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Good Times

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Good Times
Created byEric Monte
Mike Evans
Developed byNorman Lear
Directed by
  • Herbert Kenwith (seasons 1–3)
  • Various (season 1)
  • Gerren Keith (seasons 4–6)
Theme music composer
Opening theme"Good Times" performed by Jim Gilstrap and Blinky Williams
ComposersDave Grusin
Alan and Marilyn Bergman
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes133 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Allan Manings (1974-75)
  • Jack Elinson (1975-76)
  • Norman Paul (1975-76)
  • Austin and Irma Kalish (1976–77)
  • Lloyd Turner (1977-78)
  • Gordon Mitchell (1977-78)
  • Sid Dorfman (1978-79)
Production locationsCBS Television City, Hollywood, California (1974-75)
Metromedia Square, Hollywood, California (1975-79)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22–24 minutes
Production companyTandem Productions
Original release
ReleaseFebruary 8, 1974 (1974-02-08) –
August 1, 1979 (1979-08-01)

Good Times is an American television sitcom that aired for six seasons on CBS, from February 8, 1974, to August 1, 1979. Created by Eric Monte and Mike Evans and developed by executive producer Norman Lear, it was television's first African American two-parent family sitcom. Good Times was a spin-off of Maude, which itself was a spin-off of All in the Family.



Florida and James (renamed from Henry) Evans and their three children live at 721 North Gilbert Avenue, apartment 17C, in a public housing project in a poor, black neighborhood in inner-city Chicago. The project is unnamed on the show but is implicitly the infamous Cabrini–Green Homes, shown in the opening and closing credits.[1][2] Florida and James have three children: James Jr., also known as "J.J.", a budding artist and illustrator who thinks of himself as a "Casanova" type and achieves both success and rejection on his path to monetize his talent into a career; Thelma, a very bright girl who takes education very seriously as she sees it as a way to help her family and is shown attending high school and community college over the course of the series; and Michael, whose passionate activism and support for the Black community and Black issues causes his father to call him "the militant midget."

When the series begins, J.J. is 17 (portrayed by 26-year-old Jimmie Walker, who was just eight years younger than co-star John Amos), Thelma 16 and Michael 11. Their exuberant neighbor and Florida's best friend is Willona Woods, a recent divorcée who works at a boutique. Their building superintendent is Nathan Bookman (seasons 2–6), who James, Willona and later J.J. refer to as "Buffalo Butt" or, even more derisively, "Booger."

The characters originated on the sitcom Maude as Florida and Henry Evans, with Florida employed as Maude Findlay's housekeeper in Tuckahoe, New York, and Henry employed as a New York City firefighter. When producers decided to feature the Florida character in her own show, they changed the characters' history to fit a new series that was well into development rather than start from scratch to create a consistent starring vehicle, even though to do so meant changing their Black middle-class family into a poverty-stricken lower class family. Henry's name became James, and he worked various odd jobs due to only being able to attain a sixth-grade education. There was no mention of Maude. However, in the episode called The Checkup, there was mention of Florida having previously worked as a maid. Additionally, the couple's location was now Chicago.[3]

Episodes of Good Times deal with the characters' attempts to overcome poverty, living in high-rise public housing in Chicago. James Evans often works at least two jobs, mostly manual labor such as dishwasher, construction laborer, etc. Though he is often unemployed, he is a proud man who will not accept charity. He sometimes hustles money playing pool, although Florida disapproves of this.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113February 8, 1974 (1974-02-08)May 10, 1974 (1974-05-10)
224September 10, 1974 (1974-09-10)March 18, 1975 (1975-03-18)
324September 9, 1975 (1975-09-09)March 2, 1976 (1976-03-02)
424September 22, 1976 (1976-09-22)March 30, 1977 (1977-03-30)
524September 21, 1977 (1977-09-21)April 3, 1978 (1978-04-03)
624September 16, 1978 (1978-09-16)August 1, 1979 (1979-08-01)

Cast and characters



Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6
Esther Rolle Florida Evans Main Does not appear Main
John Amos James Evans Main Does not appear
Ja'Net DuBois Willona Woods Main
Ralph Carter Michael Evans Main
Bern Nadette Stanis[a] Thelma Evans Anderson Main
Jimmie Walker James "J.J." Evans Jr. Main
Johnny Brown Nathan Bookman Does not appear Recurring Main
Janet Jackson Millicent "Penny" Gordon Woods Does not appear Main
Ben Powers Keith Anderson Does not appear Main
  1. ^ Bern Nadette Stanis was credited as "Bern Nadette" during early episodes of season one, and later as "Bernnadette Stanis".


