I’d like to stop dying.

People who talk to me on a regular basis would probably tell you that I get angry, a lot. That I get angry at media more often than anything. And that I’m ready to unleash my opinions on a trigger notice. I’ll go off about story-telling flaws–I’ve got long lists of ‘wouldn’t it be cool if?’ or ‘I would have done it this way if I was in charge.’ My other major aggravation is lack of representation. It’s been so cool this last year to see How to Get Away with Murder and Star Wars: Force Awakens and Mad MaxFury Road do well. The fact that women-led movies have dominated the box office the last couple of years is great. We’ve got more in a lot of ways.

And yet, somehow, a lot of the shows I watch decided that now was a great time to start killing off LGBT characters–specifically LGBT women. In the last week and a half alone, two different shows have killed same-sex inclined women. This trend isn’t anything new either. Autostraddle’s ever growing list goes back decades.

The trend is outright frustrating, especially in most cases the deaths aren’t necessary to continue the plot. Even more so because there are so few queer characters in the first place that killing them often means not seeing or finding another queer character for seasons–if the show gets to continue that long in the first place. The Walking Dead is now six seasons done with hundreds of characters, yet only five have ever been openly declared LGBT characters. Three of those have been women and two of those three are dead. The Vampire Diaries is in its seventh season and has had few queer characters to begin with, but they just decided to blow up Nora and Mary-Louise (the only f/f couple I can recall) in one move.

My largest source of anger comes from the fact that these characters are often killed for the sake of a main man’s plot. Supernatural producers defend their Charlie-killing (one of like only 5 LGBT identified characters in the show’s 200+ episode history) as ‘where the story took them.’ In this case, that was to get Dean to the point where he’d be willing to go kill a bunch of men. And it had to be death because, you know, torturing or kidnapping a character he saw like a little sister wouldn’t have been enough to set off the already everyone-kept-commenting-on-anger-levels Dean. Right. Never mind that Charlie had been out surviving on her own for practically a year, somehow she lost a fight when she literally should have climbed out the window. ‘For the story.’

Denise’s death on The Walking Dead isn’t any better. For one, she’s one where they decided to change comic book cannon. Instead of hooking up with Heath, she was with Tara. On top of that, Denise survived longer than her comic-counterpart. I’d assumed it’d be so we could have a lot longer with her–Carol’s still alive seasons after. But no, Denise uttered that she was scared about love and then bammo, less than a minute later she has an arrow through the eye. And what have the only effects been so far? Daryl getting pissed off and going out on a revenge spree (that was quickly cut off) and Rosita joining him on that. (You could attempt to argue that was why Maggie needed to go to Hilltop–without their doctor, she needed care. However, I will remind you that Denise was a novice doctor with limited resources while the Hilltop’s doctor was an obgyn with an ultrasound and Maggie’s pain has been abdominal. They would have needed to go to Hilltop anyway.)

On Arrow, Sarah Lance died because Malcolm wanted Oliver to deal with the League of Assassins for him. Oh, and the source of extra angst for most of that season was not telling her father because of his ‘weakened’ condition (a condition that seems to come and go as needed…) I don’t even know why Toshiko Sato of Torchwood had to die except those producers were getting rid of like everyone but Gwen and Jack (no, really, it’s inside of four episodes of the show that you lose 60% of the cast). But considering her death was part of Gray’s plan (worst plan and villain ever, btw) of revenge on Jack, that means that Tosh didn’t die as part of her own plot, but his.

Nora and Mary-Louise’s deaths on The Vampire Diaries were completely unexpected as well. I’m not even sure why the story went that way, and honestly it’s been hard understanding where this season’s story arc wanders in any given episode. I’d say they died for their own cause, except there’s a hitch with that. See, they blow this relic so that they don’t get separated. Sure. Makes sense, makes it about them. Only this moment is entirely framed around the fact that Stephan is laying on the ground, soul in the damn relic. And I don’t know why Raina threw her sword at Nora and Mary-Louise when she spent a chunk of the episode getting the sword back. Just doesn’t make any sense, unless it’s done entirely to prevent easy re-ensouling of Stephan, therefore, they died ’cause of a guy.

