Tag: Series

Before the new series, get to know the great queer designer ‘Halston’ / Queerty

Before the new series, get to know the great queer

Halston

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a re-watch.

The Primer: Halston

We can’t wait to share the new Netflix series about the iconic, queer fashion designer Halston with you, dear readers. Before the show hits next week, however, we recommend an introductory course.

Halston, the 2019 documentary film by director Frédéric Tcheng, revives the story of the titular fashion mogul who, by the 2000s had faded into near-obscurity. Tcheng frames the film as a detective story, with a fictional sleuth trying to uncover Halston’s lost legacy. Told through a variety of interviews–both contemporary and new–as well as a treasure trove of newly uncovered archive footage, Tcheng sketches Halson as an ambitious genius who parlayed his celebrity connections and eye for talent into a multi-million dollar fashion house with groundbreaking designs. Hubris, extravagance and maybe a gigantic supply of cocaine eventually made Halston into an arrogant terror before a corporate acquisition robbed him of his trademarked name and assets.

Halston argues that the designer has had a far reach on the fashion world, even if his name isn’t well-remembered by the public. His use of models of color, celebrity muses (in particular, Liza Minnelli), and fashion shows that played more like Broadway musicals all foreshadowed the current fashion world of pomp and stardom. Moreover, his eccentric designs, which often featured a single seam for a gown, remain unmatched in geometric innovation. Halston never lived to see the career renaissance he so deserved–he died of AIDS in 1990. Tcheng aims to rectify that here with his warts & all approach to a mad gay genius.

Featuring extended interviews with family, celebrity friends including Liza Minnelli, Joel Schumacher and Elsa Peretti, former models, employees, and even the corporate sharks that cost him his name, Halston is a captivating portrait of a great artist gone too soon. Watch the film to prepare for the new series, and prepare to fall in love with a fascinating story and dazzling designs.

Streams on Amazon, YouTube & VUDU.

“Jacob’s School Play: Starring He, She, and They” Introduces Nonbinary Character to Popular Series

"Jacob's School Play: Starring He, She, and They" Introduces Nonbinary

Jacob and Sophie are back! The gender-creative children we met in Jacob’s New Dress and Jacob’s Room to Choose appear again in a third book of the series, as we’re introduced to a new character who uses “they” pronouns.

Jacob's School Play: Starring He, She, and They

In Jacob’s School Play: Starring He, She, and They, by Sarah and Ian Hoffman (Magination Press), Jacob and Sophie are excited about their class play. When a classmate, Ari, tells the other children that they (Ari) use “they” pronouns, Jacob is puzzled. “They means two kids,” he says. Ari responds, “They can mean one kid.”

Jacob then asks if Ari is a boy or a girl. “There’s more than just boy and girl,” says Ari.

Jacob shares the lesson learned over the previous two books: “You could be a boy or a girl and still wear whatever you want. I do. Sophie does.” Ari responds, “So do I.” Jacob thinks about this.

The teacher then explains that “Some kids feel like boys. Some kids feel like girls. And some kids feel like both–or neither.” She says that “he, she, or they” can be used to talk about people.

Jacob is still trying to understand. He notes that boys can wear dresses and still be “he.” The teacher explains, “This isn’t about what you wear. This is about who you are. Inside.” She says that we can’t see that, so we have to trust what people tell us about themselves.

The children go on with preparations for the play, which is set at a farm. At the performance, Ari does a splendid job being the water—the clouds, the rain, and the pond, a plurality in one. Jacob delivers a sweet message about everyone in the class helping each other to grow in their own way. At the end, he hugs Ari and whispers to the teacher that he’s glad Ari is they, “because they know who they are.”

Chris Case’s watercolor illustrations, as in the previous books, capture the liveliness of the setting and the expressiveness of the children’s faces. Jacob, Ari, and the teacher are White; Sophie is Black, and the other children are of various skin tones.

It’s great to see this series continuing to explore some of the many aspects of gender identity and expression, and to do so here through the eyes of someone whose gender expression isn’t traditional, but who is still learning about gender identity. And even though the teacher does much of the explaining, Ari is also confident in who they are and in communicating this to Jacob. (For an additional spin on characters with various gender identities and expressions, check out Kyle Lukoff’s Max and the Talent Show, told from the perspective of a transgender boy helping his friend, a cisgender boy who likes to wear dresses, prepare for a talent show.)

