Looking (TV series)
|Created by||Michael Lannan|
by Michael Lannan
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||18 plus special (list of episodes)|
|Production location||San Francisco|
|Running time||30 minutes|
86 minutes (2016 special)
|Production company||Fair Harbor Productions|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||January 19, 2014 –|
July 23, 2016
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.
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. In 2019, The Guardian ranked Looking among the "100 Greatest TV shows of the 21st century".
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
- Jonathan Groff as Patrick Murray, a 29-year-old video game designer who grew up in suburban Denver in a rather conservative family who initially had a hard time accepting his sexuality when he came out to them on Thanksgiving back in 2005 while in his second year of college.
- Frankie J. Alvarez as Agustín Lanuez, 31, an artist's assistant and Patrick's best friend since their college days at The University of California, Berkeley. Agustín is originally from Coral Gables outside Miami, and grew up in an affluent Cuban American household from which he is estranged due to the emotional and physical abuse he suffered at the hands of his alcoholic father as a child.
- Murray Bartlett as Dom Basaluzzo, 39, a sommelier in a gastronomic restaurant. Dom was raised by a single father who died when Dom was in his early twenties.
- Lauren Weedman as Doris, Dom's best friend since their high school days in Modesto and former partner, who works as a nurse (season 2, recurring season 1). Doris grew up with a father who was very loving as well as a mother who was emotionally abusive due to mental illness.
- Russell Tovey as Kevin Matheson, Patrick's boss, a "video-game wunderkind." Kevin has feelings for Patrick—though he is in a long-term relationship with Jon. In season two, Kevin becomes Patrick's new love interest. (season 2, recurring season 1)
- Raúl Castillo as Ricardo "Richie" Donado Ventura, a barber and Patrick's part-time romantic interest. (season 2, recurring season 1) Richie grew up in a large working class Mexican-American family in San Leandro just outside of San Francisco and is currently estranged from his father due to his father's refusal to accept his sexuality.
- Scott Bakula as Lynn, an entrepreneur who strikes a connection with Dom
- O. T. Fagbenle as Frank, Agustín's long-term boyfriend
- Andrew Law as Owen, Patrick's co-worker
- Ptolemy Slocum as Hugo, Dom's co-worker (season 1)
- Joseph Williamson as Jon, Kevin's boyfriend
- Daniel Franzese as Eddie, Agustin's love interest who volunteers at a homeless shelter for LGBT youth (season 2)
- Chris Perfetti as Brady Richie's new boyfriend in the 2nd season. (season 2)
- Bashir Salahuddin as Malik, Doris's love interest (season 2)
HBO ordered an eight-episode first season of Looking on May 14, 2013. 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. The first season premiered on January 19, 2014.
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".
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. HBO eventually planned to air a special episode in the form of a movie to wrap up the storyline of the show. 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. The movie premiered on June 2, 2016 at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco and was eventually aired on July 23, 2016.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||January 19, 2014||March 9, 2014|
|2||10||January 11, 2015||March 22, 2015|
|The Movie||June 26, 2016 (Frameline Film Festival)|
July 23, 2016 (HBO)
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." On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season holds an average of 73% based on 27 reviews, indicating generally favorable reviews. The second season received an aggregate score of 77% on Metacritic and 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.
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" 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."
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." Sonia Saraiya of Variety described the finale film as "moving and beautiful", and Jon Frosch of The Hollywood Reporter called it "essential viewing".
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. However, ratings improved as the season progressed. Ratings reached a series high in the sixth episode, attracting 519,000 viewers, up by 50% compared to the premiere episode. As of February 23, 2014, Looking had averaged 2 million weekly viewers.
This section does not cite any sources. (November 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|2014||4th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series||Lauren Weedman||Nominated|
|NALIP Awards||Lupe Award for Breakthrough Performance||Raúl Castillo||Won|
|Imagen Awards||Best Actor||Raúl Castillo||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Frankie J. Alvarez||Nominated|
|Gold Derby TV Awards||Best Comedy Actor||Jonathan Groff||Nominated|
|EWwy Awards||Best Actor in a Comedy Series||Jonathan Groff||Nominated|
|OUT100||TV Show of the Year||Jonathan Groff
|Attitude Awards||TV Show of the Year||Looking||Won|
|NewNowNext Awards||Best New Television Series||Looking||Won|
|Best New Television Actor||Jonathan Groff||Won|
|2015||Dorian Awards||LGBTQ TV Show of the Year||Looking||Nominated|
|Unsung TV Show of the Year||Looking||Nominated|
|TV Director of the Year||Andrew Haigh||Nominated|
|Artios Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Television Pilot Comedy||Carmen Cuba
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Comedy Series||Looking||Nominated|
|Screen Nation Film and Television Awards||Male Performance in TV||O. T. Fagbenle||Nominated|
|NAMIC Vision Awards||Best Performance - Comedy||Raúl Castillo||Won|
|Frankie J. Alvarez||Nominated|
|Imagen Awards||Best Primetime Television Program - Drama||Looking||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Raúl Castillo||Nominated|
|Gold Derby TV Awards||Best Comedy Actor||Jonathan Groff||Nominated|
|EWwy Awards||Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Lauren Weedman||Nominated|
|2016||Dorian Awards||LGBTQ TV Show of the Year||Looking||Nominated|
|Unsung TV Show of the Year||Looking||Won|
|Wilde Artist of the Year||Andrew Haigh||Nominated|
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Comedy Series||Looking||Nominated|
|2017||Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series||Looking: The Movie||Nominated|
Looking premiered on HBO Canada at the same time as the United States, with Australia's Showcase premiering the series on January 20, 2014. In New Zealand, SoHo premiered the series on January 23, 2014. Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom and Ireland premiered it on January 27, 2014, opening to 0.067 million viewers, with the highest rated episode attracting 0.129 million for episode three. The second season premiered on February 5, 2015. The series premiered on May 6, 2014 on M-Net in South Africa.
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