We’re still people, aren’t we? Flawed, narcissistic… and doing our best.Anna Madrigal
How about some good news? Netflix has dropped the trailer of their new installment of Tales Of The City! Based on urban chronicler Armistead Maupin‘s landmark series of Tales Of The City books about a community of misfits finding one another in San Francisco. The original miniseries aired on PBS in 1993, and the Christian Right totally lost their shit over it. You know how they hate PBS and LGBTQ people. It won a Peabody Prize and was Emmy Award nominated. The miniseries was originally planned for HBO who dropped the project because it was considered too controversial (isn’t that just too nutty?). It showed up again for two seasons on Showtime as More Tales Of The City (1998), and Further Tales Of The City (2001).
The Netflix limited series brings back original stars Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis. Maupin is executive producer and Alan Poul, who directed the original, is back. Tales Of The City was one of the first television shows to show LGBTQ characters in a way that avoided clichés, portraying them with honesty and heart.
The original series and the Showtime reboots followed the original books faithfully while opening-up the story for the camera.
Tales Of The City are actually a series of nine books. The first four were originally serialized prior to their novelization, appearing as regular installments in the San Francisco Chronicle, with the fifth serialized in the San Francisco Examiner.
Tales Of The City follows the adventures of Mary Ann Singleton, a Midwest girl who moves to San Francisco in the mid-1970s. She rents an apartment in a rather magical setting at 28 Barbary Lane, owned by mysterious and marijuana-growing landlord Anna Madrigal. She becomes friends with other people in the building: sweet gay boy Michael “Mouse” Tolliver, bisexual hippy Mona Ramsey, ladies’ man Brian Hawkins, and the sinister Norman Neal Williams. There is lots of sex of all sorts, drugs, and plenty of intrigue. It is breathtakingly funny, but also honest and sensitive about issues like coming out of the closet, transgender identity, the horrible era when the plague first appeared, and the wonderful concept of choosing your own family.
Maupin was able to take a 1970s San Francisco that was the national mecca of sexual liberation and acceptance and depict it in an endearing and humane manner without misrepresenting or oversimplifying it all.
The first episode of the new series debuts on Netflix on June 7. It is a homecoming for Mary Ann Singleton (Linney), and for fans who fell in love with residents of 28 Barbary Lane ever since reading Maupin’s first description of it in the first book:
The house was on Barbary Lane, a narrow, wooded walk-way off Leavenworth between Union and Filbert. It was a well-weathered, three-story structure made of brown shingles. It made Mary Ann think of an old bear with bits of foliage caught in its fur. She liked it instantly. The house was on Barbary Lane, a narrow, wooded walk-way off Leavenworth between Union and Filbert. It was a well-weathered, three-story structure made of brown shingles. It made Mary Ann think of an old bear with bits of foliage caught in its fur. She liked it instantly.
The new series brings Michael Tolliver, Mary Ann Singleton and Anna Madrigal up to the present day, in modern, less bohemian San Francisco.
Also returning are Barbara Garrick as DeDe Halcyon Day and Paul Gross in the role of Brian Hawkins. Murray Bartlett (Looking) is the new Michael Tolliver. Also new to the series is Charlie Barnett (Russian Doll), plus Zosia Mamet, Molly Ringwald and out actors Victor Garber and Ellen Page, as well as Rupaul’s Drag Race stars Bob the Drag Queen and Katya.
Grab a Kleenex, her is your first look: