Queer as Folk

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Berggren, Nov 30, 2000.

  1. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    Queer as Folk begins on Showtime on December 3rd at 10PM.
    The official site is here :
    Queer as Folk
    This should be a great series, not to mention thoroughly provocative. Already MPAA has requested cuts : http://us.imdb.com/StudioBrief/2000/20001130.html#6
    CNN has just posted a story on the show:
    CNN article on Queer as Folk
    I personally can't wait. I'll have two VCR's queued that night (one for QAF and the other for DUNE).
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  2. Gerard Priori

    Gerard Priori Stunt Coordinator

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    I hope you enjoy the new version of QAF. Personally, I HATED it and have little (if anything) positive to say about it. Showtime's handling of the show is quite puzzling. They advertise the hell out of it by tooting their own horn about how brave and daring they are and then they make sure the damn thing is censored before it even airs. Add to that all the interviews with the key actors who never fail to mention that they're straight and how uncomfortable they are with the gay sex scenes (none of which even approach anything hard core) during filming and the whole thing leaves me scratching my head. Who are they marketing this show towards? Everything I've read leads me to believe that all this pre-air hype is geared to reassuring audiences that it's quite fine if they think that gay sex is gross, after all, the actors performing the scenes think so too--and all of the really "icky" stuff mercifully ended up on the cutting room floor thanks to our saviors, the MPAA.
    Maybe someday there will be an uncompromised and honest portrayal of gay lives on TV, but QUEER AS FOLK U.S. isn't it. I'll stick with the far superior U.K. original.
    -Jerry
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  3. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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  4. Gerard Priori

    Gerard Priori Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know if the series will end up being tamer than the UK series. I presume that the screeners that were sent were uncensored and my impression was that the sex content was about the same--I will say that the US version has more butt shots (I guess they think butt shots are daring and naughty, I don't know) and the few glimpses of full-frontal nudity in the UK version are absent in the domestic version.
    But even if Showtime's QAF were even more graphic than the original, it would still be a bad show--I know I keep harping on this point, but it really cannot be stressed strongly enough how poor the quality of this show is. I fear that the mainstream media reviews will let this show off easy for fear of being labeled "homophobic." I also fear that the big-wigs of gay publishing, like THE ADVOCATE, have too much commercial interest in the show to treat it objectively. I am perhaps jumping the gun a bit because I've only read one review (in a Pittsburgh gay newspaper) and it was resoundingly negative.
    The most perceptive thing I have read about the remake is in that newspaper review. I quote:
     
  5. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    It starts tonight, so I thought I'd bump this up just to see if anyone else wanted to give they're opinions on QAF.
    I haven't seen the british version yet, so hopefully I won't get jaded by any comparisons between the two. I'm watching it on Showtime W at 10pm Mountain time, so I can catch Dune on Sci-Fi as well. [​IMG]
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  6. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Well, I have mixed feelings. The British original is so good, especially the first series. The American version seems... padded.
    I can't help but compare the characters between the British and American versions. Stuart was so much more menacing than Brian. Vince seemed to be a lot more sympathetic than Michael. And Justin...well, I'm sorry, but Justin was a total cop-out, since he was seventeen and Nathan was fifteen. It just does not work when Mr. Goodfuck sends Brian out to look after Justin, because Justin is too young to look after himself...I mean come on, Justin's got a car! It's not like he's going to be walking the streets alone at night (as Nathan would have in the original show).
    Okay, I guess that the original series has biased me against the American remake. To the show's credit, I like Sharon Gless, I think that the supporting characters show promise, and the sex scenes were okay (breast feeding...what a concept). But it is going to take a lot more to get me to make this a regular part of my television viewing.
    I'm just glad that I have PAL playback capability so I can watch the original, unaltered series.
    - Steve
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    Steve Tannehill
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    http://www.dvdresource.com
     
  7. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    if ANYONE think the UK series wasn't about sex and JUST sex, then they're fooling themselves.
    i watched the US debut tonight and enjoyed it.
    i'd hardly call it tamer than the UK series. in fact i do believe that justin and brian's initial night together was more highly charged and sexual than the original.
    but make no mistake, BOTH shows are centered around the sexual exploits of it's characters.
     
