Years, queers and fears: The Lavender Tube on 'Years, 'Vampire,' 'Good Omens' and more

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday September 5, 2023
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The main cast of 'Years and Years'<br>(photo: BBC)
The main cast of 'Years and Years'
(photo: BBC)

Summer is done and to be honest, we are so done with this summer. We are ready for all things pumpkin, the smell of crisp autumn air and that divine time when the nights get cooler and dark comes sooner and life feels just a bit more calm.

The crazy ratcheted up a notch on Labor Day Weekend when climate crisis flooding turned the Burning Man love fest in the desert into a muddy mess with no way in or out. Conspiracy theorists with nothing better to do with their time invented an Ebola outbreak hoax replete with fake CDC tweets and tweeted about government officials in hazmat gear roping off the mini-city of 73,000 that happens every year. (

This all made us think of "Years and Years," a queer dystopian thriller series from "Queer as Folk" creator Russell T. Davies that you likely haven't seen.

Taking place between 2019 and 2034, the six-part series follows the lives of the Lyons family, who witness increasingly tumultuous global affairs and the rise to power of Vivienne Rook (Emma Thompson at her scenery-chewing best), an outspoken British celebrity businesswoman turned populist politician whose controversial opinions divide the nation as she lures in the grievance-ridden underclasses and unnerves the elites.

Sound like a vaguely familiar real-life scenario? "Years and Years" was a BBC/HBO original and like everything Davies does is just brilliant. It debuted for Pride Month in 2019 in the U.K. but never got a splash here.

Emma Thompson in 'Years and Years' (photo: BBC)  

The series is totally queer, quite political, and has perfect pitch and perfect pacing. The Manchester-based Lyons family is comprised of Daniel (out gay actor Russell Tovey), who is married to Ralph (hot out actor Dino Fetscher), Stephen (Rory Kinnear) and Celeste (T'Nia Miller), who worry about their biracial children, one of whom is complicatedly trans, Rosie (BAFTA-winning disabled actress Ruth Madeley), a disabled single mother with spina bifida and a wheelchair that keeps her out of a lot of places, and Edith (Jessica Hynes), a lesbian political activist, who becomes partnered with Daniel's friend, Fran Baxter (Sharon Duncan-Brewster).

All their lives converge on one crucial night in 2019, and the story accelerates into the future, following them over the next fifteen years as Britain is rocked by political upheavals, economic instability, technological advances and lots of chaos. This is a fabulously good must-see series, available on Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple+.

It's hard to believe the writer's strike has been going on since May 2 and the actor's strike since July 14, but here we are. On the September 1 episode of CNN This Morning, numbers guy Harry Enten gave us some new polling on how folks are feeling about it. Among Democrats, 89% support the writer's strike as opposed to 57% of Republicans. The actors fare about the same among Dems at 88% but actors only get 43% support from the "We hate Hollywood" party.

Pop-up thrills for fall
It's always hot in New Orleans, but it's beyond steamy in this latest iteration of Anne Rice's classic homoerotic vampire novel, "Interview with the Vampire." Season one is coming to HBO Max for a September and October mash-up with AMC, which originated the series last year.

AMC and Max are partnering to re-release several spooky series in advance of Halloween. Deadline reports, "AMC Networks and Warner Bros. Discovery have struck a deal for a 'programming pop-up' that will see more than 200 episodes of seven titles launch on Max, formerly known as HBO Max. The shows will be available from September 1—October 31."

In addition to "Interview with the Vampire," the series available are seasons one through seven of "Fear the Walking Dead," three seasons of the very queer "A Discovery of Witches," four seasons of our favorite lesbian thriller ever, "Killing Eve," two seasons of "Gangs of London," season one of the Native American detective series "Dark Winds," and five seasons of "Ride with Norman Reedus."

Sam Reid, Jacob Anderson and Bailey Bass in 'Interview with the Vampire' (photo: AMC)  

"Interview with the Vampire" opens in 2022 where the vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) lives in Dubai and wants to tell the story of his life (or afterlife) to renowned journalist Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian). Beginning in 1910 New Orleans (instead of the 1800s like the book and film version), Louis' story follows his relationship with the vampire Lestat du Lioncourt (Sam Reid) and their formed family, including teen fledgling Claudia (Bailey Bass). A couple big changes from the book are that Louis is Black and Claudia is a teenager rather than a child. (Bass is superb in that teen vampire role.)

The other big change is the overt homosexuality, which was erased in the films. "Interview with the Vampire" is awesomely good. Reid and Anderson have excellent chemistry, the sets are to die for (yes, we had to say it) and the mise en scène is just spectacular. The sex is amazingly explicit for TV and there's a lot of it.

Unlike the film versions of Rice's vampire novels, Lestat is prominent and utterly unabashedly queer. There are some absolutely breathtaking vampire/sex scenes between Lestat and Louis and their bodies, lit by candlelight and sweaty as one tends to be in our old hometown, are entrancing.

