Reboots, Revivals, and The L Word
In 2017 you are hardly short of a reboot or revival on the big or small screen. It seems that a combination of a lack of funding in the grassroots of the arts, a refusal to fund anything that might not turn a ginormous profit, and a very Millennial craving for nostalgia has brought the chickens home to roost. So what does this brave new – old – world have in store for us? The X Files, Gilmore Girls, and Twin Peaks grace our screens like it’s the nineties/noughties all over again, and Disney seems to have made a deal with the devil, doomed to revive every single one of its animated classics to over-produced, live-action glory.
As you might guess, reboots often feel cheap to me and almost never bring the emotional or artistic satisfaction that the creators claim will be felt when the announcement is made. There is often more than one reason why the show ended the way that it did – prematurely or not. But, like the hypocrite I am, I must say that I cannot hope to resist the most recent announcement: a reboot of The L Word. Unfortunately, the majority of this feeling stems from the simple desire of having women who like women on my screen more often, not because I crave any particular closure on the events of this series or have a great desire to see these actresses back in their roles (unless it’s Kate Moennig as Shane. That is not negotiable, Showtime).
My personal journey with The L Word started years after its series finale when I was fourteen. I had an internet connection, a YouTube account, and a tendency to watch clips from different films and television series featuring gay men and women that I didn’t think meant anything at the time. More fool me. The series itself features a group of young, successful, LGBQ women based in Los Angeles, and details the drama that follows, obviously. It’s really like any other soap-esque drama series, but the point of the show is that these women like other women.
After the announcement, I skipped through a few scenes to brush up my memories of this formative bit of television. The main thing that stuck out to me was that the series is definitely dated. The unbearable noughties fashion and slang is superficial, maybe even adding to the charm of the show. What is a more troubling aspect of a series supposedly offering diversity is the heavy handling of transgender narratives, instances of transmisogyny, and a lack of racial diversity. One element that I feel writers struggle with is how to revive their shows or films to fit in a world that has changed significantly, sometimes barely a decade later. A light example of this would be the forced and arguably misguided Amy Schumer references in the Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls. What will the girls of The L Word think of Trump? How will they cope with a world dependent on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram? Is Shane’s Tinder account ever silent? But more importantly, how do the writers plan to address race, gender, and LGBT issues beyond their titular first letter? It would be awkward, and not to mention irresponsible, if the creators didn’t tackle the issues of their original series. Seeing as we don’t have anything more than an announcement and some enthusiastic cast members, I will hold my tongue until it graces our screens.
So, will The L Word reboot be more tantalising, fascinating, and generally satisfying than other reboots of recent years? Maybe not. What I am excited for is the chance to see a show almost entirely made up of women who like women on my screen again; there is certainly something satisfying about that. Most importantly however, the writers will have a chance to present a picture of the community that is representative, diverse, and celebrates the real life of women like this. I hope that they will take that chance and run with it. For now, I look forward to it, still not sold on any kind of reboot or revival, but hopeful nonetheless.