Listen: ‘Tales of the City’ Producer Alan Poul Talks Updating the Show for 2019

Much has changed for the LGBT community since the 1993 release of the original TV adaptation of “Tales of the City,” something that producer Alan Poul took into account in revamping the LGBT classic in 2019.

Poul spoke with Variety‘s “TV Take” podcast about what’s new in the latest iteration of the show. “We had to keep pushing forward with the narrative,” Poul told Variety. Initially, there was talk of remaking the original, but Poul said he wanted the story to continue into present day. 

Although the show tackles contemporary topics, Poul believes it does so in a throwback way. “It’s bold in the way it is going back to an earlier way of storytelling — a more generous approach without the veil of cynicism,” he said. “I find that storytelling increasingly rare.” He listed “darkness,” “grittiness,” “snark” and “meta” as keywords of the current trend of storytelling. Poul describes “Tales” as “sincere.”

Poul said Netflix was always the first choice for the show. “They have a tremendous reputation for being artist friendly. For being invested in the voices in the creators and not in the commodified product. They also are fearless in regard to subject matter. They have no restrictions on language or sexual conduct,” said Poul. 

He appreciates the streaming service’s instant worldwide reach, which he believe will benefit LGBT people in countries with regressive policies. “They will be able to watch this show and see representation they can’t have at home,” Poul commented. 

Poul said the new “Tales” represents different opinions throughout the LGBT community. “[‘Tales of the City’ is] not always safe and politically correct and allows the fierce disagreements and different points of view within the queer community.” He added, “It’s a luxury now that we can fight with each other. It used to be a unified front because we were trying to progress against what seemed to be against an unmovable opposition.”

Poul wants the audience to extend beyond just LGBT viewers. “The world at large can see us in all of our incredible diversity and I mean diversity not only in gender and ethnicity but also diversity of philosophy,” said Poul. 

“Tales of the City” is available for streaming on Netflix.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • 'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to

    'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to Disney Plus

    Kermit, Miss Piggy and co. are coming to Disney Plus. A short-form unscripted series starring the goofy puppets is set to premiere on the forthcoming Disney streaming service in 2020. The news was announced at the Disney Plus D23 Expo event. The announcement came with a brief teaser of Kermit and Joe the Legal Weasel [...]

  • Succession HBO

    'Succession' Composer Nicholas Britell on Making Music for the One Percent

    The Roys, the media empire family at the heart of HBO’s “Succession,” are ridiculously rich. They’re manipulative and cruel. They’re also a bit delusional and absurd. When Nicholas Britell conceived the show’s score, he wanted to capture all of that. “I wrote in this almost late-1700s, dark classical zone,” says Britell, the Oscar-nominated composer of [...]

  • Ewan McGregor of 'American Pastoral'Variety and

    Ewan McGregor Confirms Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney Plus Series to Shoot Next Year

    Ewan McGregor has confirmed that he will be reprising the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi for a Disney Plus series centered around the powerful Jedi, after Variety previously reported that he was in talks for the series. At Disney biennial D23 convention in Anaheim, Calif. on Friday, McGregor provided more details about the prospective show and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content