Further Tales of the City (2001) (Miniseries)

This miniseries adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s third “28 Babary Lane” book series entry is much stronger than its predecessor, 1998’s underwhelming “More Tales of the City.” This time, the show’s filming location of Montreal (substituting for San Francisco, which plays an integral part of the book series) isn’t as distracting thanks to the narrative’s location-hopping, and it also helps that the plot is stronger. The “Jonestown” angle initially seems peculiar but over the course of three hours the show manages to sell it rather well, highlighting its baffling, absurd horror by integrating it as an absurd,  “soap opera”-level development. The ensemble acting is strong as usual, with Sandra Oh making a great addition and a returning Jackie Burroughs stealing scenes left and right as the colorful Mother Mucca. The ending – which directly alludes to the approaching holocaust of AIDS circa 1981 – is powerfully bittersweet, which brings the series full circle from the thrill of 1970s liberation to the encroaching terror and never-ending grief of the modern plague of the 1980s.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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