Looking on HBO
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Verdict: See It!     
David's Review
I had no expectations but this show was somewhat of a disappointment. The premise is simple - it's a bunch of gay guys figuring out life and love in the gayest city of all, San Francisco. And this is the first of many issues I have with the show. It doesn't feel original. It's like an amalgam of Sex and the City, Queer as Folk and Tales of the City. But the dialogue is spot on and each of the characters has a unique voice. As with all initial episodes of a TV show, the character introductions and their backstories are tantamount, and this show does a good job of introducing us to them and their world.
The next issue I have is with the lead character Patrick. In each of the first four episodes, he says or does something really stupid, when it's clear he is not a stupid person. He is a video game developer and when he is at his job, he is clearly very sharp. To err is human, but not in every episode and in such an obvious way. This is a real problem to have when it's hard to connect with the lead character who is very sweet, and very smart, but appears to lack common sense. This is a disappointment because the rest of the supporting cast is first rate. Murray Bartlett gives a stellar performance as Dom - I would much rather see a show built around him. The real revelation, however, is Scott Bakula, who shows up in the third episode and provides the cast and viewers with a master class in acting. I hope he is around for the whole series.

FINAL VERDICT: STREAM IT.

Liz's Review
Looking is a fantastically explicit new HBO show that imagines what Sex and the City would be like if it were stripped of all the silliness. We have likable personality types (though not as cleanly divided as in Sex), a good script, a clean edit and a strong point of view that doesn't seem to compromise on its intent to cater to the gay male audience. It's not something that I think will particularly grab people outside of that demographic, but it tells stories well and unabashedly revolves around sex.

FINAL VERDICT: SEE IT!

Kevin's Review
While this might not appeal to straight men, Looking is a fresh and honest look at gay men searching for love in San Francisco. And rather than filling it with subplots about AIDS, homophobia, equal rights, etc., it focuses on what typically goes on with gay men on a daily basis: jobs, career, friends, family, and relationships. And thank God for that. Gone are the Madonna references, the flamboyant queens, the circuit parties, and drug abuse. While these may come up later on, it's not the focus. And that makes it all the more real and truthful.
Jonathan Groff makes an adorable everyman for us to latch onto as he navigates the dating scene and his crazy friends. While he is almost too naive for his own good, we all know people like him and we've all been there. The direction by Andrew Haigh is terrific using natural light and allowing the actors to be free to act without it seeming overly staged.
This will certainly be a hit with gay audiences and straight women will find some curiosity and appeal here. Whether it finds an audience outside of that is anyone's guess, but it's possible that seeing what the gay world is really about may demystify it for those that think it's all about sex and drag.

FINAL VERDICT: SEE IT!

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