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
- 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
- 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.
- Out lesbian actress Sara Gilbert will play Darlene and be Executive Producer.
- Early casting calls inspired reporters to announce that it would introduce the first non-binary character on Network TV… but Sara Gilbert told Entertainment Weekly that her TV son is not transgender, he just likes dressing in feminine clothing.
- Darlene and David are separated in the reboot, will this mean Darlene will become the lesbian she always dressed like she was?
- The TCA panel turned into an interrogation of Roseanne’s choice to portray her titular character as a Trump voter and her defense of Trump. Which she deserved.
- Sara Gilbert: “Part of what’s going on [in America] is that people feel like they can’t disagree and still love each other or still talk to each other. So to me it was a great opportunity to have a family divided by politics but still full of a lot of love. The working class has been underrepresented in politics and on television, and this just felt like a wonderful opportunity to give a voice to some of those people.”
Pose – TBD
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.”