Ten Reasons to Stream Peacock's 'Queer As Folk' Reboot

by Frank J. Avella

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday June 9, 2022

A scene from Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'
A scene from Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'  (Source:Peacock)

Writer/director Stephen Dunn ("Closet Monster") has taken the "Queer as Folk" torch from Russell T. Davies (with his blessing) and fashioned an exciting and inclusive reboot of the beloved show.

Premiering June 9th on Peacock, this taboo-smashing series is sure to be one of the most talked about of the year. Dunn manages to keep things familiar while radically changing them.

EDGE notes some of the oh-so-many reasons this show is a must-binge.

Unapologetic Nudity and Sex

Johnny Sibilly in 'Queer as Folk'
Johnny Sibilly in 'Queer as Folk'  (Source: Peacock)

From the first rimming scene in the original UK series (who can forget young Charlie Hunnam being serviced by Aiden Gillen?), which this show duplicates in a rather creative manner, "QAF" presents its sexual situations balls out (and lots of butts, too). The show opens with a crazy hookup that perfectly comments on race relations in this country, peppered with lots of nudity. And it never lets up throughout its eight episodes. Never gratuitous, the scenes are gritty and... that word again... authentic.

The Babylon Shooting

Devin Way in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk' 
Devin Way in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'   (Source: Alyssa Moran/Peacock)

In the very first episode, as viewers are rapidly getting to know our gaggle of queer characters, a shooter enters the trendy New Orleans gay bar Babylon, and mayhem ensues. So much of the season touches on how the queer community band together to deal with this horrific and senseless tragedy.

That's not to say the series is somber or depressing — quite the opposite. Creator Stephen Dunn pays tribute to the Pulse victims and survivors, while keeping true to his characters. They're scarred, but they're also alive and resilient!

Two Fab Divas

Juliette Lewis in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'
Juliette Lewis in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'  (Source: Peacock)

The great Kim Cattrall, who plays Brenda, has been in the news of late because of the continuous "Sex and the City" bruhaha that Sarah Jessica Parker insists isn't a "catfight." And just like that, Cattrall has moved on to a more exciting (and less tired) show where she gets to dig deep as the season progresses and show us a woman at a crossroads in her life.

Oscar-nominated Juliette Lewis has always been a fascinating actor ("Natural Born Killers," "August: Osage County"), but often creatives have no clue what to do with her. Here, she has found a role that suits her perfectly: Judy, the devoted and accepting mother of Mingus (Finn Argus), whose dream is to excel at drag. Judy's love for her son is palpable, thanks to Lewis' heartbreaking work.

Trans Representation

Devin Way and Jesse James Keitel in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'
Devin Way and Jesse James Keitel in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'  (Source: Peacock)

Mainstream television generally features trans people in sexless supporting roles — when they exist at all. "QAF" turns that on its ear by portraying a trans couple, Ruthie and Shar, played winningly by Jesse James Keitel ("Big Sky") and CG, as living, breathing, messy humans who are embarking on parenthood while trying to navigate a difficult, yet loving, relationship. Ruthie's unapologetic and funny approach to being a parent is refreshing and honest, and the fluidity of sexual identity is presented in a palpable manner.

The Art of Drag

Fin Argus in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'
Fin Argus in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'  (Source: Peacock)

Drag performers are too often seen as humorous stereotypes in film and TV. "QAF" explores the lives of two very different drag artists. Seventeen-year-old Mingus (Fin Argus) is a newbie who longs to perform onstage. Bussey (Armand Fields) is a seasoned drag performer and the local matriarch. Fields is so nuanced and compelling, you want more whenever they're onscreen. "Bitch, get away from me!" is our new ringtone!

LGBTQ Disabled Characters

Ryan O'Connell in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'
Ryan O'Connell in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'  (Source: Peacock)

Ryan O'Connell's Netflix series "Special" was daring in its examination of the life of a gay disabled man. "Queer as Folk," for which O'Connell is a credited writer, takes things to the next level in depicting disabled queer people as sexual beings. One episode revolves around a queer disabled orgy. This not your gay daddy's "Queer as Folk!"

Jesse James Keitel

Jesse James Keitel (right) in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'
Jesse James Keitel (right) in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'  

Ruthie is the kind of refreshingly real character we rarely get to see on TV. She's someone who loves her partner but is also missing her freedom and trying to reconcile these things, all while becoming a new parent to twins! (And there are other complications I won't state, as not to spoil the season). Jesse James Keitel (so good on ABC's "Big Sky"), who uses they/them and she/her pronouns, plays the role with heart and soul, fearlessly and without apology. It's Emmy-worthy work.

New Orleans

Jesse James Keitel and CG in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'
Jesse James Keitel and CG in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'  

This reboot is set in the fab city of New Orleans, a singular city when it comes to Queer representation and one that has been beaten up in the past only to rise back up. The creatives have managed to work in many LGBTQ areas within the city that represent the community, and the series features local drag performers from the jazz capital. You can almost taste the gumbo and Crawfish Étouffée.

Diverse Casting

A scene from Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'
A scene from Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'  (Source: Peacock)

The electric and incredibly talented cast includes a slew of out queer actors, both binary and non-binary. Many ethnicities and races are represented in all the major roles, as well as the featured parts. In addition, there is groundbreaking disabled representation, as mentioned above. And this decision isn't about checking boxes as much as giving viewers a taste of just how sprawling and diverse the queer community really is, and how compelling underrepresented actors can be when actually cast in well-written roles.

Real Queer People

Johnny Sibilly in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'
Johnny Sibilly in Peacock's 'Queer as Folk'  

Much too often, creatives of LGBTQ+-themed shows feel the need to present characters as role models, with no flaws — playing it ridiculously safe. Married gays with children who never stray. Committed lesbians who do everything right and mate for life. Wise trans people who are allowed to exist only as best friends or sidekicks. Drag performers who deliver sassy one-liners. "Queer as Folk" is having none of that bullshit. These people are fucked up, just like everyone else! Each character has a legion of faults, troubles, and issues. They hurt each other and behave selfishly. It is bracing and invigorating.

Frank J. Avella is a film journalist and is thrilled to be writing for EDGE. He also contributes to Awards Daily and is the GALECA East Coast Rep and a Member of the New York Film Critics Online. Frank is a recipient of the International Writers Residency in Assisi, Italy, a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, and a NJ State Arts Council Fellowship. His short film, FIG JAM, has shown in Festivals worldwide (figjamfilm.com) and won awards. His screenplays (CONSENT, LURED, SCREW THE COW) have also won numerous awards in 16 countries. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. https://filmfreeway.com/FrankAvella https://muckrack.com/fjaklute