The 1980s AIDS drama 'It's a Sin' is now available in the U.S. on HBO Max

Nathaniel Curtis as Ash Mukherjee, and Lydia West as Jill Baxter in "It's a Sin" on HBO Max.
Nathaniel Curtis as Ash Mukherjee, and Lydia West as Jill Baxter in "It's a Sin" on HBO Max. (Image credit: WarnerMedia)

It's A Sin — the drama from Russell T. Davies that highlights the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s through the eyes of a group of friends across the decade — is now available on HBO Max in the United States. (And the first episode is available on YouTube, too.) And it is one hell of a watch.

In our review of It's a Sin, Emma Fraser calls the series a "television masterpiece." The five-part series was a huge hit for Channel 4 in the UK and begins in 1981, with teens Ritchie (Olly Alexander), Roscoe (Omari Douglas) and Colin (Callum Scott Howells) meeting in London, with the deadly disease on the horizon. And while the concern over AIDS has lessened in recent years, the series perhaps foretold a little of what we've seen in the past 12 months.

From her review:

It’s A Sin is undoubtedly about the AIDS epidemic and was filmed before productions shut down in March last year due to COVID-19, but there is an eerie familiarity about ignored warnings, a lack of information, rumors of cures (including some very unpleasant suggestions), conspiracy theories, and a government floundering with its response. Partly, what this suggests is history is cyclical, but the cruelty of how the gay community was treated in the early days of the AIDS crisis cannot be ignored (or forgotten). 

Lest we forget the sins of the past, right?

As you might have guessed by the name of the series, It's a Sin also features a stellar soundtrack. The track of the same name from the Pet Shop Boys is the obvious one, but you'll also find cuts from Orchestral Manoeuvres, Kelly Marie, Soft Cell, The Teardrop Explodes, Blondie, Bronski Beat and more — all perfect for the period and the culture.

It's a Sin is a decided British series, for sure — and we've got a cheat sheet to keep us Yankees from being quite so lost. But look for a couple familiar faces as well, including Stephen Fry as conservative MP Arthur Garrison, and Neil Patrick Harris in an episode as well. 

But it's just one more hit show on HBO that absolutely is a must-watch.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.