One of the best LGBTQ series currently airing isn’t found on HBO, Showtime or FX. You’ll have to look to Netflix — that streaming service-turned-cornucopia of brilliant original content — to find EastSiders, a series that for three seasons has treated us to “sex, lies and Silver Lake.” While the series has been lauded plenty over those three seasons, last week was one for the record books: six EastSiders Daytime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Daytime Digital Drama Series, Outstanding Writing and Directing, Outstanding Actor and Outstanding Supporting Actor.
The third season of EastSiders took viewers on a literal cross-country adventure, having shot on location in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and California. And it couldn’t have happened if not for the fans of EastSiders, who raised over $250,000 on Kickstarter to see Season 3 come to fruition.
“We’re incredibly grateful to have tripled the number of nominations for the show from last season. It means a lot to be recognized by the Television Academy,” says Kit Williamson, star and executive producer of the series. “We really tried to step our pussies up with Season 3, driving across the country with a skeleton crew and shooting on location in 16 states, and I’m so proud of everyone’s work, and grateful to Netflix for bringing the show to a huge international audience!”
All three seasons are currently translated into nearly 30 languages, and in addition to Netflix and DVD, EastSiders is available worldwide through WolfeOnDemand.com and Vimeo as well as other streaming services.
Van Hansis, the show’s other lead actor, tells Hornet he’s “excited and grateful” for the honor. “And I’m thrilled the show racked up six nominations in total. EastSiders is a really special show to me and is one of the projects I’m proudest of in my career. To see how far it has gone, and how it resonates with people across the world is inspiring. I love this series and all the awesome people behind it. I’m really glad other people do, too.”
This marks Hansis’s second EastSiders Daytime Emmy nomination and his fifth total, the three others for his portrayal of Luke Snyder on As the World Turns.
John Halbach, husband of Williamson and another of the show’s executive producers, echoes the sentiment of his cast mates. “I’m so excited that our show was recognized with so many nominations. We’re a really small, independent production, so to be able to say the series has now been nominated for 8 Emmy Awards over the last couple of years is a really cool seal of approval,” he says. “No matter what happens, I’m looking forward to drinking way too much white wine and celebrating with the gang. And hopefully we’ll get a few more people to check out the show in the process.”
EastSiders is known for its amazing cast, which features super-talented names like Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat), Willam (Drag Race, Nip/Tuck), Wilson Cruz (Star Trek Discovery), Tuc Watkins (Desperate Housewives) and Traci Lords. Also Stephen Guarino, one of the breakout stars of The Big Gay Sketch Show, who adds a heap of humor to the series.
“This nomination means many things: A paid-for Uber ride to North Hollywood, a reason to go to Big Wangs on the corner and get the all-you-can-choke-on wings special (celery not included), but more so a chance to fight a good friend also in the category to the death (RIP John Halbach),” Guarino tells Hornet. “Awards are meant to inspire, to guide others, and to place next to the nightstand so that tricks say ‘Hey, is that an Emmy?’ as they reach for the lube. I hope I win, because I hate losing.”
On a more earnest note, Guarino took time to ponder what these EastSiders Daytime Emmy noms mean for the broader sphere of queer content. “It’s proof that our voices matter and our gay stories are drama worthy,” he says.