BREAKING: “The L Word” Is Getting A Reboot, Bless Us Everyone

Your life’s about to be full of talking, laughing, loving, breathing, fighting, fucking, crying, and drinking again — because, my friends, that long-rumored The L Word reboot is really actually finally happening. The Hollywood Reporter broke the story this morning.

Eight years after the satisfying sixth season of every gal pal’s favorite crime series, Showtime is ready to revisit West Hollywood. Kate Moennig (Shane McCutcheon), Jennifer Beals (Bette Porter), Leisha Hailey (Alice Pieszecki) and Ilene Chaiken (Jenny Schecter’s murderer) will executive produce the new series. Three of those four women will also act in it, at least a little bit. Shane, Bette, and Alice will “help to connect to what is said to be a new ensemble of women, with viewers following their lives, loves and tribulations.” THR reports that other fan favorite characters “may appear,” and on that list of fan favorites is Dana Fairbanks, so maybe this thing’s going to be a zombie story? Fingers crossed!

Unlike the original series, Ilene Chaiken will not be the showrunner for The L Word: The New Class. She is tied up showrunning Empire at the moment. For a fresh take on the series, Showtime is “looking for someone with ties to the lesbian community to document how relationships, their lives and experiences have evolved today — as well as what has and hasn’t changed since the drama launched in 2004.”

WHO WILL IT BE?! Smart money’s on Ali Adler or Angela Robinson. I’d like to cast my personal vote for Brittani Nichols. Rhea Butcher is also making a very good case for herself and her wife, Cameron Esposito. Maybe you’ve heard of them.

This morning I had the chance to speak to Autostraddle CEO and editor in chief, Riese Bernard, about the forthcoming reboot. “WHAT,” she said, over Slack while eating her breakfast. Bernard, you may remember, founded Autostraddle after recapping The L Word for six seasons on her personal blog. Yesterday The Washington Post listed The L Word and Autostraddle, along with The Advocate, as three of the most transformative pieces of modern media for queer women, so it’s fitting that Bernard told me between bites of oatmeal that “This is interesting” and “I’m worried” and “I look forward to recapping this nonsense.”

“Nonsense” it may be, but I would also like to note that Riese Bernard, along with the rest of Autostraddle’s senior staff, stayed up until the wee hours of the morning several days in a row just a few weeks ago marathoning season five of The L Word, rewinding each sex scene and lamenting the fact that no woman has actually mounted another woman on television since then. We did talk. We did laugh. We did love. And even though there were moments too cringe-worthy for us to bear (every time anyone disrespected Max, which was every time anyone talked to or about Max, for example) it was a special experience watching a show made for us, starring women who sleep naked with other women like us, written and directed by women who have loved and had their hearts broken like us. TV has come a long way since 2004, but there are some experiences The L Word provided that no one has been able (or willing) to replicate.

So bring on the smooching! Bring on the fighting! Bring on the women claiming to not be about the drama while being all about nothing but the drama! How old is Angelica now? Have Bette and Shane learned to make decisions that aren’t solely and completely self-destructive? Did Lez Girls win an Oscar? Did Tasha finally realize she was too good for this friend group? Is Jenny clanking around in her and Tim’s old house like the Ghost of Lesbianism Past and Yet to Come? Who will play the Kristen Stewart character? So many questions only time can answer.

Until then:


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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Heather has written 586 articles for us.

196 Comments

  1. I feel like prior to possibly being traumatized by whatever ends up on our screens, there is a need for a predictive/fantasy “recap” series. Highlights to include AN IMMEDIATE SHARMEN REUNION, the permanent return of the sassy ghost of Dana Fairbanks, that whole Shenny thing being revealed as a fever dream, and Bette Porter saying “fuck” a minimum of fourteen times per episode. Y’know, so that we can have, in a way, the show we want and deserve but will in all likelihood not be delivered to us.

  2. Haha, thank you for the Jenny video Heather!

    If nothing else, I am excited for the community building this will bring. I hope everyone gathers together to watch the show, at their friend’s house that has showtime, instead of streaming online. That way we can all share our frustrations and excitement together real-time.

    Looking forward to the recaps and coming together as community in the comment sections.