Johnny Brown as superintendent
Nathan ("Buffalo Butt") Bookman
  • Ned the Wino (Raymond Allen) is the local drunk who frequents the neighborhood and the apartment building where the Evans family reside. In the season one episode "Black Jesus," J.J. uses Ned the Wino as the model for a portrait of Jesus. Another episode is centered on Michael's plan to "clean up" Ned and get him off the booze by letting him stay at the Evanses' house.
  • Carl Dixon (Moses Gunn) is a shop owner for whom Michael briefly works. Despite their religious differences, Carl and Florida begin dating and become engaged in the final episode of season four. Carl breaks off the engagement after he is diagnosed with lung cancer. After a talk from Bookman, Carl again asks Florida for her hand in marriage. The two marry off-screen and move to Arizona. Florida returns at the beginning of season six, this time without Carl for Thelma's wedding. Carl is referenced briefly in that season's second episode "Florida's Homecoming Part 2," but he is never mentioned again (Florida continues to use the surname Evans instead of Dixon). (Rolle decided to come back to the show on the condition the character of Carl Dixon was written out.) While it is not mentioned onscreen, it is implied that Carl died from lung cancer.
  • Marion "Sweet Daddy" Williams (Theodore Wilson) is a menacing neighborhood numbers runner and pimp, who has a reputation for wearing flashy clothing and jewelry. He is usually accompanied by bodyguards (one portrayed by Bubba Smith, the other by series painter Ernie Barnes) and comes across as cool and threatening, but has shown a soft heart on occasion, particularly when he decided not to take an antique locket (to settle a debt) that Florida had given to Thelma because it had reminded him of his late mother. (Wilson also plays a club owner named Stanley in the season four episode, "The Comedian and the Loan Sharks").
  • Alderman Fred C. Davis (Albert Reed Jr.) is a local politician with a slightly shady disposition whom the Evans generally despise. Spoofing President Richard M. Nixon, he would state in a speech, "I am not a crook." He frequently relies on the support of the Evans family (his "favorite project family") for re-election or support and resorts to threats of eviction to secure their support. In a running joke, Alderman Davis frequently antagonizes Willona by "forgetting" her name, and calling her another similar-sounding name that began with a "W" (such as Wilhemina, Winnifrieda, Winsomnium, Wyomia and even Waldorf-Astoria), thus earning him her everlasting ire as well as the nickname "Baldy."
  • Lenny (Dap 'Sugar' Willie) (also known as "Lootin" Lenny), is a neighborhood hustler and peddler who tries to sell presumably stolen items that are usually attached to the lining of his fur coat. He usually approaches people with a laid-back rap and a rhyme, such as "my name is Len-nay, if I ain't got it, there ain't an-nay" (in a style similar to Rudy Ray Moore). He is typically rebuffed by the people he approaches and responds by saying "that's cold" or uses a small brush to "brush off" the negativity.
  • "Grandpa" Henry Evans (Richard Ward) is James's long-lost father. He abandoned the family years before because he was ashamed that he could not do more to provide for them. This deeply hurt James, who disregarded his father's existence, telling everyone that he was dead. Thelma learns about her grandfather while doing some family research. She meets him and invites him to the Evanses' home to surprise James for his birthday, not knowing that James was well aware of his whereabouts but chose to stay out of his life. After Henry arrives at the Evans home and meets the rest of the family, he realizes that James would not welcome him in the home and decides to leave. Florida convinces him to stay and talk to James and explains that there may never be another chance to do so. Henry and James have a heart-to-heart talk, with Henry being remorseful and apologetic. James ultimately forgives his father. After James's death, the Evans family embraces Henry into the family, alongside his common law (and eventually legal) wife Lena (Paulene Myers) in later episodes.
  • Wanda Williams (Helen Martin) is another resident in the apartment building where the Evans reside. Earlier episodes show her at a women's support group, and the tenants rallying around her by giving her a rent party. Later episodes show her appearing and crying at several funerals, whether she knew the person or not, thus earning her the nickname "Weeping Wanda" from J.J. and Willona.
  • Lynnetta Gordon (Chip Fields) is Penny's abusive biological mother whose first appearance is in the four-part fifth season opening episode, "The Evans Get Involved." Penny's father abandoned her mom when Lynnetta became pregnant at 16. As a result, she takes her anger and frustrations out on Penny, including burning her with a hot iron. After the abuse is finally brought to light, she tells the Evans family that she herself was abused as a child. She gets into a fighting match with Willona and Thelma and they plead for her to seek therapy. Just before she disappears, she expresses regret for hurting her child, telling Willona that Penny deserves better than her. This clears the way for Willona to adopt Penny. She reappears more than a year later, in the sixth-season episode, "A Matter of Mothers," having gotten married and reveals that her new husband is from a very wealthy family. She uses her husband's wealth to send Penny anonymous gifts and, in an effort to regain custody of Penny, also attempts to frame Willona as an unfit adoptive mother who throws wild parties with less than wholesome attendees. However, her scheme is exposed by being recorded on tape admitting that the scheme was a set up to get Penny back. After Lynnetta tries to get the tape from Penny and threatens to hurt her again, which is stopped by Willona, Penny tells Lynnetta that no matter what anyone says, she will always consider Willona her real mother. Devastated, Lynnetta decides to drop the charges against Willona and leaves Penny with her, never to be seen again.
  • Cleatus (John Bailey) is a cousin of J.J. Evans, Thelma Evans Anderson and Michael Evans and nephew of Florida Evans and James Evans. He made one appearance in the episode "Cousin Cleatus."
  • Violet Bookman (Marilyn Coleman) is the wife of Bookman (episodes: "Bye, Bye Bookman" and "Willona, the Other Woman" in season 5).