  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Haven't seen the US version yet, but will in a week or so. The original, at least to me, wasn't really about sex, but about the characters. Yeah, when there was sex, they went all out. Frankly, I've never connected better than with these characters, ever. I am completely the antithesis of their lifestyle(promiscuous sex, extreme clubbing), but in my heart, I felt kindred. Living where I do, I have to be very careful about what I do and say, and it gives me something I can "cuddle up with"
    Jeff Kleist
     
  9. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    Well;
    I liked it (a collective gasp is heard throughout the room [​IMG]). I thought that this was a nice set-up for a series that has potential to go much deeper with the stories. It also is left open ended enough so that new stories can be introduced. Keep in mind that there are 21 more episodes before they're finished...and that's if Showtime doesn't pick it up for a second season.
    This is coming from someone who hasn't seen the Brit version, and thus can't make the inevitable comparisons between the two. I'm curious as to why there is such a vehement dislike for this version. Is it that the Brit version was so fantastic that nothing can else can live up to it? Or, was everyone expecting the American version to have the same character motivations, plotlines, and basically be a shot for shot re-make? It seems that some o the story arcs are similar from Steve's and Jerry's comments, so maybe they should have pulled themselves further away from the original, thus avoiding too many comparisons.
    I'm not sure I want to see the Brit version right now. I'm too psyched to see these guys again in the American show. I dont want to end up being let down just yet. [​IMG]
    I'm curious. Am I the only one on this board who hasn't seen the original? I'd like to know if there is anyone who hasn't seen the Brit version, and what they thought of this one. Just so I can validate my own bad taste. [​IMG]
     
  10. Thom B

    Thom B Stunt Coordinator

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  11. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    my feeling is if a person loves the UK show and hates the US version, it's because all of the "firsts" were experienced already with the UK series. watching Showtime's version may seem like a "been there, done that" kinda thing. kind of like if we saw a remake of "jaws"....wouldn't feel quite the same now would it? doesn't mean the remake is worse though.
    i think there IS a point to having the US series be a tad more serious, afterall this is "puritan america" we're talking about here. dunno abut you guys but i'm a bit sick of the "will & grace" - "birdcage" type gay stuff. what's going on in the series *should* be taken seriously BUT keep in mind there is plenty of humor..."no if's, and's or......" hehe.
    i just read that the producers have said that, if the show does well, they'd like it to go on for a few *years*, which would give FAR more depth to the characters than the UK series ever could.
     
  12. Gerard Priori

    Gerard Priori Stunt Coordinator

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    If they want to give the show any depth of character, they're going to have to hire new writers and actors.
    The US version presents us with the same character "types" as the UK version, but these characters are much more believable and fleshed out in the UK version.
    In the US version, we are told and shown in flashback that Brian and Michael have been best friends since adolescence. Their UK counterparts, Stuart and Vincent, don't have the benefit of a flashback to show their friendship and they don't need one--I never doubted for a moment that these two have been lifelong friends. The performances in the UK version are much more grounded in reality. The US version is too glossy; too self-conscious (the avoidance of showing an accidental frontal nude shot makes the performances and the camerawork in these sequences seem very stagy--not natural and organic in the least).
    Showtime took an interesting character-driven drama and turned it into a cheesy melodrama. I don't care what happens to these characters because none of them are real.
    My distaste for the US version goes beyond the "seen it" syndrome. Very soon the storyline will start to diverge from the source material, but we're still left with the same corny dialogue and easy characterizations.
    I do hope that we start to see more complex characters, but if the first six episodes are any indication it isn't going to happen any time soon.
    -Jerry
     
  13. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Jerry, while I won't go as far as your total disdain for the American version, I agree with you that the British version achieved more with less...I was specifically thinking about the flashback scene, too. We did not need to see it, but (IMO) the need to pad the story led to its inclusion, as well as the jokey (jerky?) end with Mama Gless walking in.
    Yes, Michael, maybe the American version would seem more groundbreaking if I had not already seen the British version...definitely from a content perspective, the sex scenes were something new to American TV, although oddly they did not...er...do anything for me. And the show is definitely avoiding the mainstream stereotypes. (An aside...I never watched "Will and Grace" until once this season, because I had no idea it was gay-themed. Maybe if they had named the show "Will and Jack" I would have noticed. At least "Queer as Folk" is in your face...among other things!)
    - Steve
     