It's hard to overstate how good Reid is as Lestat. He truly embodies the complex villainy, poignancy and robust sensuality of the character. You'll be thinking about him long after. For reasons we can't quite discern, "Interview with the Vampire" got little play when it debuted, so it's good it's getting this much-deserved revival.

Season two comes to AMC next year as the series can now resume filming after AMC agreed on a deal with the currently striking Screen Actors Guild (SAG) just last week.

Good Omens
We will watch David Tennant and his neck beard (missing here) in anything, because he's just so good, so although fantasy TV is not our thing, we fell into this queerish Neil Gaiman creation and we think you'll love it. Based on Gaiman's and Terry Pratchett's 1990 novel of the same name, "Good Omens" is an Amazon/BBC production with Gaiman as showrunner.

Michael Sheen, David Tennant (and a nude Jon Hamm) in 'Good Omens'  

Season one is set in 2019 and follows the demon Crowley (David Tennant) and the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), longtime acquaintances who have grown accustomed to each other's company, and to a pleasant life on Earth as representatives of Heaven and Hell. The duo have agreed not to let the conflict between their warring sides complicate their friendship. Aziraphale owns an antiquarian bookstore in London which figures in both seasons of the series.

So when "Crawly" and Aziraphale are told in season one that Armageddon is about to happen —the final battle between Heaven and Hell, Good and Evil— they team up to prevent the coming of the Antichrist (Sam Taylor Buck) and the end of the pleasant existence they enjoy on Earth.

Season two, which just dropped last month, is set post-COVID-19 lockdown. In this iteration, the Archangel Gabriel (played riotously well by Jon Hamm) turns up —in a state of amnesia sans his memories— to Aziraphale's bookshop. Aziraphale and Crowley attempt to find out what happened to Gabriel and to also hide him from Heaven and Hell, both of which are eager to find him.

Maggie Service and Nina Sosanya in 'Good Omens' (photo: Amazon/BBC)  

Also, two women near the bookshop, café owner Nina (Nina Sosanya), and Maggie (Maggie Service), a failing record shop owner, become the ongoing subjects of Crowley and Aziraphale's attempt to play Cupid, all in a ruse to cover their spell-casting tracks. Hilarity and more ensues.

This is a fun, arch, really smart dramedy (think "The Good Place" and "Ted Lasso" and "Lucifer") with a compelling theme, as of course we're always battling Good and Evil IRL, right? Sheen and Tennant are just so fabulously good and utterly believable as friends, confidants and as human-ish supernatural figures who just really like it here on our planet, and want to stay here.

Amazing Race, Foundation
"The Amazing Race" returns for its 35th season on September 27, after the premiere of Survivor 45. The CBS series has always featured gay and lesbian pairs. Will Jardell and James Wallington won "The Amazing Race" season 32. Right after the couple crossed the finish line, Jardell dropped to one knee and proposed to Wallington, who said yes.

In season 35, Joe Moskowitz and Ian Todd, who met each other while working out at the gym, are among the dynamic duos of this best of the competitive survivalist shows. The traveling on this show is fabulous.

Ben Daniels and Dino Fetscher in 'Foundation' (photo: Apple+)  

Season 2 of Apple+ sci-fi series "Foundation" has just dropped. Based on the classic novel "Foundation" by Isaac Asimov, the series is the creation of sci-fi superheads David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman, who have a myriad of sci-fi credits between them, most notably the brilliant "Sarah Connor Chronicles" from Friedman.

In "Foundation," the fate of an entire galaxy rests on the beliefs of Dr. Hari Seldon (Jared Harris). Will his conviction save humanity or doom it? In this new season, as predicted by mathematician Seldon, the Galactic Empire is beginning to crumble. But as the Emperor (out gay actor Lee Pace) flails, Seldon's Foundation, which aims to cushion the galaxy's fall, is under threat.
For sci-fi devotees, there's also a gay relationship. Bel Riose (Ben Daniels) is released from a labor camp and reunited with his husband Glawen Kurr (Dino Fetscher again) in exchange for returning to his role as General under the regime of Empire (Pace). The two men share a very touching reunion scene and will figure in one of the multiple storylines. You must watch season 1 first, though.

Season 4 of the Netflix original "Sex Education" drops September 21. Much more queer action is expected as Otis, Maeve, Eric, Lily and Dr. Jean return to Moordale Secondary School.

If you love "Heartstopper," you'll love this series. The teens are delightful and Gillian Anderson as Otis's sex therapist mom is just fantastic, and wow is it funny, raunchy, arch and totally enjoyable as the kids are alright—and thinking about sex 24/7, just like real life.

So for the sardonic, Satanic, sublime and sexy, you really must stay tuned.

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