The first book of the series, Jacob’s New Dress, was one of the most banned books of 2010-2019. While censorship is never a good thing, that at least means that the book was visible enough to attract attention. Let’s hope that all of the books in the series continue to be widely read, though with less condemnation, introducing even more children to concepts of both gender identity and expression.

Netflix urged to drop Colton Underwood series over stalking allegations

Cassie Randolph and Colton Underwood

Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph met on The Bachelor in 2018, but publicly split in May 2020. (Andrew Toth/Getty)

More than 20,000 people have signed a petition calling for Netflix to axe a new series starring Colton Underwood over his alleged stalking.

An anonymous user created a Change.org petition to protest the Netflix series, which will reportedly star Gus Kenworthy as Colton Underwood’s “gay guide” as he’s “eased” into gay life, over claims he was abusive towards his Bachelor pick and ex-girlfriend, Cassie Randolph.

The petition stated: “Colton is a former Bachelor lead who stalked his final pick, Cassie Randolph.”

“Cassie is a victim of Colton’s abuse, and he does not deserve a platform in any way,” the user added. “Regardless of his sexuality, Colton should not be given a platform as a result of his abusive, manipulative, and dangerous behaviour.”

In September 2020, Randolph filed for a restraining order against Underwood, asking the court to ensure he stay at least 100 yards away from her, her home and her parents’ home.

The order alleged Underwood was “anonymously send[ing] harassing text messages” and “track[ing] her whereabouts. It stated that Randolph “fear[ed] for her safety and the safety of her family and friends” because of his behaviour.

The court gave her a temporary restraining order while they waited for a hearing, but later requested for the orders to be dismissed. Underwood told People that he and Randolph “were able to reach a private agreement”.

The petition’s goal is to reach 25,000 signatures.

One signatory wrote: “Abusers do not get a sympathy tour, and women aren’t just tertiary characters in a male’s story arch in becoming his true self.”

Other commenters had similar sentiments. “It sucks to know that as a woman, society will view me as collateral damage for a somewhat good looking white man’s journey,” another wrote. PinkNews has contacted Colton Underwood’s representatives and Netflix for comment.

While the petition description focused on the allegations against Underwood as the primary reason to cancel the series, many commenters felt he was shouldn’t have a series because “he has done nothing to contribute to the LGBT+ community”.

One user asked: “Where are the stories about queer people who have been trailblazers for their community? Where are the stories about queer BIPOC?”

Underwood came out publicly as gay last week (14 April) in an interview with Good Morning America after having a “wake up call”.

In the interview, Underwood said he never came out to Randolph, and added: “I made mistakes in the end of that relationship. And I ruined the good memories we had by my actions and what I did to hold on to being straight, because I didn’t want to look myself in the mirror. So for that, I’m extremely, extremely sorry.”

Sources close to Randolph said she didn’t know he was going to come out and hadn’t “had time to navigate how she feels about it yet”.

 

Wynonna Earp Series Finale Recap: We’ll Always Have Purgatory

Wynonna Earp Series Finale Recap: We'll Always Have Purgatory

Wynonna Earp series finale recap below! Major major major spoilers for the whole show! 

Previously on Wynonna Earp, Waverly grew wings and made Nicole her angel’s shield, Jeremy lost his job and his boyfriend but helped save Purgatory, Wynonna and Doc had half a decade of love and heartbreak, and Waverly and Nicole fell in love and the very fabric of sci-fi television and queer representation was changed forever. Casual.

We open on a red wedding that feels like a bad omen for a big gay wedding episode of teevee. A woman in a white wedding dress with a blue sapphire heart wields an axe and chops everyone up and ultimately chops herself up, too. Seems chill and fine…

…until we cut back to present-day, where Waverly is taking that very same wedding dress out of a box, impressively bleached clean of the bloodshed. Waverly holds it up to show Wynonna and it hits them both anew: Waverly is getting married.

Wynonna Earp series finale recapWaverly holds up her wedding dress for Wynonna.

