For about two and half minutes a few months ago, Australia had a dedicated gay television network. Initially offered as part of SelecTV’s new package (a WIN TV-owned competitor to Foxtel), the creatively named Out TV was publicised on the company’s website and I, for one, signed up.
Maybe no one else did, or perhaps higher powers did a backflip, but Out TV disappeared seemingly without a trace. Actually a Canadian network (where else?), Out would have been an enormous step forward for gay awareness in Australia.
The gay network is an interesting beast. Some roll their eyes at the prospect of “gay only” businesses, but TV networks are constantly catering to smaller niche audiences, and an Australian gay channel makes more than perfect sense. Unfortunately, according to the decision makers, there just isn’t enough demand. The market for 24/7 weather reports or fashion shows, however, is booming.
Noah’s Arc is an example of how progressive gay entertainment can become when given the chance and resources. The pilot was produced independently, with a full series subsequently commissioned by US gay network Logo after it proved hugely popular at festivals (the unaired pilot is included as a special feature on the season 1 DVD). The show does have a tendency to be self-conscious, but it’s still very early days for the gay-themed TV drama.
Will & Grace adhered to the broader public’s view of how gay people should be, and then subtly bent them. Queer As Folk did its job well, and left once it had said what it wanted. Noah’s Arc is similar, but here we have writers and actors intent on telling us another side of the story – that of a close group of black guys in Los Angeles.
Noah is the young, cute, trusting and naive dreamboat. A little too precious at times, you may wish to shake him until he says something mean. An aspiring writer, he soon finds opportunity both professionally and personally in Wade, a hot hot hot boy currently working as a screenwriter for big-budget Vin Diesel type movies (well, of course he is!).
Alex is the male equivalent of Jennifer Hudson, wise-cracking, temper-teetering and prone to over-using the word “mmm-kay?”. The character of Chance may prove most interesting, however. An older fatherly type, in a long-term relationship, he’s not so much having commitment issues as he is finding it difficult to cope with change in a world he has constructed for himself. Ricky, meanwhile, provides the necessary dose of sluttiness as the sex-is-my-power clothes store manager.
Predictably, Australian shores won’t see Noah’s Arc. I ordered seasons 1 and 2 on DVD from the US, very nicely priced. And it can’t be too bad, as a movie version has reportedly gone into production. Stay tuned.
From bnews – www.bnews.net.au.

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