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Queer as Folk - The Complete First Season
Queer as Folk - The Complete First Season
Actors: Gale Harold, Hal Sparks, Randy Harrison, Dean Armstrong, Jefferson Brown
Directors: Alex Chapple, Bruce McDonald, David Wellington, Jeremy Podeswa, John Fawcett
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television, Gay & Lesbian
2002     20hr 5min

Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 08/23/2005 Run time: 1320 minutes

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Movie Details

Actors: Gale Harold, Hal Sparks, Randy Harrison, Dean Armstrong, Jefferson Brown
Directors: Alex Chapple, Bruce McDonald, David Wellington, Jeremy Podeswa, John Fawcett
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television, Gay & Lesbian
Sub-Genres: Gay & Lesbian, Drama, Drama, Gay & Lesbian, Gay & Lesbian
Studio: Showtime Networks
Format: DVD - Color,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 01/08/2002
Original Release Date: 12/03/2000
Theatrical Release Date: 12/03/2000
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 20hr 5min
Screens: Color,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 6
SwapaDVD Credits: 6
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Box set,Collector's Edition
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Patrick R. (patrick) from SANTA FE, NM
Reviewed on 3/30/2010...
Very good series that happens to be well written for the most part. Recommend to broadminded viewers who happen to be gay or gay friendly.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Outstanding Cutting Edge Series on a Great DVD Collection
turtlex | PA USA | 01/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Queer As Folk - The Complete First Season - Collector's Edition DVD Boxed Set.
A Showtime Original Series.This is an excellent original series featured on an outstanding DVD collection. I'll give you my condensed version: I enjoyed it a great deal. The acting is good, the stories are engaging and the characters seem real. I'm recommending it without reservation.First, the packaging of this set is top of the line. The six-disc collection is a double-sided fold-in design. Each disc is colored with one of the rainbow pride colors-a very nice, and unexpected, touch. Also featured with this box set-a nice little rainbow pride disc place marker-it's a six-colored rainbow ribbon. Before I get into my opinions, let me say that the discs themselves, quality wise, are outstanding. I watched every last minute of the six disc set, including the special episode editions and bonus material and had flawless picture and sound throughout. Yes, I did enjoy the series. I had never seen a single scene of Queer As Folk (QAF) before I got this DVD. That's not to say I hadn't heard about it, because I had. I've read a great deal about it: the sex, the drugs, the language, the lesbian bashing, etc. What I found, upon watching it myself, was that I liked the stories and I liked the characters. It's always difficult to forget what you've read when approaching a television series like this but I did my best to just approach it with my own personal life experiences as a guide. To address the mini-points mentioned above: There's sex and a whole lot of it. Much of it anonymous and much of it graphic. All of it gay/lesbian. Was I offended? No, not at all. As a matter of fact, the shear volume of sex actually makes it less shocking. The sex depicted in the series is not there to titillate (though it probably does); it's there simply as part of a story, part of the lives of these characters. Having watched the discs in long multi-hour blocks, it actually became a little numbing, though not to say uninteresting.There's drugs and a lot of them. They're taken frequently and unapologetically. Again, they're presented as part of the story. Was I offended? Not at all. They're not preachy about what they're presenting and not every character takes illicit drugs. "the language"-Actually this is where I get a little prudish (surprised it's with the language and not the sex?) because the mouths on these folks are trashy. I thought all the foul language was a little over the top. "the lesbian-bashing"-A little explanation here. Quite a bit of press has been dedicated to the idea that the lesbian couple in the series is verbally derided and "bashed" by the gay male characters. I was a little worried about this, being a lesbian myself. I was a little weary of it because after one episode, I was really enjoying the series and didn't want to get offended as things went on. I found though, that I was more than 10 hours into the series when I realized that I hadn't been offended yet, not in the least. There's some name-calling, some use of words I'm not particularly thrilled with, but much of the name calling, was done in jest. I didn't find it offensive or at all "mean spirited" and I was looking for it. The one time a particularly graphic word is used in a negative and angry way, it is used by one of the lesbian characters.The writer's have done a wonderful job with giving these characters expansive and full lives. These episodes deal with issues and problems:age of consent (by ignoring it), drug use (by using them), safe sex (by having it), lesbian moms (by portraying it), conversion groups (by lampooning them), school outings (by portraying them realistically), hate (by living through it), family dedication and confusion (by showing the impact of being yourself), excessive drug use (by showing the consequences). I defy you to name another series which tackles these issues. It does not feel forced; these are issues that these characters deal with. One complaint I've heard is that the "girls" have so little screen time. I'll remind everyone that there is a five man to two woman ratio so it's reasonable that the guys will be on screen more often. I'm just thrilled to have a lesbian couple featured at all. The fact that we get so much from them, with so little screen time, is a great indication of the fine writing and acting that we see here. For those wondering-we do get one sex scene between Melanie and Lindsay-its in episode 9.Quick comment on the season finale- This is the most amazing episode. It is incredibly moving and romantic and terrifying. I don't want to give away too much, but it was well written and well acted. You will be moved. On the believability scale-I'd give this series an "A.The discs-some information on the discs themselves and they way they are set up. Each disc contains 3 or 4 episodes. On each disc are six chapters you can use for scene access. Featured are each episodes "next on" promo-a feature which I liked a lot and which I was surprised to find. Each episode also contains a small summary of what the episode is about. On disc1, disc 3 and disc 5 are "special edition episodes" which repeat a specific episode with commentary by the cast and producers. These are fun to watch and it's always great to hear the actor talk about the character they are portraying. These cannot, though, be watched INSTEAD of the episodes. They are strictly extra viewing. Episode 1, episode 11 and episode 18 are given this special treatment.Disc 6 contains the last three episodes (20-22) and a great collection of bonus features listed in the Amazon page."
A watershed in American TV drama
Libretio | 01/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)