  3. I just started hate rewatching The L Word last week, so this couldn’t come at a better time.

    My short list of people I want to see cast in this reboot:

    *Samira Wiley, except she doesn’t die and it’s wonderful.
    *Brittani Nichols
    *Laverne Cox, but only if they actually write a trans character properly this time.
    *Lena Waithe
    *Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher as a unit — they have to be married and their marriage should be near-perfect and without petty drama.
    *Kate McKinnon
    *Kristen Stewart, but all of her dialogue is just rehashed Shane lines.
    *Erin Daniels, but not as Dana. I want Erin Daniels as a totally new lesbian. It’s never addressed why this new lesbian looks exactly like Dana Fairbanks.
    *Tatiana Maslany. She has to be playing twins.
    *Dominique Provost Chalkley. Hopefully they film in a warmer climate so she’s comfortable whilst wearing crop tops in every scene.

  4. Personally, I never got into the show because it was kind of like the standard bearer for the “we have no idea where trans women fit in our community so we just won’t talk about them” paradigm. I’m glad to see it’s being rebooted… I just hope it will feature strong, relatable trans women characters this time around.

    • I was newly out and transitioning at the time and even I was disappointed that they made their one relevant trans character a man and cringing at how badly they handled him. Like, there are trans lesbians all over. I know trans men are inexplicably tied to the lesbian community and that that can’t really be undone, but is it so much to ask that we look at adding more queer WOMEN to the show first?

    • I agree, but at the same time first season had Lisa “the Male Lesbian,” which Ilene has said was based on someone she met who was working at Lilith Fair. If they called Lisa a genderqueer/non-binary(not sure if either words were really in the communities lexicon at the time) trans woman it would have been forward thinking. Plus, would have really helped other like me to find a community vs spend hours on the web figuring out who Lisa is and in turn who I am.

  5. Okay, in all seriousness, in an attempt to retrieve my brain from mush-land, a pro/con list:

    Pro:
    – Chaiken is not show running
    – JB, LH, and KM are back, as are their characters, and they are EPs
    – Jenny is (presumably) still dead)
    – Possibility of a Sharmen reunion
    – It’s 2017 and hopefully everyone has now learned their lesson about diversity on television
    – new cast members means new opportunities for diverse characters
    – in a post-Transparent world, maybe Max will get better treatment
    – at least there will be actual sex, right?
    – at least it’s a show all about queer women
    – Riese’s recaps are gonna be AMAAAZING, regardless.
    – my friends and I re gonna have a blast watching every second of this show, no matter how terrible it is

    Con:
    – Chaiken is still EP
    – Dana is (presumably) still dead
    – No way is Laurel Holloman returning for this, so likely no TiBette
    – It’s 2017 and no one has yet learned their lesson about diversity on television
    – New cast members means opportunity for more cis white women
    – no word on Daniela Sea yet, and even so, haven’t we moved past the era yet of cis people playing trans folks on tv?
    – so many better shows about queer people that could be made instead of this (GIVE MONEY TO HER STORY FFS)

    Guys, it’s be a DAY, let me tell you.

    • LET’S DO THIS:

      Pro/Con, Continued:

      Pro:

      -It’s 2017 and if they make another (damn near) all white version of The L Word, there are multiple venues in which they will be roasted for it. So I am going to be optimistic that they bow to public pressure ahead of time.

      -Bette Porter, but here me out: More Bette Porter.

      -Samira Wiley doesn’t have a regular gig right now (she is only reoccurring on Handmaiden’s Tale) and is available!

      -I’m pretty sure Sarah Shahi is available now too, meaning that Carmen might be able to finally get the happy ending she deserved.

      -I’m so hopeful that they do better by Max this time, and also add a trans woman to the cast.

      -Jenny’s already dead.

      Cons:

      -Dana’s already dead.

      -I have literally no trust or faith in anyone involved in this production, basically ever.

      Ultimately, like you said, it doesn’t matter. We are all going to watch. We are all going to cringe and cover our eyes and laugh and have time of our lives. I am so excited to bring back L Word Watch parties. SO EXCITED.

      • I watched The L Word the first time alone in my bedroom with the door closed and my headphones on, and I jumped three feet in the air and slammed my laptop shut whenever my housemates knocked on my door.

        This time around, I’m gonna watch every single episode with a group of queer friends and we are GOING TO HAVE A BLAST. Good or bad, we are all gonna watch the FUCK out of this thing.

        And that’s sort of what worries me, because they KNOW there IS no incentive to get it right. They’ll make money regardless.

