Wiggins, Ovetta. "Last Call for 'Soul Food' ", Washington Post, May 26, 2004. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  3. ^ Vanessa A. Williams, who portrays Maxine, is not to be confused with Vanessa L. Williams -- the R&B/pop singer, actress, and Miss America 1984 -- who portrayed Teri in the film upon which the series is based.
  4. ^ a b Soul Food DVD news: Announcement for Soul Food - The Final Season | TVShowsOnDVD.com
  5. ^ amazon.com

External links[edit]