(USA - 2000/2001)

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
TV soundtrack: Stereo

"The thing you need to know is, it's all about sex."

That's the first line of dialogue, spoken in voiceover at the beginning of "Queer as Folk", a sprawling, impressively realized drama about the lives of several working-class gay men living in Pittsburgh at the turn of the 21st century. And, indeed, this 22-episode series - based on the British original which ran for eight episodes in 1999 before spawning a brief sequel the following year - presents a visual celebration of gay sex in all its forms, launching headfirst into NC-17 territory with unapologetic abandon. Some parts are raunchy and liberating, while others are soulless and ugly, yet the script never preaches or condemns, merely observes without judgment.

Using the narrative template established by writer Russell T. Davies in the UK version, many of QAF's initial episodes will be familiar to anyone who's already seen the original - same characters and situations, same dramatic arc - but it eventually finds its own feet, employing a defiantly American approach in terms of mood and execution, whilst remaining true to the spirit of Davies' initial concept. As might be expected, the show touches on a variety of pressing social issues including HIV and AIDS, homophobia and ex-gay ministries, whilst also confronting some ugly home truths, most notably the casual (and not-so-casual) drug use which enhances some people's lives whilst ruining others. This is ambitious, warts-and-all stuff, portrayed with integrity and passion.

Much of the show's success is due principally to the casting of Gale Harold, making a staggeringly assured screen debut as ultra-sexy Brian Kinney, an elemental force of nature whose actions and reactions inform the lives of virtually every other character in the show. A sexual predator by nature, his cold-hearted vanity and selfish bravado may seem a little obnoxious at first, but this incredibly complex character - terrified of growing older and turning into his overbearing father - is eventually exposed as a decent, loving man whose withering cynicism ("There's only two kinds of straight people in this world - the ones that hate you to your face, and the ones that hate you behind your back") masks a soul in crisis. How appropriate that the first season should end on a closeup of his beautiful face, the mask completely (albeit forcibly) removed.

Other stand-outs in an exceptional cast include comedian Hal Sparks as Brian's lovable best friend Michael, the indomitable Sharon ("I love my gay son!") Gless as Sparks' over-the-top mom Debbie, and Michelle Clunie as Melanie, a no-nonsense lawyer whose hostility towards Brian allows plenty of room for dramatic conflict (Clunie and Thea Gill play a loving couple whose lives are central to the proceedings, unlike the British original where the female characters seemed almost surplus to requirements). Scott Lowell (Ted) and Peter Paige (Emmett) complete the core group, which is bolstered by the arrival of 17 year old Justin (played by the astonishingly young-looking 23 year old, Randy Harrison), coming out of the closet with a vengeance while his worried mom (Sherry Miller) hovers on the sidelines, maintaining an anxious vigil. Along with Gale Harold, Harrison is involved in some of the show's most graphic sex scenes, and both actors display a level of bravery and commitment that goes way beyond the call of duty. Hats off to both of them.

