The NOLA-set reimagining of the iconic series Queer as Folk is here, and it is more topical than it’s ever been with a fresh, truly diverse cast.

The new version centers on a diverse group of friends in New Orleans whose lives are transformed in the aftermath of a tragedy.

Shadow and Act spoke to series stars Johnny Sibilly (Noah), Devin Way (Brodie), Jesse James Keitel (Ruthie), CG (Shar), Fin Argus (Mingus) and Ryan O’Connell (Julian), as well as showrunner Stephen Dunn and writer/EP Jaclyn Moore about the reimagining, how it stands out and some of the season’s biggest moments.

‘It’s just being human– and that, for me, was the most special thing I think,” Way told us of playing all aspects of Brodie. “As we go on in life, we feel like we have to wear a certain mask. I feel like as the series goes on, you see Brody slowly start to take off all these masks, and at the end, you really get a sense of just who he is and why he does what he does. So for me, that was really special.”

On how he relates to his character of Noah, Sibilly explained, “Noah is definitely on the messier end of the spectrum for me [laughs], but I will say that there’s [so many] human feelings that Noah goes through that I have been through– like the quest for love and just wanting to be heard and appreciated. I feel like that’s such a big thing as queer men that a lot of times we don’t ask for, but we seek and sometimes we find it in the roughest of places. And I also really relate to Noah in the fact that I don’t like to let other people see me sweat. And I feel like that can build up a lot of residue in the back if you don’t let it out. That’s something that he has to contend with, but I never want to judge him for it. Rather, I tried to understand why he is the way that he is, as Devin does as well with Brodie.”

Though Queer as Folk stood alone most of the time in its previous iterations on television, now there are few shows that center queer characters. But still in some merits, Queer as Folk is still standing out in the pack.

‘With the show, specifically this relationship [between Ruthie and Shar] is is really unique,” said Keitel. “The dynamics between Ruthie and Brody are really complicated and nuanced. We have multiple characters with different types of disabilities, and we get to see them and their sexuality explored in the show and in ways that I don’t know if that’s ever been seen on television before.”

“It’s very rare that a reboot can justify its existence beyond a cash grab,” O’Connell noted. And I feel like with Queer as Folk, it’s been 22 years, and a lot has changed in terms of what it means to be queer and the representation that’s out there. There is a lot of queerness in TV shows, but it’s very rare to get an all queer cast. It’s also a show that doesn’t explain queerness. We don’t explain things to straight people, we don’t hold their hand– so I think that was just a really important and a kind of rare creative opportunity to really kind of play in such a queer sandbox.”

The stars hope that the show reaches people beyond the community as well.

“It is not just about us, it’s about everyone watching,” said Sibilly. “It is about all the people that are trying to get their shows made. It is about all the queer creators that are writing about the show, that are behind the scenes– this is an opportunity for us to grow as a community, I think and I feel like a Queer as Folk is just another beautiful brick in our badass house as a queer community.”

Watch the full interviews below, but Spoiler alert: several actors breakdown key parts of the season, including affairs (especially that one involving Kim Cattrall’s Barbara), truths and more!