I think we can officially call a wrap on fall TV. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions these last few months, huh? We lost Sara Lance on Arrow (but we’re getting her back). We lost Charlie on Supernatural (but we’re probably getting her back too). The show I was most excited about (Gotham) let me down in a major way, and the show I was most skeptical about (Jane the Virgin) became my favorite new series of the whole season. None of the sitcoms with leading lesbian/bi characters (One Big Happy, Marry Me, Weird Loners) survived. Kalinda departed from The Good Wife with a scrap of fire in tact. Recurring characters Haddie and Crickett from Parenthood and Hart of Dixie rode off into the sunset with their shows. Santana and Brittany from Glee did, too, but at least they were married!
ABC Family’s summer programming starts in just two weeks, which means Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters, and Chasing Life will be back. Plus, other lesbian summer favorites like Faking It, Defiance, Rookie Blue, Under the Dome, and ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK.
MTV’s Scream is supposed to feature a lesbian character, also!
Next Monday, I’ll post a preview of all the queer TV coming up this summer, but first, let’s see these last few shows across the finish line.
Jane the Virgin
Mondays on The CW at 9:00 p.m.
Jane the Virgin wrapped up a brilliant freshman season last Monday night. I cannot say enough good things about this show. Luisa is only in the finale for a second, as a sounding board for Rafael to decide he wants to sell his father’s business/hotel so he can be the father his baby deserves. Usually, I’d be like, “Well, the queer characters was in a little less than half the episodes and one of the major season-long plots is a straight love triangle, so this isn’t really essential viewing,” but Jane the Virgin is a thing I have never seen on TV before and I think it’s worth all your time. It features so many different (and different kinds) of relationships between well-rounded Latina characters. It gives almost as much weight to Jane’s career as it does to her family life and romantic life. It’s also just really fun to watch. The pace is breathless, the plot is sometimes high level telenovela bonkers, and the emotional punches almost always land.
In the last moments of the finale, notorious crime lord/Luisa’s former stepmom-lover Sin Rostro kidnaps Jane’s brand new baby, so it seems like next season is going to land at full throttle, just like this one. I can’t wait.
Wednesdays on The CW at 8:00 p.m.
There are two Arrow things we need to talk about.
One: Nyssa survived the finale and didn’t consummate her marriage to Oliver and didn’t fall in love with him and it seems very likely that she’s going to be a big factor in season four.
Oliver finally reveals that he’s been faking his brainwashing this whole time, and of course it’s in an airplane like a million miles in the sky when he finally comes clean. The ensuing scuffle finally sees Nyssa get her groove back, and also it sees the plane get busted. So Ra’s takes the only parachute (again, of course) and dips out, leaving Oliver and Nyssa to crash land the thing. They do. And they survive. And they spend the rest of the episode trying to track down Ra’s so they can take their revenge on him. In the end, it’s Oliver who kills him (and then, amazingly, it is Felicity who saves Oliver in the A.T.O.M. (fake Iron Man) suit.) Shockingly, it’s a very girl powered finale. Laurel kicks some asses too.
Nyssa is pissed because she doesn’t get to kill her father, and then doubly pissed when Merlyn — the guy responsible for Sara’s death — takes over the League and forces her to bow before him. But there’s something about her face before she bends her knee that says Merlyn will be at the end of one of her arrows before it’s all said and done.
Two: Sara’s alive! Caity Lotz is returning as White Canary in the CW’s latest Arrow tie-in, Legends of Tomorrow. Apparently, there’s big crossover potential here. Katie Cassidy is coming over full time and Nyssa will be able to move between shows at the writers’ leisure. Here’s a trailer:
That? Is the power of lesbian fandom.
Tuesdays on TVLand at 10:00 p.m.
This week’s Younger features Maggie in the role of Grown-Up Best Friend, offering Liza a moment’s respite from the world where her boyfriend’s bedroom doesn’t have a door and her career duties involve babysitting her boss’ love interest’s kids while he heads out to some black tie book awards. I’d love it if Younger could find a way to incorporate Maggie into the story as more than a time-out pep-talker, but it’s tricky because three of the four main characters all work for the same publishing company, and so much of the show is (awesomely) career-focused. Watching it is a fun way to spend 22 minutes a week, though, and a queer character on TV Land is still a big dang deal.
Newlyweds: The First Year
Tuesdays on Bravo at 10:00 p.m.
Last week was the last episode of Newlyweds: The First Year, and Sam and Laura spent the entire episode celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary at the place where they got married, only with their adorable puppies this time. Honestly, their parts of the episode were so gay and wonderful and a thousand times better than the other couples’ baby stuff. They just lounged around on the dock and in a hammock and talked about how much they love each other, how much they’ve grown since they met in college, how they’ll be together forever. Also: skinny dipping. They were so unlike what I was expecting, and I mean that in the best possible way. Just a couple of lesbians who adore each other and want to be happy. If The Real L Word had been like this, I wouldn’t have cancelled Showtime five minutes into the first episode.
