The Queer as Folk reboot has been in the works for a while, but we finally have a trailer. The show looks like it’s going to be pretty damn good, albeit different than the two versions that came before it.
Yes, there are actually two versions of Queer as Folk already. The one that immediately comes to mind for most American audiences, which came out 2000, stars Hal Sparks, Gale Harold, and Randy Harrison and takes place in Pittsburgh. That, however, was actually the second iteration of the series. The first one came out a year prior in the UK and starred Aiden Gilliam and Charlie Hunnam, and only lasted for one season.
This third go around with the story looks like it’s going to take us somewhere new and relevant to where we are today. It’s been twenty years since we last explored the story, so an upgrade is greatly appreciated.
One of the most notable upgrades is the inclusion of queer people of color throughout the cast. Both the 1999 and 2000 versions were incredibly white. This reboot benefits from being located in New Orleans, while the previous iterations took place in Pittsburgh and Manchester. While the two previous versions definitely could have (and should have) included more diversity, the setting this time around makes it a lot easier to do so. New Orleans is almost 60% Black or African American, whereas Pittsburgh is around 23% and Manchester is at about 8.6% Black.
It also seems like disability will be depicted and represented in the story. They’ve cast Nyle DiMarco in the film, who is a deaf activist and is openly sexually fluid. If he’s involved, I suspect the representation should be good. He wouldn’t let it fly otherwise. Ryan O’Connell, another disability activist, is also on the show. He has cerebral palsy, so I would guess that will be included as well. The trailer shows sign language and a man in a wheelchair, so those will be touched on at the very least.
Trigger Warning: Violence against the LGBTQ+ community, depiction of a mass shooting
The Queer as Folk reboot also looks like it’s drawing on modern events to craft the story. You can’t miss the parallels to the Pulse Nightclub shooting. In the trailer we see a gunman enter the iconic Babylon club and begin firing. We also see the aftermath of the events, including candlelight vigils and speeches. It’ll be from the perspective of those directly involved, which isn’t something I’ve really seen tackled in any significant way in media. We’ve participated where we can, though. This perspective should be fairly significant and I hope they handle it gracefully.
This type of triggering drama is on par for the Queer as Folk story, but modernized this time around to fit our current world. The 2000 American version of the story featured Babylon being bombed in its final season. It also showed several other hate crimes against the queer community throughout its run. Notably, one of the main characters is brutally bashed at the end of the first season. He spends a good portion of the following season recovering from it and displays some severe PTSD.
Covering these topics isn’t for everyone. Sometimes you need a break from the real world issues that haunt our community. That’s valid. I get you. Sometimes some of us do want this type of content on occasion, though. For us it’ll be nice to see it done well. Based on what we see in this trailer so far, I have high hopes. If you want to avoid triggering topics like this and want to enjoy happier queer stories, might I recommend Our Flag Means Death? This show is what it is, though. So brace yourself accordingly.
It definitely looks like key aspects of the original Queer as Folk story are intact.
We have the lesbian couple with their newborn baby (or, in this case, maybe twins?). We also have a close knit group of queer friends just trying to navigate this complicated world. There’s the club scene and friendship and those damn day jobs that we need in order to actually enjoy ourselves. Queer as Folk was, at its core, just a group of queer friends trying to navigate life, love, tragedy, and joy in a very complicated world.
Also worth noting, we have the enthusiastic mother of a queer man, who was a pivotal character in the 2000 version. She maybe is a bit too enthusiastic at times, but is still an important part of these characters lives. This time that mother seems to be played by Juliette Lewis, which is just an awesome casting choice. Juliette Lewis has always been adjacent to the queer community in many ways, most notably in the recent Yellowjackets series, which was a Sapphic, girl-power, survivalist, thriller, horror story (it blends a lot of genres, okay?). Now she’s actually in an explicitly queer story and I’m super excited.
The iconic romance between Brian and Justin looks like it’ll have its own version here, too, albeit upgraded like many other aspects of the show. Some viewers will be pleased to know that it looks like the Justin equivalent (possibly named Mingus) is legally allowed to be in the club this time around. He’s actually up on stage performing, so his age must have been verified. The original Justin used a fake ID to get into the club and was only a high school student.
If the age issue was holding you back from watching that version of Queer as Folk, you might be in luck! We will get the romance without the age-of-consent issue. Yay!
If you’re intrigued about the 2000’s version of Queer as Folk, it’s worth a watch.
If you do watch the first reboot of Queer as Folk, brace yourself for the above issues. It’s very white. It doesn’t represent much beyond cis, white, gay men (and one lesbian couple). One of the characters starts a romance with a 29 year old when he’s just 17. Also, Hal Sparks is kind of a jerk. There are definitely problems with it.
Despite all of this, I still watch it every couple of years. It was a crucial part of discovering my own queerness in my 20’s, so I wouldn’t exactly throw the whole show out for these problems. I’d just send you in prepared to be uncomfortable with these elements at times.
If you’re curious, here’s a trailer for that one as well.
Trigger Warning: F-slur
The Queer as Folk reboot will be premiering on Peacock on June 9th.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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