Queer as Folk
Boys night out. Ted, Mike and Emmett (Lowell, Sparks and Honeycutt) watch Brian storm the dance floor.
US edition - episodes 1, 2 and 3

dir Russell Mulcahy
scr Ron Cowen, Daniel Lipman
with Hal Sparks, Gale Harold, Randy Harrison, Peter Paige, Scott Lowell, Thea Gill, Michelle Clunie, Makyla Smith, Sharon Gless
release US 3.Dec.00; UK Apr.01 llgff
Showtime 00/US
3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E

London L&G Film Fest When TV series are remade across the Atlantic the results are pretty variable, but the Showtime version of the hit Channel 4 drama Queer as Folk is better than expected. It sticks closely to the original--same plot, same characters (with new names), many of the same jokes. And it was superb to see the first three episodes on a cinema screen at the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, as director Mulcahy brings a lot of visual style and oomph to the story. Mike (Sparks) is a nice-guy gay man in Pittsburgh who has always harboured a secret crush on his best friend Brian (Harold), who's a complete and utter slut, into sex without love or commitment. Then two events shake up their world: Brian seduces a 17-year-old schoolboy (Harrison) who falls deeply in love with him, and Brian's lesbian friend Lindsay (Gill) gives birth to his son.

I don't have a clue whether the entire series will ever be shown on British TV, but the US version will have 22 episodes (compared to just eight in the UK), so odds are that the story will go a bit further over there. The US version lacks the subtlety and darkness of the British version--we are never in doubt how everyone feels toward everyone else, the characters have less ambiguity about them and the situations are much more straightforward. But it's still edgy television, very well produced and quite adequately acted, bringing us unflinchingly into this subculture with style and humour. Be warned: For a TV series this is very strong stuff--it would be hard-pressed to get an R rating if it was cinematically released in the States.
strong adult themes and situations, language, drugs, nudity 9.Apr.01

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"I always assume that everything British is better than everything American. So I was pleasantly surprised that I prefer the US version to the UK version for once. The US characters seem more fleshed out (excuse the pun), the production values are great, it's punchier and more colorful and deals with so many issues (albeit hastily) like AIDS, harassment, parental problems, relationships, etc. My friends and I are hooked. Brian seems more complex than Nathan. His relationship with Justin has real heat. Justin is a great character too--the most mature of the lot. Most of my friends don't like Dr Dave and don't think he's convincing. The scenes between Michael and him are almost embarrassing. I'm up to episode 20 and reality is giving the series a sad tone, but won't give away the plot. I'm not gay and curiously enough the show is most popular with my straight women friends. For some reason, there seems to be a backlash among gay men feeling the show isn't 'politically correct.' To me it has a lot more substance than Sex in the City which has won numerous awards. Hope this receives the recognition it deserves but I bet it won't." --Bess, Manhattan 18.Jun.01
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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