  14. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Well, I have to say I love the US version
    of Queer As Folk.
    And I own the British version, both in the original
    European DVD, and the DVD released through C1TV.
    I agree that the US version is less subtle.
    I also think that the characters have been
    made less edgy:
    The character of Brian is much less caustic than Stewart.
    Even when Brian rants about not believing in love,
    (to Justin, just after Mr GoodF@*k arrives),
    one gets the distinct feeling that he has been
    jolted by someone, or disillusioned by his parents.
    Stewart was just an asshole because he could be.
    Maybe it is his age, but Justin is much more
    interesting to me than Nathan was. While Nathan
    was great for adding high drama of the 14 year old
    variety, he got a bit tiring, and ultimately I felt
    Nathan was a tragic example of what happens when gay
    men treat eachother like shit. (Nathan became
    the next incarnation of Stewart, knowing full well
    that being like Stewart means hurting people.)
    Micheal seems a tad less pathetic than Vince.
    Also, the "fey" friend, Emmett, who was really fairly
    emotionally repulsive in the Brit version, seems
    to be the one gay guy with his act together in
    the US version.
    It seems that what the US version lacks in
    being "edgy" or "groudbreaking," it makes up
    for by being more warm and fuzzy.
    Frankly, I am glad for the changes. Since I already
    own the Brit version, the last thing I wanted was
    a carbon copy sans Brit accents.
    Let the US version be warmer.
    Let the US version be less cutting edge.
    Let the US version be sweeter.
    Let the US version go places the Brit version
    didn't go.
    If the US version get the "Philadelphia treatment,"
    then I am fine with that.
    What excites me most about this show is where
    it might head. Namely, the writers/directors want
    to deal with the fact that the guys are getting a
    little "ripe" (if still too immature) for the bar scene.
    This is where I feel Russell T Davies bailed
    (and failed) on the Brit version.
    He was about to deal with Vince and
    Stewart coming to the revelation that you cannot spend
    your whole life at those freakin' bars...
    That you cannot continue to compartmentalize
    your life in to gay/straight worlds.
    Just when it was getting good, Davies made it take off
    in a surreal tribute to Thelma and Louise.
    (It makes me wonder how Davies himself views aging
    gay men, that the only out for the show's aging
    protagonists was one of pure fantasy.)
    As for the scene with Micheal reliving the first
    near-sex he had with Brian, well, sure, it wasn't
    the best scene in the show, but it clearly illustrated
    for, what can be a more clueless American audience,
    that Micheal does indeed have romantic longings for
    Brian. Sure, the US version is probably going to
    "Spell it out for us" and that is a shame, but
    compared to much of the gay-themed entertainment
    we are offered these days, the US version of
    Queer As Folk seems pretty dang wonderful.
    Frankly, the US show may be less cutting edge, but
    is also had more heart. The Brits are prone
    to being emotionally restrained anyway. (So sayeth E.M. Forester.)
    Also Brit shows that are dramas are usually much
    grittier anyway. (At least that is what the
    producers of This Life said when
    interviewed on BBC America.)
    Now I am still thrilled to own the Brit version,
    but I may very well end up perferring the US version.
    And that is rare for a guy who has an admitted weakness
    for those Brits in the first place.
    SHOWTIME has earned my longterm subscribtion also.
    And for those of you who didn't know,
    Rupert Everett is starring as a gay student in
    Another Country which is airing
    on Showtime this month. (It is a film from the
    early 80s.)
    Mark
     
  15. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I really enjoyed the first two episodes of Queer as Folk. I really do beleive that Showtime is reaching out to the gay audience. Between Queer as Folk and the continuing Tales of the City programs, they have secured my subscribership.
    Although I don't directly relate to club-hopping disco guys, or partner du jour oriented guys, I have seen each of these guys in my travels. And Momma Gless - who I love. I look forward to seeing the rest of the series, and would even be very happy if they did multiple seasons. There is no reason for this to be a carbon copy of the British series.
    Which makes me want to see the British version even more...
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  16. Alan Light

    Alan Light Stunt Coordinator

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    Believe me, nobody worships the brilliant original UK version of Queer As Folk more than I do, but I'm greatly enjoying Showtime's re-make in its own right.
    (Spoiler warning for below)
    I didn't feel I was really getting into it until the end of the 3rd episode, which will be on next Sunday, Dec. 10 (thanks to the kindness of a journalist friend, I got an advance screening tape). The final 5 minutes of next week's show is dramatic and exhilarating, as it intercuts scenes between two places: The dance floor, where Justin strips off his shirt and boldy heads down to challenge Brian (something Nathan, in the original, would not do at this stage) and Ted's apartment, where a date goes terribly wrong. This is similar to what happened to Phil in the original, only the Showtime version will present Ted with a different fate than Phil.
    When I first watched the series I found myself occasionally cringing at some of the line changes and acting. Some of the lines seemed to have been changed for no reason, to similar but inferior phrasing, and the acting in more than a few scenes made me wince. I could go on and on with more quibbles but the bottom line really is, I'm still enjoying it very much.
    I can definitely see how someone who has seen the original UK version could complain about this re-make. For those who have never seen the original I think it will have as much impact on them as the original did on us.
     
  17. Alan Light

    Alan Light Stunt Coordinator

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    >>Is it that the Brit version was so fantastic that nothing can else can live up to it?
     
  18. Alan Light

    Alan Light Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure what it means for the future of the show, this early. I hope Showtime sticks by the show.
    The Washington Post, December 6, 2000
    TV Ratings Winners & Losers (excerpt)
    By Lisa de Moraes
    ...LOSERS
    "Queer as Folk." The ballyhooed remake of the out-there hit Brit series nailed just 1.6 million viewers Sunday from 10 to 11:30 p.m. Showtime, which telecast the remake, is in about 23.5 million homes. HBO's rerun of "The Sopranos" pilot at 8 that night posted 2.8 million viewers. HBO is in about 35 million homes...
     
  19. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    Well, there is apparently some disparity here. This from today's Newshare.com StudioBrief.
     
  20. Gerard Priori

    Gerard Priori Stunt Coordinator

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