Queer Girl Friday: Goodbye Arizona Robbins, Hello Batwoman as Network TV Shakes Things Up

I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on TV! The past two weeks in the world of TV have continued to shock and elate fans in equal measure as networks decide whether to ax, end or save shows currently on the bubble. The party line is out with the old, in with the new as networks announce their fall season plans, chief among them a “super” reveal for The CW’s cache of superhero content. But the story that hit home for me this week Jessica Capshaw’s beautiful goodbye from ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” where her character Arizona Robbins reigned supreme as TV’s most beloved disabled lesbian since Laura Innes’ Kerry Weaver ruled “ER.” What will we do without Grey-Sloan Memorial’s best pediatric surgeon?

As I predicted in last week’s post, Arizona Robbins rode off into the sunset with the cute Sophia in tow. Arizona said her goodbyes during Jo and Alex’s disaster of a wedding, which included a dangerous allergic reaction for the wedding planner, an invitation snafu that directed wedding guests to the wrong wedding, and a pre-wedding romp turned locked-in-shed fiasco for the bride and groom. I mean, they did save the wedding planner and a random mother of the bride, but Jo and Alex found a dead body in that shed, so…yeah, the worst wedding of all the “Grey’s Anatomy” nuptials.

Still, Arizona found time to listen to her heart as she exchanged texts with her ex Callie, who’s freshly single and waiting for Arizona in NYC. Despite a series of unfortunate events for the pair in previous seasons, true love always finds a way. As the finale drew to a close with not one, not two, but three wedding ceremonies, Callie’s joyful cover of Brandi Carlile’s “The Story” from Season 7’s “Song Beneath the Song” swelled in the background, supplemented by texts from Callie popping up onscreen. While I was hoping for a happily ever after kiss à la George Clooney and Julianna Margulies’ on “ER,” the ending was a beautiful tribute to one of TV’s greatest lesbian characters of all time. Arizona Robbins was “the gayest of the gays,” a lesbian who was ALWAYS here, queer and happy about it, inspiring a new generation of queer women to own their sexuality. Goodbye Arizona, we’ll miss you dearly.

So, there’s good news and bad news on the cancellation front. Let’s start with the good news: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has risen from the 21st Century Fox graveyard, finding a new home at NBC a mere day after its cancellation. While series star Terry Crews attributed “Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” resurrection to the likes of Mark Hamill campaigning to save the police comedy, it sounds like NBC has been waiting to snap up the series for some time; NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt revealed that he’d regretted “letting [Brooklyn Nine-Nine] getaway” since they sold the show’s original rights to Fox. So, all’s well that ends well for the show, which will begin its next season sometime in 2019. Oh, and all those celebrity fans who protested the cancellation? They’re in the “weirdest, best group chat” now, according to Mashable. (Oh, if only I could be a fly on the wall of those DMs…)

Now for the bad news. “Jane The Virgin” is officially calling it quits after Season 5, which is all according to plan according to series creator Jennie Snyder Urman. The series was originally supposed to end after Season 4, but Urman was able to stretch the show’s material for one more season. The series finale will include the original ending that Urman envisioned for the series, telling the NY Times that the “overall structure and what I wanted to say about certain things…[are] built into the ending.” According to Cosmopolitan, the CW series will join NBC’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for a midseason premiere in 2019. “Jane the Virgin” has previously been lauded for its portrayal of LGBTQIA+ characters, making its ending even more bittersweet.

However, at least Jane will get a proper sendoff, unlike NBC’s newbie musical “Rise,” which was unceremoniously axed this week after a depressing first season. The loss of “Rise” seemed a foregone conclusion, which only snagged modest ratings and had little social media buzz before its cancellation. The series previously found itself in hot water after multiple media outlets reported that Josh Radnor’s character, based on Lou Volpe from Michael Sokolove’s “Drama High,” was “straight-washed.” (Volpe came out as gay late in life, which the series did not include as part of Radnor’s character storyline.) According to THR, creator Jason Katims has stated that the series was inspired by, but not solely based on “Drama High,” hence a lot of differences between “Drama High” and “Rise,” which did include a couple LGBTQIA+ characters. Still, the controversy might have been another reason for the show’s unremarkable ratings. You can read about that controversy, and Katim’s full statement, here.

And now, a rainbow-hued update to The CW’s arsenal of DC superhero shows. Batwoman is coming to the Arrowverse! The kickass super will be introduced during fall’s annual crossover event, which will include episodes from “The Flash,” “Arrow,” “Supergirl” and “Legends of Tomorrow” and air for three consecutive nights. This will be the first time Batwoman makes a live-action appearance on any screen, according to CW President Mark Pedowitz. The exec, who told all alongside “Arrow” star Stephen Amell at this week’s upfront presentation, also revealed that Gotham will be added to the ever-growing Arrowverse.

The announcement is some of the most exciting DC news of the year, as Batwoman’s arrival in the Arrowverse is a huge milestone for the lesbian superhero. Didn’t know that Batwoman is a woman who likes women? There’s a reason for that. When Batwomen came out in 2006, she was relegated to the background, a token diversity add-on whose love was forcibly minimized during her first solo comic title. Comic book co-writers J.H. Williams III and Haden Blackman ultimately left the comic after DC editors prevented Batwoman (aka, Kate Kane) and her longtime girlfriend Maggie from marrying, even though the storyline had been established months earlier.

Things finally began to look up for Batwoman in 2016’s animated “Batman: Bad Blood,” where Yvonne Strahovski’s Kate was seen as a fully-realized character, a  military vet who pulled herself out of depression to become a superhero. “Batman: Bad Blood” allowed Kate to come into her own power as a superhero and as a person, to the point where her sexuality becomes one of the least interesting things about her. Kate Kane became Batwoman, a badass protector of Gotham who just happens to be gay, instead of a background sidekick to the Dark Knight.

I’ve got my fingers crossed for The CW’s upcoming portrayal of Batwoman, as the network has a fairly decent track record with LGBTQIA+ representation. If the CW writers take Kate Kane on in a similar way to “Batwoman: Bad Blood,” loyal DC fans and TV audiences alike will be very happy with her arrival in the Arrowverse.  But who will play Batwoman this fall? Only time will tell…

 Excited to see Batwoman join the Arrowverse? Who should play Kate Kane? Let us know in the comments below!