HBO's Looking Is 'Very Different' from Queer as Folk, Promises 'Contemporary' Eye on Gay Lives

looking-season-1-2HBO’s new comedy series Looking (premiering Jan. 19) may be about a trio of gay friends, but it’s no Queer as Folk, the producers maintained at the show’s Television Critics Association winter press tour session.

VIDEO | New Looking Trailer: Jonathan Groff’s Crush Gets ‘Torpedoed,’ Scott Bakula Makes His Move

Although the late Showtime drama and Looking both explore the same subject matter, “That probably is the limit of the similarities,” said exec producer Andrew Haigh.

“It’s different. It’s a different period, obviously,” added Haigh. “It’s different tonally. Stylistically, it’s very different.”

Just as Queer as Folk was representative of its time (Pittsburgh circa the early ’00s), one of the goals of Looking is to explore “the most contemporary way we can portray gay characters,” creator Michael Lannan explained.

VIDEO | HBO’s Gay Dramedy Looking: Watch the First Full Trailer!

Helping to set the HBO series apart is its Northern California setting. “There was an opportunity to do a show in San Francisco that had never been done before,” said Lannan. Because despite the city’s history with gay culture, “I had never seen the San Francisco that I knew on screen,” he continued. “We wanted to find a new way to portray San Francisco” and to show some “rough edges.”

At the heart of the show is the friendships between the characters played by Jonathan Groff (Glee), Frankie J. Alvarez (Smash), Murray Bartlett (Guiding Light) and Raul Castillo, each of whom Haigh and Lannan hope will “resonate” with viewers, regardless of their sexual orientation.

“There’s a lot more to them than just being gay,” said Haigh.

Coming out is “not the big issue in their lives,” added Groff. “They’re dealing with their relationships at work or with their friends or with their significant others.”

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  1. Zach says:

    This is the most excited I have ever been for a new show, and not just because of The Groff.

  2. Olivia says:

    I’ll check it out. I don’t know if this will be a good show, but I welcome it with open arms nonetheless. I also like Groff so I hope it won’t disappoint. Now if only The L Word could have a successor too! It’s baffling that Queer As Folk and The L Word existed in the ’00s and now we have to beg for gay and lesbian visibility that is not based on token characters and/or a triangle with the opposite sex and/or sweeps stunts. And must be thankful when gay characters have a SO. I mean… lol.

  3. sam says:

    I really don’t like Groff so I’ll skip this one.

  4. Tommy says:

    Definitely my most look forward too show of 2014!

  5. Fernanda says:

    Groff looks so much hotter now in this character rather than Jesse from Glee. When Glee will end next year (or maybe sooner according with the low ratings) and if this show gets a renewal card maybe Groff could invite Lea Michele as guest star

  6. Jorge says:

    Where is the reviews of LOOKING?

  7. Isaac says:

    I’m actually interested in seeing this. For years now we’ve seen the ‘coming out’ stories or the ‘realization’ stories which is great for visibility and to show the journey and struggles one goes through, but the struggles don’t end there. Here we have a show where we know the characters are gay and they have identified themselves as gay, and there’s a level of comfortableness in themselves and now its a question of ‘okay, so now that I know that I’m gay where do I fit in society/life?. More grown up issues.
    Sure its more or less the premise of Queer as Folk but its been 8/9 years that QAF aired, and a lot has happened related lgbt issues
    (Can anyone tell me the time period this series is placed in? The trailer has a 1980’s feel to it but they are using modern technology.)

  8. b says:

    I hated Groff on Glee, but I’m hoping to love this anyway. While the very thought of it makes me want to marathon QAF for the 100th time, I’m hoping this show will stand on it’s own legs and I’ll love it just as much.
    On another note, isn’t it sad that we haven’t had a true series about gay men since QAF went off the air? It just makes me feel like our world really is a total afterthought.

  9. Kaylin says:

    I loved QAF and the L word.. sooooo! sign me up!

  10. Zach says:

    I’m not the Zach that posted first. I post frequently, but that was a different guy.

    I really have no interest in this show. When I watch comedy series, I prefer they have humor to them. This looks like another half hour drama. Aldo, the world I live in has men and women, gay and straight, black and white. This has gay white men. Only gay white men. And from the lo

    • Eric says:

      Have you watched the previews? I noticed a few characters who weren’t white. I do believe there is an Asian character and a black character (or mixed. Been awhile since I watched the previews. So can’t remember if he was black or mixed.)

