One of the most groundbreaking sitcoms of the 1970s was Good Times, Norman Lear’s socially conscious television series that centered around a poor African-American family attempting to make the best of things in Chicago’s turbulent housing projects. Deadline broke the story today that a remake of the series is headed to the big screen via Sony, with Kenya Barris – creator of the successful ABC sitcom Black-Ish – on board to write the screenplay.
Airing on CBS from 1974-1979, Good Times holds a strong legacy, not least of which because it centered around an African-American family (diversity on television and film, alas even in 2015, is something the industry struggles with). The original series starred John Amos and Esther Rolle as James and Florida Evans, a working class couple living in a Chicago housing project. With financial hardships an everyday concern and growing social and political unrest on their doorstep, the couple attempted to raise three kids and give them the best leg-up in a turbulent world. Good Times was one of a number of Norman Lear sitcoms in the 1970s that offered a socially conscious perspective of American society – others included All in the Family, Maude, and The Jeffersons (all of these shows existed in the same universe and were essentially spin-offs of one another).
With Barris attached for writing duties, it marks an optimistic full circle event from the time when Good Times first premiered. Black-Ish, a sitcom in its first year, centers around an opulent African-American family questioning their cultural and ethnic identity. The series has been favorably reviewed and ratings have been strong so far. There has been no word yet on potential casting or when the film is expected to start production. The movie version, however, is reportedly being set in the 1960s as well. Barris’s only other feature film experience is the sequel Barbershop 3, which is expected to start shooting this summer.