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Queer as Folk takes New Orleans: A first look at the upcoming reboot

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Devin Way as Brodie — Photo courtesy of Peacock
Devin Way as Brodie — Photo courtesy of Peacock

Queer as Folk first appeared as a British television series about Gay friends in Manchester in 1999. Then, Showtime picked up the title for an early 2000s rendition set in Pittsburgh. Since its final season in 2005, the series has been retired — that is, until now.

Arriving exclusively to Peacock on June 9, the newest iteration of Queer as Folk was announced last week through a teaser video and sneak-peek photos.

While the teaser is a whopping 18 seconds of neon signage and doesn't feature any footage from the set, it confirms one important recurrence: the show will once again revolve around a club called Babylon, where characters mix and mingle on the vibrant nightlife scene.

Jesse James Keitel as Ruthie and CG as Shar — Photo courtesy of Peacock  

One look at the character descriptions tell you that this reimagined QaF will introduce newer concepts to Babylon, like pronouns, and the show's creators have cast according to the actors' identities (Nonbinary people will play Nonbinary characters, etc.). The characters will also be notably more diverse regarding ability, race, and class than their predecessors.

Ryan O'Connor as Julian — Photo courtesy of Peacock  

The show will take place in New Orleans, "following a tragedy." We don't want to guess from our grim list which contemporary American issue this plotline could portray, but it will surely be relatable.

"I wanted to create a new, groundbreaking version of this show for this moment," said creator, executive producer, writer, and director Stephen Dunn. "Our new Queer as Folk is set in New Orleans — one of the most unique Queer communities in North America — and I am immensely proud that the new series is [composed] of an electric ensemble of fresh characters that mirror the modern global audience."

Fin Argus as Mingus — Photo courtesy of Peacock  

Dunn, who had a "unique relationship" with the show as a Queer kid in the '90s, wanted to make sure that all types of Queers felt seen and celebrated, in the same way that the original QaF offered to the creator two decades ago.

"Growing up, I was desperate for any sort of connection with people like me. It was the first time I really felt seen. The show offered a new paradigm — one where we could accept and celebrate Queer love, families, and communities on a global stage," Dunn said.

Russell T. Davies, the creator of the original British QaF, entrusted Dunn with the task of reawakening this shared mission.

"I'm very proud of what we achieved in 1999, but in Queer years, that was a millennium ago! As a community, we've radicalized, explored, opened up, and found new worlds" said Davies. "Stephen pitched a brand-new version of Queer as Folk, with so much imagination, insight, and crucially, joy that I simply couldn't resist. I thought it was about time the title belonged to a whole new generation. The 2022 show is more diverse, more wild, more free, more angry — everything a Queer show should be."

Executive producer and writer Jaclyn Moore had felt a familiar frustration with how LGBTQ+ people and Queer culture are often represented in media.

"All too often I feel as though Queer and Trans representation in art is limited to extremes," she said. "We are either shown as saintly heroes bravely surviving a bigoted society or two-dimensional, Queer-coded villains that feel airdropped in from some previous era."

Johnny Sibilly as Noah — Photo courtesy of Peacock  

In this rendition, the creators "aimed to depict Queer characters who live in the messy middle," added Moore. "People who are complicated. Who are funny and caring and flawed and sometimes selfish, but still worthy of love. Still worthy of narrative. As a Trans woman, I'm excited to take steps to move past telling stories that seem to just be arguing for our basic humanity. My hope is that Queer as Folk is one such step."

Some now-familiar stars will lead this well-developed cast, including Devin Way (Grey's Anatomy, Station 19), Big Sky's Jesse James Keitel, Fin Argus (Clouds, The Gifted), CG from Acts of Crime, and Johnny Sibilly of Hacks and Pose.

Way's character, Brodie, is billed as a charming yet chaotic commitment-phobe. CG plays a Nonbinary professor named Shar who must transition from punk to parenthood, and Sibilly plays Noah, a successful lawyer?who is not?as put together as he seems.

Dunn's QaF will also feature appearances from guest stars, including Kim Cattrall, Juliette Lewis, Ed Begley Jr., Armand Fields, Chris Renfro, Eric Graise, Sachin Bhat, Benito Skinner, Nyle DiMarco, Lukas Gage, Megan Stalter, Olli Haaskivi, and Calvin Seabrooks.

Premiering amid nationwide political turmoil and reactionary legislative moves, the show aims to offer a fair and accurate representation of the lives of the LGBTQ+ community today, and solace in a time of frequent isolation.

"If there's one person who is able to see Queer as Folk and feel less alone, or who now feels more supported and seen, our job is done, said Dunn. "In the true spirit of the original, our show doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of our community. But above all else, the series is about people who live vibrant, vital, unapologetically Queer lives."

Queer as Folk premieres exclusively on Peacock June 9. Find out more and watch it at https://www.peacocktv.com/.