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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fans of Queer as Folk in the nation's capital might have been a bit dismayed by "The TV Column" in today's edition of The Washington Post. Author Lisa de Moraes wrote:
Quote:
Showtime has renewed its most watched original series, Queer as Folk, for seasons No. 3 and 4 -- a total of 16 more episodes.
I did a little sleuthing and found the official Viacom press release (see below for a link to the full text) dated June 3, 2002. It turns out Ms. Moraes was wrong; Queer as Folk has been renewed for two new 16 episode seasons... a total of 32 new episodes.


Most dedicated Queer as Folk fans would be dismayed at the prospect of two miserly Sopranos-like seasons of only eight hours each, so hear it now and hear it clear (or queer) --QAF will be back for two fabulous full-figured years!

SPOILER WARNING: The following link will take you to the full text of the Viacom press release. I warn you that it contains some spoilers that potentially give away some of the plot twists coming up in the final two episodes of this season. You've been warned...

http://www.viacom.com/press.tin?ixPressRelease=80003813
 

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Good news for the renewal. I just wish there was a sentence or two saying that Showtime will be requiring the new shows in HD format. I mean the upconv is ok but HD would be better.


I must be dense, I didn't get anything from the press release that would spoil the new episodes.
 

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Thanks, Scott.


I bought SHO just to get QAF (before SHO-HD appeared on DirecTV) so I really appreciate this news.


The characters all seem very real, extreme versions of people I have known I sometimes think.
 

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I thought I would be disappointed with the 2nd season but the story lines were pretty good and varied. Would be nice to have it in high-def next season but I doubt it. Thanks Scott, you're a Sweety.
 

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I've been watching QAF in "HD" since Episode #1 via DISH.


While the picture quality has varied, it's never as good as it should be. I mean, the 4x3 colorful introductions by actors this season and the celebrity intro's last seaons were MORE detailed than the show itself.


Not only is the upconverts lack details.. it's also very dark and grainy.


The 5.1 Dolby Surround this year has been VERY effective.. especially in the club scenes.
 

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Analysis:


This announcement is a no brainer.

First of all it is pretty common knowledge that Showtime is a movie network that has an agenda to promote gay community programming in their lineup. Just observe the lineups. And, secondly the fact the the series was extremely popular made it a sure bet for renewal.

What did surprise me, being a heterosexual preference person, was that the gay community, for the most part, embraced the series even though they used the term (queer) that has been taboo when referencing anything even remotely connected with gays. In fact, one, today, has to be generally careful to avoid the word for fear of being slapped down by the PC idiots of journalism police. Meanwhile Showtime continues in its title shock by doing a second gay series called Queer Duck. And except for one of my friends who just happens to be openly gay who hates the series, QAF, Showtime has been able to do this without any major criticisim from the gay community as a group position on it, at least not that I have heard.


IMO, what Showtime is doing is not only fascinatingly successful but just plain queer (odd).

I think it is like what one of my TV producer's said- Nobody can predict the success or failure of a show based on anything. The fact is that we just don't know how the public will react. Showtime HD has taken a risk and this time Showtime landed a winner. There will be many reasons for this success speculated but the truth is we don't know and we just accept it as long as it lasts. Tweak the wrong thing in the show and it may just go down in flames.
 

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Don:


Showtime isn't the only network promoting shows toward the gay community.


Check out this HBO website:

http://www.hbo.com/gl/


P.S. The 2nd season opener of QAF was the highest rated program EVER in the entire history of Showtime.


And if you've been to the very crowded DVD signing of the cast members, you'll realize most of the people at the signing were teenaged girls and married women (i.e. Backstreet Boys or N'Sync fans).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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Originally posted by JimL
Ditto the HD Stephen! Though it is very nice to have it in 5.1.
I have to admit that I get goosebumps every Sunday night when that little blue light on my Sony STR-DA5ES suddenly comes on and I'm enveloped in the DD 5.1 of the QAF theme. It's especially telling because only moments earlier I will have finished watching Six Feet Under which HBO saddles with antiquated 2.0 "surround" and 4:3 aspect ratio.

QAF may only be a widescreen upconvert, but it looks (and sounds) a hell of a lot better than Six Feet Under and Sex and the City. Shame on HBO, and hooray for Showtime renewing Queer as Folk! (Although I would have been amazed if it hadn't been renewed; as the press release pointed out QAF is Showtime's most-watched original series.)

Quote:
Originally posted by stephenC
I must be dense, I didn't get anything from the press release that would spoil the new episodes.
SPOILER ALERT! Stop reading now if you don't want to hear my answer to stephenC...