        • I’d sneak upstairs to watch the first half of it on my brother’s tv before it was bedtime. Ultimate secrecy. I CAN WATCH ON ANY SCREEN I WANT NOW, ON REPEAT 😀 WITH OTHER PEOPLE 😀 WHO FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT IT AS I DO 😀

  6. I had a dream last night that this was coming back so I totally manifested this. You’re welcome.

    (Also, its important to note that in my dream, Shane and Carmen were holding hands and visiting Jenny’s grave with Bette)

  7. My first reaction was “oh no” because I hate reboots and just want dead things to stay dead (except Dana) but now I’m excited, for better or for worst, of the community that will come out of it.

    But also, now I have to rewatch the whole show and read Riese’s famous recaps while I do it!

  8. Oh my god I’m so excited. It’s probably going to be terrible, but I don’t care. I missed Bette, I missed Alice, I missed Shane, and those three are definitely coming back. And I missed all those great sex scenes and I missed seeing all those gay women on my screen. I’m excited, ans while I don’t expect them to do better, I hope that they do.

  9. This feels like a VERY GOOD TIME to remind everyone that Samira Wiley understands our excitement. Also, that I would give up my fictional first child to see Samira and Rose Rollins on screen together.

    (I really hope I did that right! I’ve never tried uploading images in comments before, but am so delirous about this obviously life changing news that I had to give it a try)

  10. in Riese’s words ….WHAT!!! I think I peed a little with excitement!!!! If this reboot is more in tune with really representing WOC and embraces intersectional feminism I think it could be perfect. It’s my TV Christmas. I can’t believe it’s really happening!

  11. Okay off the top of my head my dream casting to be the new characters are Jasika Nicole, Samira Wiley, Tatiana Maslany and Jamie Clayton. And for show runner an idea I can’t shake is find wherever Alice Wu is and get her to do cause Saving Face is my favorite lesbian film of all time!

  12. My old lady and I got right on this:

    Her: If they don’t get Kristen Stewart to play the tortured heartthrob…

    Me: I feel like all of our favorite actors are too goofy, but Kristen Stewart is a tortured heartthrob embodied. They should just cast all the  actual celesbians in KStews hook up circle. They’d get watchers for sure.
    Cara can be the new Helena.

    Her: True or True: Tegan & Sara performs the theme song?

    Me:  Omg yes!

    Her: Has Zoe Kravitz come out as pansexual yet?

    Me: What about the person from Parks & Recreation?

    Her: Aubrey Plaza!

    Me: The person who just came out

    Her: Oh yeah, Natalie Morales!

    Her: Samira Wiley as the new Tasha!

    Me: And what about Natasha Lyonne?

    Her: Well you can’t have Natash without Clea…

    Me: I know, but Clea would never.

    Her: I don’t know… She is way more visible and out over the past few years.

    Me: She probably thinks the show is trash. That’s the same reason I wouldn’t suggest Carrie Brownstein

    Her: Carrie will make a cameo as a no-nonsense literary professor who one of the youngsters lusts over.
    Clea owns the bar where they all kick it.
    “The Galaxy” 😂😂😂

  13. Holy shit Heather I just had a thought, get Lindsey Shaw to be the new lesbian who just moved to LA from “back east” to be the swim coach at UCLA and she’s mysterious and she’s been through some shit she doesn’t like to talk about, and she makes all the local girls swoon and want to be the one to break through her shell.

  14. “and Ilene Chaiken (Jenny Schecter’s murderer)”

    omg

    “Unlike the original series, Ilene Chaiken will not be the showrunner for The L Word: The New Class.”

    OMG

    “Is Jenny clanking around in her and Tim’s old house like the Ghost of Lesbianism Past and Yet to Come?”

    O M G O M G O M G

    “How old is Angelica now?”

    ANCIENT. SHE’S A GRANDMOTHER NOW (haha kc and elka JOOOKES)

    STOP I’M TOO EXCITED

  15. I’m less excited for the show and more excited for the dream casting that’s going on here and what it’s allowing me to imagine.

    Could we not have a central cis white male character this time around? See: Tim, the creepy roommate who videotaped them without consent, Angus, etc. Maybe no significant straight cis men at all? Nobody is here for them!

  16. If this is true, I really hope Kit Porter(Pam Grier) is on the show still. That and they film it in LA, vs saying it’s LA but filmed in Vancouver for the most part. Plus it’s LA give me a more diversity, like Asian(we could have her trying to find love in K-town, or maybe have Carmen play Iranian), Latin, and Black queers that are well represented in the city. Also, it’s LA why wasn’t there more shots of them by the coast, and drives through DTLA(which has a great Latinx lgbtq bar), and Silverlake?

