After having such a well-received first season, it’s fair to say there are high expectations for Sort Of season two. A Peabody Award, 13 nominations at the Canadian Screen Awards… Sort Of was picked up by HBO Max in the United States, Sky Comedy in the UK, and Stan in Australia. It was an incredible success for co-creators Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo – and Canadian television. With the wide reception of Sort Of and CityTV’s Transplant, Canadian TV seems to be entering a renaissance.
Sort Of season one was all about transition and identity. Finding who you are and feeling comfortable in that new self. Sabi (Bilal Baig) had to reconcile with their mom and command more respect from romantic partners, all while managing the mayhem at Bessy’s (Grace Lynn Kung) and Paul’s (Gray Powell) house after the accident. It was a gripping exploration of humanity.
Season two offers more of the same but better. The stakes are higher, the writing is more adventurous, and the actors are settled in their roles. Fans of the show won’t be disappointed.
Regulars from season one are back, but there are some new additions. Season two introduces Sabi’s father, Imran (Dhirendra), who come back from Dubai, 7en’s mother, Gaia (Amanda Cordner), and Wolf (Raymond Cham Jr.), Deenzie’s son. Exciting additions to the cast create new kinds of drama and conflict for Sabi and 7en; it also means the scope of Sort Of’s exploration can expand.
The focus of this season is love. Sabi has come to a grounded place with themselves and is now more open to accepting the love of others, may that be romantic or platonic. The journey for Sabi this season is about accepting love and understanding what stability is. The introduction of Olympia (Cassandra James) at the end of last season began the process of opening for Sabi. Still, with the introduction of Wolf, there is plenty for Sabi to explore this season romantically. Wolf and Olympia offer two paths, feelings and emotions; their characters are incredibly different.
Other themes of Sort Of season two may also hit home for its core audiences. Not only Sabi deals with financial instability, but a great majority of the characters do. And that instability beautifully echoes the humanity and relationships Sort Of portrays.
Aqsa (Supinder Wraich), Sabi’s sister, has to deal with the fallout of Sabi’s identity in their family and swallow some of Sabi’s bills. Their relationship hits the rocks this season with the added pressure from their father’s presence. Aqsa loves her family; her interests are to make peace, but that’s hard when your sibling’s identity stirs the opposite. Sabi’s family dynamic is incredible to watch unfold, rebuild, and then fall apart again – a series of events I’m sure a lot of non-binary people face.
In general, Sort Of’s world is expanding. We see more and learn more about Bessy and Paul’s children Violet (Kaya Kanashiro) and Henry (Aden Bedard). These children aren’t written like the wise child trope but are in tune with their parent’s emotions. Violet nor Henry are entirely ignorant or enlightened about the issues in their house, but like real children, they can sense it. It’s very clever, intuitive writing.
Sabi and 7en venture into new spaces. Queer relationships are given an even bigger spotlight and unapologetically indulged. There is never a cringe moment; the queerness of this show is genuine, in touch with the community and effectively represents the fun, flirty side as well as the raw, emotional and flawed side. The characters and relationships are three-dimensional, fully fleshed, and complex.
If you haven’t watched the first season of Sort Of, I strongly suggest you do. This show is only getting better with time. Sort Of season two premieres on CBC on November 15 at 9 pm ET and streams weekly for free with ads on CBC Gem. The second season will premiere in the US on December 1 on HBO Max. Don’t miss out on this brilliant show and the beginning of Canadian television’s renaissance!