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Remember 'Sonny Spoon' - Mario Van Peebles' Crime Drama Series? Time For An Update?

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by Tambay A. Obenson
April 18, 2013 4:26 PM
8 Comments
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With several other old TV shows being remade as feature films (most recently, the announcement that 1970s comedy series Good Times, will be getting the big screen treatment), why not this one? 

My Mario Van Peebles Solo flashback post earlier this week reminded me of another short-lived, late 1980s detective TV series, Sonny Spoon, which starred Mario as Sonny, described as "a hip, black private investigator who used his street smarts and 'cool' persona to solve crimes.

He was also a master of disguises, and Mario's father, Melvin Van Peebles, had a part in the series as well. 

You folks remember this? 

I barely do actually; I was too young at the time to even notice it, and I vaguely remember bits and pieces of it, so I'll need to dig it up on DVD... 

But, wait a minute, it's not on DVD, so I can't! It's certainly not on Blu-ray. I couldn't even find it on VHS.

So what's a brotha to do? Try YouTube, I guess. Not much there either.


NBC was its home at the short time it was on the air, but IMDBPro lists Stephen J. Cannell Productions as the production company, so they'll probably be the first place I'd think to make an initial inquiry. 

But I'm sure some of you folks remember this, and maybe even watched the entire season it was on the air, in 1988. It's not like there were a whole bunch of hour-long crime dramas on network television with solo black leads. 

Sonny Spoon began its run as a mid-season replacement in February 1988, and was picked up for NBC's fall season lineup, but ratings apparently weren't strong enough, and it was canceled a few months later, in December 1988.

I assume no one is really asking for it, otherwise I'm sure a proper DVD release would've happened by now.

Or how about a new Sonny Spoon-esque series updated to reflect current times? Although, there is the upcoming Beverly Hills Cops TV series which would probably fill that slot.

Or how about a big screen adaptation, but also updated to reflect the spirit of the times? Less corny (as I recall it was), and a bit darker.  

Or maybe you say forget it, and bury it forever.

I couldn't even find much media on it - specifically video, which I suppose does make sense, since it's not available on any home video format I'm aware of. 

Here's the best I could dig up: 


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8 Comments

  • trebellion | March 5, 2014 12:00 AMReply

    I remember that show being hugely influential to me. I was about 10 years old at the time. Now, in watching the opening sequence I can see why. Mario Van Peebles's character was smart, charming, clever, handsome and brave. But he wasn't hoodstyle like Eddie Murphy's Axel Foley character. As black kid growing up in an all white neighborhood, this was like the only role model on television. I always liked Eddie Murphy, but I could never imagine being like him because his whole personality was based on the "funny black guy from the hood" idea. That just wasn't me. Sonny Spoon was more my style.

  • trebellion | March 5, 2014 12:00 AMReply

    I remember that show being hugely influential to me. I was about 10 years old at the time. Now, in watching the opening sequence I can see why. Mario Van Peebles's character was smart, charming, clever, handsome and brave. But he wasn't hoodstyle like Eddie Murphy's Axel Foley character. As black kid growing up in an all white neighborhood, this was like the only role model on television. I always liked Eddie Murphy, but I could never imagine being like him because his whole personality was based on the "funny black guy from the hood" idea. That just wasn't me. Sonny Spoon was more my style.

  • nikkijo | January 1, 2014 7:59 PMReply

    I remember on Spoons there was a guy with no legs on a skate board as him sidekick who was born that

  • ACee | May 10, 2013 11:40 PMReply

    I do remember watching this show along with my other favorite shows Miami Vice, and Arsenio Hall.

  • Miles Ellison | April 18, 2013 11:53 PMReply

    A film adaptation of a TV show that nobody watched and wasn't any good? Really?

  • AccidentalVisitor | April 18, 2013 9:32 PMReply

    "I assume no one is really asking for it, otherwise I'm sure a proper DVD release would've happened by now. "


    Would that explain Frank's Place not being on DVD either.

    Growing up in the mid to late 80s, I was an avid TV watcher. I do remember the show. Great opening theme music.

  • lauren | April 18, 2013 5:43 PMReply

    Please... let's move on...

  • Melvin Harris | April 18, 2013 5:05 PMReply

    I'd do it. I remember the show. I'd do that and Misfits of Science!

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