BiMediaWatch: Spring 2014

BCN 124 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 124, April 2014

It’s all been a bit quiet in the world of Bi Media Watch recently. However the return of several shows has upped the potential for bi exposure.

Firstly there is the return of Lost Girl (series 4, Thurs 9pm SyFy). Bo returns from vanishing at the end of the last series aligned to the Dark, and with more questions than answers. After a brief flirtation with monogamy in the last series, she is single, but engaged in a ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement with Dyson, whilst continuing her flirtation with Lauren. As with previous series, there is no pressure from other characters for her to choose a relationship.
In other good news for Lost Girl fans, series 5 has recently been announced. This has me wondering if any other bi character has lasted for 5 series of a show. Alice’s bisexuality in The L Word seemed to disappear after series 2, and I don’t recall any bisexual characters in Queer As Folk (US). It could be that Lost Girl demonstrates that viewers aren’t confused by bisexuality after all, despite how much producers etc protest that they are.

Speaking of protesting producers, Eastenders is currently running with a potentially bisexual storyline. This is not only interesting from a Bi Media point of view, but it is also intriguing as producers from Eastenders had previously stated that bisexuality was ‘too complicated’ for the general public to understand. Hopefully it will be better handled than previous bisexual storylines when once the story has finished, the person involved goes back to being straight and never mentions the attraction they had to the same gender again.

Another series that has resumed after the US hiatus is Arrow. In the episode ‘Heir to the Demon’, we see part of Sara Lance’s past in the return of Nyssa al Ghul, the daughter of the head of the League of Assasins Ras al Ghul. It is quickly shown that Sara and Nyssa were in a relationship before Sara returned to Starling City. Sara has previously had a relationship with Arrow’s protagonist, Oliver Queen. Refreshingly when Sara comes out to her dad, he simply says that she had such a horrid time from the shipwreck to now, that he is just glad someone was kind to her. There’s no asking which Sara chooses, no assuming that she’s gay or going through a phase.

Whilst the word bisexual is never used, the boss of Arrow, Andrew Kerisberg said “We really wanted to approach it like not be salacious and be sensitive and be realistic. We actually specifically avoid using the term bisexual. We didn’t want to label her at all. Let her be her own person.” (E! Online) This is the first time that queer characters have been shown onscreen in both the Marvel and DC universes. It’s just a shame that Kerisburg chose to use ‘salacious’ and ‘bisexual’ in the same statement.

Finally Da Vinci’s Demons returned on the 28th March for the second series. The creator, David S Goyer has said that whilst there won’t be any episodes in series 2 dedicated to Leonardo’s sexuality (which there were in series 1), it will be discussed and not ignored. Which will make a change from shows where a character has a bisexual encounter in one episode, then it is never ever mentioned again. However he also said that whilst the show is not backing away from Leonardo’s bisexuality, it will not be a feature of series 2 as it does not fit into the plotline and they did not want it to be put in gratuitously. It remains to be seen how they will manage this balancing act. Although Goyer has hinted at some attraction between Leonardo and Zoaraster, so we have to see how this develops.

On a more disappointing note, the BBC has announced that they are planning to axe BBC3. Considering this is the channel that gave us Torchwood, and Lip Service (so basically 95% of the Beeb’s bi characters) this is very disappointing, and it remains to be seen as to what this will mean for bi visibility on the BBC.