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I'm going to couch the following in elliptical terms so that anyone whose eyes may stray down here won't inadvertently have their surprise ruined. The press release notes the return of two actors in particular: the gentleman who plays the boyfriend of the comic book store owner, and the actor whose character is a collector of street couches (anyone who saw last Sunday's episode will know who I'm talking about). To me this tends to indicate that our favorite bo-hunk professor isn't going to kick the bucket and a certain blond boy-toy is going to be taking music lessons next season. Those are my fearless predictions and I hope that they both come true (especially the latter one; I personally cannot stand a certain owner of a loft in Pittsburgh... :) )

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Oh and by the way, I just won a bet with my partner... he predicted that within an hour of me starting this thread some homophobic cretin would come in here and post some anti-gay slur that had little to do with QAF... a bet he was happy to lose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Don Landis
First of all it is pretty common knowledge that Showtime is a movie network that has an agenda to promote gay community programming in their lineup. Just observe the lineups.
Yes, the gay cabal that runs Showtime and unionizes all of the fashion designers and hairdressers in America has seen to that. :rolleyes: Seriously, Don, I usually agree with most everything you have to say on the subject of HDTV, but you can't honestly believe that Showtime has an "agenda" to promote queer programming anymore than it has an "agenda" to promote shows that center around blacks (Soul Food) and Latinos (Resurrection Blvd.). Showtime recognized a good idea when it saw one and pounced on it.

Quote:
Originally posted by Don Landis
What did surprise me, being a heterosexual preference person, was that the gay community, for the most part, embraced the series even though they used the term (queer) that has been taboo when referencing anything even remotely connected with gays.
It's all about context, man. I'm a white boy, so I'm not allowed to use the n word even though my black friends use it all the time. If Queer as Folk was a homophobic hour of excrement starring Andrew Dice Clay and hosted by Dr. Laura (shudder), you bet there would be a hue and cry throughout the land. But since it's a show by, for, and about us, no biggie. (By the way, Queer as Folk was originally a British TV mini-series. The title's roots can be traced to the British slang expression "nowt so queer as folk," which roughly translates as "there's nothing as strange as people.")


Quote:
Originally posted by Don Landis
There will be many reasons for this success speculated but the truth is we don't know and we just accept it as long as it lasts. Tweak the wrong thing in the show and it may just go down in flames.
Now THERE is an assertion I can agree with. Frankly, I was a little worried at the beginning of the season; I felt like the show had lost its way a little bit. I think the second season jitters have been overcome, though, and I for one will find the wait until March 2003 to be a long, dry one indeed.
 

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Don,


As a member of the gay and lesbian community myself let me clarify for you that gay people sort of "took control" of the word queer a long time ago. It sort of "belongs" to us now. And if you own a word no one can use it to hurt you...at least that's the theory. Still, there is some truth in your response that one can still use the word in a hateful way.


Anyway, I'm glad that QAF has been re-upped.


Scott,


I completely agree with your assessment of the picture quality on Showtime-HD's 16:9 upconvert of QAF. In fact, the first time I saw it after DirecTV began carrying Showtime-HD recently my reaction was, "I didn't know this was in HD." It really is the best upconvert from 35mm film that I've ever seen. (At least I assume its 35mm.) I suspect that Showtime is getting transfers from camera negatives or a least something superior to the prints that they and HBO have access to from movie studios for transfering feature films to true HD rather than upconverts. (Maybe Glimmie or Mike Most know about exactly how QAF is transfered for Showtime-HD? They would both certainly tell us that film stock and the film generation, among myriad other factors can contribute to such PQ variations...)


And regarding comparisons of PQ of the Queer As Folk upconverts to HBO's upconverts of Sex In the City, didn't someone in-the-know state that Sex In the City was shot on Super 16mm? (Again, I hope Glimmie or Mike will "straighten me out!;) )


Reactions to the show among friends and aquaintances of mine who are gay or lesbian has been fairly positive (they watch it regularly) but was initially met with shock and mortification. I'm afraid that the disclaimer that states that the show is a work of fiction and isn't meant to represent gays and lesbians at large has done little to dispell reactions such as, "Great. (some) Straight people already hate us and they don't even know us. Here's some ammunition for them."


I look at it this way: it wouldn't be very entertaining if the show portrayed a bunch of normal, boring people. And besides, I have, in fact "known" a few of the "characters" in that show.
 

