Revisiting Tim and Daphne Maxwell Reid's Pioneering Work in TV and Film ('Frank's Place,' 'Snoops,' 'Linc's' New Millennium, etc)

April 20th 2017

Tim and Daphne Maxwell Reid Tim and Daphne Maxwell Reid


Tim and Daphne Maxwell Reid probably haven't quite gotten the appropriate acknowledgement for their pioneering work in TV, over the course of about a decade (late 1980s to 1990s), with 3 TV series created over that time period, on 2 different networks (they both appeared in other TV shows, but I'm emphasizing those that originated with them). In a time when showrunners of African descent like Shonda Rhimes and John Ridley are common, and who are celebrities in their own right, it might be easy to forget the likes of the Reids, who came before them, and, we could even say, paved the way.

In addition to the critically-acclaimed "Frank's Place," which aired on CBS, but didn't last long due to weak ratings, the Reids also created a Showtime half-hour dramedy series titled "Linc's" which was set in a black-owned Washington, D.C. bar and grill. And there was also "Snoops," a "Hart to Hart"-esque scripted dramedy series that centered on a crime-solving couple, which also aired on CBS, and, like "Frank's Place" and "Linc's," didn't last very long.

"Frank's Place" tackled sensitive issues and was a hit with critics, but it just never found a big enough audience, which was unfortunate.


Franks "Frank's Place"


"Snoops" wasn't as critically-acclaimed, but was fresh enough (how many other series in the late 1980s, early 1990s centered on a black husband and wife criminologist couple who solved crimes?). However, it too never caught on with audiences. I like to say that, with both series, the Reids were maybe a bit ahead of their time. I'd like to believe both series (especially "Frank's Place") would've been far more successful a decade+ later. I think revisiting/rebooting them today might be worth a consideration, especially as TV networks are remake/reboot happy currently.

SnoopsAnd "Linc's," which came years after the first two series, was an ensemble comedy starring Steve Williams in the title role as the pub's conservative owner; also "Frank's Place" alum Pam Grier co-starred, playing Eleanor, a children's activist and Linc's liberal love interest; and Georg Stanford Brown played Johnnie, an ethically challenged lobbyist. Also, Golden Brooks would make her TV series regular debut on "Linc's" which also featured numerous guest-appearances including Phylicia Rashad, Kadeem Hardison, Dennis Rodman, Richard Roundtree, and many others.

Tim Reid stayed behind the camera while Daphne appeared in a few episodes.

"Linc's" was the first TV series to be shot at Reid's own New Millennium Studios, a stand-alone movie and TV studio in Petersburg, Va., he had up and running for a year at the time. And that's another noteworthy item to consider as part of their legacy - they owned a physical studio where films and TV shows were sometimes shot. However, as we mentioned a couple of years ago on this blog, they had to sell the studio because business wasn't as active as they needed it to be, to continue to own the lot. As I recall, Reid spoke of a lack of incentives to attract filmmakers to Virginia, so business overall was dry for them, and they sold New Millennium - a 60-acre back lot - to a company that said they'd use the space for storage. Except for Tyler Perry's studio in Atlanta, throughout recent film and TV history, there haven't exactly been many black owners of massive studio lots, where Hollywood and non-Hollywood films and TV series have been filmed.

Dozens of studios that made so-called race movies flourished early in the 20th century, however, Reid's was really the first attempt in the previous 50 years to replicate that brand of self-reliance. "Linc's" was filmed at New Millennium Studios.

They also produced a few feature-length films, like "Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored," which Tim Reid directed as well.

Lincs "Linc's"

The Showtime series gave the husband and wife team some freedom in terms of what they could do, since it was on a premium cable TV channel. So there's obviously some adult language use, "sexual situations," although nothing explicit (but to see an ensemble cast of mostly 50-something-year-olds being sexually active in a TV series isn't exactly common); and they also took the opportunity to be "politically incorrect," and, like "Frank's Place," tackled a variety of issues of importance to the black community, not necessarily afraid to be controversial - at least, as controversial as Tim and Daphne Reid could be.

Like "Frank's Place," "Linc's" had no laugh track, which was a good thing. It aired on Showtime for two seasons from 1998 to 2000 before being cancelled. After cancellation, it was briefly syndicated on BET.

But like "Frank's Place" and "Snoops," "Linc's" isn't available on any home video format at this time - at least, nothing easily accessible. I recall that, in the case of "Frank's Place," Reid mentioned some music rights issues which were getting in the way of a proper DVD/Blu-ray release of the series. That was at least 7 years ago; and nothing's been done (nothing that I'm aware of) since then, despite the fact that there's an audience for it today - those who remember it, and those who have never even heard of it, but who may want to visit it, especially in this era of binge-watching old TV series on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.

This is recent black TV history that's being entirely unacknowledged, and I think that's unfortunate. Some props are due here for what the Reids accomplished as TV content creators who came before the current crop, creating and producing 3 different series over a decade, affecting the landscape in terms of representations of black people on screen, and owning a massive studio lot as well.

I did find several episodes of "Linc's" on YouTube, although, as you'd expect, the quality is terrible. But if you're curious, this is all I can offer at this point. I couldn't find any episodes of "Frank's Place," nor "Snoops." A few years ago, there were episodes of "Frank's Place" on YouTube, but they were eventually pulled, likely because of rights issues. Maybe something is in the works, and it's just a matter of time before an announcement is made that HD versions of these series will be released commercially.

A playlist of several episodes of "Linc's" follows below; although don't be surprised if these suddenly disappear as well, soon after I hit the publish button.

by Tambay Obenson on April 20th 2017

{{comments.length || 0}} COMMENTS

SORT BY:

Logged in as {{userdata.display_name || "Shadow&Act"}} | Log out?
POST COMMENT
Log in to join the conversation!
{{c.wp_author || c._author.username}} / {{c.created_at_gmt | date:'medium'}}
CANCEL REPLY |

{{c.body}}

POST REPLY
{{r1.wp_author || r1._author.username}} / {{r1.created_at_gmt | date:'medium'}}
CANCEL REPLY |

{{r1.body}}

POST REPLY
{{r2.wp_author || r2._author.username}} / {{r2.created_at_gmt | date:'medium'}}
CANCEL REPLY |
{{r2.body}}
POST REPLY

TRENDING