My favorite Ladies are back on the TV-Screen 🙂
At the center of „Generation Q“ are three familiar faces: Alice (Leisha Hailey, left) hosts an „Ellen“-like talk show, Shane (Katherine Moennig, middle), is still struggling with the entitlement (happy marriage) and reality (drunken sex with employee) of her love life, and Bette (Jennifer Beals, right) is running for mayor of Los Angeles.
So far, so consistent.
After all, „Generation Q“ no longer lives and loves in the old LGBTI scene district of West Hollywood, but in the hipster neighborhood of Silver Lake, where they are roughed up by half a dozen new characters.
And though the sequel trades movie business for Latinx community, and chic boutiques for art galleries: Silver Lake is expensive. And ultra-trendy. That’s what the reboot and original have in common: Most of the characters in „The L Word“ universe are wealthy or at least middle class. It was and remains a series where even those at the bottom of the income ladder have access to a swimming pool.
Generation Q“ collects plus points in another area: diversity. Unlike Max (Daniela Sea) in the original, transman Micah (Leo Sheng) is not condemned to eternal suffering, but is a halfway fleshed-out character. There is at least one trans woman in a supporting role (played by „Sense8“ star Jamie Clayton), and overall there are as many non-white cast members as there probably were in all six seasons of the original combined. The diversity efforts are also evident in the show’s plot: opioid crisis? Check. Religion and queerness? Check! Homeless LGBTI youth? Check! Unfortunately, the development of the characters is neglected due to the sheer variety of topics.
In the meantime, „The L Word“ has a lot of queer series competition, which is also due to the fact that Shane, Bette and Alice are the fixed stars of the reboot – not least because they are the superiors of the new main characters. This hierarchy can perhaps be explained – the veterans Beals, Moennig and Hailey co-produced „Generation Q“ – but it cripples the build-up of tension.
A series whose hallmark of quality is being a lesbian-queer series would definitely have had the opportunity to elaborate more on generational conflicts: What does it mean when fewer and fewer people identify as lesbian? How does the community deal with the legacy of bi and trans hostility? In such conflicts, „Generation Q“ comes off much less interesting than the Sky series „Work in Progress,“ in which Butch Abby dates a much younger trans man, or the web series „Her Story,“ about trans woman Violet’s (Jen Richards) lesbian coming out.
Fortunately, a lot has happened on screens since „The L Word“ premiered in 2004. Series like „Pose“ and „Transparent“ have put complex queer characters front and center, and the fairly lesbian „Orange Is The New Black“ is one of the most-watched Netflix series. Yet sexual and gender diversity is still dramatically underrepresented in series and films. For this reason alone, it is gratifying that „Generation Q“ has already been renewed for a second season.
Let’s hope the showrunners deliver some more rebellious storylines.