Notable guest stars

Louis Gossett Jr. as Florida's brother, Wilbert
J. A. Preston as Walter Ingles, friend of Willona Woods
(Ja'Net DuBois) (1976)
  • Mary Alice as Loretta Simpson in the episode The Baby (season 3, episode 7).
  • Debbie Allen as J.J.'s drug-addicted fiancée, Diana Buchanan in "J.J.'s Fiancee (Parts 1 & 2)" (season 3)[4]
  • Matthew "Stymie" Beard (former Our Gang child actor). Beard was in the process of making a comeback after decades offscreen, and appeared in five episodes, including four appearances as James' friend Monty
  • Taurean Blacque as Chopper in the episode “Breaker, Breaker (season 5, episode 8) and as John Dunbar Jr. in the episode “The Boarder” (season 5, episode 18)
  • Sorrell Booke as Mr. Galbraith, J.J.'s boss at the ad agency (season 5, episode 17)
  • Kathleen Bradley as the nurse in the episode “Blood Will Tell”. (season 6, episode 16)
  • Roscoe Lee Browne as a shady televangelist Reverend Sam "the Happiness Man", who befriended James in the military (season 1, episode 4)
  • Tony Burton as Aide in the Episode: "Evans Versus Davis" (Season 4, Episode 6)
  • T. K. Carter as J.J.'s friend "Head" (part of the "Awesome Foursome", later the "Gleesome Threesome", the "Gruesome Twosome" and the "Lonesome Onesome," as stated in the episode "The New Car")
  • Rosalind Cash as Thelma's teacher, Jessica Bishop, who becomes romantically involved with a much younger J.J. (season 4, episode 3)
  • Alvin Childress as Reverend Gordon in the episode “The Windfall. (season 2, episode 12)
  • William Christopher as The Army Doctor in the episode "The Enlistment" (season 2, episode 22)
  • Bill Cobbs as George Gillard in the episode "Evans Versus Davis" (Season 4, episode 6)
  • Judith Cohen as herself in the episode "The Judy Cohen Story" (season 4, episode 12)
  • Gary Coleman as Gary, a sharp-tongued classmate of Penny's (season 5, episode 24 and season 6, episode 5)
  • Conchata Ferrell as Miss Johnson, Willona's supervisor at her short-lived second job as security in a department store (season 5, episode 6)
  • Kim Fields (real-life daughter of Chip Fields) as Penny's friend, Kim, who has a tendency to add the suffix "-ness" to emphasize her anxiety such as "hopelessnessness" (2 season 6 episodes)
  • Carl Franklin as Larry, Thelma's fiancé', ultimately breaking up when Larry is offered a job on the West Coast and Thelma is not ready to accompany him (2 episodes)
  • Alice Ghostley as Ms. Dobbs, a social worker who is working on Penny being adopted by Willona (3 episodes)
  • Ron Glass as Michael's elementary school principal (2.4); also made an appearance as a blind encyclopedia salesman who tries to swindle the Evans family (2.8)
  • Louis Gossett Jr., in season two as Thelma's older boyfriend (Florida and James object to their relationship because of the age difference) (2.6); also appears as Uncle Wilbert (Florida's brother), who comes from Detroit to look in on the family while James is away (3.8)
  • Robert Guillaume as Fishbone the wino in the episode "Requiem for a Wino" (season 5, episode 11)