These have just been the characters I’m most familiar with in recent years. The frustration stems from the fact that 1. It’s so hard to find LGBTQA characters to begin with, 2. That they get to be fully realized characters in the first place and not just stereotypes, and 3. You get to spend just enough time with them that you can find something relatable. So it’s devastating that over and over, I get to have hope that these characters exist in these often violent worlds. I get to see that, hey yeah, there’s all kinds of people! That the world is wide and full of possibilities. And just when I get used to the idea, those characters are ripped away. With Nora and Mary-Louise, I was like ‘yes, awesome! we get to go through the ‘my lover is dying and I’ll do anything to save her’ plot/trope, only to have that turn into a ‘if we can’t be together we’ll die on our own terms’ inside of an episode–meanwhile Damen gets to fucking lament about Elena and/or Stephan for like the millionth time.

So I’m going to propose that for the next 5 years tv doesn’t kill another LGBT woman. Hell, at the current rate, I will take the next 5 weeks. I want the chance to feel included, not to sit there wondering how long until the clock runs out on the queer women this week. Come on, it’s not that hard to let characters live in these fictional worlds.

After all, the lead guys are all still there.


Quick Impressions, TV Catch-Up, 10/9

A couple weeks back, I posted about several shows that I planned on watching this fall. Not all of those have started yet (still waiting on Constantine, for example), but a few of them have got a couple of episodes in and a couple started just this week. On top of all the ones I mentioned before, I’ve added a few more–Gotham, American Horror Story: Freak Show, Selfie, Gracepoint, Forever, and How to get Away with Murder. I’ll highlight through some of the best, worst, and what the hell’s?.

Best: How to get Away with Murder. Okay, yet another procedural, but at least this one has a different angle. This time, we follow a defense team and how they get their clients off on (so far) murder cases. A lot of the classic tropes make an appearance–the girl willing to do anything to get ahead, the naive kid who doesn’t always understand what’s going on, the shy girl, the guy willing to do illegal things, the somewhat morally vague defense attorney and her staff. None of that’s surprising, and yet, the show delivers. The actors excel at their jobs and the script avoids making the tropes into terrible cliches. Each character has their strengths and their weaknesses. In a surprise for a television show, this one delivers almost a dozen full-bodied characters. Each character has the potential for change, and the potential to ignore that potential for change. Anything could happen, and whatever does is bound to be at least interesting.

Best/Worst: Gotham. This is a case of “A rose by any other name, would probably smell a hell of a lot sweeter.” (I know, changed up the metaphor). I like that they’ve got a little bit of range (couple of kids, couple of cops, couple of PoC, even a past woman/woman relationship getting referenced a lot). Here’s my huge beef though: We know Gordon loses. We know he doesn’t find the Waynes’ killer, we know he doesn’t bring down the corrupt enterprise that is the Gotham underground. At best, he and other GCPD might have a chance at bringing down Falcone, or having to survive the gang war that’s inevitable, but in the end, the premise becomes completely dull after a couple of episodes. Are we really expected to go week after week in another cop procedural where technically nothing can change? Jim Gordon’s already a good man, he’s already a great detective in so many ways. He’s already made a bad promise to a good kid–who’s already becoming the vigilante detective we know so well. What could have been way more interesting would be seeing Gotham City more like Batman Beyond. After the retirement of Batman, nearing the retirement of Commissioner Gordon, that’s where a potential story could take place that not everyone knows. At least, so far, they’ve left the Joker out of the mix. Then we really would have nothing to wait around for.

Worst: Supernatural. What the hell was that premiere? Drunk Dean rambling about, Crowley ho-humming and going along, Cas already too sick to operate, trying to fake us out with Sam torturing someone in the first five seconds. The highlight of this episode was the “road so far” intro (somehow managing to make Season Nein seem cool for .02 seconds), Dean’s “Aren’t I adorable, whoops?” shrug, and the cashier reenacting the blood-crazed Dean’s slaughter (that guy in a guest spot managing to give more life in his performance than Padalecki could in any of his scenes…). Other than that, we’re treated to more flat characters, three blonde women I couldn’t tell apart, and Angels needing to slaughter each other for no reason–STILL. The song remains the same in a lot of ways in Supernatural. And I’m really surprised if anyone else manages to get caught off-guard by that. (A friend of mine on Tumblr said it, so I’m going to repeat this little thing all season: If Claire Novak dies, we riot. And if you don’t remember who she is…. well, the writers are probably in the same boat as you, unless they’re finally forced to watch past seasons.)