You know what was fun about the first half of this episode? I wasn’t sure the wedding was going to happen the way they planned/hoped but I never once worried someone was going to die. What a world!

Later, Nicole is putting flowers into the back of Wynonna’s truck, smiling lovingly as her big day comes together, when Wynonna snaps her out of her reverie. The Earp heir is inspecting her sister’s wedding cake with wee spectacles and has determined that it’s not vegan, like they ordered. It’s buttercream! A disaster!

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Wynonna looks inquisitively at Nicole.

“BE STRESSED WITH ME” is a relatable mood.

Nicole isn’t worried about it, she jokes about just not telling Waverly, but Wynonna is holding on to a thread about it. She wants this day to be perfect for her baby girl, but Nicole promises her that it will definitely not be perfect. Nothing that has ever happened on the Homestead has been perfect. But Wynonna wants this to be the exception, BECAUSE of that. She reminds Nicole that both of Waverly’s dads died right here and Nicole probably thinks maybe they had that intervention for Wynonna too soon because she could use a little loosening up right now.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Nicole looks way more calm than Wynonna

“Do we need to do shots of banana liqueur to calm your nerves?”

Waverly comes out, just as chill as Nicole, and they’re both all cute and smiley about their impending nuptials. Wynonna tries to get HER on her level of stress about the buttercream, but Waverly is also too busy basking in the bliss to be stressed. Besides, this isn’t her first vegan rodeo, and she has cupcakes in the freezer.

Wynonna takes her nervous energy into the barn where she is dutifully hacking at a plank of wood with a knife when Waverly’s dress catches her eye. Next thing you know she’s wrapped up in a coat despite the beautiful sunny day and storming to Doc’s RV, things literally falling apart around her as she walks, and tells him that she felt compelled to try on the dress…and now she can’t get it off.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Wynonna looks adorably upset about her predicament.

I hope Melanie Scrofano is on another gay show I can cover soon, I’ll miss screenshots of her very expressive face.

They flirt a bit while Doc tries to get it off but he can’t even cut it off her so when they hear a familiar jeep approaching Wynonna DIVES inside the RV before Waverly can see her. Waverly is here to give Doc a gift and ask him an important question. The gift is Wyatt Earp’s saddle, restored to its former glory. And the question is whether he’ll be her best man. Doc has been one of the only people to not underestimate her from the jump, and has always been a rock in her life like no man has been before. Not her ex-boyfriend, neither of her fathers. Maybe it would have been Uncle Curtis, if he were still with us, but at this point in Waverly’s life, Doc Holliday is the best man she knows. And not because he’s perfect, or even always good, but because he is constantly trying to be better.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: waverly smiles her angelic smile.

“Remember that one time you saved me from mean girls at a bachelorette party? Good times, good times.”

Doc asks about Wynonna, but Wynonna is going to stand with Nicole. Because they’re best friends. No take backs. Doc accepts Waverly’s offer with pride in his voice and she squeals with delight and scurries away. With a hiss of a reminder from the hidden Wynonna, Doc asks Waverly where she got her wedding dress and she points him toward a quant boutique…

…named CURSEY’S. Sweet angel what did you DO.

Wynonna and Doc make their way around the bridal shop, when they get the pearls scared out of them by a wispy wacky woman in a bridal gown…who is also Charlotte Sullivan,

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Brigitte played by Charlotte Sullivan gives crazy eyes through a veil.

I’ve had a crush on Charlotte Sullivan since I was approximately 10 years old, this was a lovely surprise.

Gail Peck, ladies and gentlepeople!!

The dressmaker tells them that the dress will make Wynonna kill everyone at the wedding, and the only way to kill the dress is with the silkworms that made it. Or to kill the person in the dress, but Wynonna and Doc think they’ll try their luck with the bugs. Wynonna isn’t about to let some haunted hussie ruin this day for Waverly. No matter how pretty she is.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Brigitte looks wild-eyed.

Also this character was named after/absolutely a gift for my friend Bridget Liszewski from the TV Junkies who also happens to be one of the greatest gifts this show has given to ME so really it was a win-win-win.

Back at the Homestead, Jeremy and the brides-to-be are surveying the sudden damage to all the wedding goodies and can’t figure out what the heck happened. Jeremy spots a caterer and gets a funny feeling in his groinal region so he storms off to accuse the man named Damon of being a demon. Damon thinks he’s giving him shit because he knows he’s gay, which sounds pretty rich coming from the guy who is about to officiate a marriage between two women.

Waverly and Nicole follow the trail of destruction into the barn and see that Waverly’s dress is missing, at which point she realizes she doesn’t actually like the dress after all. Nicole points out that only the wedding stuff is trashed…and then they both realize at the same time that this means they have a haunted wedding dress on their hands.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Waverly and Nicole exchange ah-ha looks.

I love when people on supernatural shows remember the supernatural exists!

On their hunt for silkworms, Doc dives into a dirty pond and while he’s fruitlessly looking for silkworms, Wynonna sees her name on a note sticking out of his jacket that she’s holding and reads it, sadness washing over her like she was the one who jumped in the pond. The note is a goodbye letter, and he tries to justify it; he’s a human man now, the imminent danger has passed, what’s left for him here in Purgatory?

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Wynonna holds a letter and cries.

Me reading all my friends’ tweets about how much this show means to them.

Back in the barn, Waverly and Nicole have set up an impromptu murder board and research station, where they start seeing a pattern of wedding murders that Waverly never noticed before because, well, there’s a lot of murders. They trace it back to a dressmaker named Bridgitte, who Waverly confirms is the wackadoo that sold her the dress, and who was the first to have a red wedding, killing all her wedding guests after being left at the altar.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Nicole and Waverly look at a laptop together.

“Do you do want to check for new ones or do you just want to read Stay the Night again?”

Nicole can understand the sentiment; if Waverly left her, she would, and I quote ,”Fuck shit up.” This assertion makes Waverly smile a sly smile and pounce on her girl.

As Doc puts on dry clothes after his impromptu dip, Wynonna calls him a coward. He scoffs and says she’s one to talk; a hero in war but a coward in love. He does say though that, in his defense, he wasn’t just going to leave a letter. He was just drafting his goodbye. He asks her to come with him when he goes, but she fights back tears and changes the subject instead. They have earthworms to paint.

Meanwhile, Jeremy walks in on a post-coital WayHaught who apologize but solving crime makes them horny.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Nicole and Waverly scramble to put their clothes back on.

We were just…solving crime…in a friend way.

Jeremy tells them he found their culprit and is surprised that at the same time he says demon caterer, they say haunted wedding dress. That’s when he realizes he fucked up but good. Waverly feels bad for JerBear but she has a flapper to stop so she runs off with a shotgun and a pun.

Wynonna and Doc bring their faux silkworms to Brigitte the Dressmaker, but she’s not fooled. She is, however, amused at their sad attempt and delights in the fact that they’re all going to die.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Brigitte is just standing there with her veil down looking insane.

I love that Waverly just straight-up shopped here and bought something from this kooky lady and was like, “Yeah I’m sure this is fine and totally normal that she wears a wedding dress to sell wedding dresses.”

Wynonna tries to reason with her, says that failure is never irreversible, and that she’s determined to give Waverly the perfect wedding day. Brigitte is suddenly confused about whose wedding it is but before she can ask more questions Waverly comes bounding through the door, chasing Brigitte around with a banner that I definitely thought said WHORE at first.

Waverly holds up a banner that almost definitely does not say WHORE but could if you look fast enough because cursive.

I’m just saying it doesn’t feel entirely off-brand for the homestead to have had a WHORE banner lying around.

Waverly saves the day with a spell and Wynonna is ready to send Brigitte to hell but Waverly says not today. Just this once, everybody lives. And besides, she has sympathy for this woman who was left at the altar; no one deserves that much pain. Brigitte is still confused as to who’s marrying who but she appreciates the understanding.

Brigitte looks up fondly at Waverly.

WHO LOOKS THIS GOOD THROUGH A VEIL AND WHILE USING THAT VOICE. Witchcraft.

The Earp sisters go back to the homestead where Waverly decides to wear Mama Earp’s wedding dress instead. We’ll take regular baggage over a homicidal curse any day. Waverly can tell something is weighing on her sister but Wynonna plays it off as wedding day feelings.

