Television has become so much a part of our lives that it rarely surprises us anymore, so when a series like Queer as Folk
comes along--truly shocking and genuinely touching--it's an event to be remembered. Originally broadcast as eight half-hour episodes on Channel 4, QAF
follows the lives of three men through life, love and all the travails of such in Manchester. That the protagonists are all gay--and Nathan (Charlie Hunnam) is just 15 years old--is treated as matter of course, and were it not for the fact that every character who is introduced is so vividly realised, it would be the only point. The ultimate triumph of QAF
is not that the explicit, explosive subject matter is handled (mostly) tastefully, or that it made it on screen at all--it's that the characters are so intriguing that the unflinching looks at sex and relationships almost fade completely into the background.
The series certainly starts with a bang: in the first episode, young Nathan is deflowered, Stuart (Aiden Gillen) becomes a father and Vince (Craig Kelly) pines away with an unrequited love that quickly establishes itself as the series' main theme. (That Vince spends half of QAF with a boyfriend complicates the situation some.) Nathan has already come to terms with his sexuality by the time the series starts, but that doens't mean that the rest of his family--or his fellow students--have; Stuart, the biggest (or, at least, busiest) stud in town, and QAF's approaches 30 and starts to re-examine his life; and Vince has to live with the rest of them.
The parents, families, friends and co-workers of all involved get plenty of screen time, and occasionally steal the scenes themselves--especially Denise Black (hairdresser Denise Osbourne from Coronation Street).
The DVD includes a Photo Gallery and a handful of interviews, which add little to the package. --Randy Silver
Definitive extended edition of Channel 4's controversial drama series. Stuart Jones (Aidan Gillen) and Vince Tyler (Craig Kelly) are gay friends living in Manchester. Both 29 years of age, they are beginning to question the direction their lives are taking when they meet wild 15-year-old Nathan Maloney (Charlie Hunnam) who shakes up their world with his arrival on the scene.