Thursdays on ABC at 8:00 p.m.
As I mentioned last week, Jenn had a death in her family and she’s still busy taking care of everyone, so she won’t be able to recap the season 11 finale of Grey’s Anatomy. That’s okay, though, because there wasn’t any queer stuff to write about. The time jump between Derek’s death and these last two episodes is going to make things interesting in terms of Arizona told Callie’s story in season 12. It’s been over a year. What we’ve seen these last two weeks is that they can work together like grown-ups now. They make a good team again. And they can tease each other about dating/sleeping with the interns in a playful way without any underlying passive aggressiveness. Maybe they really do need to grow apart to grow back together. Shonda said to trust the journey, whatever that means. I just want them to be okay!
Thursdays on Syfy at 10:00 p.m.
On last week’s Syfy showing of Lost Girl, it was Bo’s birthday!
Tamsin gives her a stuffed cat that is supposed to bring her good luck, and it does. But also, it starts turning her into a literal cat. Bo laps up a martini with her tongue, falls in a hole and lands on all fours, the whole thing. Bo and Lauren and Tamsin team up to find the missing Oracles, which seems like a fun road trip, but basically is just Lauren and Tamsin having a pissing contest for Bo’s affection. In the end, Bo does find the Oracles. They’re blind now, which is sinister, and all of Lauren’s crushed elevator patients are coming back to life. After the adventure, Tamsin gives Bo the birthday gift of wrapping her naked self up in a red bow for sexytime scissor shenanigans. They do the deed and then Bo confesses to Tamsin that her dad is Hades and she was born in hell. Just your standard succubus pillow talk, nbd, whatever.
Mondays on A&E
Hello bluebirds, it’s me Riese. Rumor has it that there’s this new show The Returned on A&E with some lesbian characters in it or something? Well, the rumors are true: The Returned has two lesbian characters in its ensemble, Julie and Nikki, and their sexual orientation is, as it so often seems to be these days, a minor fact of their existence, presented without much fanfare. It’s honestly quite rare to have an ensemble cast with two queer females and zero queer men, so hurrah!
The cast of The Returned also includes the following notable humans: Billy Chenoweth from Six Feet Under, Jesús and Maryann from True Blood, Sara Ryan from “Breaking the Girls,” Tyrol and Helena Cain from Battlestar, Commander Shumway from The 100, Catherine Rothberg from The L Word and — as of the most recent episode — Myka Bering from Warehouse 13! What a star-studded event for passionate watchers of queer-ish television.
The Returned is an adaptation of a French series by the same name, produced by the same guy who did Lost. It’s about a small town where terrible shit happens way too often, resulting in myriad untimely deaths. However, NOW THE DEAD ARE RETURNING. It’s captivating and dynamic storytelling with a stellar cast (although it lacks racial diversity in a major way), and is enormously better than last year’s ABC flop, Resurrection, which had a similar premise but quickly spun off the rails. The worst thing about this show is that the A&E app is the worst app I’ve ever used in my life and watching one episode on it takes about three hours, a ceremony which’ll include at least 45 Geico commercials and several slow-mo Benihana ads. Another cool thing this app does is that commercials will interrupt mid-scene without warning, and then play half a commercial, and then return to the scene? Furthermore, the closed captions show up about five minutes after they’re spoken onscreen, which is a bit disorienting. For example:
Sandrine Holt (The L Word) plays Dr. Julie Han and Agnes Brucker (Breaking the Girls) plays Deputy Nikki Banks. They’re lesbian lovers but it’s unclear how serious their off-and-on relationship is. We learn that Julie survived an (attempted?) homicide some years back when she left a party early (Nikki stayed behind) and was attacked on her way home. In the first episode of The Returned, Julie takes in “Victor,” a small boy who was murdered during a home invasion 29 years ago and continues returning to the town to get taken in by another innocent well-meaning woman, at which point he proceeds to pursue his hobbies of “looking creepy,” causing bus crashes, and making people kill themselves. Nikki suspects something is up with “Victor” and is slowly uncovering the details of his history in this town, but Julie refuses to accept his awfulness until he tries to murder Nikki. I actually thought he’d succeeded until this episode when Julie gets rid of Victor and picks Nikki up at the hospital. BLESS US ALL, THE LESBIAN IS NOT DEAD. Although, on this show, being dead isn’t necessarily the end of your story, anyhow!
Meanwhile, Hellen Goddard (Michelle Forbes) is scheming and Rowan marries Tommy, even though I think Tommy is the worst. Also in this week’s episode, journalist Kara Pine (played by Joanne Kelly) rolls into town in a pick-up truck and a tank top, looking to do a story on the returning dead, a phenomenon which’s not, she says, isolated to this town. I think it must be an artifact!
Saturday Night Live
Saturdays on NBC at 11:30 p.m.
On a dicey episode of SNL hosted by Louis C.K., Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant played a couple in a sketch about the forgotten TV gem Whoops I Married a Lesbian. It hilarious and depressing. You’ll see why.
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See you next week, strawberry milkshakes!