Nedley goes to the house to give Nicole her boutineer and finds her nervously pacing.

Nicole looks nervous but dapper as heck in her purple suit.

Instead of Cursey’s, I see Nicole went to Lena Luthor’s online shop (L’etsy) to buy a custom suit.

She takes the flower from him and says she has one more thing she needs from him. And then she asks her to walk beside her down the aisle, like he’s been walking beside her since he first saved a little redhead girl from the Cult of Bulshar.

Nicole looks teary and grateful for Nedley

FOUND! FAMILY! FEELS!

He accepts like the proud papa he is and takes her outside where the wedding begins.

The song sings happy words like, “Every up and every down made us who we are now, wouldn’t change it for the world.” The sign does not in fact say WHORE, but “Where you go, I go.” It’s a makeshift wedding and a makeshift family and it’s absolutely perfect.

Wynonna walks Waverly down the aisle, looking beautiful and delicate in blue as she leads her favorite person on this planet to stand with her best friend. Before letting go of her arm, Wynonna presses her forehead against her sister’s and reminds Waverly that she’s the best of us. Still, always.

The Earp sisters press their foreheads together.

THE EARP SISTERS ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO ME DOT TUMBLR DOT COM

Jeremy officiates, wrapping Nicole and Waverly’s hands together with twine as Nicole promises her angel to stay by her side on every adventure and to hold her hand when the firelight grows dim.

Nicole beams and cries through her vows.

“She says I smell like safety and home. I named both of her eyes forever and please-don’t-go.”

Waverly says she’s grateful for the bulletproof vest Nicole once wore (which…same) and a love stronger than she’s ever known and promises to always stand beside her.

Waverly also smiles and cries through her vows.

“My love, my love, my love, she keeps me warm.”

The music swells and the camera pans over the chairs labeled for people they’ve loved and some they’ve lost and Jeremy tells the beautiful brides they are officially married. You may kiss the bride.

Waverly and Nicole kiss, married.

“When you’re afraid and you’ve lost all hope, I’ll lead the way. I will walk you home. It’s all gonna be alright, from now til the end of time. I’ll take your hand and I won’t let go.”

Rachel is so grateful to be part of this family and tells them all they’re inspiring heroes to her. She didn’t know what to get them as a gift, so she decided to sing them a song, and it’s perfect.

Rachel holds a microphone ready to sing.

Also she sang the song that was playing during the first WayHaught kiss I’M FINE IT’S FINE EVERYTHING’S FINE DON’T TOUCH ME

There is a joyful montage and gods it’s so nice to see them all SMILING and laughing and dancing and being able to BREATHE, at least today, at least for now.

Waverly and Nicole laugh and are visibly in love.

“And it starts in my toes, makes me crinkle my nose, wherever it goes, I always know, you make me smile, please stay for a while now.”

Wynonna toasts her best friend and her baby sister, happy as can be that two people she loves so much are in love with each other.

Wynonna toasts WayHaught

How often do people genuinely love their in-laws??

Nedley is a little tipsy and trying to share his champagne with the cake toppers when Rachel and the Billy formerly known as Invisible Monster Teen approach. Nedley is planning on taking Rachel on a fishing trip and she’s so excited that she wants to bring her maybe sort of boyfriend with them. After a warning Billy to keep his lures to himself, Dad says yes and Rachel squeals with glee.

Next page: Are you crying yet? If not, GET READY. 

How series recommendations almost always go : actuallesbians

How series recommendations almost always go : actuallesbians

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

When was the first gay TV series? A short history of LGBT+ representation

The gay kiss on Australian TV series The Box in 1974

While representation of gay characters in TV series has come a long way in the last couple of decades, it has been a painfully slow process to get to this point.

This year, GLAAD’s “Where We Are On TV” report found that of 773 series regular characters scheduled to appear on broadcast scripted primetime television in the US this season, 9.1 percent are LGBT+. However, with 20 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 identifying as LGBT+, there is still a long way to go.

But for most of TV history, LGBT+ characters have been totally absent, or have appeared fleetingly as the butt of a joke or as a victim of violence.

When did the first gay character appear on TV?

