Bravo announces that it will be giving Queer as Folk the reboot treatment. The network has historically focused on lifestyle and reality programming, but has been boosting its slate of scripted dramas over past few years, with shows like Girlfriends Guide to Divorce, Imposters, and Dirty John. Creator of the original Queer as Folk series and former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies is attached to executive produce.
Davies' series aired for 10 episodes from 1999-2000 on Channel 4 in the UK. The Manchester-set story followed the lives of three gay men, played by Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), and Craig Kelly (Coronation Street). The same year it was cancelled, Showtime developed a Canadian-shot version of the show set in Pittsburgh. Over its five season run, the show covered a broad range of queer-facing topics, such as coming out, HIV prevention and stigma, and substance abuse. Along with its Showtime counterpart of the era The L Word (which is also in talks to come back), it's widely regarded as one of the best known TV dramas revolving around queer people and communities. Now more than a decade later, it looks like new stories are on the way.
Variety reports that the revival is currently under development, and is being described as "a modern take on the original British series that centers on a group of club-going friends who find support in the gay community following a tragedy." Nothing has been confirmed about where the new version will be set.
Confirmed writers and producers include original series executive producer Nicola Shindler of Red Productions, Stephen Dunn (Closet Monster), and Lee Eisenberg and Emily Brecht of Quantity Entertainment. Digital Rights Group (DRG) will produce and distribute the format, and Universal Cable Productions will house the production.
At this point, it's uncertain how much the reboot will draw from each of its two predecessors. Davies and Shindler's involvement suggests that the premise may be closer to the UK version, which involved a smaller cast and therefore fewer storylines. However, the referenced tragedy, which may parallel the 2016 Orlando massacre that killed almost 50 people in a gay nightclub, runs closer to darker plot lines seen in the North American version - including a gay club bombing, sexual abuse, and anti-gay politicians.
Queer as Folk has been praised for paving the way for modern-day queer-centric representation on screen with shows like Queer Eye and RuPaul's Drag Race. On the other hand, the North American version in particular has been criticized for limiting its exploration of queer-facing issues to the main cast, which for the most part excluded people of color and trans folks. But with more big-name scripted dramas paying more attention to better inclusivity, it's hopeful that Queer as Folk 3.0 can be counted on to keep up. As The L Word's creator Ilene Chaiken said of her show's reboot, there's still work to be done when it comes to queer representation.