As “Looking” nears its Sunday (Jan. 19) premiere on HBO, the series, which follows a group of gay friends as they navigate life in San Francisco, has garnered plenty of comparisons to that other HBO series about a group of friends in an iconic city: “Girls.”

“I think the cool thing about the comparisons to ‘Girls’ or ‘Queer as Folk’ or ‘Sex and the City’ is that there’s maybe an audience crossover. If you liked those shows, chances are you might like our show,” Jonathan Groff, who stars as Patrick, tells Zap2it at “Looking’s” Los Angeles premiere. “But the writing and tone and style are very different, and I think once people see the show and they start to see a couple of episodes and get, sort of, what we’re trying to express, they’ll understand it’s sort of a whole thing unto itself.”

“I think people need something to relate it to, so they just take things that are popular and are in that demographic’s mind, so they go there,” guest actor T.J. Linnard adds, dismissing the comparisons.

While Raul Castillo, who plays Richie, hopes “Looking” is as successful as the shows it has been compared to, he also wants the show to subvert some expectations. “I don’t think it’s like anything that I’ve seen on TV,” he tells us. “I think those are great shows and I hope that people fall in love with these characters the way they did with characters on those shows … and I hope we find a similar kind of audience, and I hope that we surprise some people.”

Set in the The City by the Bay, “Looking” was fortunate enough to be able to shoot entirely on location, giving the series a more realistic and richer feeling. “The city was phenomenal,” Groff says. “The city is like another character, if not the main character, of our show. We had a blast living there.”

Adds Castillo, “It’s a dream kind of city to be working in. It’s so beautiful in so many ways.”

“Looking” premieres Sunday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

Posted by:Billy Nilles