  • Phillip Baker Hall as Motel Owner in the episode "J.J.'s Fiancee (Part 2)" (season 3, episode 18)
  • Lynn Hamilton as Mrs. Edwards, mother of Mad Dog , who shot J.J. (season 2, episode 10)
  • Shirley Hemphill as "Roz", the dimwitted sister of Edna, who was being tutored by Thelma (season 4, episode 10)
  • Gordon Jump as Mr. Rogers, the head of security at Willona's short-lived second job as security in a department store (season 5, episode 6)
  • Paula Kelly as Dr. Kelly in the episode "Where Have All The Doctors Gone" (season 6, episode 17)
  • Richard Lawson as Raymond, J.J.’s friend and co-worker (season 5, episode 17)
  • Jay Leno as "Young Man" in the season three's "J.J. in Trouble", which was one of the first times that the subject of "VD" (STD) was addressed on a primetime series
  • Richard Libertini as Painter #1 in the episode "Love Has A Spot On His Lung: Part 2" (season 4, episode 24).
  • Calvin Lockhart as Florida's cousin Raymond, who earned his riches by betting on horses (season 6, episode 23)
  • Don Marshall as FBI Agent Lloyd in the episode "The Investigation" (season 3, episode 20).
  • Paul Mooney as "The Second Guy" in the episode "J.J. and T.C." (season 6).
  • Debbi Morgan as Samantha, a date of J.J.'s (3.23); and as Ellen (4.18)
  • Nancy Morgan as Cindy Crebbins in the episode "Michael’s Decision" (season 6, episode8)
  • Judy Pace as Gloria Jackson in the episode “The Weekend” (season 3, episode 6)
  • J. A. Preston as Walter Ingles in the episode "Wilona's Dilemma" (season 3, episode 10)
  • Charlotte Rae as a hiring manager for a sales job that Florida stole from James (season 2, episode 14)
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph as Vanessa in the episode "J.J. and The Plumber's Helper" (season 6, episode 9)
  • Thalmus Rasulala as Ernie Harris, in the episode "The Houseguest" (season 2, episode 20)
  • Albert Reed Jr. as Alderman Fred C. Davis also played cousin Oscar in Season 2 episode Sometimes There's No Bottom in the Bottle
  • Percy Rodriguez as Florida’s cousin Edgar.(season 3, episode 5)
  • Timmie Rogers as Donald the Wino in the episode “The Snow Storm”. (season 6, episode 11)
  • Bubba Smith as Claude, a bodyguard/thug working for Marion "Sweet Daddy" Williams (4 season 6 episodes)
  • Richard Stahl as Judge Daniels in the episode “The Gang:Part 2” (season 2, episode 10)
  • Philip Michael Thomas as Eddie, Thelma's college-age boyfriend (season 1, episode 6)
  • Adam Wade as successful businessman Frank Mason, Willona's boyfriend (Season 5, 2 episodes)
  • Vernee Watson-Johnson as Thelma's friend and college mate Valerie, in the episode "Thelma's African Romance (Part 1)" (season 4)
  • Carl Weathers as Calvin Brooks, husband of the 'nude' model for J.J.'s painting (season 2, episode 16)
  • Lee Weaver as the second man in season 4 episode "The Big Move: Part 2".
  • Hal Williams as one of the movers in a season one episode; James' friend, Willie Washington (season 2); and Mr. Mitchell, the father of Earl Mitchell, who is an art student of J.J.'s (season 6)
  • John Witherspoon as Officer Lawson in the episode "A Matter of Mothers" (season 6, episode 20)



Good Times was created by Eric Monte and actor Mike Evans. The series also features a character named "Michael Evans" after Evans, who portrayed Lionel Jefferson on the Lear-produced series All in the Family and The Jeffersons.[5]

Theme song and opening sequence

Good Times theme
audio icon Sample [0:13] via

The gospel-styled theme song was composed by Dave Grusin with lyrics written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. It was sung by Jim Gilstrap and Motown singer Blinky Williams with a gospel choir providing background vocals. Because of the singing style of the song, and the audio mix, the lyrics to the theme song are notorious for being hard to discern, notably the line "Hangin' in a chow line"/"Hangin' in and jivin'" (depending on the source used). Dave Chappelle used this part of the lyrics as a quiz in his "I Know Black People" skit on Chappelle's Show in which the former was claimed as the answer.[6] Closed captioning on streaming services, and the insert for the Season One DVD box set, have the lyric as "Hangin' in a chow line." However, the Bergmans, along with Bern Nadette Stanis, confirmed that the lyric is actually "Hangin' in and jivin'."[6] Slightly different lyrics were used for the closing credits, with the song beginning on a verse instead of the chorus.



Chip Fields was one of the finalists for the role of Thelma, but Bernadette Stanis was selected. Haywood Nelson screen tested and was hired for the role of the youngest Evans child, Michael, but was replaced by Ralph Carter who, at the time, had more experience in front of a live audience. Carter was a cast member in the Broadway musical Raisin and the producers of Raisin were initially reluctant to accept Tandem Productions' buyout offer.[7] While Carter's contract was being negotiated, another young actor, Larry Fishburne (later Laurence) filled the role of Michael during initial rehearsals for Good Times.[7] Carter, Nelson, and Fishburne (and their families) were all close friends, each close in age, each having Broadway experience, and living in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Because of a contractual obligation, early episodes of Good Times contain a notice in the credits: "Ralph Carter appears courtesy of the Broadway musical Raisin."[7]

Cast conflicts

Co-creator Mike Evans (1975)

Good Times was intended to be a timely show in the All in the Family vein focused on Rolle and Amos. Both expected the show to deal with serious topics in a comedic way while providing positive characters for viewers to identify with. However, it was Walker's character of J.J. that was an immediate hit with audiences and became the breakout character of the series. J.J.'s frequent use of the expression "Dy-no-mite!" (often in the phrase "Kid Dy-no-mite!"), credited to director John Rich (first delivered by Walker at the end of the Season 1, Episode 2, "Black Jesus"), became a popular catchphrase (later included in TV Land's The 100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catch Phrases special).[8]

Rich insisted Walker say it in every episode. Walker and executive producer Norman Lear were skeptical of the idea, but the phrase and the J.J. Evans character caught on with the audience.[9] As a result of the character's popularity, the writers focused more on J.J.'s comedic antics instead of serious issues. Throughout seasons two and three, Rolle and Amos grew increasingly disillusioned with the direction of the show and especially with J.J.'s tomfoolery and stereotypically buffoonish behavior.[10] Rolle was vocal about her hate of his character. In a 1975 interview with Ebony magazine she stated:

He's 18 and he doesn't work. He can't read or write. He doesn't think. The show didn't start out to be that...Little by little—with the help of the artist, I suppose, because they couldn't do that to me—they have made J.J. more stupid and enlarged the role. Negative images have been slipped in on us through the character of the oldest child.[11]

Despite doing so less publicly than Rolle, Amos also was outspoken about his dissatisfaction with the J.J. character, stating:

The writers would prefer to put a chicken hat on J.J. and have him prance around saying "DY-NO-MITE", and that way they could waste a few minutes and not have to write meaningful dialogue.[12]

While Amos was less public with his dissatisfaction than Rolle, he was fired after season three due to disagreements with Lear and the writing staff, which, according to Amos, were often confrontational and heated. Amos' departure was initially attributed to his desire to focus on a film career, but he admitted in a 1976 interview that Lear called him and told him that his contract option with the show was not being renewed. Amos stated, "That's the same thing as being fired."[13] The producers decided not to recast the character of James Evans, instead opting to kill off the character in the two-part season four premiere, "The Big Move," with Florida finding out that James died in an automobile accident while in Mississippi setting up a new business opportunity at an auto repair shop, which would have allowed the family to move from the ghetto.[14][15]

Final seasons


By the end of season four, Rolle had also become dissatisfied with the show's direction and decided to leave the series. In the two-part season finale, "Love Has a Spot On His Lung," Florida gets engaged to Carl Dixon (Moses Gunn), a man she began dating toward the end of season four. In the season five premiere episode, "The Evans Get Involved Part 1," it is revealed that Florida and Carl married off screen and moved to Arizona for the sake of Carl's health.[16] With Amos and Rolle gone, DuBois took over as lead actor, as Willona checked in on the Evans children since they were now living alone.[2][17]

In season five, Janet Jackson joined the cast, playing Penny Gordon, an abused girl, abandoned by her mother, and eventually adopted by Willona.[16] During that season, Johnny Brown's character of Nathan Bookman, the Evans' superintendent, became more prominent. At the beginning of the fifth season, Brown became a series regular and was included in the opening credits. Ratings began to decline. It was clear to the producers as well as viewers that Rolle's absence had left the series without a much-needed unifying center of attention.[16]

Before the taping of season six began, CBS and the show's producers decided that they had to do "something drastic" to increase viewership. According to then-vice president of CBS programming Steve Mills, "We had lost the essence of the show. Without parental guidance, the show slipped. Everything told us that: our mail, our phone calls, our research. We felt we had to go back to basics."[16]

Producers approached Rolle with an offer to appear in a guest role on the series. Rolle was initially hesitant, but when producers agreed to a number of her demands (including an increased salary and higher quality scripts), she agreed to return to the series on a full-time basis. Rolle also wanted producers to make the character of J.J. more responsible, as she felt the character was a poor role model for African-American youths. She also requested that producers write out the character of Carl Dixon; Rolle reportedly disliked the storyline surrounding the Carl Dixon character, as she believed Florida would not have moved on so quickly after James's death or left her children. Rolle also thought the writers had disregarded Florida's devout Christian beliefs by having her fall for and marry Carl, who was an atheist.[16][18]

In the season six premiere episode "Florida's Homecoming: Part 1," Florida returns from Arizona without Carl to attend Thelma's upcoming wedding to professional football player Keith Anderson (Ben Powers, who joined the cast for the final season). In a rare uncut version of "Florida's Homecoming: Part 2," after Florida arrives home from Arizona, Willona briefly pulls her aside and mentions Carl, to which Florida sadly smiles and shakes her head, implying that Carl had died from cancer. Florida later mentions Carl one last time when she tells Michael about a book they'd both bought him.[3]

Despite changes in the series at Rolle's request and her return, plus the addition of Powers to the cast, ratings continued to fall and CBS canceled the series during the 1978–79 season.[19][20] In the series finale episode "The End of the Rainbow," each character finally gets a "happy ending." J.J. gets his big break as a nationally syndicated artist for a comic book company with his newly created character, DynoWoman, which is based on Thelma (much to her surprise and delight) and is moving into an apartment with some lady friends.[20]

Michael attends college and moves into an on-campus dorm. Keith's bad knee heals due to his exercise and own physical therapy, leading to the Chicago Bears offering him a contract to play football. Keith announces that he and Thelma are moving into a luxury apartment in the city's upscale Gold Coast district. Thelma also announces that she is pregnant with the couple's first child.[20]

Keith offers Florida the chance to move in with them so she can help Thelma with the new baby; Florida accepts the offer. Willona becomes the head buyer of the boutique, she walks in and announces that she and Penny are also moving out of the projects. Willona then reveals that her new apartment is in the same apartment building to which Keith, Thelma and Florida are also moving; she and Penny become the Evanses' downstairs neighbors.[20]

Broadcast and syndication


Cable network TV One aired reruns of the show since its launch on January 19, 2004. Good Times had also aired at various times on TV Land and on the Canadian specialty cable channel DejaView. Minisodes of the show are available for free on Crackle. Additionally, digital multicast network Antenna TV also aired episodes of the show until January 1, 2018, when GetTV, operated by Sony (which distributes the show), began airing the program. Good Times airs on GetTV with a TV-PG rating.

Most episodes run on TV One with a TV-G rating, with the lone exception being the season three episode "J.J. in Trouble," in which J.J. fears he may have contracted an STD. That episode airs with a TV-14 rating, as well as the "parental guidance is suggested" slide that preceded the episode when it was originally broadcast on CBS. In the past, it aired on TV Land with a TV-PG rating.

As of March 27, 2023, episodes have been airing nightly on the Catchy Comedy (formerly Decades) digital retro TV network.

Home media


Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 between February 2003 and August 2006, with a complete box set following the separate seasons on October 28, 2008. Season 1 was released on DVD in Region 4 on December 27, 2006. On August 27, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library, including Good Times.[21] They have subsequently re-released the first four seasons on DVD.[22][23] On September 1, 2015, Mill Creek Entertainment re-released Good Times: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[24]

All episodes are available to stream on Peacock.

DVD name Ep # Release date
The Complete First Season 13 February 4, 2003
January 21, 2014 (re-release)
The Complete Second Season 24 February 3, 2004
January 21, 2014 (re-release)
The Complete Third Season 24 August 10, 2004
May 20, 2014 (re-release)
The Complete Fourth Season 24 February 15, 2005
May 20, 2014 (re-release)
The Complete Fifth Season 24 August 23, 2005
The Complete Sixth and Final Season 24 August 1, 2006
The Complete Series 133 October 28, 2008
September 1, 2015 (re-release)





The program premiered in February 1974; high ratings led CBS to renew the program for the 1974–75 season, as it was the seventeenth-highest-rated program that year. During its first full season on the air, the show was the seventh-highest-rated program in the Nielsen ratings, with more than 25% of all American households tuning into an episode each week. Three of the top ten highest-rated programs on American TV that season centered on the lives of African-Americans: Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons and Good Times. The Nielsen ratings for the series declined over time, partly because of its many time slot changes and the departure of John Amos.[25] The ratings went down considerably when the show entered its final two seasons:

Season TV Season No. of Episodes Time slot (ET) Nielsen ratings[26]
Rank Rating
1 1973–1974 13 Friday at 8:30 pm 17 21.4 (Tied with Barnaby Jones)
2 1974–1975 24 Tuesday at 8:00 pm 7 25.8
3 1975–1976 24 24 21.0
4 1976–1977 24 Wednesday at 8:00 pm (Episodes 1-15, 17–24)
Wednesday at 8:30 pm (Episode 16)
26 20.5
5 1977–1978 24 Wednesday at 8:00 pm (Episodes 1, 3-16)
Wednesday at 8:30 pm (Episode 2)
Monday at 8:00 pm (Episodes 17–24)
55 [27] 17.4 [27]
6 1978–1979 22 Saturday at 8:00 pm (Episode 1)
Saturday at 8:30 pm (Episodes 2-10)
Wednesday at 8:30 pm (Episodes 11–22)
91 [28] 13.0 [28]

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Recipient(s) Result
1974 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Television Jimmie Walker Nominated
1975 Golden Globe Awards Best TV Actress – Musical/Comedy Esther Rolle Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Television Jimmie Walker Nominated
Humanitas Prize 30 Minute Category John Baskin and Roger Shulman / episode: "The Lunch Money Ripoff" Nominated
30 Minute Category Bob Peete / episode: "My Girl Henrietta" Nominated
2006 TV Land Awards Impact Award John Amos, Ralph Carter, Ja'net DuBois, Esther Rolle (posthumously), BernNadette Stanis, and Jimmie Walker Won



In September 2020, it was announced that the series would receive an animated sitcom revival with Carl Jones originally attached as showrunner and produced and Norman Lear originally executive producing alongside Seth MacFarlane and Stephen Curry for Netflix.[29] In December 2023, it was announced Ranada Shepard replaced Carl Jones as showrunner for the series.[30] It centers on the current generation of the Evans family, and stars Jay Pharoah, Marsai Martin, Yvette Nicole Brown, Slink Johnson, and J. B. Smoove. The series (titled on-screen as Good Times: Black Again)[31] was released on April 12, 2024.[32]

It received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics and audiences with criticism aimed at the animation style, the crass presentation, racist and offensive humor, and general lack of connection to the original series aside from occasional mentions of the James Evans character.[33][34][35][36][37][38]


