How to watch Queer Eye – what’s it about and who’s in it?

Tissues at the ready: both the original and rebooted Queer Eye series are groundbreaking, uplifting, and heartstring-tugging

Queer Eye  (Netflix, BA)

Queer Eye’s 2003 premiere was a groundbreaking moment for American television and culture. When the first episode aired, the United States was still seven months away from its first legal same-sex marriage ceremony and queer people were almost non-existent on television.

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The Bravo original, which saw five gay men transform the life and style of a slovenly straight person, was a surprise ratings hit that had a lasting legacy on both the representation and wider acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in the public eye. A decade later, the series’ reboot —featuring a new Fab Five and more diverse clients— digs even deeper, transforming lives and communities while tackling everything from toxic masculinity to disability rights and Black Lives Matter.

How can I watch Queer Eye?

The original series of Queer Eye, also titled Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, is available on iTunes, Amazon Prime and NOW TV. The rebooted series is available on Netflix.

How many seasons of Queer Eye are there?

The original Bravo series, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (later shortened to Queer Eye) had five seasons which ranged from 10-30 episodes, and aired from 2003-2007.

In 2018, Netflix rebooted the franchise with a new cast and slightly different format. Four seasons have been released along with a number of specials and a miniseries set in Japan.

A fifth season is scheduled to debut in summer 2020, while a sixth is currently filming in Texas.

What is Queer Eye about?

In both series, the Fab Five visit a client, generally nominated by a friend or family member, who is in desperate need of transformation. After meeting the clients, the Fab Five —each with his own area of expertise— get to work, making over the client as well as his or her home, and giving advice and lessons in everything from cooking to fashion, usually in preparation for some big event. As they work, the Fab Five try to get to the emotional core of why the clients are so in need of change.

The original series, which took place in New York, was widely acclaimed and, at the time, the Fab Five’s mere presence was a statement. As original cast member Jai Rodriguez told The Guardian, “In 2003, being out was political.”

The reboot, which filmed in less historically queer-friendly places and small towns in the South and Midwest, has been overtly political. A season two episode featuring a police officer was lauded for its open discussion about the relationship between the police and people of colour in America.

The new series also digs deeper into the backstory and personal histories of the Fab Five, who often use their own life experience to connect with clients.

Like its stars, Queer Eye is positive, inspiring and uplifting. Have tissues handy—your heartstrings will be tugged.

Who are the Fab Five?

The original food and wine connoisseur Ted Allen launched his television career on Queer Eye. He has since appeared as a Top Chef judge and has hosted Food Detectives and Chopped for the Food Network.

Queer Eye’s new resident food expert is Antoni Porowski, a John Mayer look-alike and corgi enthusiast who at one point was Ted Allen’s personal assistant. The self-taught Canadian chef, also a former actor, recently opened up a restaurant in New York’s West Village.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Antoni Porowski attends the 70th Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
Antoni Porowski (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Since his stint as the first series’ fashion guru, Carson Kressley has been a red carpet fashion commentator, started his own fashion line, authored several books and hosted the US version of How to Look Good Naked. He is currently a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

New sartorial expert Tan France was born in Doncaster to Muslim Pakistani parents and grew up in a conservative household. Known for introducing the “French tuck” to the wider public, the British stylist and designer now lives in Utah with his American husband. France also hosts a YouTube series, Dressing Funny, in which he takes famous comedians shopping.

Tan France (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for GLAAD)
Tan France (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for GLAAD)

Following Queer Eye, grooming guru Kyan Douglas travelled the world, returning briefly to TLC to host Ten Years Younger. He also works as a style consultant on the Rachael Ray Show.

On the current series, grooming is left in the capable hands of effervescent stylist Jonathan Van Ness, the youngest of the Fab Five. Van Ness is also a podcast host and was the first male cheerleader at his Quincy Illinois high school. In the season four premiere, the Fab Five’s client is Van Ness’ former teacher.

Jonathan Van Ness (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Jonathan Van Ness (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)

The original design expert, Thom Filicia, still owns a successful design firm. He also launched a furniture line and a number of design books.

Bobby Berk’s home transformation reveals are often some of the most dramatic moments on the new series. Raised on a farm by a conservative Christian family, the self-made designer worked his way up from retail employee to creative director before launching his own brand.

Bobby Berk (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Netflix)
Bobby Berk (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images for Netflix)

Jai Rodriguez was working as an actor before being cast as the first Queer Eye culture vulture. He continues to act on stage and screen, and has also released an album of original music.

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The current culture expert, Karamo Brown, appeared as a housemate on MTV’s The Real World in 2004. The television host, father and activist also trained as a mental health worker and published a memoir in 2019.

Karamo Brown (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Absolut Elyx)
Karamo Brown (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Absolut Elyx)