Showtime's 'The L Word: Generation Q' dives deeper into LGBTQIA lives as original cast returns
In 2004, the creators of the precursor show, 'The L Word', Ilene Chaiken, Kathy Greenberg, and Michele Abbot showed audiences that LGBTQ portrayals were possible even beyond a certain measure without using stereotypes
In 2004, when 'The L Word' first came to Showtime, it didn't take the lesbian drama any time to become a favorite of its audience.
Originally run from 2004 to 2009, the show followed the lives of a group of lesbians and their friends in the trendy Greater Los Angeles, California city. Before the series came to television, lesbians had very little space to claim on the screen and often played superficial characters which did not delve deep into the complexities of homosexuality.
'The L Word' completely changed the game – women, who, at one point in time, couldn't see their realities reflected on the screen now had characters that were holding a substantial screen space. They were also exploring the complexities of their characters and simply living exciting lives that were rarely governed by an external factor. The girls did what they liked.
Creators Ilene Chaiken, Kathy Greenberg, and Michele Abbot showed audiences that LGBTQ portrayals were possible even beyond a certain measure and they don't require their base in stereotypes.
But we may be reading too much into the show, considering how Chaiken had said that while she intended to move people at a deeper level, she didn't want to 'take on the mantle of social responsibility'. "That is not compatible with entertainment. I rail against the idea that pop television is a political medium. I am political in my life. But I am making serialized melodrama. I'm not a cultural missionary," she had said at that point.
Chaiken's intentions of keeping away from political and social correctness were evident by the time the show reached its sixth and final season. By then, and we quote, the show had "shown little interest in variegating portrayals of gay experience. Instead, it has seemed to work almost single-mindedly to counter the notion of lesbian deathbed, repeatedly remind the viewers of the limits and tortures of monogamy while never aligning itself with the traditionalist ambitions for same-sex marriage of the large faction of the gay rights movement."
Now, juxtapose this with our contemporary times when political correctness is taken seriously. Creatives are entrusted with the responsibility – by a much watchful audience compared to a decade ago – to deal with social issues.
'The L Word: Generation Q', a sequel to 'The L Word', will continue the story told in the 2004-09 series while also welcoming a new group of characters. Speaking to THR, showrunner Ryan said she wanted to 'honor the spirit of the first [series] and make it more inclusive'.
"I want to find things that are uniquely L.A. but are super real," Ryan said. "We don't all work in the entertainment industry. There's way more Latina representation because we're in L.A. In terms of socioeconomic classes, the original did a pretty good job where like I still have friends that sleep on people's couches, as Shane [Moennig] did," she added.
If and when Ryan's plans for the sequel are translated on the screen, it'll be a testament to 'The L Word' learning from its past. We have to wait for more.
The groundbreaking series will see Beals, Moenning, and Hailey resume their original roles alongside a new generation of diverse, self-possessed LGBTQIA characters experiencing love, heartbreak, sex, setbacks, and success in L.A. The production on eight new episodes is set to start in Los Angeles this summer for a fall premiere on the premium cable network. Marja-Lewis Ryan ('The Four-Faced Liar' and '6 Balloons') serves as the showrunner and is executive producing with original series creator Ilene Chaiken and original series stars Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig, and Leisha Hailey. Kristen Campo also serves as executive producer.
Even though there are no dates announced for 'The L Word: Generation Q', the series is set to come to Showtime sometime in Fall this year.