Sex is on the brain for TV networks. Maybe that doesn't seem like anything new, since premium cable has been pandering to our desire to see more skin and realistic sexual scenarios for quite a while, but it does seem that more risks are being taken when it comes to what and how those scripts are developed. But for every Girls, we also get a Hung—something that feels tepid and false and sadly safe. With HBO preparing to introduce us to a contemporary gay world with Looking, there's news that the man who helped jumpstart it all, Russell T. Davies, is back with what is sure to be the most unusual new ideas to blow the rest out of the water.
According to THR, Davies—who shocked audiences when his Queer as Folk series showed promiscuous gay men in Manchester and later revived the Doctor Who franchise (even introducing gay and bisexual characters)—has signed a deal with BBC's Channel4 for two new dramas, to be titled Cucumber and Banana. They are said to be about the "passions and pitfalls of 21st-century gay life." A third series, titled Tofu, is a factual webseries, and is billed as "an anarchic online guide to sex" and will be "inspired by the dramas each week."
"I once read about a scientific institute which had studied the male erection," Davies explained. "It divided the hard-on into four categories, from soft to hard. One, tofu. Two, peeled banana. Three, banana. And four, cucumber. Right there and then, I knew I had my drama. And it's a joy to be back with Channel 4 and [U.K. production banner] RED to tell these stories."
As Piers Wenger, Channel 4's head of drama, said:
"No one can look into the heart and soul of modern relationships quite like Russell, and across Channel 4, E4 and online, he paints an unflinching and forensic portrait of how our sex lives affect us all. It might be 15 years since Queer as Folk, but he has made it more than worth the wait."
According to the network, "Cucumber is eight hourlong episodes for Channel 4 and follows 46-year-old Henry and his long-suffering boyfriend Lance." They have a disastrous date night—"involving a death, a threesome, two police cars and the Glee Christmas Album"—and then "Henry's old life shatters, and his new one begins." Channel 4 said "Banana will follow the lives of characters orbiting around Henry in Cucumber, in eight 30-minute episodes," and is told from "young lesbian Scotty's first love to 19-year-old Dean's mysterious family secrets," covering "50 shades of gay, and beyond."
The series will begin filming in spring 2014 in Manchester for broadcast later in the year. It appears Cucumber was originally developed with BBC Worldwide for Showtime—which broadcast the U.S. remake of Queer as Folk and put the premium cable network on the map for the LGBT community—so perhaps we'll be seeing them both sometime in the near future (if people don't just snag them online first).