“Roseanne” (aka “The Conners”), “Fuller House,” “Charmed,” “Will & Grace” — reboots are all the rage on TV. Now it’s “The L Word’s” turn as Showtime revives the classic lesbian-themed series, which ran from 2004-2009.
Now called “The L Word: Generation Q,” the original cast members — Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, Kate Moennig and creator Ilene Chaiken — along with newbie stars Jacqueline Toboni, Arienne Mandi, Leo Sheng, Rosanny Zayas, Jordan Hull, Sepideh Moafi, Jillian Mercado, were all at the recent red carpet premiere. Also present was executive show runner/executive producer Marja-Lewis Ryan, Darren Criss, Cyndi Lauper and Cybil Shepherd.
Viewers attending the premiere had all the feels about the show’s Dec. 8 return. Eight episodes have been ordered. It airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. The first episode is available to stream at show.com/lwordgenq.
Said Courtney Kist in a tweet: “I went to a pre-screening of ‘The L Word: Generation Q’ hosted by @them and @Showtime and Im feeling EMOTIONAL abt how I used to watch the OG series with the volume all the way down in my parents living room and last night I watched it holding my partners hand in a theater of queers.”
“As it turns out a lot of people were in a similar place last night and I just feel lucky that we were all there in our feelings together, watching this show that will hopefully continue to give us a place to see ourselves and our community represented,” Kist wrote.
At the Television Critics Press Tour, Chaiken talked about the reboot.
“The world has changed a lot in these 10 years and lesbians still belong on television,” Chaiken said. “We’re telling the stories about what’s happened in those 10 years, where we are now and where we’re headed.”
Chaiken continued: “The feeling was mounting that we should bring the show back … the world of these characters was beloved … it came together in a moment. And then what made it really happen was finding someone, Marja, who had something really fresh to say and who knew how to carry it forward.”
For Beals, what’s intrigued her about this new series was the chance to expand the discussion about sexuality and gender identification.
“You know, when we were starting the show, nonbinary was a mathematical term, and now we talk about it in terms of identity,” Beals said. “And we’re being able in this new iteration of the show to talk about all the other ways that we now talk about gender identity and sexuality.”
Beals pointed out how the Trump administration has an impact on the series.
“I think with this administration, they have given people permission to say really hateful things and they are perpetrating hateful things. I’m hoping that the Equal Rights Amendment can be passed for many, many reasons, but not the least of which that if you’re LGBTQ, you can be fired from your job still in 26 states. You know, you can be denied housing in 26 states. And so, certainly we haven’t reached any kind of state of equality, but I think that’s also the power of storytelling can help that issue.”
Beals remembered the first time she watched “The L Word” onscreen.
“I usually don’t watch myself at all and Ilene made me watch the first four episodes in a row. And when I came out of the show and I walked outside and I saw all these heterosexual couples, it was really kind of odd, because you’ve been living in this other reality. … You saw these people loving each other and wishing for happiness, and it just seemed completely normal, as it should be,” she said.
“But the culture is telling you, ‘Oh, no. This is abnormal.’ And it is not abnormal. You know, everybody wants to find love. Everybody wants to find happiness. So I think in that way, storytelling can then give you an affinity for the characters. They can have you feel compassion and empathy and you want this character to be with this character. And you don’t care if it’s two women or two men or whatever. You don’t care, because love is love and it’s an energy that’s not defined by gender or sexual preference.”
Hailey loves the inter-generational quality “Generation Q” has.
“I think it’s actually interesting, that conversation between a newer generation and older generation of, like, who’s done the marches, who’s broken those barriers down,” she said.
“I’m always personally trying to respect anyone who came before our show, and I think that’s an important conversation to always have. But it’s also really interesting to learn from a new generation as well. What they have to teach us is part of what we can’t wait to tell on the show.”