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Movies & TV

21st Apr 2022

One of the best mini-series of recent years has just been added to Netflix

Rory Cashin

Be warned. You are going to cry. A LOT.

First released on Channel 4 in January 2021 – right around the time none of us could really go too far from our homes – and then shown on HBO in the States in February, It’s A Sin very quickly became one of the most talked-about shows of recent years.

Created by Russell T. Davies (Queer As Folk, Doctor Who, A Very British Scandal), it tells the story of three 18-year-olds – Ritchie (Olly Alexander), Colin (Callum Scott Howells) and Roscoe (Omari Douglas) – who leave their homes to begin a new life in London. But before they realise it, they find themselves struck by a virus, which is being ignored by most of the world.

Tackling the HIV/AIDS crisis in a unique way, the show also featured Keeley Hawes, Shaun Dooley, Tracy Ann Oberman, Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Fry, with everyone delivering some phenomenal performances paired with Davies’ brilliant writing, resulting in an end product that both celebrating queer culture and the people living in it, as well as the tragedy of the world’s inaction against the deadly virus.

The mini-series featured on JOE’s own Top 10 Shows of 2021 list, as well as scoring 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and 91% on Metacritic, with many critics calling it one of the best and most important shows of recent years.

IndieWire – “As a vital television document about AIDS and the hard-earned freedoms that were crushed on human and systemic terms – and as purely just a piece of masterful writing and acting – It’s a Sin is right up there with Tony Kushner’s epic Angels in America as must-see queer viewing. It’s capable at once of breaking your heart, putting it back, then breaking it all over again.”

The Hollywood Reporter – “The cast’s performances are uniformly terrific, with Alexander and West in particular embodying the youthful radiance the virus slowly steals from its victims. It’s a Sin remembers how brightly, and how briefly, they lived.”

Variety – “The series demonstrates once again Davies’ masterful control of tone, shifting in five episodes from joy to the harder-won pleasures of solidarity in the face of crisis to – finally – tragedy. Davies has once again made great and painful art about time’s passage, and has earned the attention of anyone who wants to learn more about what the 1980s were like for gay people – or wants to connect, deeply, with a raw and rounded humanity in all its beauty, complexity, and fleeting joy.”

The New York Times – “Davies’s skill with structure is on full display here; the first instalment is an immaculate introduction that builds and builds and ends with a wallop. His consistent cleverness, rather than coming off glib, charges the work with immediacy and verve. The storytelling is urgent, with few wasted moments. This is a stirring requiem for the dead, shot through with defiant life.”

All five episodes of It’s A Sin are available to watch on Netflix right now.

Clip via HBO Max

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