Looking is set in San Francisco, where it was also filmed. The series centers around three gay friends: Paddy (Jonathan Groff), a twenty-something video-game programmer looking for love; Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez), a former artist now adrift; and Dom (Murray Bartlett), a long-time waiter hoping to open his own restaurant.
The second season picks up a few months after the first season left off. Happily, HBO bumped up the length of this season for a total of ten episodes.
|Raúl Castillo, Murray Bartlett, Frankie J. Alvarez, Lauren Weedman,|
Jonathan Groff, Daniel Franzese (Photo: Drew Altizer Photography)
It was great to see Raúl Castillo returning as Richie, a barber who dated Paddy in the first season.
Lauren Weedman again plays Doris, the wise-cracking, no-nonsense ex-girlfriend of Dom's.
Daniel Franzese comes on board this season as Eddie, the first gay character on the show to self-identify as a bear and to be HIV positive.
|Frankie J. Alvarez, Jonathan Groff, Raúl Castillo, Murray Bartlett|
Creator/Co-Executive Producer Michael Lannan says Looking is about "looking for authentic ways of being in the world." During the Q&A session after the screening, he said it was no coincidence Paddy and the others find themselves at the beginning of each season outdoors and away from the noise of their city lives.
Director/Co-Executive Producer Andrew Haigh again skips the cliched, soaring shots of San Francisco's landmarks and tourist traps. Instead, he brings the camera down to street level, where the characters actually live in The City.
The intimacy Haigh thus creates is arresting, especially during the nude scenes: you are there with the characters and feel their emotional need to connect as their bodies connect and separate. (Yes, there is full-frontal male nudity this season.)
On the red carpet, I spoke briefly to the actors. Daniel Franzese was as affable as his character Eddie.
I enjoyed speaking with Lauren Weedman. She kept firing zingers one after another.
|Frankie J. Alvarez|
Frankie J. Alvarez had a sweet, intelligent focus not yet seen in his character, Agustin.
Frankie said not to give up on Agustín, be sure to keep watching the second season.
I haven't yet seen all ten episodes of the second season, but suspect Raúl Castillo's Richie will continue to be the emotionally centered man Paddy is seeking.
My camera battery died a moment before Murray Bartlett stepped over to me. I was happy he stopped to say hello.
|Cast on stage after screening first 2 episodes of |
LOOKING's second season (Photo: Drew Altizer Photography)
The cast and executive producers came on stage for a Q&A session with the audience. Here, Lauren Weedman admits she often goes off script and ad libs her lines.
|LOOKING's after party at Terra Gallery in SOMA|
The after party celebrating the premiere was at Terra Gallery.
|Michael Denison, Murray Bartlett and his friend|
When I walked up to Murray Bartlett, he said, "Nice to see you again," and posed for this photograph.
|Michael Denison and Jonathan Groff|
Jonathan Groff was surrounded by fans and press. I was very pleased he took a moment to pose with me.
|Christopher Turner, Michael Denison and Armistead Maupin|
If you're a fan of this blog, you know I recently interviewed Emmy and Peabody award-winning TV writer, director, producer Richard Kramer.
Richard worked with Armistead Maupin on the mini-series adaption of the first installment of Armistead's acclaimed book series, Tales of the City, about people living in San Francisco.
I am a huge fan of Tales, so I was thrilled to meet Armistead and his husband, Christopher Turner.
Like Tales, Looking draws you into a circle of friends you soon find yourself rooting for, as they live and love in San Francisco.
The second season of Looking premieres January 11, 2015 on HBO.