I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on TV! A lot’s been happening since SDCC, with new tidbits still trickling in about the fall TV season and shows currently in development. Adding Season 6 of “Orange is the New Black” AND the latest Lena Waithe development news leaves us with quite a bit to catch up on. Here are the highlights of queer TV news this week.
“The Flash” Adds Another LGBTQIA+ Character To Season 5
The ever-growing CW DC universe will gain another LGBTQIA+ character this fall. “The Flash” will debut another queer character for its fifth season, though the showrunners did not reveal the character’s name or any further details during their recent SDCC panel. The new LGBTQIA+ character is preceded by Star City Police Captain David Singh (Patrick Sabongui), an out gay man who married husband Rob early on in the series, according to Comicbook.
Some fans have been speculating that Nora, Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future, could be the new queer on the block, possibly explaining the mother and daughter’s reportedly distant dynamic in the upcoming season. Was Iris not so accepting of her LGBTQIA+ kid? (Unlikely, but with the way this show messes with their timeline, anything is possible.)
Supervillain Cicada (played by Chris Klein) could also be the new LGBT character. In the comics, Cicada (aka, David Hersch), is driven by a wish to reunite with his late, murdered wife. As The CW is wont to update their comicbook characters, it’s not too far of a stretch to change Hersch’s wife to Hersch’s husband. Honestly, Hersch’s backstory is sad and awful, but he’s a great guy to hate. Fleshing out his character with an LGBTQIA+ twist could result in some complex storytelling. And, as Comicbook notes, there are more villainous queer options with the arrival of the young Rogues this season, giving the Flash some extra baddies to battle. The new queer could still be a villain, but just not Cicada. We’ll have to wait for “The Flash’s” October 9 premiere to know for sure.
Fox Boss Gary Newman Talks “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”
The “Buffy” reboot is still chugging along, according to Fox TV Group Chairman and CEO Gary Newman. During a talk with the TCA press corps, Newman revealed that there’s no written script as of yet for the upcoming series, but Fox has “sat down with [the creators] and have conversations about it.” Fox is reportedly “thrilled” that Joss Whedon, the original series’ showrunner, asked Monica Owusu-Breen (creator of “Midnight, Texas”) to write, exec produce and run the series. “She’s the person who is day to day on it,” Newman noted, “She has a great take on the series.”
Owusu-Breen and Whedon previously collaborated on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” which Whedon co-created, exec produced and directed and Owusu-Breen co-exec produced. Per previous reports, Whedon will only be an executive producer on the proposed “Buffy” reboot, giving much of the creative control to Owusu-Breen. Original “Buffy” exec producers Gail German, Fran and Kaz Kazui, along with Joe Earley from Berman’s Jackal Group, will also be exec producing.
The planned reboot will be a sequel to the original series, with a black female character set to take on the duties of the Slayer. The return of the series is a major opportunity for a more diverse cast, along with the chance to showcase queer relationships that DON’T bite the dust (R.I.P. Tara). I’m secretly hoping that a millennial Willow will finally get her time in the bright gay sun. Or perhaps the Slayer will love the ladies? Again, we’ll have to wait and see what happens as the “Buffy” reboot chugs towards a greenlight.
“Orange is the New Black” Is Bleaker Than Ever
I watched Season 6 of “OITNB” so you don’t have to. The dramedy series is 99% drama and 1% comedy at this point, with each episode feeling more like a sad homework assignment than the laugh-out loud entertainment of seasons past. With 2018 being the racist dumpster fire it is, Season 6’s plotlines are relevant but hard to watch. The few characters who provided steady comic relief, like Maritza and Boo, have been carted off to other prisons, leaving us with way too much Piper/Alex drama and character arcs created to call out modern injustices and make you reach for the tissues. If you can’t bring yourself to watch the new season just yet, here’s the queer summary of the season:
- Sophia Burset has been shuttled off to “Florida,” Litchfield Max’s block for the old, mentally ill or trans. She hangs out away from the drama of the other “camp” inmates, and gets to tell Caputo to go f*** himself. She’s offered the chance to sue MCC over her transphobic treatment in prison, but Linda from Purchasing offers her $300,000 to keep quiet and she takes it, tired of fighting for justice that never comes. She wins the MCC lottery for early release and reunites with her family.
- Daya has been blamed for the riot and Humps’ death, making her a punching bag for the Max guards. She takes a plea deal for Humps’ death and gets a life sentence, effectively ending her hopes of leaving Litchfield one day. To cope, Daya ends up taking some Oxycotin that prison dreamboat Daddy offers to her, and begins snorting pills to get high. She also begins a sexual relationship with Daddy, a new butch character who radiates BDE, and even helps Daddy run a drug smuggling operation with CO Hopper and mom Aleida. I told you Season 6 was depressing.
- Piper believes that Alex was killed during the riot and proceeds to mope about it. Alex eventually returns and the lovebirds plan their future together and continue to be the least interesting part of the show. Piper gets early-release and the pair have a “prison-wedding” officiated by Nicky and Lorna before Piper leaves, while Alex settles in for the last few years of her sentence.
Kid Fury and Lena Waithe Collaborating on New Queer Comedy
Last but not least is an exciting new development for “Master of None’s” Lena Waithe, who’s exec producing a new dark comedy series set to star podcaster/vlogger Kid Fury (Gregory A. Smith). The untitled series follows Greg, a 20-something sarcastic gay black guy trying to adult in NYC amidst an internal struggle with depression. According to Variety, Smith, a queer comedian, will serve as a writer and co-exec producer on the series. In short: two black queer powerhouses are set to make the dark queer comedy the TV world’s been sorely lacking.
The project is just the latest in a growing canon of work for Waithe, who was the first queer black woman to ever win an Emmy for writing. The writer, producer and actress also created the critically-acclaimed drama “The Chi” and serves as an exec producer and writer on TBS’s “Twenties” and an exec producer of Amazon horror anthology “THEM.” Oh, and her latest story, “Queen & Slim” is set for production in 2019 with “Get Out” break-out star Daniel Kaluuya as the lead. Talk about a canon of work, am I right?