    • KevyB says:

      So the fact that the guy on the left up there is CLEARLY Latino, and TWO Latinos were mentioned in the article and all you see is “gay white men”??? I won’t use the R-word, but I am so thinking the R-word right now!

  11. Zach says:

    I’m not the Zach that posted first. I post frequently, but that was a different guy.

    I really have no interest in this show. When I watch comedy series, I prefer they have humor to them. This looks like another half hour drama. Aldo, the world I live in has men and women, gay and straight, black and white. This has gay white men. Only gay white men. And from the looks of it, affluent ones. Not interested.

    • James says:

      My thoughts exactly. Gay culture continues to be whitewashed for television leaving many left unrepresented. This is hardly contemporary.

      • KevyB says:

        This show has white, black, Asian and MANY Latino actors in it. If anything, it appears whites and Asians are UNDER-represented compared to their true numbers in SF. So, are you mad that there aren’t any Eskimos? Do you know how to tell if you are a racist? If you can’t be bothered to even look at IMDb before posting racist comments.

      • Katrina says:


  12. SL says:

    With the setting being San Francisco, and 1/3 of the general population of SF being Asian, I’m hoping that the teasers and have been wrong so far and that there will be Asian characters.

    • KevyB says:

      I’m with you. I see only one listed on IMDb. While that’s clearly not a complete list at this point – no Scott Bakula! – I’ve got to wonder. There are a lot of Latinos listed, and the Latino population is half that of the Asian population. Not that I’m complaining – me likey Los Latinos – but I think it’s actually against the law to not have a gay Asian friend in the Bay Area. I have one, and a backup in case the first is unable to fulfill his duties! Still, with a show that appears to be casting people of all types found in The City, I’ve got to believe we’ll be seeing more Asians along the way.

  13. Eric says:

    I’m really looking forward to this show. I hope it’s as good as the previews and I hope even more that it does very well. It’s exciting to finally see a different side of the gay community. Coming from a gay man, I hate the way TV shows portray us. They make us come off as overly flamboyant, bitchy fools. This show actually looks like it has a wide range of gay characters. Not only that, but a lot of people have this idea that gay men are extremely promiscuous and only want sex. For some that is true, but for a lot of others it’s not. A lot of us actually want real relationships and something meaningful in our lives. Overall, it’s just nice to see something completely different and something that doesn’t stereotype us gay men. I’m excited for this!

  14. Mikael says:

    I was a big fan of QAF, but I didn’t like the way they painted all gay men as raging sluts. I hope this show actually portrays something other than a stereotype.

    • KevyB says:

      Raging sluts or whiny losers! I didn’t bother much with QAF because it wasn’t representative of anything. Surprisingly, gays over 30 are actually able to find someone to date and don’t just give up on life because they don’t look like models! I liked the secondary characters much more than the two leads, but unfortunately the writers liked the two leads A LOT.

  15. John Brown says:

    Why no Black or Asian principals? Looks like QAF all over again. No excuse.not to have either since SF and East Bay provide plenty of both. Another racial instigator (just because Latino ethnics are represented does not account for the glaring absence of the other two races) in the chasms in the gay community. Were it not for pro sports and entertainment, I’d almost believe there ARE no AA gays in this country.

  16. Katrina says:

    Man I do have to say this article is completely right that it is NOTHING like QAF. Queer as folk was groundbreaking and exciting, had hot as opposed to awkward sex scenes and had leading men that we really wanted to care about even if we also wished we didn’t care about them at the same time. I miss a leading man or woman(anywhere on tv) who had confidence and charisma without being sorry about it. Now at the same time i say this, I want to Sai that it has nothing to do with the producers, writers or actors. They are accurately portraying our experience in 2015 which I honestly find very difficult and at most times boring, just as I find the show. Again I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the actual show, but very possibly the generation we live in. I kind of see the television show girls in the same light. That its brilliant and accurate and truthful, but I just wish that I wasn’t living that truth! I swear to god when I started having sex with people who were that awkward I just stopped having sex and will not start again until it’s fun again. And trust me I’m good without it lol!!! Lol. I think the writing in the shows pretty great, but I’ll probably just end up re-watching queer as folk for the 30th time. And of course not everything about living in this generation is awful, but frankly good 80% of the human interaction is lol