Showtime’s revival of the mid-2000s LGBTQ vehicle takes shape.
The reboot of Showtime’s The L Word has found a showrunner in Marja-Lewis Ryan (6 Balloons, The Four-Faced Liar), Deadline reports.
A sequel to the LGBTQ classic was first announced in July this year, and Showtime has slowly begun putting together the team to make it happen. Series creator Ilene Chaiken, as well as original L Word stars Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig and Leisha Hailey, will executive produce the new series. Beals, Moennig and Hailey are set to reprise their roles from the original show.
Ryan had this to say about her new post as showrunner:
“Ilene and the original ‘L Word’ made me believe that my voice mattered. I am beyond excited for the opportunity to usher in the next generation of diverse queer people. I couldn’t imagine a better time to make this show.”
When it was first on the air, The L Word was a vital focal point for LGBTQ representation on television. The first generation series followed the lives of a group of lesbians living in West Hollywood. Nevertheless, as influential as it was, the show wasn’t immune to criticisms of problematic representation, especially when it came to the inevitable small cross-section of the LGBTQ community the show portrayed. Focusing on a fraction of any group, in its own right, isn’t inherently a bad thing until that’s all a show portrays. Much has changed on television since the mid-2000s. More mainstream shows besides The L World tackle LGBTQ issues, even if the media still isn’t balanced in representing the community.
Yas Necati’s piece about The L Word revival from this past July details some great suggestions as to how an L Word more than 10 years on should go. Necati mentions diversifying the original show’s mostly-white cast, the importance of highlighting class issues faced by LGBTQ, and making sure trans representation on the show is on point. As Necati writes, “The LGBTQ+ community is far more fluid in its gender identity and expression than the show made out, and I’d like to see gender variant characters as main characters in the new season, rather than hinted at in sub-plots.”
This is what makes Ryan’s statement important, and Showtime had better have a strong commitment to fulfilling such a mandate of inclusion. The L Word revival hopes to connect some narrative threads with the original show through the re-introduction of Beals, Moennig and Hailey’s character: how, according to Deadline, “relationships, their lives, and experiences have evolved and what has changed (and what hasn’t) since the show’s inception.”