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Queer as Folk looks a lot better than Sex and the City and Six Feet Under. But it is a far inferior show. The writers and producers haven't really figured out the tone, and they need more continuity specialists, and a few better actors.


I'm queer, by the way, so don't accuse me of homophobia. I'll take good television over good picture/sound anytime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I wouldn't say "far" inferior, but Queer as Folk is definitely not as well-written as either Six Feet Under or Sex in the City, nor are the production values quite as lavish as those for the HBO series. I'm hoping that with a two-year commitment from Showtime as well as a slightly reduced episode count per season (16 each year vs. 20 this year and 22 in season 1) that the producers will take a few more chances and will also spend a little more money and time on each episode.
 

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Thanks Dave and Scott for your insight. Some of the explanations have been quite helpful to my understanding but Scott-

You said-

"Seriously, Don, I usually agree with most everything you have to say on the subject of HDTV, but you can't honestly believe that Showtime has an "agenda" to promote queer programming anymore than it has an "agenda" to promote shows that center around blacks (Soul Food) and Latinos (Resurrection Blvd.). Showtime recognized a good idea when it saw one and pounced on it. "


Actually, yes, I was serious and so are many people I associate with in my line of work on this. You really don't believe that they really had just happened to have two programs with titles using a most uncommon word, "Queer" in the title unless they were trying to be mean do you? No they didn't, then as Dave said, the community had simply claimed the word as theirs and therefore, given my statement that they have a gay community promotional agenda is exactly what I believe. I'm not alone on this. I don't know anythoing about their employee makeup, I just see a network that does more in this genre and has used the Q word far more frequently than any other network in recent history. Has nothing to do with hairdressors etc. but I know you were just teasing about that.


FWIW- I don't like the show(QAF) story line. Saw it early on and just didn't care for it. Same goes for SIC. I find both shows somewhat depressing, surreal and can't relate to either. However, I do enjoy SFU. Maybe I'm morbid(kidding) but really, I just think I relate to the people in it better. The personality of the gays in that show, Six Feet Under do not seem boring, but do seem like real life to me. I work with and hire a few people in my productions that I know are gay and it isn't a big deal or even an issue, they are just people, professionals, like anyone else. So maybe I just need to relate to the story to enjoy it. In these shows, it seems the writing of those stories makes sex such an issue that for me becomes boring. Sex in SFU is a minor, minor aspect that adds to the stories.


]
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Fair enough.
 

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according to recent press report:


"Nielsen figures show that for the month of April, original episodes of "Queer as Folk" averaged a solid 4.1

rating in Showtime homes compared with a 3.2 rating for "Stargate: SG-1," a 2.6 rating for the new sci-fi

series "Jeremiah" and a 1.9 rating for "The Chris Isaak Show."


Interesting huh?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jlin
And if you've been to the very crowded DVD signing of the cast members, you'll realize most of the people at the signing were teenaged girls and married women (i.e. Backstreet Boys or N'Sync fans).
Well of course. And for the same reason a DVD signing of a series featuring attractive young lesbians would go over gangbusters with males of similar demographic... I'm hetero as hell, and I would drive a LONG ways for something like that.


PS, that doesn't make me a cretin, does it? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Stu Pedaso
Well of course. And for the same reason a DVD signing of a series featuring attractive young lesbians would go over gangbusters with males of similar demographic... I'm hetero as hell, and I would drive a LONG ways for something like that.


PS, that doesn't make me a cretin, does it? :D
Personally I have never understood the heterosexual male fascination with lesbian sex (ewww), but hey, whatever rocks yer boat, man! :)
 

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The question of whether SHO has an "agenda" is worth exploring a bit.


In a sense, I am sure that it does. The premium cable networks have been trying to find underserved niches where people will pay money for programming of certain kinds. Some examples:


-- boxing

-- high-quality, low-budget movies, e.g., "Wit," "Conspiracy" etc.

-- kinky sex



I am sure that the folks at SHO sat down and said, "Hey, there's this group [gays] with a lot of disposable income. If we put on a few intense shows really aimed at them, we can pick up what will for us be a lot of subscribers."


This logic would not work for an OTA network or a basic network, those have always aimed at the middle of the market instead of the niches and edges. It works for a premium network because they can pick up a significant number of subscribers by this strategy.


So, in the above sense, SHO has an "agenda," just like HBO has an "agenda" for boxing.


However, the word "agenda" is politically charged. It often means a somewhat secret set of goals which will be furthered by any means. In this sense, no, SHO and HBO don't have agendas, they're just trying to make some money.
 
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