Relative newcomer Michael Lannan and acclaimed director Andrew Haigh ("Weekend") have created a remarkable new series with "Looking" that just wrapped up its first season Sunday night. Already picked up by HBO for another season, the show centers on Patrick (Jonathan Groff), a somewhat naive video game developer in San Francisco on the cusp of turning 30 and finally coming into his own. He's surrounded by two friends who have some issues of their own; Dom (Murray Bartlett) and Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez).  

The series premiered to strong critical reviews in January, but received some surprising criticism from gay journalists for it's focus on one specific part of the community. Groff says in a separate interview with HitFix that they were all prepared for this because of the hype surrounding the show that it was going to be the gay "Sex and the City" or the gay "GIRLS." And this was before it even began filming.  Over the last month or so, however, that criticism has died down as fans have fallen for Patrick, his boss Kevin (Russell Tovey) and Richie (Raúl Castillo). Oh, and did we mention the finale ended with all three of them in the middle of a complicated love triangle?

With that in mind, and having already seen the final episode, we chatted with Lannan last week about where things might go next season, whether the troubled Agustin might get some redemption and whether a certain Captain of the Enterprise might return for season two.


HitFix: So congratulations on getting picked up for season two.

Michael Lannan: Yeah, thank you so much.  We're so excited that we get to keep telling the stories of these guys in this world.

I'd actually heard a rumor that you had been picked up a week or so before the announcement came.  When did you hear that it was actually going to happen?

I would say reheard about two hours before the rest of the world did.  We didn't know that much sooner.

Were you nervous?

You know, I don't know if I was nervous, but I just really wanted us to get picked up again.  HBO has always been really invested in the show and really supportive and really proud.  So, we had, good feelings about it.  We were hopeful.  It's a crazy business and one just never knows until they actually say let's do a second season, so yeah.

When you wrote the show it was set up so with a cliffhanger (or two) in the finale. Were you doing this because everyone told you that's what you needed to do no matter what. That you just have to keep thinking that there would be a season two?

I don't know.  I think we talked about what would make it exciting for us.  And we felt like it was a show that needed to be more than one season and so it just felt right to kind of not resolve anyone's story completely.  I don't think it was so much of like strategizing for a second season as just like kind of telling a good story that made people want to know more or made us want to know more.  It felt like Patrick had learned a lot on his journey, but he still had a lot more to learn.  And I think it was sort of the same for all of our characters.

A number of people have mentioned to me they wish the show was an hour instead of just 30 minutes. Is there any chance of that happening? Have the parameters changed for the next season at all?

(Laughs.) I hate to disappoint your friends but, yes, we will be a half hour again.  I mean that's just kind of the way the show has developed and it's going to stay in the half hour realm.  I think that is like the greatest compliment ever though.  Something else said that to me that they wished it was an hour and we couldn't be more flattered that people want to feel like it's not enough and they want more.

Do you know if you'll have more episodes though?  For example, when "GIRLS" came back and this year they had 12. They had more episodes than they did in each of the first two seasons.

Yes, there is a chance there will be more than eight.  We're still waiting to hear how many exactly, but we're hopeful that we'll get more episodes to tell a bigger story, but we just don't know yet.

Going back to the end of the finale, you've set up a love triangle between Patrick, Richie and Kevin.  Now, in your own head, do you already have that storyline plotted out for season two?

Well, we have discussed it, we being Andrew [Haigh], our fantastic writing team and I.  We've talked about it in the most preliminary way.  We learned a lot about our characters in the first season so we have a lot of ideas.  But we're still working out exactly what's happening with Patrick and Richie and what's happening with Patrick and Kevin.  But I think fans of Richie and Kevin will both be very pleased with [the outcome]/

I'm expecting Team Richie and Team Kevin shirts to start appearing this summer.

I don't know if I've seen a T-shirt yet, but I feel like it's building.  People are taking sides and people feel very strongly about both of them and I couldn't be more pleased.  I think we're all so happy with the way that people are responding to Richie and people are also really excited about Kevin and Patrick and I think that's also the greatest complement.  It helps to have tremendous performers in all of those roles and I think that's really key.  Raúl Castillo has been so awesome this season.  Russell Tovey is so dashing and witty and cool and sexy.  And Jonathan is such an incredible performer.  Besides being so cute himself he has great chemistry with those guys.

I think it Jonathan has given a remarkable performance, but I think the second best performance on the show is Raúl's.  I think he is amazing.

Yeah, he is.  I'm so delighted that people are getting to discover him.  He's just so real.  Like when I'm watching him I'm like "Jesus.  I feel like I know this person." He does not seem like an actor at all to me.  I don't know if you know much about him, but he comes out of New York theater world and was part of the Labyrinth Theater Group, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz's company, and so I'm just so delighted that the rest of the world outside of the theater world is getting to see him perform.

With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.