From HBO, creator Michael Lannan comes the comedy series Looking, starring Jonathan Groff (Glee, Frozen), Frankie J. Alvarez (Life Now, Life Then), Murray Bartlett (Guiding Light, August), Russell Tovey (Being Human, Quantico) and Raul Castill (Special Correspondents, Cold Weather). It hits November 15, 2016 for Blu-ray and DVD.
Looking revolves around three 30-something friends living in San Francisco, who explore the exciting, sometimes overwhelming, options available to a new generation of gay men. Friendship may bind them, but each is at a markedly different point in his journey: Patrick (Groff) is a 29-year-old video game designer returning to the dating world in the wake of his ex’s engagement; aspiring artist Agustín (Alvarez), 31, questions the idea of monogamy amid a move to domesticate with his boyfriend; and the group’s oldest member, longtime waiter Dom (Murray Bartlett), 39, is facing middle age with dreams still unfulfilled. The trio’s stories intertwine dramatically as they search for happiness and intimacy in an unparalleled era for gay men.
The movie picks up when Patrick, who has been living in Denver for nearly a year, returns to San Francisco for the first time to celebrate the wedding of old friends. In the process, he must face the unresolved relationships he left behind and make difficult choices about what’s truly important to him as he finds himself still drawn to former flame Richie (Raúl Castillo), while being vexed by memories of his crash-and-burn relationship with his former boss Kevin (Russell Tovey).
I loved this series. A lot. Growing up as a gay kid in the 80s and 90s, there wasn’t a lot of gay content and whatever we could find, however small, was good. There were some gay TV shows and movies from time to time – good ones (Jeffrey, Will & Grace), weird but good (Zero Patience, Rocky Horror Picture Show) and some definitely TERRIBLE gay shows (-redacted-) and I have appreciated all of them. I can say without reservation that Looking is my new favorite.
Of course, entertainment has gotten better. There’s a lot more gay content but uncommon enough that I developed the skill of ‘translating’ media so it feels like it applies to me. Like ignoring the fact that Dutch from Killjoys is a woman, or ignoring the fact that Sam Winchester is Dean’s brother. But no matter how practised I get at translating, certain things can take me out of the moment, like when the characters do something that no gay character would ever do, or get stumped by some obstacle that wouldn’t even slow a gay man down. It takes me out of the moment and sometimes the underlying message is lost.
Looking didn’t need translation for me, which is actually a first. I could relate to more than one of the characters directly, increasingly as the series went on. It really is the first time I could say ‘I’ve been exactly where that character is, exactly.’ I wasn’t really prepared for that and it was intense. Even though it was fiction, Looking felt genuine. There was a wide diversity of characters and I cared about all them throughout and I definitely had a crush on every boy. Just to name a few: I’ve longed for Scott Bakula since the Quantum Leap days, Raul Castillo was worth the price of the DVD alone and don’t even get me started on Russell Tovey.
- “Farewell to Looking” – new video piece
- “Looking: The Movie Cast Featurette”
And there’s the special features – this Blu-Ray set comes with 16 Audio Commentaries with the cast and crew. Also I was able to download a digital copy of the episodes and movies into iTunes which was hella convenient. I highly recommend this Blu-Ray set to anyone, especially anyone who’s even curious about what gay life might be like. It’s still fiction but it’s good fiction and it has something to say about life.