  17. If someone has already submitted this idea I’ll 100% go fuck myself, but OMG, BELLA THORNE AS THE NEW GENERATION’S ANSWER TO JENNY. But like, skipping over the version of her with the Tim/Marina/awful creative writing class type of business and fast-forwarding straight to full garish nightmare mode. For some reason, that just seems to fit.

  18. I can’t wait for this! I hope we get the good things about the original run (e.g. black and brown women actually existing and being real characters and not getting killed or used as background characters) as well as improvements on some of the things got wrong the first time.

    Also I hope to god Jenny doesn’t come back as a goddamn ghost, because Jenny WOULD come back as a goddamn ghost.

  19. It would be GREAT if we actually had some MOC ladies too. “Boo” on OITNB is NOT enough for TV. That was the one thing that I hated about The L Word (the most). Every single woman they used was beautiful but also built to excite the male gaze. Except for Kit, all of the women were thin and “femme” looking. Bring us some “Butch” beauties, please!

  20. Raise your got damn hand if you find yourself in a COMPLETLY different place regarding your (queer) politics upon first watching this show during its time and now.

    I remember being a baby gay on AfterEllen sorting some feelings out that I had towards girls bought the first season and my life changed for ever. I found this site and omg, I’m a grown ass queer/gay lady and seeing this I just feel all kinds of emotions.

    Also I seeing how the original run was during the Bush term, with Obama we were “okay.” Now with Trump, omg the cultural ramifications are going to outstanding in my gay little world. OMG MY GAY WORD!

  21. I am psyched that there are archives of the original recaps so i don’t have to ever watch season 6!! I have been reading AS since it was Riese’s original recap blog and I think that was the first time I really consumed media in the collective hate watch way that is normal now. Very strange and nice to be coming full circle with this website.

  22. I have so many mixed feelings about this, let me see if I can coherently break them down.
    So yay, the show is coming back with a new cast of characters but will I love them like I loved the original? Also yay again Ilene will NOT run things this time around. Hopefully the person they do get to run things will learn from previous mistakes. And I think the big 3, Kate, Leisha and Jennifer hated pretty much everything that us fans hated about the show so maybe they will actually be involved in making it better for fans and their EP credit is not just a vanity title.
    They’ll also be making appearances but how? and Dana’s still dead right, so how can Erin Daniels come back.
    Unless they erase everything after mid-season 3 and Dana is living the retired tennis life at a B&B her and Lara opened in Paris. Alice is finally a published author, Shane chased after Carmen and begged for her forgiveness and Bette and Tina are 2 power women with Bette having run for some kind of office.
    Okay I stand corrected, I am a little more excited than I originally thought about this. But seriously Ilene keep away.
    And new showrunner, who ever you may be, feel free to use some of these ideas. k thanks bye.

    • You know and I know that Emily Andras could use a big paycheck.

      At the least, she should have veto power over show running decisions.
      Showrunner: “Yo, Emily, how’s this plot twist?”
      Andras: “That’s a trope, you fools!”

      Pay her one million dollars just to do that.

  23. You know,I love all of you guys for basically conceptualizing and writing the biggest crossover real life/favorite TV characters show in the comments.
    To throw my hat into the ring: Carmen will make a reappearance as a star DJ buying a house in the neighborhood with her wife, a free spirited painter, represented by Bette, played by none other than Amy Acker.
    Also hanging out at the Planet( which serves a lot of coffee during the day) College roommates played by Alycia Debnam Carey, whose poli sci professor is played by Lucy Lawless, and Eliza Taylor, a med student who has a complicated relationship with her mother.

  24. I’m confused as to if it’s a sequel or a reboot, as THR can’t seem to decide within a sentence:

    “Should the sequel move ahead, the trio would appear on the reboot with their respective characters helping to connect to what is said to be a new ensemble of women, with viewers following their lives, loves and tribulations.”

  25. If Kate, Jennifer, and Leisha AREN’T reading this comment thread, they’re really making their work a lot harder for themselves because you people are brilliant and I’m not sure how you do it because I still can’t get past AHHHHHHHH. Except to say that if Rhea and Cameron aren’t involved, that AHHHHHHHH gets less thrilled and more angsty.

  26. Can we all just agree that, even if this show is a total disappointment, the ideas popping up in this thread are a) gold and b) enough material to spawn like 2000 shows in which ladies of all kinds get to romance and mount other ladies of all kinds?

    That potential is making this all worth it for me. That and Jennifer Beals gracing my TV screen.

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