Author Armistead Maupin's serialized tale of sexual infidelity and identity in 1970s San Francisco becomes a sprawling comic melodrama in this much-acclaimed miniseries. Produced by PBS and Britain's Channel 4, Tales of the City covers in its five hours the interlocking stories of more than a dozen main characters, many of whom reside at 28 Barbary Lane, a quaint multi-apartment house overseen by the open-minded but enigmatic Mrs. Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis). Among her stable of residents are the acerbic, unlucky-in-love Mona Ramsey (Chloe Webb) and her occasional roommate Michael Tolliver (Marcus D'Amico), who's her constant companion -- that is, when he's not shacked up with one of an endless series of short-term boyfriends. Mrs. Madrigal's newest charge is the apple-cheeked Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney), a naïve young woman from the Midwest who's come to San Francisco to visit her friend Connie (Parker Posey), but ends up staying, in search of both a career and a husband. It isn't long before she finds the former; unfortunately, along with it comes the unwanted advances of her boss Beauchamp Day (Thomas Gibson), a philandering executive unhappily married to his boss Edgar's daughter, DeDe (Barbara Garrick). Meanwhile, the regal Edgar (Donald Moffat) happens to be conducting an affair of his own with none other than Mrs. Madrigal. Also starring Bill Campbell and Paul Gross, Tales of the City was first aired on Channel 4 in the spring of 1993 and made its PBS premiere in the winter of 1994, when it garnered some of the network's highest ratings ever, amidst vocal protest of the show's risqué content.
by Michael Hastings synopsis