Since its original 1993 release, Tales of the City, has been hugely influential in bringing wide-spread attention to the struggles of the LGBT community. After the series’ recent 2019 debut on Netflix, series producer Alan Poul spoke to Variety‘s TV Take podcast about what influenced the show’s interpretation for a more modern audience.
“We had to keep pushing forward with the narrative,” Poul commented, despite creatives on the show originally pushing for a remake of the original rather than the eventual sequel. Poul also mentions that he intended from the beginning for the story to continue into present day.
Yet, although the revival tackles many present-day topics through a modern lens, Poul believes Tales does so with a nostalgic spin. “It’s bold in the way it is going back to an earlier way of storytelling — a more generous approach without the veil of cynicism,” he said. “I find that storytelling is increasingly rare.” Yet the producer goes on to describe the series’ new iteration as sincere, bucking current storytelling trends such as “snark” and “meta.”
The new series follows Laura Linney’s character, Mary Ann through a midlife crisis as she returns home to her daughter (Ellen Page) and ex-husband Brian (Paul Gross) in San Francisco — 20 years after leaving them behind to pursue her career. Set in present-day San Francisco, Tales will feature a few complications for the residents of 28 Barbary Lane as the find love and new adventures together.
The producer further comments that Netflix was always his first choice, seeing as the streaming giant has “a tremendous reputation for being artist friendly. For being invested in the voices in the creators and not in the commodified product.” Poul even gives an honorable mention to the streaming service for being easily accessible to does who wish to see representations of themselves, when they otherwise might not be able to due to their surroundings.
Poul also describes the new Tales as exploring the different sides within the LGBT community itself, even if the series may not be as politically correct. He further added, “It’s a luxury now that we can fight with each other. It used to be a unified front because we were trying to progress against what seemed to be against an unmovable opposition.” Overall, the creative hopes that the series will extend beyond the borders of the LGBT community and ultimately ignite new dialogues.
Tales of the City is currently available for streaming on Netflix.