“It’s a Sin” is a miniseries you’re going to want to watch: bold, witty, and wrenching AIDS Drama. It’s a chronicle of four friends during a decade in which everything changed, including the rise of AIDS.
Created by Russel T Davis (Queer As Folk), the series starts in London early 1980s and ends early 1990s. Davies has said that he pulled from his own experiences as a 20-something gay man in the UK in the 1980s and drawing inspiration from people he knew. Ritchie Tozer (Olly Alexander) was inspired by Davies’ real friend, actor Dursley McLinden who died of AIDS in 1995. Also, Jill Baxter (Lydia West) is loosely based on actor Jill Nalder, who was an AIDS activist.
Side note: Jill is AN ANGEL in this show. Lydia West pulls all the punches to make you cry, smile, and feel the pain each time.
The series’ setting affects its substance, touching on the shortcomings of the National Health Service in UK and bigoted laws like the notorious Section 28, which remained in effect until 2003.
Watching It’s a Sin, certain scenes look queasily familiar: Jill rubbing down a countertop because it’s not yet clear how the virus spreads; Ritchie buying into conspiracy theories; another character struggling to get a test, let alone a diagnosis, let alone treatment.
Should you watch it?
This is a show about what pandemics do to our friendships; to our capacity for physical intimacy; to our fear of other people’s bodies. Its most literal truths are less in the characters than in the ways they communicate.
The AIDS crisis may be long past its peak, but the raw emotions remain.