TV’s Looking had a slightly rough ride, getting as many detractors as fans, partly because we’d finally got a gay-themed show that took its characters seriously, but by treating its characters as flawed people, it couldn’t represent everything to everyone. And when it didn’t match up to what people’s own conception of exactly what a gay-themed show should be (who often seemed to want plaster saint gays), it got bashed. That translated into the fact it never found a huge audience, so we got two seasons of the show and a movie to wrap things up, but that’s it.
However, it has got a big enough following that it’s inspired a hardback coffee-table book, limited to 1,000 first run copies.
The book is relatively simple, filled with a plethora of pictures of the cast and crew, taken from across the show’s life. There are some really great images of the likes of Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett, Russell Tovey and Raul Castillo, both in character and working on the set. Indeed, purely as a pictorial record of the show and its San Francisco setting, it does a great job.
Of course, there have to be some words too, starting off with a nice foreword from Armistead Maupin. The rest of the book is made up largely of quotes from the cast and crew. However, it does have a decent thematic structure so that it’s not just a load of random snippets. The first part of the book is essentially a rundown of the show, starting with a look at how it got off the ground, before moving into introductions to the characters, the episodes, and how everyone fits together, with plenty of quotes from those involved giving their thoughts about everything.
The final parts of the book are titled ‘Behind-The-Scenes’ and ‘Making Of’, but they’re pretty much the same, and tend to consist of interesting snippets of what people had to say that didn’t quite fit anywhere else, as well as allowing some of the other crew members to get involved.
There’s not a vast amount more to it than that, but it’s certainly a nice looking book, and a decent memento for fans of the show and the actors. Are you likely to be re-reading it over and over again religiously? No. But it includes some interesting thoughts from the actors and makers – both about the show itself and its place as mainstream gay-themed entertainment – which add a little context. It certainly won’t look bad on your bookshelf – although it is admittedly pretty pricey.
Overall Verdict: Perfect for Looking fans, with plenty of great pictures of the cast and crew, accompanied by some great quotes.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac
Looking: The Book is available from www.firstthirdbooks.com