Look out for a wealth of memorable scenes and set-pieces, such as the hilarious whirlwind romance between Emmett and his 'soulmate' which crams a lifetime of gay cliches into a two-hour relationship (!); Brian coming out to his father (a powerful cameo by experienced character actor Lawrence Dane); Melanie's reaction to a bigoted nurse during a moment of crisis; Debbie's jaw-dropping description of Brie cheese (!); and Justin becoming, shall we say, REALLY acquainted with handsome young football jock Chris Hobbs (a small but hugely significant role, played by Alec McClure) in the school's athletic room... All gay life is here, as the old saying goes.

To the accompaniment of a thumping musical soundtrack, the season culminates in a deeply moving season finale (directed by Alex Chapple), which contains the show's most outstanding scene of all, a glorious, life-affirming sequence in which most of Justin's hopes and dreams are realized at the school prom, set to the haunting, melancholy strains of Ben E. King's classic, 'Save the Last Dance for Me'. Which, of course, leaves us totally unprepared for the devastation that follows...

Afterwards, during the show's closing moments, the audience is abruptly reminded of the fragile humanity which underpins these extraordinary characters, and how much they've captured our hearts. In the end, as raunchy as it is, the show isn't really about sex at all - it's about PEOPLE, and the way our lives are defined by our relationships with family and loved ones. This episode, more than any other, amounts to a near-perfect combination of music, character development and dramatic action, and is without question the most heartbreaking hour of television this reviewer has ever seen.

Though prompted by its excellent British counterpart, the US version of QAF is arguably one of the most significant events in the history of gay film and television in America because, crucially, it's financed and exhibited from within the mainstream arena. It isn't low-budget and marginalized - it's empowering, intelligent and uproariously funny, and it's in-your-face like nothing you've ever seen on TV before. After this, the representation of gay people in American art can never be the same again, because QAF has set the standard against which all future offerings must surely be measured. Absolutely magnificent.
I really did NOT want to like this show.
Michael T. Rognlien | Chicago, IL USA | 03/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Let's face it - gays in television are stereotyped. Jack, on Will & Grace, is what I'd imagine many people in straight America envision gay men to be - queeny, vapid, self-obsessed and sexually compulsive.. yet in a very G-rated way.I originally bought the British version of QAF (series 1) and while I enjoyed it, it lacked a certain believability for me, possibly because of the various cultural differences and overall attitude towards homosexuality in Europe.The American version, however, I held off on purchasing, mainly because I didn't want to be fed 22 hours of stereotypes of gay men and lesbians that had absolutely no reflection of my personal experience.Indeed, the first couple of episodes turned me off - cliche, sex-obsessed, and bitter overtones were almost too much to get past, but fortunately, I did.The remaining 19-20 episodes of season one, in many ways, hit very close to home. Set in a real-ish city (P'burg), I felt immediately that the characters were in a "real" setting, unlike the world of Ross, Rachel and the gang in "Friends" - although the characters, at first blush, seemed to be slices of gay male stereotypes we've all seen before. The beauty of this show is the extensive character development, and the patience required of the audience to let their individual characteristics sink in.Justin's childish infatuation with Brian grew from highly annoying to palpable and real; the various love triangles (Michael and Brian, Ted and Michael, Brian and nobody) became plausible. The issues in the relationships were real without being patronizing (commitment-phobia, drugs, unfaithfulness, etc) and developed WELL beyond the fleeting banality of the 30-minute relationships we're given via the girls on Sex in the City.All in all, I was won over completely - and the finale of episode 22 even convinced me that Brian, the character I hated the most of all, was, deep down, likeable and even plausible. The beauty of the range of characters here is that there's a part (or parts) of each of them that to some degree reflect the realities of what it's like to be a gay man in the new millenium.This is indeed groundbreaking television, though not because of the rather graphic sexuality it depicts, but because, for the first time (in my opinion), gay life is examined for ALL things - not just the drama and the materialism, but for the difficulty of balancing the unique social constructs of life in a straight world with the sometimes life-altering (and even life-saving) friendships and relationships that make for a truly diverse community. Cheers to the Americans for finally getting one right (and to Showtime for having the guts to make it happen)!"