There have been lots of reboots of old shows over the past decade—not all of them necessary, many would argue.
But Jennifer Beals, who starred in the original incarnation of The L Word on Showtime during the mid-2000s, saw a real need to revive this program, which followed a dynamic group of lesbian and bisexual women in Los Angeles.
“We certainly had discussed bringing it back, even years ago, because, surprisingly, nothing had taken its place,” says Beals. “Certainly shows since then have incorporated elements of The L Word, but nothing was completely centric to the LGBTQ community.”
Beals felt that tug again after President Donald Trump took office.
“After the election, it was pretty clear that this administration attacked the LGBTQ community from the day he took office,” she says. “We thought that we needed to bring back these stories to give visibility to a community that was under attack and also reach people who might misunderstand who that community was, given the administration’s behavior.”
And so, the reboot The L Word: Generation Q was born. The new show, which debuts on Showtime this Sunday, picks up 10 years after the original ended and continues to follow many of the same characters, including Alice (Leisha Hailey), Shane (Katherine Moennig) and Beals’ Bette, who is now running for mayor of LA.
The show explores how Bette balances her campaign with raising her increasingly rebellious teenage daughter, a theme that interested Beals. She also wanted to explore female friendships in addition to female sexuality. As an executive producer of the show, along with Hailey and Moennig, Beals enjoyed more input on storylines this time around.
“The show introduces all these new characters, a new generation, and what’s exciting about that new generation is the way they so boldly and unapologetically present themselves and their identity,” Beals says. “They don’t allow other people to define who they are, so we get to tell those kinds of stories within the show.”
She’s especially excited to have transgender characters played by trans actors, who will help explore in-depth some issues the original only touched on.
Beals, whose other current projects include executive producing an upcoming adaptation of the popular novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo for Freeform, says the overarching theme of this series, both original and new incarnation, is love.
“How do we love each other? How do we love ourselves?” Beals asks. “Familial love is defined as our chosen family. All those themes continue to play out in this generation, which makes me realize this community isn’t stuck in time.”