Despite being extremely popular, shows like Gentleman Jack, The Wilds and First Kill often meet premature ends
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY NETFLIX
It sometimes feels like we are living in the golden age of queer onscreen representation. In fact, earlier this year GLAAD’s annual report showed that LGBTQI representation on TV was at an all-time high. Not only that, lesbians also formed the highest percentage of queer characters. But with so many shows that centre LGBTQI women being axed before the series can come to a natural end or before we even get to see the pilot, it’s hard to not feel frustrated.
Over the years we’ve lost so many gems. But the latest cancellations have really hit hard. Last month HBO cancelled our favourite period drama, Gentleman Jack. A show which has a devoted fan base and has provided lesbians with a vital serving of queerstory. Before that Batwoman, which featured a queer female lead, was cancelled after just three seasons.
And while we’re talking about superheroes, at the start of this year, I was ecstatic to find out Ivory Aquino had been cast as the first trans character in a major superhero movie. However Batgirl has been axed despite being in the final stages of editing.
Netflix has also announced that it will not be renewing the hugely-popular sapphic vampire show, First Kill, for a second season. The show featured the forbidden love story between teen vampire, Juliette (Sarah Hook) and monster-hunter, Calliope (Imani Lewis). Imani’s character offered viewers a rare Black queer female lead within the fantasy genre. Notably, many of the most recent cancellations have featured women of colour, an underrepresented community within an already underrepresented community. Representation can be life-changing and queer women of colour deserve more.
Before this week’s run of cancellations, fans were also devastated to find out Amazon Prime’s The Wilds had been cancelled, shortly after the premiere of its second season.
Unfortunately shows that do reach a conclusion, often have devastating endings. And no, I still haven’t forgotten the “Kill Your Gays” Killing Eve finale.
It’s important and worthy of much celebration that MLM focused series such as Young Royals and Heartstopper exist, on top of this, the latter has a diverse cast containing trans girl Elle and lesbian couple Tara and Darcy. With this said, I’d love to see WLW focused series be treated with the same care as these shows. Earlier this year, Netflix confirmed that Heartstopper had been renewed for two more seasons. Young Royals is also set to return for a second season.
Shows like Gentleman Jack, First Kill, Wynonna Earp and Motherland: Fort Salem, all serve up much-needed representation and have a devoted queer fandom. Petitions have been signed and in Motherland: Fort Salem’s case, #SaveMotherlandFortSalem billboards have been paid for. There is an obvious demand and need for them. So why aren’t shows that centre LGBTQI women being given the mainstream recognition they deserve?
We have lots of gloriously sapphic shows to look forward to. Next week, the highly-anticipated League Of Their Own will hit our screens and we’re eagerly awaiting the second season of The Sex Lives Of College Girls which served up a refreshing lesbian coming-of-age story. But I, understandably, have a lot of anxiety about what fates await these shows and whether they will be able to break away from the recent trend of premature cancellations. I know that I am not alone in my worries.
The industry needs to change and re-establish the trust of the LGBTQI community. I hope for a future where there is an abundance of shows with queer leading women who get to see out their planned and cathartic endings.
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