Best/Worst: Forever. An intelligent immortal man solving crimes. Nothing new about this one–we’ve had at least a dozen shows I can think of that fit most of that criteria–and some of the cast is ‘eh’ at best. Yet… somehow, they manage to breathe a little life into this show with the characterization of some of the characters. Henry, for all his immortality, is still infinitely curious and knowledge seeking. He’s been around a couple hundred years, but he’s still looking for that new, still looking for answers. Most immortals his age wind up being far too jaded to be interesting. Then there’s his son, who technically looks older than him, who has zero resentment for his father’s youthfulness, and often chastises the elder about behavior–because he knows he won’t be around forever and he worries about his father. The assistant ME who talks a bit too much and is socially awkward, the hard-ass captain who has a soft spot for the guy who can close cases, and the detective who picks up on (and trusts) this bizarre ME’s results—well, all of those are a bit hard to swallow still. I’m hoping that as time goes on in this show that we have the chance to see them develop more piece by piece.

What the hell?: Gracepoint. I don’t think they’ve said this enough in their advertisement (if they have at all), but Gracepoint is just Broadchurch rebranded to an American small town. The opening episode is practically word for word copy from the British–maybe a few different idioms sliding in place of others. The costuming is nearly identical too–making each shot almost a weird carbon copy. David Tennant stars in this one as well–with an American accent that shifted a bit too much in the pilot so I don’t know why they made him bother. There’s no shame in having a Brit on the Force here… if you’re going to copy so much else, why make him shift his voice? In the end, I don’t know why Fox felt the need to greenlight this project since it’s literally already been done. And already aired over here too. BBCA had Broadchurch on the air within the last year. Maybe later episodes will see a variance from the original material, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

Best?: Flash. Pilots have a lot of ground to cover which is no small task, even if it’s a spin-off starring a character that can run hundreds of miles an hour. With Arrow explaining nearly everything down to science and not to amazing powers (so far at least), Flash was going to have to explain lightning speed. Their science accident seems just this side of pseudo-science, just that side of unbelievable, and yet completely within the groundwork of Arrow. Archtypes and tropes are abound here too, but Barry Allen has that soft strong compassionate heart that Oliver Queen lacks these days. His soft spot is a mile wide and that’s what will keep him interesting in further episodes. Other characters are heavy on their tropes, but that’s the same of their parent show too. What’s made Arrow interesting so far is everyone’s willingness (writers, actors, and production team) to learn more, be more, and do better. It looks like that attitude is very much on the set of Flash, too. Right now, I’m going to cross my fingers and hope so.

Best: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Holy crap. Three episodes in and this one is willing to test every character’s limits. Hydra is still winning (with no signs of that table turning anytime soon), another player is out there on the field unseen, and each S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (and their director) is trying to simultaneously cope with what’s happening in their world now and still recover from the fall of the intelligence agency. The shiny has worn off and their struggles are real this season. They’ve managed to slip a couple new characters our way, and each of them is playing magnificent parts already. This season, the cast finally feels human. I can’t wait to see where the story arcs are going.

All right, that’s a minor rundown on what I’ve been keeping up with lately. Those brief impulses are what sticks out about the different episodes. For now, I still plan on watching all of those programs (along with others listed out before) and seeing what becomes of the storytelling going on in each one. Some, I’ve got a lot of hope for. Others, well, sometimes I just enjoy shouting at the television a little too much.