In 1971, the year after the first-ever Pride parade in the US and when homosexuality was still considered a disorder, All in the Family became the first American sitcom to show a gay character on TV, in only its fifth episode.

The episode subverted gay stereotypes, as Archie Bunker mocks a man who he considers effeminate, but turns out to be straight. It is later revealed that his macho, football-loving drinking buddy Steve is actually gay.

The gay character Peter Panama, played by Vincent Schiavelli, in the US TV series The Corner Bar
The gay character Peter Panama, played by Vincent Schiavelli, in the US TV series The Corner Bar. (Youtube/ Gilmore Box)

A year later, in 1972, US sitcom The Corner Bar included the first-ever gay series regular on American TV. While the ABC show stuck around for just 16 episodes, it made history with the character of Peter Panama, played by Vincent Schiavelli.

Rich Wandel, then-president of the Gay Activists Alliance, called Peter “the worst stereotype of a gay person I’ve ever seen”.

While most early gay characters were sidelined, not given their own storylines or love interests, eventually same-sex couples began appearing on TV.

During the same year as The Corner Bar, Australia also saw its first gay series regular – Don Finlayson portrayed Joe Hasham on the serial Number 96 between 1972 and 1977. He had several same-sex relationships, and even lived with his boyfriend Dudley.

In 1975 ABC’s Hot l Baltimore featured the first gay couple on US network television. George and Gordon, played by Lee Bergere and Henry Calvert, were a middle-aged gay couple that appeared on the show, which was so controversial that it was dropped by the network after six months on air.

It wasn’t until 1981 that a TV show with a gay lead character was shown on primetime US television, when NBC’s Love, Sidney aired. However the show’s titular character Sidney Shorr, a single gay man, remains in the closet for every one of the 40 episodes.

The UK trailed behind in its LGBT+ TV representation, and an openly gay character was not shown on TV until 1985, when the Liverpool-based soap Brookside introduced Gordon Collins, played by Nigel Cowley.

In 1989, the first Black lesbian relationship on US TV was broadcast by ABC in the series The Women of Brewster Place.

The LGBT lesbian kiss Brookside
The groundbreaking kiss between Beth and Margaret in Brookside in 1994 is still being talked about today (Channel 4)

When was the first same-sex kiss shown on TV?

One of the first same-sex kisses shown on TV anywhere in the world is thought to have been on the Australian soap opera The Box, in 1974.

Vicki Stafford, played by Judy Nunn, is a bisexual reporter who, in the very first episode of the show, shared a same-sex kiss with Felicity, played by Helen Hemingway.

In the UK, Eastenders broadcast the first gay kiss between Colin Russell (Michael Cashman) and his partner Barry Clark (Gary Hailes) in 1989.The first kiss between two women on a UK TV series was aired in 1994. The iconic Brookside lesbian kiss was followed the same year by another same-sex smooch on Byker Grove.

In the US, the first same-sex kiss on network television was between two female lawyers on LA Law in 1991. NBC received multiple complaints and advertisers pulled their ads from the network, however the show ran for eight seasons and won multiple Emmys.

What’s next for LGBT+ representation on TV? It’s hard to say, but things are definitely going in the right direction – even if there is more to be done.

 

Magical Mermicorns Sparkle in Fin-tastic New Early Reader Series

Magical Mermicorns Sparkle in Fin-tastic New Early Reader Series

A mermicorn is half mermaid and half unicorn—and the mermicorns in a new early reader series by a genderqueer author just might bring a little sparkle into young readers’ lives.

Mermicorn Island

The first book in the series, Search for the Sparkle, by Jason June and illustrated by Lisa Manuzak Wiley (Scholastic), centers on Lucky the mermicorn, a peppy fellow who lives in an undersea world of magic but has yet to find his “sparkle,” his special magic. When he finds a treasure chest full of glittery seashells, with a message to “Share the sparkle,” he wonders if that could be the key to finding his talent. Throw in three undersea friends, oceans of sea-related puns (things are “mer-mazing,” “fin-credible,” and “fin-tastic”), and a hunt for Poseidon’s magical trident, and you have a fun and joyful story just perfect for readers stepping into early chapter books.

