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
Queer As Folk is something of a turning point in the presentation of gay lifestyles in the western-world. The oft-though of as bleak Manchester, England is the setting and the many colourful and varied (gay and straight) characters provide an interesting contrast.
The show covers just about everything in modern gay life: heterosexual parents, gay-friendly parents, lesbian mothers, drug use, party-party-party, lust and sex, friendships, work, discrimination, happiness and joy, death, and much more.
Yet what most secured my attention was the similarity that the (otherwise rather ordinary) leading characters shared with myself and many of my friends. The issues faced by them in their pursuit of realising some meaning to their lives were very similar to ours. And although the show was at the centre of controversy for its use of a young teenage character, it was really pitched at the late 20's crowd, represented by the majority of the leading roles. For this reason I think Queer As Folk is a clever and ironic reminder of where gay men are at in their late 20's at the turn of the millennium. Many of the issues are difficult to stomach, even for someone who has faced similar. This is reminiscent of another British television series "This Life" (which is something of a heterosexual equivalent) and in stark contrast with various other gay-themed series or movies that often present the gay lifestyle as either too fluffy or totally miserable.
Queer As Folk touches many people for various reasons and whether you like it or hate it, its real success is in getting people to talk more openly about the issues it presents.
The DVD release of this title was cleaner and had a crisper sound quality to the VHS version, in which the sound seemed to be quite muted. Since there is a lot of music and varying sound levels in the dialogue I would certainly recommend the DVD over VHS.
The set contains four discs: 1 and 2 contain QAF Series 1; Disc 3 contains QAF Series 2; and Disc 4 contains the special features.
Although this is the 'definitive' edition version, note that there is no difference between the actual series' presented here then that already released on DVD and video. However, now each series contains an optional commentary by Aiden Gillan (Stuart), Craig Kelly (Vince), Denise Black (Hazel), Antony Cotton (Alexander), Russell T Davies (Writer and Creator) and Nicola Shindler (Producer). Charlie Hunnam (Nathan), however, is not included on the commentary.
The packaging has greatly improved from the single series release versions of QAF. The DVDs are incased in a fold out pack which itself is placed inside a slide-out cover, and the DVD themselves are printed with the main characters from the show. The presentation also includes a 32 page booklet written by Russell T Davies, which also features pictures from both series.
Aside from the two series, the bonus disc contains numerous cut or extended scenes from the two series which futher enhance the narrative and are intersting to view. Some are pretty amusing; some are obvious as to why they have been cut! The disc also features the original Channel 4 trailers for each series, stills galleries, a video montage, character biographies and quotes. There is also a behind the scenes documentary; video taken from "Right to Reply" discussing the show; and a T4 interview.
The video is anamorphic 16:9 and sound is in 2.0 stereo with optional english subtitles.
Although some of the special features were available on the previous DVD releases of Queer as Folk, this is a marvellously presented box set which gives Queer as Folk the DVD treatment it really deserved, with some good extra special features - including a much anticipated commentary.
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