Fall TV Line-Up

As fall approaches, the tv seasons are finally ’bout to start up again. Not having all the time in the week to catch up with every single show out there (or the interest in absolutely everything), I’ve got my list just like everyone else. So here’s my “must-see” list:

Sleepy Hollow: Returning for a sophomore season, we’ll finally get the chance to see what happened to Abbie after last season’s finale. Season 1 of this show was a surprising joy to watch. For those not in the know, Sleepy Hollow follows the end of days story of Revelations from the Christian Bible. Okay, not a new concept there (and part of my early hesitation). It’s got the Masons and conspiracies–also not new. A man waking up from the past in the future. Again, so not new. But what really makes this show is fitting all those overused pieces into a new puzzle. You’ve got characters of color in abundance, you’ve got an almost X-Files feel to the way Lt. Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane are going through the Apocalypse, and to top all of that off, every member of the cast gives a great performance. As partners, Abbie and Ichabod work in perfect tandem and each has their strengths and weaknesses. Their friendship and working relationship are clearly based on a level of respect. The seriousness and attitude of the setting and the believability of the characters make what could’ve been a trite piece of trash into a spell-binding journey. Sleepy Hollow Season 2 premieres September 22nd.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Also on return for a sophomore season! What’s amazing about Agents of SHIELD is how it’s worked into the same Marvel tapestry as the recent movie blitz. Last season saw both mentions of Thor 2 and The Winter Soldier. Hell, you know anything about Winter Soldier and you know that Agents had to deal with it. Honestly, I blame the movie with why Season 1 wound up dragging in some places. Agents had to stall time until the movie had come out. Now, for season 2, Coulson’s been charged with rebuilding SHIELD and considering all the fallout of Winter Soldier, we’re bound to see more and more consequences of that as well as the ramifications of what happened at the end of last season. I’ll admit I’m a Whedonverse junkie, but things are going to get morally gray this season and I can’t wait. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 premieres September 23rd. 

Arrow: You have to admire a show that has twenty-three episodes in a season and yet not a single one of them could be labeled filler. Also, Arrow has almost equal numbers men and women in the cast. In the last two seasons, the plots have peaked into a brilliant finale where the heroes often lose–yet without the feeling that the heroes failed to live up to their potential and without cheapening anything that’s happened through the course of the season. Season 3 premieres October 8th.

Flash: A spin-off of Arrow, I’m mildly curious to see if the CW can manage to produce two interesting shows or if Arrow was a complete fluke on their part. Flash premieres October 7th.

Revenge: I’ve got a thing for bad dramas. I used to watch Desperate Housewives for a couple years too. There’s something about the show being so far outside the realm of logic that I find attractive. It’s a complete escape from reality, but at least some of the cast is pretty hot. Revenge Season 4 premieres September 28th.

Scandal: Much the same line as Revenge, though with more characters of color and the levels of espionage and conspiracies delving into the back rooms of Washington, D.C. rather than the Hamptons. Scandal features better dialogue though and more interesting performances. Scandal Season 4 premieres September 25th.

The Walking Dead: The complexity of morals when the world’s gone to hell is definitely one of the main themes of the show. While Walkers present a huge threat, by this point in the series they’ve become background noise to the constant interpersonal problems. The show also has fantastic scenery every time and the cinematographers and directors have used the settings to their advantage in their story telling. The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres October 12th.

Constantine: Super powers or supernatural seems to be the theme of this list if you haven’t realized that yet. I picked up a couple of the early comics at the beginning of last spring and was thrilled to see that the show’s coming up this fall. Hopefully, the show’s as gritty as the trailer seems to promise. I’m interested in seeing how this translates to the small screen (and if maybe they might eventually come around to their senses about the character’s sexuality.) Constantine premieres October 24th.

Castle: For the first time in forever, I’ve actually caught up to the plot of Castle. I’ve got a long blog post, Heat vs. Storm, that explains what I adore about the show, so I’m not going to repeat all the reasons here, but do you need a better reason than watching Nathan Fillion and company being awesome? Season 7 premieres September 29th. 

Supernatural: I literally only watch this show with my friends in order to be able to bitch about it with them. Last season was beyond a disappointment and I expect that they’ll fall even flatter on their face this season when the episodes have to do with anything other than straight white men—assuming they even bother having characters that fit a different profile. If they do, I’m sure they’ll get murdered by the end of the episode. Very few characters seem to survive, unless you’re Sam, Dean, Castiel, or Crowley–the only season regulars yet again. I won’t even bother catching up on episodes I wind up missing, ’cause I doubt they’ll even go anywhere interesting, even if they have made Dean a demon. Season 10 premieres October 7th.