The second book, Narwhal Adventure, continues the story of Lucky and the gang as Lucky helps his friend Ruby enter a special baking competition. Their new friend Nelia the Narwhal wants to help, too. An accident with a magic seashell might lead to disaster, however, unless the three of them and their friends can find a clever solution.

On first glance, there’s nothing overtly LGBTQ in these books, although the sparkly aesthetic conveys a definite flamboyant queer vibe. And Lucky, who likes to draw and appreciates when his mane has “just the right swirl,” feels at the very least somewhat gender creative. Jason June describes himself on his website as “a genderqueer writer mermaid,” so that vibe seems deliberate. His author biography at the end of these books notes, too, that when he “finally gets that mermaid tail, he hopes it’s covered in pink scales”—a subtle but positive message about gender creativity and the colors we wear. The third book in the series, Too Many Dolphins, promises more queer inclusion and will feature gay dolphin dads. It and a fourth book are due out later this year.

Early reader titles rarely get the recognition of either picture books or middle grade ones. Jason June brings a verve to these stories, however, that makes them a delight to read. Readers LGBTQ and not will also appreciate the series’ messages of finding oneself and supporting one’s friends. (And I’m going to add this series to the other LGBTQ-inclusive kids’ books that I think would make great television shows.) Maybe I’m just a sucker for fish puns, or maybe I feel the need to immerse myself in an upbeat, magical world right now—but if you or your kids feel the same, check them out. There are very, very few LGBTQ-inclusive early reader books, and these not only help fill that gap, but do so with fun and whimsy.

Release date and how to watch the latest series

Dominique Jackson in American Gods

Dominique Jackson appears in season three as Ms. World, an incarnation of Mr. World. (YouTube/American Gods)

The highly anticipated third season of fantasy drama American Gods had its world premiere this month.

After a two year break the show is back on our screens via Starz in the US, where it premiered 10 January, and with a worldwide release on Amazon Prime Video the following day.

Pose star Dominique Jackson joins the cast as Ms World, a new incarnation of the leader of the new gods, Mr World.

The series is based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name and follows former convict Shadow Moon, who is told his wife has been killed in a car accident only days before his scheduled release from prison.

A series of events delays his trip home, including a meeting with the mysterious Mr Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job to be his driver, assistant and bodyguard.

Shadow then finds himself in a hidden world where magic is real and the Old Gods fear irrelevance in the face of the growing power of the New Gods, which leaves him struggling to accept this new world and his place in it.

The latest season and third overall follows Shadow as he moves to Lakeside, Wisconsin under a new name to hide from the New Gods and assert himself as his own man. But while there he uncovers a dark secret exploring questions of his own divinity.

Ricky Whittle in American Gods
Ricky Whittle appears as the lead character Shadow in American Gods. (YouTube/American Gods)

American Gods stars Ricky Whittle as Shadow, perhaps best known for his role as Calvin Valentine in soap Hollyoaks, Ian McShane from John Wick and Pirates of the Caribbean as Mr Wednesday and Emily Browning from Sucker Punch and A Series of Unfortunate Events as Laura.

Across the three seasons there is also notable guest stars including Pose star and icon Dominique Jackson, Kristin Chenoweth, Marilyn Manson, Denis O’Hare, Betty Gilpin, Gillian Anderson and Crispin Glover to name a few.

Since its release in 2017 the show has received positive reviews from critics and has racked up a number of big award nominations including two Emmys. It’s also proved to be a ratings success, with a fourth season already in development.

A new episode will be released weekly on Starz in the US and Amazon Prime Video in the UK and worldwide. You can stream the series with an Amazon Prime membership which costs £7.99 per month and comes with a free seven-day trial.

To sign up and to stream American Gods seasons one to three go to Amazon here.

TV series replaces Sean Connery with Black lesbian

Sean Connery Finding Forrester NBC television series

Sean Connery’s character in Finding Forrester will be replaced with a Black lesbian in an NBC television adaptation (YouTube)

The late Sean Connery’s character in the 2000 film Finding Forrester will be replaced with a Black lesbian writer in an upcoming NBC television adaptation.

The original film, directed by Gus Van Sant, told the story of a teenager called James Wallace (Rob Brown) who befriends the reclusive writer William Forrester (Sean Connery).