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  3. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (October 17, 2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. p. 869. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  4. ^ J.J.'s Fiancee with guest star Debbie Allen at IMDb
  5. ^ Lewis, Dan (February 19, 1974). "Good Times Is Maude Spinoff". St. Joseph News-Press. p. 15. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
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  8. ^ The Star Ledger. December 11, 2006
  9. ^ "Jimmie 'J.J.' Walker lights 'Dy-no-mite' on gay marriage, Leno and dating". CNN. July 16, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  10. ^ Fearn-Banks, Kathleen (August 4, 2009). The A to Z of African-American Television. Vol. 49. Scarecrow Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-810-86348-4.
  11. ^ Robinson, Louie (September 1975). "Bad Times On the 'Good Times' Set". Ebony. Vol. 30, no. 11. Johnson Publishing Company. p. 35. ISSN 0012-9011.
  12. ^ Mitchell, John L. (April 14, 2006). "Plotting His Next Big Break". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  13. ^ "'I Was Fired,' Reveals Good Times' John Amos". Jet. Vol. 50, no. 10. Johnson Publishing Company. May 27, 1976. p. 57. ISSN 0021-5996.
  14. ^ Dawidziak, Mark (January 17, 1994). "Lear, Amos paired up again". Herald-Journal. p. C3. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  15. ^ 5000 Episodes and No Commercials: The Ultimate Guide to TV Shows On DVD. Random House Digital, Inc. November 9, 2011. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-307-79950-0.
  16. ^ a b c d e Marguiles, Lee (June 10, 1978). "Esther Rolle Returning To 'Good Times'". St. Petersburg Times. p. 11B. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
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  19. ^ Newcomb 2004 p.1012
  20. ^ a b c d Bodroghkozy, Aniko (January 1, 2012). Equal Time: Television and the Civil Rights Movement. University of Illinois Press. p. 223. ISBN 978-0-252-09378-4.
  21. ^ "Mill Creek Entertainment Signs Deals With Sony Pictures Home Entertainment To Expand Their Distribution Partnership". tvshowsondvd.com (Press release). August 27, 2013. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014.
  22. ^ "Dyn-O-Mite! Mill Creek Brings the First Two Seasons Back to DVD Soon!". tvshowsondvd.com. November 8, 2013. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013.
  23. ^ "Good Times - We've Got Mill Creek's Box Art Now for Their 3rd and 4th Season Re-Releases!". tvshowsondvd.com. April 15, 2014. Archived from the original on April 16, 2014.
  24. ^ "Good Times DVD news: Announcement for Good Times - The Complete Series - TVShowsOnDVD.com". Archived from the original on 2015-07-10.
  25. ^ "Good Times In Trouble; Jeffersons Holding Own". Jet. Vol. 55, no. 13. Johnson Publishing Company. December 14, 1978. p. 64. ISSN 0021-5996.
  26. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth ed.). Ballantine Books. pp. 1687–1688. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  27. ^ a b "FCC cites ABC as 'negligent' in handling of boxing tournament" (PDF). Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  28. ^ a b "Rounding up the ratings for 'the season'" (PDF). Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  29. ^ Porter, Rick (September 14, 2020). "'Good Times' Animated Revival Scores Series Order at Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter.
  30. ^ "Netflix's 'Good Times' Toon Taps New Showrunner, Voice Stars". Animation Magazine. December 12, 2023.
  31. ^ McGloster, Niki. "Good Times: Black Again Isn't As Bad As Its Trailer — But It Also Isn't Good". www.refinery29.com. Retrieved 2024-06-09.
  32. ^ "Good Times: Netflix Previews Animated Series Take on Classic Sitcom". 20 March 2024.
  33. ^ Tinubu, Aramide (April 12, 2024). "Netflix's 'Good Times' Reboot Is Dated, Humorless and Baffling: TV Review". Variety.
  34. ^ Deggans, Eric (April 13, 2024). "Netflix's 'Good Times': An explicit revival which feels calculated to offend". NPR.
  35. ^ Feinberg, Daniel (April 12, 2024). "'Good Times' Review: Netflix's Animated Sequel Improves When It Steps Out From Norman Lear's Shadow". The Hollywood Reporter.
  36. ^ Lowery, Brian (April 12, 2024). "Netflix's animated 'Good Times' flunks the TV reboot test". CNN.
  37. ^ Evans, Erin E.; Frederick, Candice; Finley, Taryn (April 12, 2024). "The 'Good Times' Reboot Is Absolutely Terrible". Huff Post.
  38. ^ "Good Times 2024 - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 29, 2024.