Provided by HBO

For all of its merits, television has gotten pretty invariable. There are political dramas, zombie shows, sitcoms and cop shows. While these are all good and fine, it can get a bit boring when every show seems to be exactly the same and innovative stories are nowhere to be found. Look no further. HBO’s latest dramedy, “Looking,” follows the often humorous lives of three close gay friends living in San Francisco and their conquests and challenges in business, friendship and love.

At the center of the show are Patrick, a young, handsome and hopelessly romantic video game designer; Augustín, a “committed” young “artist”; and Dom, an aging wine waiter who dreams of owning his own restaurant. The first season depicts these characters’ goals and their determination (or lack thereof) to see them through. The show is full of awkward situations (like getting a phone call during a blow job), office relationships (you didn’t know he was your new boss when you met him), psychotic ex-boyfriends (maybe you shouldn’t have lent him $2,000) and, of course, heartbreak (it happens to everyone). Each of the show’s main characters has a different story to tell, but they each contain a set of qualities that makes them relatable regardless of your gender or sexuality.

In the months leading up to the show’s premiere, many were anticipating the eventual delivery of a gay version of HBO’s own “Sex and the City” or “Girls,” but “Looking” has proven itself to be a show of its own. It isn’t merely a gay emulation or adaptation of what came before it. It instead presents an original story with a unique and contemporary take on life and love in a big city full of strangers. From awkward first dates to spur-of-the-moment Grindr hook ups, “Looking” portrays the dating scene for the contemporary gay man. It hopes to show that, while different in practice, love and relationships are universal by nature. Having said that, “Looking” doesn’t represent the lives of all gay men nor does it try to perpetuate any stereotypes. The show tends to keep the issues (both in bed and on the street) diverse yet relatable. With “Looking,” you’re not getting a half-hour program riddled with subjects like HIV, anal sex and heroin — things often found in mainstream gay productions. Rather, the show sets out to portray the normal lives of three everyday men who happen to be gay, and the challenges they face as people — and not just gays — in the world.

As a premium service provider, HBO has always offered content that’s both pioneering and full of merit. From the network behind such culturally and critically acclaimed shows like “Sex and the City” and “The Wire,” there is a certain caliber of quality to be expected. “Looking” certainly delivers. The show isn’t just some cheap Lifetime original; it’s a quality show with good writing, believable acting and HBO’s hallmark cinematography. This is what’s so significant about the half-hour program. It takes seriously the narrative told through the lives of gay men, and it delivers a kind of show not seen since Showtime’s “Queer as Folk,” which ended nine years ago. Given the current social and political climate of the U.S., HBO couldn’t have chosen a better time in history for a prime-time show chronicling the fictional lives of homosexuals. As evidence of this, HBO has already ordered a full 13-episode second season to premiere in 2015, no doubt in response to the growing viewership.

If you’re hungry for a new show that’s progressive and well-produced, go grab your gay (or straight) best friend and binge on “Looking” before the season finale at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.