After a 15 year hiatus, Noah, Alex, Ricky and Chance reentered our lives as if they’d never left. The reunion special—“Noah’s Arc: The Rona Chronicles,” which streamed live on YouTube and Facebook on Sunday, drew over 50,000 viewers on YouTube alone and provided some much needed nostalgia for fans of the show who were around during its initial run on LOGO IN 2005. Patrik-Ian Polk, creator, writer and director of the groundbreaking television series assembled all of the original cast members along with notable LGBTQ performers and allies, Wanda Sykes, Jennia Fredrique, Wilson Cruz, Titus Burgess and Richard Brooks for the pilot episode of a potential third season. The story picks up ten years after the nuptials of Noah and Wade and in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Polk, a hardcore Janet Jackson fan, turns up the heat at the onset of the new episode by replacing the beloved Adriana Evans theme song “Remember The Love” with Jackson’s “Gon B’ Alright” from her 2015 “Unbreakable” album, accompanied by actor, dancer and choreographer Christian Vincent (Ricky).
As art imitates life in quarantine, the entire episode is shot virtually. We learn that Noah(Darryl Stephens) and Wade(Jensen Atwood) are expecting their first child and the couple are faced with the dilemma of which partner will take time off from work and a lucrative deal with Netflix in order to raise their first born child via surrogate. Chance (Doug Spearman) is now the Chair of the political science department at a prestigious University in Mississippi and Eddie (Jonathan Julian) and Kenya (who has now blossomed into a young woman) are in Florida with Eddie’s mother. Ricky (Christian Vincent), is still Ricky— single, on the prowl and as sex positive as ever. And Alex (Rodney Chester) and Trey (Gregory Keith) are continuing to raise their child OJ, who now identifies as nonbinary. Trey is also on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic as a first responder.
One of the most emotionally impactful moments of the episode occurred between Chester and Burgess, who are introduced as onscreen siblings. Burgess summed up in one line the importance of Black LGBTQ visibility and the importance of “Noah’s Arc” as a possibility model for the lives of Black gay men who witnessed the birth of the show and who are now discovering it for the first time.
The reunion special was a #1 trending topic on Twitter on Sunday, ousting Kanye West and his wannabe presidential antics from the number one spot.
Here’s what fans had to say about the show:
MOBI NYC shared fan video testimonials of the impact of the show on Black gay men, many of whom saw themselves reflected on screen for the first time through “Noah’s Arc.”
The reunion special also included a Q&A with the cast, hosted by Karamo Brown (Queer Eye) and streamed on Entertainment Weekly’s website.
This moment was for the culture. We asked for years and our wish was finally granted. Now we just need Netflix or some other streaming giant to revive the show and give it the multiple seasons it deserves.
“The Rona Chronicles Original Soundtrack will be available to stream on all major music platforms on July 7.