Gay Storylines and Television, part 2, by Rich Paschall
We know that you “Young Royals” and “Special” people have been eagerly awaiting the rest of our Top Ten. We do not want you to feel like you are up “Schitt’s Creek” without a television set. Our readers are “Elite” and we want you “Feel Good” and find the remaining five with “Glee.” These are more than a few “Trinkets,” but my actual favorites. We know when we only gave you favorites 6 through 10 last week some of you may have said “I Am Not Okay With This.” We had to give you time to binge-watch a few before moving on.
You may be enjoying reruns of The Golden Girls where you are, but consider these golden entries before the month is out:
5. Not Me (2021-2022). GMMTV YouTube channel. This action/mystery series will keep you guessing. Who beat-up student and gang member “Black” so severely he is in a coma? Will the twin brother he has not seen for 15 years be able to take Black’s place in order to track down the attacker? Which gang member or members could possibly end up in a gay relationship? Is there a traitor in the gang? The leads turn in outstanding performances. You can read my review of the 14-episode series HERE.
4. Tales of the City (1993), More Tales of the City (1998), Further Tales of the City (2001) DVD. These three series were based on the first three books of Armistead Maupin’s novel series involving “tales” in San Francisco. The first “Tales” miniseries was 6 episodes and it was a joint venture of Britain’s Channel 4 and PBS. Despite giving PBS its largest audience for a dramatic series up to that point, they backed off the next series under the threat of losing their federal funding for showing “homosexual themes.” Channel 4 teamed up with Showtime to produce the next mini-series and Showtime took on the third series by itself. The Tales involve the goings-on at 28 Barbary Lane, the eccentric pot-growing landlady Mrs. Madrigal and the various tenants of the building. Olympia Dukakis plays Anna Madrigal in all series and several other actors reprised their roles throughout. Maupin makes a cameo appearance in each of the series.
In 2019 Netflix did a reboot of Tales of the City with 10 episodes. Olympia Dukakis once again played Mrs. Madrigal. Maupin and Laura Linney, who appeared in all four of the series, were the Executive Producers. Actress Barbara Garrick also appeared in all four series.
3. Will and Grace (1998-2006, 2017-2020) NBC. The long-running sitcom featured gay Will Truman and his best friend Grace Adler, along with Will’s friend and neighbor Jack (also gay) and socialite Karen Walker. The 11 seasons and 246 episodes can be found in syndication and on certain streaming platforms. Unlike some of the other shows in our top 10, this one was played strictly for laughs and infrequently tackled social stereotypes. It is also available on DVD (of course).
2. Queer as Folk (2000-2005) Showtime. Based on the British series of the same name (1999-2000), the American version greatly expanded the stories. While the British show was two seasons and just 10 episodes, Showtime presented 5 seasons and 83 episodes. The American version was set in Pittsburgh (filmed in Toronto) and involved 5 gay friends, one of their mothers (Sharon Gless), and a lesbian couple. The expanded series on a cable network was able to push the boundaries a lot further than we had ever seen. This was the reason I held on to my Showtime subscription for years beyond my original plan. This year Peacock has rebooted the series with a much heavier beginning than either the British or original American versions.
1. Bad Buddy. (2021). GMMTV YouTube channel. The popular Thai mini-series picked up a long list of awards for the story of guys who go “From two people who shouldn’t be friends to two people who can’t be ‘Just Friends.'” Coming from rival neighboring families, the boys meet up in college as enemies. At his sister’s insistence, Pat forms an uneasy alliance with Pran in an effort to keep their warring school groups apart. When Pat decides he would like to become friends with the neighbor he is supposed to hate, life becomes more complicated than it already was.
Pat and Pran are played by real-life best friends Ohm Pawat and Nanon Korapat. This likely adds to the fierce onscreen chemistry demonstrated throughout the 12-episode series. The Episode 11 cliff-hanger will keep you guessing right through the first half of Episode 12. I will avoid any spoilers, but if you really need to know, you can read my review here.
Because of syndication, and various streaming platforms as well as dubbing into other languages, and subtitles, the series has picked up fans from around the world. The last day of shooting includes a couple of the most emotional scenes:
Click on any of the titles above for the trailer for the series. When you get to the trailers or highlights of foreign-language entries, be sure to click on CC (closed captions) to get the translations.
See also: “LGBT AND THE SMALL SCREEN,” Gay Storylines and Television, part 1, SERENDIPITY, June 19, 2022.