Synopsis: The Fab Five head to historic Philadelphia to make over a new cast of everyday heroes, from a hardworking DJ to a struggling dog groomer.
Format: 10 episodes, streaming on Netflix, from Friday, June 5th.
Cast: Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness
Who would have thought back at the start of 2018 that a reboot of Queer Eye would be one of the best, heartwarming show being made? Not many but that exactly what happened and now after 4 seasons and a detour to Japan, the Fab Five is back bigger and arguably better than ever.
The tried and true format of the show is retained with the Fab 5 showing up for a few days to completely change someone’s life. Bobby makes over their living space, Tan fixes their wardrobe, Antoni gives advice on the food in their life, Jonathan provides grooming and skincare knowledge and Karamo helps them to deal with their personal issues. All of this is usual in the lead up to a big event, ranging from a big dinner to a wedding.
Once again, Bobby is the workhorse of the Fab 5 with him pulling off an amazing makeover each episode. Sure he has a team to help him but they manage to do in a short period of time things that other shows spend months working on. This season also sees him makeover a church, a gym, a restaurant and a shared living space, so he really had his work cut out for him.
The show again tries to find Antoni more to do. The joke is that all the other guys do these big life-changing things and then he comes in and teaches them one recipe. While the food on the show is great, and some of these scenes do more than just teach people a recipe, the role does seems a bit lesser. This leads to some bits that feel shoehorned in, like a tandem bike ride, a vintage shopping appearance and the constant petting of the new dog on set, Walter (RIP Bruley).
After two seasons in both Atlanta and Kansas City, this season sees the Fab 5 based out of Philadelphia, the birthplace of America. The change from a more rural setting to a suburban one gives the show a different feel and look but the big change is the interstitials of the Fab 5 between segments, which have been re-shot with them in 1700s themed attire.
This season features a number of wonderful heroes for our Fab 5 to help. There’s a gay pastor who is struggling with guilt over not coming out sooner, a mother who is dealing who is caring for her husband with ALS, a working mother who feels left out of her young daughter’s life and more. The “casting” this season is really great, with all the heroes really likable and open to the process, even if it can be a bit cringy when they try to use the Fab 5 vernacular. Even ones I thought I might not get invested in, like a New Jersey DJ who is struggling with comparing himself to his brothers and an 18-year-old activist who too committed to her work, won me over and warmed my heart.
With the structure of the show nailed down at this point, it is the stories of the heroes that make the show interesting and fresh and this season has the consistently best group of people in its run so far. Karamo does some great work this season helping to reconnect families together and teaching people to take care of themselves. At least 6 of the episodes had me misty-eyed at points, with the season front-loaded with a number of episodes that have emotionally impactful moments. It might have been nice for those to have been spread out a bit more for those who are just going to binge all 10 episodes in one sitting, but that is a small gripe. While I wouldn’t say that one of these episodes is my favourite of the series so far, the consistently high quality of these episodes means this season is the best one yet.