"I moved here in 1966. I suppose it was a different place then. But in some ways, not at all," says Olympia Dukakis's Anna Madrigal, the de facto matriarch of Barbary Lane, in the new trailer for Netflix's Tales of the City reboot. The line sets up the connection between past and present for the beloved franchise.
The 1993 Tales of the City miniseries, based on Armistead Maupin’s novel, was a revelation of queer representation when it aired on PBS. Now the franchise has stepped into the 21st century with a Netflix redux that honors the original with Laura Linney reprising her role as Mary Ann, whose wide-eyed young woman in the big city circa the '70s was the anchor of the book and original series.
Dukakis also returns in the role of the trans character Anna Madrigal at a time when there is pushback against cisgender actors playing trans. However, the new series seeks to represent an even wider array of LGBTQ people and has cast several trans actors and actresses, including Jen Richards to portray the young Anna Madrigal.
The plot synopsis for the new series from Netflix is as follows:
"Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City begins a new chapter in the beloved story. Mary Ann returns to present-day San Francisco and is reunited with her daughter Shawna and ex-husband Brian, twenty years after leaving them behind to pursue her career. Fleeing the midlife crisis that her picture-perfect Connecticut life created, Mary Ann is quickly drawn back into the orbit of Anna Madrigal , her chosen family and a new generation of queer young residents living at 28 Barbary Lane.”
Out Orange Is the New Black writer Lauren Morelli is the showrunner on the series, which costars Paul Gross reprising the role of Brian, Ellen Page as Mary Ann’s daughter Shawna, A Fantastic Woman star Daniela Vega, RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Caldwell Tidicue (Bob the Drag Queen), Murray Bartlett and Matthew Risch from Looking, Russian Doll's Charlie Barnett, May Hong, Garcia, and Zosia Mamet from Girls.
The new trailer highlights the various kinds of relationships, both romantic and platoni,c from the longtime friendship between Linney's Mary Ann and Bartlett's Michael to Michael's relationship with his young boyfriend Ben (Barnett) to Page's Shawna exploring intimacy with Mamet's Claire and more.
The new Tales of the City premieres on Netflix June 7.