Happy two days until Christmas Eve! Let’s see about some TV!
We are still updating our streaming archives, and this week Riese has Apple TV+’s Best TV Shows With Queer Characters! Stef reflected on how Fellow Travelers flattens history. Natalie watched Netflix’s docuseries Under Pressure, which re-centers what you thought you knew about the World Cup and the USWNT. Don’t miss the first look at Kristen Stewart’s new bodybuilder love story that Kayla described as the embodiment of “Be Gay, Do Crimes.” Kayla also wrote about climate activist thriller How To Blow Up a Pipeline is actually her favorite Christmas movie. And Carmen worked through her complicated emotions on queerness and the new The Color Purple.
(No spoilers here but: did you watch the Survivor finale yet?)
We’re also wrapping up our End of Year Culture Lists (there’s 1-2 more next, week, but they won’t be tv/film focused), so please don’t forget to check out:
- The Best Movies of 2023 According to Autostraddle Readers
- 9 of the Best Queer Animation Wins of 2023
- The 25 Best TV Shows of 2023 with Lesbian, Queer and Trans Characters brought to you lovingly by your TV Team!
And here’s what else!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ In Raising Kanan this week, Jukebox is busy preparing for her big audition (a national call to join a girl group), in the process restoring her strained relationship with both her dad and her Uncle Lou. Unfortunately in the end, her dad is still there for her but Uncle Lou? A drunk incident ends with him in lock up the day of the audition. He had her music with him, so Jukebox ends up ruining her audition, another break in her growing up to be the villain we all know she will one day become. — Carmen
+ My (queer) friend Alyssa made a sweet gay Christmas short film called Paper Planes and you can watch it now. Highly recommend taking 15 minutes to feel some queer joy. — Valerie Anne
Rap Sh!t 208: “Under Construction”
Written by Natalie
After retreating to Maui following Lord AK’s self-immolation, Francois Boom returns this week and finally delivers on one of his promises: a studio session with Pardison “Pardi” Fontaine. Personally, I don’t trust Francois or anyone who’d fumble the bag with Meghan Thee Stallion, so already I’m skeptical about how this session is ’bout to go. But, by the end of their session, they’ve got the framework of their new hit single, “BBW (Bad Bitch Working),” and Shawna and Mia leave excited about the future.
Things only get better for the duo as they sit down with Alex and Chastity to hear the terms of a would-be deal with Red Bull. It sounds ideal to Shawna — full creative control and ownership of their masters, with access to all of Red Bull’s resources — but when it comes to the money, Alex is short on specifics, which leaves Mia (rightfully) skeptical. Alex promises to talk to the label and get back to the girls by next week. But later, when Francois calls Shawna with an update about the new song, he’s not thrilled to hear that the girls are negotiating with Red Bull and still working with Chastity. He throws down an ultimatum: either they follow his plan — which includes taking this new song to the head of Def Jam — or they can go with Red Bull and Chastity.
To their credit, Shawna and Mia’s first instinct is to go with Red Bull and Chastity, but if they have to sacrifice the Pardi record, they want some sort of advance from Red Bull. They call Chastity and press her for details about the Red Bull deal. She promises to find out and then overplays her hand… badly. First, she calls Alex repeatedly when she knows the A&R executive is stuck in meetings and then seeks her out in person. Chastity invites herself to a meeting between Alex and her boss, Kirk, hoping to finalize Shawn and Mia’s deal by going directly to the man in charge.
Chastity admits that there’s another deal on the table but insists that if Red Bull can step up, she’ll make it happen. Kirk is reluctant about breaking in a new group, but Chastity assures him that he’ll recoup his investment in no time. Somehow, she manages to secure the bag for Shawna and Mia, even though it means burning a bridge with Alex. When she delivers the news to the girls, Chastity doesn’t get the response she was hoping for: Shawna and Mia have decided to go with Francois.
Chastity sits across from them, stunned. She did everything they asked for, and still, they decided to turn on her. She’s exasperated by all she’s had to do, all she’s had to sacrifice, for them to just walk away now. The disbelief masks Chastity’s simmering rage and genuine hurt at the betrayal; it’s Jonica Booth’s best performance to date.
Chastity gets up, grabs her bag, and walks away. Later, as she sits and watches Shawna and Mia become exactly the type of stars they said they didn’t want to be, Chastity opts for a new path. Season 2 ends with Chastity sitting down with Shawna’s nemesis, Gat… and I’m gonna need season 3 ASAP.
Beacon 23 Episode 108: “Adamantine”
Written by Valerie Anne
Now, I tried to get you to not watch this show. But if you didn’t heed my warning, perhaps you, like me with my screeners, kept watching hoping for another hint at Aster’s queerness, or for things to start to make sense in general. Alas, neither really happened, and while the second part is subjective, the first is just a fact.
Since the ill-fated Coley episode, Aster has remembered that she was born on the Beacon and has always had a connection with the strange glow outside, the Artifact, and it almost seems to communicate with her. A strange cult that sort of centers around Aster and the glow infiltrates the Beacon, and the best thing to come of that is the arrival of Saldana, played by Jess Salgueiro.
Aster thinks Halan is also somehow connected to the glow, so Aster, Halan, and Aster’s AI Harmony prepare to go into the glow to investigate when one of the cult members, Keir, shoots her with some kind of pulse gun, knocking her back, and she hits her head and falls to the ground. Her head starts bleeding an alarming amount, and the life leaves her eyes. But then in her eyes there’s a glow, and she sees Halan sending her younger self toward her older self, and their hands glow when they reach out and touch each other.
Seriously, that’s how the season ends. There’s going to be a second season, but I can’t promise I’ll be seated for it, because it seems to me like they killed their only two queer characters. Though I can’t imagine they have a second season without Lena Headey? It remains to be seen. But not by me.