The 10-episode dramedy, based on Maupin’s acclaimed, nine-novel book series of the same name, is slated to debut on the streaming network June 7. (Catch the trailer, which dropped Tuesday, above.)
Starring Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis, the first book was adapted as the 1993 PBS miniseries “Tales of the City.” Showtime continued the saga with two additional installments, “More Tales of the City” and “Further Tales of the City,” in 1998 and 2001, respectively.
“Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City” will see Linney and Dukakis returning to the roles they originated on both the PBS and Showtime installments. The new version once again features Mary Ann (Linney), introduced in Maupin’s books and the original series as a naive Midwesterner lured to San Francisco in the 1970s. The saga followed Mary Ann as she settled into her new, more freewheeling life and bonded with her eccentric landlady, Anna Madrigal (Dukakis), as well as a host of colorful Bay Area characters, many of them LGBTQ.
The Netflix series finds a middle-aged Mary Ann returning to present-day San Francisco some 20 years after she relocated to Connecticut to further her career. Once there, she is reunited with members of her chosen family, including gay pal Michael “Mouse” Tolliver (Murray Bartlett of “Looking” fame).
The series also stars Ellen Page as Mary Ann’s daughter, Shawna Hawkins; Zosia Mamet as Claire Duncan; and the actor Garcia, who is nonbinary, as Jake, Madrigal’s caregiver who identifies as transgender.
In March, showrunner and executive producer Lauren Morelli said she believed the timing for a “Tales of the City” revival was right, given the 50th anniversary this June of the Stonewall uprising in New York ― historically viewed as the symbolic start of the LGBTQ rights movement.
To ensure the new series would feel authentic, an all-LGBTQ writing team was assigned to work on it, Morelli said. Meanwhile, modern San Francisco issues ― such as the encroachment of the tech industry and the city’s consistent ranking as one of the nation’s most expensive ― will also factor heavily into the plotlines.
“If we were going to do this, it needed to usher in a new generation of characters and then, hopefully, a younger audience,” she told Vanity Fair. “We know how starved the younger, queer community is for authentic representation. You want to create a world that looks like our world.”