Review of "Tales of the City: 20th Anniversary Edition" From The TV MegaSite

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Tales of the City: 20th Anniversary Edition (1993)

 Review by Suzanne Lanoue 9/1/13

This is a wonderful, wonderful miniseries. I love miniseries, anyway, especially the great epic ones they had in the 70's and 80's, but even the ones today, like "The Hatfields and McCoys".  Somehow I missed this one in 1993.  Probably because it was on PBS. I didn't hear about it much. This was my loss because this is so great.

The story takes place in San Francisco and was originally written for the newspaper there.  All of the actors are wonderful. If you only know Thomas Gibson from "Criminal Minds", you will be really surprised at his performance here as a young, sexy, unhappy gay husband.  Laura Linney, who's always great anyway, stars as the young, naive Mary Ann. We see her progress into a more sophisticated girl of the city during the series. Donald Moffat and Olympia Dukakis play these older people that we watch fall in love. Chloe Webb plays another young woman, Mona. Barbara Garrick does a wonderful job as an unhappy wife. (Soap opera fans will recognize her as the crazy Allison Perkins from "One Life to Live"!) Billy Campbell plays a small role. There are many others. It's a large ensemble cast. The city itself is also a character, in a way.

If you've ever watched "Queer As Folk", then this miniseries will remind you a bit of that. I think that the creators of that show probably watched this miniseries. It's a bit of a soap opera, but that's okay. It's more like literature combined with soap opera. It's a great drama but also has lots of comedy (and a little tragedy). If you grew up in the 70's, you will no doubt love it like I do. It has great music and it captures the time brilliantly. I was in high school during this time period, but in Southern California. Yet I still can relate to it a bit.

This 20th Anniversary Edition is a great DVD to have, too. There are lots of audio commentaries by some of the actors, as well as with author Armistead Maupin and Director Alastair Reid. There are some behind the scenes clips as well and a nice insert that's worth reading. It tells all about how the movie came about. I wish there were more extras, actually. But it's still worth getting.

How much do I love this? It's like a great book that you never want to end. It is a book, too, and I've definitely got to read it.

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Page updated 11/5/13

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