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Queer As Folk: Series 1 [DVD]
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The entire first series of Channel 4's controversial drama is collected together on two videos. 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.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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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.
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