The much-loved film is now set to be adapted into an NBC series, with Connery’s character of William Forrester replaced with a Black lesbian writer, Deadline reports.

The series is being written by The Chi co-executive producers TJ Brady and Rasheed Newson, and will examine “the cost of success and the price of redemption through the unique and between two gifted Black writers”, according to reports.

In the NBC adaptation, the aspiring writer will be a homeless orphan, while his mentor will be a reclusive woman who had her career ruined by a public scandal.

The series will be executive produced by Brady and Newson alongside NBA star Stephen Curry and Erick Peyton, while Ti Story will direct.

It will be produced by Curry’s Unanimous Media as Sony Pictures Television.

Finding Forrester series comes just weeks after Sean Connery’s death.

The new series is part of a deal Curry made with Sony Pictures in 2018, media reports have said. His company, Unanimous Media, aims to put a spotlight on diverse voices and tell stories that deserve to be heard.

The original film also starred F. Murray Abraham, Anna Paquin, Busta Rhymes and Rob Brown, and went on to gross $80 million at the box office when it was released on 22 December, 2000.

Finding Forrester was later ranked as one of the best films of the decade by acclaimed film-critic Richard Roeper.

News of the television adaptation of Finding Forrester comes just weeks after Connery’s death.

The Scottish actor died in the Bahamas on 31 October, aged 90. News of his death led to a huge outpouring of grief from famous figures across the world.

Pop Culture Fix: Lexa Gets The Last Laugh on “The 100” Series Finale

Pop Culture Fix: Lexa Gets The Last Laugh on "The

A Pop Culture Fix upon you this day, my friends! 


+ Hey, guess who came back for The 100 series finale, kinda? Lexa! Kinda! I actually think it was an avatar of Lexa maybe. I’ve read several recaps and it sounds like a little bit of a mess to be honest, but, I think(!) the point is that Clake manifested Lexa in her imagination to be the judge of her afterlife and then they walked on the beach together. Or something. Anyway, Lexa lives on in Clarke’s heart and mind and that’s more than you can say for Bellamy who she stabbed in the gizzard a few episodes ago. 🏄‍♀️

+ The secret history of video game music’s female pioneers.

+ Miranda July’s enduring love for the weirdo in all of us.

+ Bex Taylor-Klaus has joined the new ABC procedural, Triage, “a character-driven medical drama that follows pioneering surgeon Finley Briar (Fitz-Henley) over three distinct decades at the same hospital.” They will play “Leonora/Leo, the gender fluid youngest first-year intern at New York Trinity and mentee of Finley (Fitz-Henley).”

+ !!!!!!!!!!

+ Speaking of Ryan Murphy projects, he’s making a Jeffrey Dahmer drama because of course he is.

+ Chelsea Tavares, who plays Patience on All American, has been promoted to series regular for season three!

+ Sanam Yar profiled Lili Reinhart in the New York Times this weekend. If Lexa hadn’t risen from the grave (kind of), surely I would have made this into the Pop Culture Fix headline: “She first began to question her sexuality around the fifth grade, she said. ‘I remember Googling ‘Playboy’ and ‘boobs.’ I wanted to see women, I was so interested. And then just kind of, as I got older, I was realizing that I was attracted to these women. I wanted to look like them, but I also was attracted to them.’”

+ Warner Bros. will be adapting a feature film based on Black, Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith’s comic series where only Black people have superpowers. It’s a really good comic!

+ Before Korrasami, Avatar’s creators hinted at a queer romance between… Momo & Appa!? 

+ The 100 sequences that shaped animation.

+ Gugu Mbatha-Raw on Misbehaviour, “San Junipero,” and becoming a pop star for Beyond The Lights.

+ LESBIANS!

+ How to dress like your favorite Schitt’s Creek character.

+ Here’s how SNL and Kate McKinnon paid tribute to RBG.

+ Taraji P. Henson will host a talkshow on mental health on Facebook Watch.

+ Hulu’s First Day shows trans kids they’re not alone.

+ Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is back so soon and AV Club has an exclusive clip!

+ Vampires vs. The Bronx thrusts a wooden stake into the heart of gentrification.

+ Carmen agrees!

Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She’s a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1025 articles for us.