Here, Try These Semi-Sweet Morsels of Queerish TV Info From the 2018 TCAs I’ve Prepared For You

Ah hello my friends. Good news: The Television Critics Association Winter 2018 Press Tour wrapped up yesterday, and during this event we learned some things about some teevee shows that may be relevant to your interests! Let’s talk about those things, shall we?


2 Dope Queens — February 2nd, HBO

  • Based on the podcast by Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson, 2 Dope Queens consists of four themed hourlong specials, directed by out lesbian Tig Notaro (deadline)
  • Phoebe: “We wanted a special that represents not only women, but people of color and queer people.”
  • Guest appearances include Jon Stewart, Sarah Jessica Parker and Tituss Burgess

Living Biblically – February 26th, CBS

  • [Camryn] Manheim is playing a lesbian raised in a religious family by a father who felt “a woman’s place was in the home and to submit to the husband.” (source: danielle turchiano)

Life Sentence – March 7th, The CW

(Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images)

  • Stella’s Mom Ida “finds the courage to explore her sexuality as a bisexual woman because of her daughter’s courage to live her life to the fullest.” (Black Girl Geeks)
  • She will come out as bisexual in the pilot. The director “feels it was important to flesh her out as a full woman – not closeted.” (Danielle Turchiano)

Heathers – March 7th, Paramount Network

Still nervous about this idea but here we are! Out gay actor Brendan Scannell, who plays genderqueer Heather Duke, said,  “The idea is that power corrupts and that everyone is at their core an asshole and concerned for themseleves. In the movie three beautiful women where wrecking havoc on the school; that was new and hadn’t been done before. Our modern retelling centers around marginalized communities — a plus-size, a Black girl and a queer — trashing everyone around them.”

  • The tone is “dark” and “edgy” and “isn’t a responsible series about teen bullying.” Instead it aims to “show the characters as they really are.” (dt)
  • Jasmine Matthews, who plays black lesbian character Heather McNamara, said she identifies with her character, recalling that in high school, “I was bullied but also the bullier. It was a confusing time for me.”
  • It’s an anthology series, so this cast is just a one-season journey.
  • Also, more than one but less than five of the characters who were on the TCA stage will die.
  • Shannon Doherty will guest in three episodes, including the first scene of the first episode.

The Handmaid’s Tale – April 25th, Hulu

According to Variety:

  • Season Two will be even darker than Season One, and “will offer a deeper look at the social and political conflicts that led to Gilead’s succession from the United States.”
  • It will go beyond what the novel presented, but remain faithful to Atwood’s description to make sure everything that happens in the book has happened at some point in history, somewhere.
  • Marissa Tomei has a guest role.
  • Offred will be on the run, heading to “the colonies,” described as “a pretty forbidding world.”
  • Elizabeth Moss: “So much of this season is about motherhood. We’ve talked a lot about the impending birth of the child that’s growing inside of her as a bit of a ticking time bomb, The complications are really wonderful to explore. She does have the baby, but it gets taken away from her. She can’t be its mother. It makes for good drama.”
  • Bruce Miller: “It’s easy in a show like ours to come up with perverse cruelties toward women and then it just turns into pornography. You have to keep tethered to the world. It’s a loser on every front to be imagining evil.”

Vida – May 6th, Starz

This is shaping up to be one of the year’s queerest adventures — and you can read all about it in the post about Vida I published earlier this morning because I had too many words to say about it for this post! But, in sum: a queer Latinx showrunner, a behind-the-scenes crew that is heavily POC, queer and female and several queer leads including one who is also masculine-of-center.

Sweetbitter – May 6th, Starz

Starz’s Sweetbitter is inspired by a 2016 bestseller about a 22-year-old who escapes Kansas for New York and becomes a backwaiter at a swanky Union Square restaurant, subsequently discovering food, wine, cocaine, good sex, terrible sex, sexual harassment and so much more. I read the book in a day, and related to a lot of it, but we’re all here today because of Ariel, the lesbian backwaiter from the book who’ll be in the show, too.

  • Season One’s theme is “intoxication” and it will cover a time span of just two weeks.
  • Apparently this panel turned into questions about how this show can exist in the #MeToo era which, based on my reading of the book, seems like a severe misapplication of concern! It also took time away from what I would’ve liked everybody to discuss instead, which was LESBIAN ACTION.

Roseanne- March 27th

Roseanne was a groundbreaking television visionary in the ’80s who gave a voice to working-class families, challenged norms of what women had to look like to earn a place on television, and introduced some of the first-ever lesbian and bisexual female characters ever. But Roseanne turns out to be a really bad person, and has maybe always been. Recently Roseanne actively espoused trans misogynist points of view and apparently voted for Donald Trump. Her character in the Roseanne reboot will do the same. Vanity Fair points out that despite the working-class setting, it’s still hard to imagine the Roseanne we met in the 80s being a Trump supporter in the ’10s.

Pose – TBD

Photo by David Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (9308388c)
Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Steven Canals, Janet Mock, Evan Peters, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek, Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Ryan Jamaal Swain
FX ‘Pose’ TV show panel, TCA Winter Press Tour, Los Angeles, USA – 05 Jan 2018

Pose is set in 1987 New York and the ballroom scene specifically, and promises more LGBTQ+ characters than ever before.

  • The five trans women of color leads will be played by MJ Rodriguez (Nurse Jackie, Saturday Church), Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar (Mr. Robot, Transparent) and Angelica Ross (Her Story, Claws).
  • Janet Mock is a writer/producer and told reporters that the women of “Pose” are “pretty full embodied in terms of their gender identities.” She emphasized that they “are beyond the struggle with their bodies, with people calling them by their right name. These are people who are creating new ways of having family — chosen family through the ballroom networks.”
  • Ryan Murphy: “The show is about the search for being authentic, about creating opportunities. We’re past an era of straight men playing these roles. It’s time to think differently and offer more opportunities to people who want to work. Many of this cast have never been in front of the camera before.”
  • “Bronx born-and-raised queer Afro-latino” Steven Canals, Pose Creator: “I spent years being told this show was too niche, there was no audience for it, and where would a show like this live?”
  • Murphy feels obligated to use his success to open doors for other members of the LGBTQ+ community, recalling shooting ballroom scenes with 60 trans women in them and likened doing a search for series stars to “the search for Scarlett O’Hara.”
  • There’s a scene where a character named Ryan comes out to his father and is beaten with a belt, which’s from Murphy’s real life experience.
  • Ryan Murphy: “Now is the time to tell this story about this group of people who are sadly are more and more disenfranchised and cut off. We wanted to celebrate them. They’re part of our family. The timing of this show was very important.”

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Riese is the 36-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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8 Comments

  1. I don’t really have much interest in watching a Roseanne reboot that completely goes against what that character was for so many years just because the real Roseanne’s politics got worse and worse over the years.

    However, did they say how they were going to address the absence of the character Mark? Glenn Quinn passed away some years ago.

  2. It’s so weird to me that the Paramount Network traces it’s roots back to The Nashville Network, which only played country music, and movies & TV shows marketed towards a southern(and possible mid-west audience). Now the network has an out actress playing genderqueer, on a show not marketed towards men. Times have really changed.

  3. Stella’s Mom Ida “finds the courage to explore her sexuality as a bisexual woman because of her daughter’s courage to live her life to the fullest.”

    Now wait, I was under the impression that the mother had put her life on hold because Lucy was dying, and that after Lucy goes into remission, she’s not going to live a lie anymore.

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