While the fall television season may seem far away, it’s here and very present for those of us at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, which kicked off last week and goes through July 23rd in Beverly Hills.
How it works is the networks trot out their new shows (and a few returning faves) to television critics and members of the press to try to get early enthusiasm about their projects.
I was there at the Beverly Hilton, where the summer press tour takes place, and have a slew of scoop for you about what we’ll be seeing in terms of the LGBT community on your televisions in the coming months.
“Constantine:” I’m not nearly the comic book fan as some of my peers but one thing I know is that over the course of the character’s 30 year history, John Constantine appeared as bisexual. However, don’t expect to see anything but hetero in NBC’s series version starring Matt Ryan. During yesterday’s panel, I asked the producers (including David S. Goyer, who I had talked to in the past for TheBacklot.com about Leonardo DaVinci’s bisexuality in his “DaVinci’s Demons” series) and Ryan about the potential bisexuality. Ryan smiles and only said, “You’ll have to wait and see.” However, Executive Producer Daniel Cerone was much clearer about intentions and stated, “Within this tome of three decades, there might have been one or two issues or one where he’s seen getting out of the bed of a man…so, you know, 20 years from now? But there are no immediate plans.” Seems a shame to me to ignore something that would only make the character (and this show) more interesting. (“Constantine” premieres October 24th on NBC)
“Survivor’s Remorse:” Scripted comedy is coming to Starz with the series that is Exec Produced by basketball great LeBron James and written by Mike O’Malley (who recurs on “Glee” as Chris Colfer’s father). Set appropriately in the world of pro basketball, the series stars Jessie T. Usher, RonReaco Lee, Teyonah Parris and, as the gay sister of Usher’s character, Erica Ash. Ash said during the show’s panel on Friday that Mary is “Cam’s older sister. She is his guard dog. She is the family protector in her own right. She’s fiercely loyal to her family. She is very outside of the box. She is a lesbian, a very proud lesbian, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that her family is okay. She’s definitely a family‑first kind of girl, and she’s just down for the home team.” (“Survivor’s Remorse” premieres October 4th on Starz)
“The Chair:” A docu-series following two different novice filmmakers shooting the same script is the thrust of the Starz documentary but having out actor/producer Zachary Quinto and his production company involved also adds that Hollywood element to it. Quinto said during the panel that even he was a little surprised he ended up a part of the series. “I had a certain level of skepticism about involving myself in a documentary series,” he said, “but I think the thing that I recognize is that this show was made with a certain level of creative integrity and it truly is documentation rather than a manipulation. And I think that Anna and Shane [the competing filmmakers] will both attest to that as the filmmakers.”
Just how involved were Quinto and Chris Moore, the show’s Executive Producer (who also created HBO’s “Project Greenlight”)? “We stayed out of the way,” Quinto offered. “I think the process of making a film for any director, let alone a first‑time director, is dramatic enough in and of itself that it kind of took care of all of that. Were certainly ups and downs, but none of them were created by us. They just existed, and then these guys responded to them and we captured it all.” (“The Chair” premieres September 6th on Starz)
“Please Like Me:” The Josh Thomas comedy series on Pivot is back for a second season and, as announced during its TCA panel, it’s already been renewed for a third season. Good news for fans who fell in love with Thomas’s on-screen persona, also named Josh, who came out in the first season to his family (and his girlfriend) to hilarious, but very real, results. In the new season, Thomas told me that Josh will have grown up a bit but there are still many hilarious situations we’ll find him in, like taking a shower with a baby. At the “Please Like Me” panel last week, Thomas explained the difficulties of filming the scene. “It was really difficult because you have the Department of Community Services there and they have a lot of laws about what you can do with babies… We had to get permission from the mum to shower with the baby. We had to put the baby in, like, nude underwear. I’ve done ‑‑ filmed nude scenes before where adults have been wearing nude underwear and that seemed to make sense. But putting a baby in nude underwear is sort of creepy, right? (“Please Like Me” kicks off Season 2 on August 8th on Pivot)
ESPYs – With gay athletes coming out left and right these days, we’re starting to see more gay celebrities be involved with sports-centric events, too. Case in point, out actor Jim Parsons is going to be a presenter at Wednesday’s ESPY Awards. The 22nd annual celebration of the best moments in sports also features presenters like Cameron Diaz, Kiefer Sutherland, Taye Diggs, Jason Segel and Jessica Alba but it’s worth noting that Parsons being an out actor is another sign of progress. (The ESPYs air live on ESPN this Wednesday at 9pm)
Laverne Cox: The trans actress/activist is everything these days and that includes the latest music video from artist John Legend. Check out the video for “You & I” and you’ll see Cox in the mix as Legend celebrates the many different faces of women in the world today.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.
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