Looking (TV series)

Last updated

Looking
Intertitle of the HBO series Looking.png
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Michael Lannan
Based onLorimer
by Michael Lannan
Starring
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes18 plus special (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
ProducerKat Landsberg
Production location San Francisco
Cinematography
Editors
  • Jonathan Alberts
  • Andrew Dickler
Camera setup Single
Running time30 minutes
86 minutes (2016 special)
Production companyFair Harbor Productions
Release
Original network HBO
Picture format HDTV 1080i
Audio format Surround
Original releaseJanuary 19, 2014 (2014-01-19) 
July 23, 2016 (2016-07-23)
External links
Website

Looking is an American comedy-drama television series which ran on HBO from January 19, 2014, to July 23, 2016. Created by Michael Lannan and produced by David Marshall Grant, Sarah Condon, and Andrew Haigh, it stars Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett, Lauren Weedman, Russell Tovey, and Raúl Castillo. The show follows the experiences of three openly gay close friends living and loving in modern-day San Francisco.

Contents

Looking was praised for its writing, direction, the performances of the ensemble and its fresh take on an LGBT-centric narrative. Despite its critical success, its ratings did not meet network expectations, with an average viewership of only 1.5 to 2 million viewers, which led the show's cancellation after its second season. HBO ordered a one-time special to serve as the series' finale. The finale special aired on July 23, 2016, in the U.S. on HBO and on August 2, 2016, in the UK on Sky Atlantic. [1] In 2019, The Guardian ranked Looking among the "100 Greatest TV shows of the 21st century". [2]

Premise

Patrick Murray, a 29-year-old video game designer, lives in San Francisco with his friends—aspiring restaurateur Dom and artist's assistant Agustín. Patrick has a tendency to be naïve and has been generally unlucky in love, but things in Patrick's life change upon meeting handsome yet humble Mission barber Richie and the arrival of his new boss, the attractive but partnered Kevin. Dom pursues his goal of opening his own restaurant with the support of his roommate, Doris, and the unexpected help of the successful and older San Francisco entrepreneur Lynn. Agustín struggles domesticating with his long-term boyfriend Frank and his stalling art career, as well as his penchant for recreational substance abuse.

The three men navigate life, relationships, family, and careers in modern-day San Francisco.

Cast and characters

Main

Recurring

Production

HBO ordered an eight-episode first season of Looking on May 14, 2013. [12] The pilot was written by Michael Lannan, based on Lannan's 2011 short film entitled Lorimer, and directed by Andrew Haigh. Filming began in the San Francisco Bay Area on September 16, 2013, and ended on November 7, 2013. [13] The first season premiered on January 19, 2014. [6] [14] [15]

Creator Michael Lannan announced in an interview in February 2014 that the writers were already thinking of new material for a second season, should it come. His comment was quickly backed up by Nick Hall, director of comedy for HBO, who stated that the "initial one airing audience" isn't their main goal and that they [HBO] "look at it for the week, we look at it On Demand, we look at HBO Go," and that each of the episodes were doing "nicely". [16]

On February 26, 2014, HBO announced that Looking was renewed for a second season. [17] [18] The second season premiered on January 11, 2015. [19]

HBO cancelled the series after the second season citing the sharp decline in ratings. After the cancellation was announced, an online petition was started targeted at HBO to continue the series. [20] HBO eventually planned to air a special episode in the form of a movie to wrap up the storyline of the show. [21] Alvarez revealed in an interview with Vulture that filming was planned to start in September 2015 and that the length of the finale would be 2 hours. [22] The movie premiered on June 2, 2016 at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco and was eventually aired on July 23, 2016. [23] [24]

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First aired Last aired
1 8January 19, 2014 (2014-01-19)March 9, 2014 (2014-03-09)
2 10January 11, 2015 (2015-01-11)March 22, 2015 (2015-03-22)
The Movie June 26, 2016 (Frameline Film Festival)
July 23, 2016 (HBO)

Reception

Critical response

Throughout its run Looking received acclaim from critics who hailed it as a fresh take on gay-themed drama and acclaimed the performances of its actors in particular of Groff and Tovey. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 89% of critics gave the first season a positive review based on 37 reviews, with an average score of 7.6/10. The site's consensus states: "Funny without being obnoxious, Looking provides authentic situations that feel universal with its subtle details and top-notch performances." [25] On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season holds an average of 73% based on 27 reviews, indicating generally favorable reviews. [26] The second season received an aggregate score of 77% on Metacritic and 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. [27] [28]

Since Looking was announced it has been referred to by both the community and early critics as the "gay version" of Girls and Sex and the City . After watching the pilot, Emily VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club said that "differences between the two series go beyond the surface" [29] and one of the show's lead actors, Jonathan Groff, went on to say that "to be in the same breath as those shows is exciting [...] but the tone and writing and the style of the show is very different. And people will notice that when they see it." [30]

Keith Uhlich, writing for the BBC, opined that Looking "is one of the most revolutionary depictions of gay life ever on TV – and that’s because it makes it totally ordinary." [31] Sonia Saraiya of Variety described the finale film as "moving and beautiful", [23] and Jon Frosch of The Hollywood Reporter called it "essential viewing". [24]

In 2019, The Guardian ranked Looking amongst the "100 Greatest TV shows of the 21st century". [2]

Ratings

Looking was reported to have debuted to a "slow start" by Variety with a premiere audience of 338,000, although it went on to gain an audience of 606,000 when the encore's ratings were included. [32] However, ratings improved as the season progressed. Ratings reached a series high in the sixth episode, attracting 519,000 viewers, [33] up by 50% compared to the premiere episode. [34] As of February 23, 2014, Looking had averaged 2 million weekly viewers. [33]

Accolades

YearAwardCategoryNominee(s)Result
2014 4th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series Lauren WeedmanNominated
NALIP AwardsLupe Award for Breakthrough PerformanceRaúl CastilloWon
Imagen Awards Best ActorRaúl CastilloNominated
Best Supporting ActorFrankie J. AlvarezNominated
Gold Derby TV AwardsBest Comedy ActorJonathan GroffNominated
EWwy Awards Best Actor in a Comedy SeriesJonathan GroffNominated
OUT100TV Show of the YearJonathan Groff
Murray Bartlett
Russell Tovey
Won
Attitude AwardsTV Show of the YearLookingWon
NewNowNext Awards Best New Television SeriesLookingWon
Best New Television ActorJonathan GroffWon
2015 Dorian Awards LGBTQ TV Show of the YearLookingNominated
Unsung TV Show of the YearLookingNominated
TV Director of the YearAndrew HaighNominated
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Television Pilot ComedyCarmen Cuba
Nina Henninger
Bernard Telsey
Wittney Horton
Abbie Brady-Dalton
Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Comedy SeriesLookingNominated
Screen Nation Film and Television Awards Male Performance in TVO. T. FagbenleNominated
NAMIC Vision AwardsBest Performance - ComedyRaúl CastilloWon
Frankie J. AlvarezNominated
Imagen Awards Best Primetime Television Program - DramaLookingNominated
Best Supporting ActorRaúl CastilloNominated
Gold Derby TV AwardsBest Comedy ActorJonathan GroffNominated
EWwy Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesLauren WeedmanNominated
2016 Dorian Awards LGBTQ TV Show of the YearLookingNominated
Unsung TV Show of the YearLookingWon
Wilde Artist of the YearAndrew HaighNominated
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Comedy SeriesLookingNominated
2017Outstanding TV Movie or Limited SeriesLooking: The MovieNominated

Broadcast

Looking premiered on HBO Canada at the same time as the United States, with Australia's Showcase premiering the series on January 20, 2014. [35] In New Zealand, SoHo premiered the series on January 23, 2014. [36] Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom and Ireland premiered it on January 27, 2014, [37] opening to 0.067 million viewers, with the highest rated episode attracting 0.129 million for episode three. [38] The second season premiered on February 5, 2015. [39] The series premiered on May 6, 2014 on M-Net in South Africa.

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