Sin is in.

It’s the 1980’s in London and four young gay men from different backgrounds are about to become friends at the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

Ritchie Tozer (Olly Alexander) is headed to London to study law, but after meeting Jill (Lydia West) and Ash (Nathaniel Curtis), he shifts his focus to drama. Roscoe (Omari Douglas), the son of Nigerian immigrants leaves his oppressively religious family to fulfill his destiny in the city. And Colin (Callum Scott Howells), a sweet boy from the country, begins his work career at a haberdashery where he is taken under the wing of Henry (Neil Patrick Harris). Eventually, over the course of a year the five of them become friends and learn to take care of each other while the threat of the “gay cancer” begins to affect their lives.

Created by Russell T. Davies, who is most notably responsible for Queer as Folk and the revival of Doctor Who, shows the dark side of what was going on. While I can’t speak for Davies, but as he was the right age, I assume this is a semi-autobiographical recounting of what he was witnessing at the time. How the times were changing for queer acceptance in the world but the fight was far from over.

While probably not intentional as we are currently going through a global pandemic, this series acknowledges the deniers of AIDS who claimed it was a conspiracy against them, that its just a way of the heterosexual community to control homosexuals. It’s a Sin takes a harsh look at something that today’s generation might not realize wasn’t long ago. Wonderfully acted by a group of young actors, who brilliantly express the bright eyed optimism of youth and how harsh everything can be once you get out into it. This show is timely and topical and doesn’t gloss over how rough it was, how terrible things got and how we still have some healing and work left to do.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

IT’S A SIN is available to watch on HBO Max.

Review – ‘It’s a Sin’

Reviewed online, February 18, 2021. Rating: MA15+. Running time: 5 x 46 min.

PRODUCTION: (USA) A HBO Max release of a Red Production Company production. Producer: Phil Collinson. Executive producers: Russell T. Davies, Peter Hoar, Nicola Shindler.

CREW: Director: Peter Hoar. Screenplay: Russell T. Davies. Cinematography: David Katznelson. Editing: Sarah Brewerton. Music: Murray Gold.

CAST: Olly Alexander, Nathaniel Curtis, Shaun Dooley, Omari Douglas, Lydia West, Keeley Hawes, Neil Ashton, Callum Scott Howells, Toto Bruin, David Carlyle.

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