Jennifer Beals: The L Word’s alpha female is going straight to the top

The first trailer for The L Word sequel, Generation Q, was released last week, teasing its return to TV screens in December. Ten years after The L Word’s run ended, I expected to be cynical about its 2019 incarnation. Right now, in the world of entertainment, there are more planned comebacks than Fleetwood Mac have managed in their entire career. With mooted revivals of everything from The Matrix to Home Alone to Beverly Hills, 90210, you could read an issue of Empire magazine from the 1990s and assume it had come out last week.

Generation Q (I’m trying to get on board, but it still sounds breathlessly perky, like a kids’ cartoon or a supermarket clothing line) is all about the young people, as the title suggests, and appears to be far less glossy and polished than its elite older sibling. Of the three original characters returning to LA’s lesbian scene, every fan will have their favourite. Shane is back, as is her haircut, and Alice, too, but Jennifer Beals’s Bette promises to make the biggest splash.

Beals is an executive producer, but vitally will also reprise her role as alpha female Bette Porter, California’s answer to Swiss art curator and critic Hans Ulrich Obrist, who couldn’t resist booting the impressionists out of her gallery in favour of something modern, shocking and blasphemous, particularly if that enabled a flashback to a sexy, art-based hook-up from the past. In the new world, Bette is going straight to the top and is running to be mayor of Los Angeles.

The original L Word was campy and crass, as over the top as it was revolutionary. But I loved it for everything it was. It gave viewers six seasons that put mostly queer women front and centre. For the first time, those characters were not the subplot, but the main event. Even so, at first I wondered if Generation Q was necessary. Times have changed beyond comprehension in a decade; some of the storylines that seemed less worthy of remark then, such as Alice’s out-of-character transphobia, or Lisa the Lesbian Man, would incite an opinion mob in an instant.

The growth of streaming television has opened up a world of queer storylines on all sorts of shows. If there isn’t a same-sex kiss on a Netflix series you start to wonder if you’ve accidentally skipped an episode. And then the Generation Q trailer brought it all back, gave me butterflies and of course, as if it was ever in doubt, I will be glued to the whole thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *