SyFy's Lost Girl is widely regarded as one of the most inclusive shows on television thanks to the strong lesbian and bisexual characters at the center of the story. The main character is Bo, a supernatural heroine who investigates crimes involving other supernatural beings. Because it is held in such high regard in the LGBT community, it was quite a shock to viewers when a recent scene depicted what some are saying was anti-transgender violence.
In the Season 3 premiere, “Caged Fae,” Bo intentionally gets herself imprisoned in a supernatural women’s jail in order to investigate a criminal plot. The jail was run by a tribe of Amazons who were secretly impregnating the prisoners and selling their babies. At the end of the episode, the warden is revealed to be a biologically male shape-shifter, whom Bo “exposes” by kissing her and telling the Amazon guards that the warden has beard stubble. One of the guards immediately grabs the warden’s crotch violently, as the other guards attack the warden and drag her away. After the attack, other characters mention that the warden survived but they refer to her with exclusively male pronouns.
Many fans are saying that the scene was disturbingly similar to real life anti-transgender violence. Whether or not the warden is representative of a real-life transgender person or just a shapeshifter whose gender is not comparable to humans, the attack scene is what is most angering and upsetting fans. Transgendered people are often subject to violence when their biological sex is revealed, and there's a stigma that persists that transgendered people try to "trick" people with perverse intention. Following complaints from viewers and GLAAD, the producers of Lost Girl released a statement on the issue.
"We want to let you know that the Lost Girl writers base all episodic characters off of researched folklore, and that the character of The Warden in the premiere of Season 3 is a character based off the mythological shapeshifter known as the Liderc. The Warden was only intended to represent this mythic being," the statement said. "We did not intend this character to be seen as a transgender person, we apologize if the character was seen as such. We do hope that you accept that no comparison or discrimination toward the transgender community was intended by the depiction of this mythological character. Lost Girl prides itself on being open and accepting to everyone, and are enthusiastic supporters of the GLBT community. We want to encourage a society in which everyone can feel comfortable to express and be who they are without judgment. Equality and a world without labels is important to all of us at the series. We strive to create three dimensional characters, who empower all viewers regardless of sexuality or gender."
GLAAD also responded to the controversy, releasing their own statement. "It’s especially unfortunate that this scene took place on a show with strong bisexual and lesbian lead characters, including the Lost Girl herself, Bo, who began a relationship with a woman in this same episode," the statement said. "Lost Girl has a very loyal fanbase among lesbian and bisexual women, and with good reason, as it’s one of the few shows on television to make their stories the focus rather than supplementary plot, not to mention one featuring well-rounded, out characters. We hope that they will continue to set a good example in future episodes."
[Photo Credit: SyFy]
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Sunday morning at SDCC, fans packed into the normally movie-centric Hall H to say goodbye to their beloved cult hit Fringe. Waiting to see executive producer J. H. Wyman, along with stars Josh Jackson, Anna Torv, John Noble, Lance Reddick, and Jasika Nicole (poor Blair Brown couldn't make it due to a cold) were thousands of fans (many of whom camped over night) wearing Fringe-style fedoras, making the crowd look like something out of the show's dystopian Observageddon.
But the panel — which kicked things off with a downright jaw-dropping trailer (is that the return of Lost's Henry Ian Cusick we see back in the futuristic Observageddon, brotha?) — wasn't just an emotional rollercoaster for fans bidding the series adieu, but the stars as well. Torv, Nicole, and even Reddick broke down in tears during the panel when discussing their favorite moments from other characters on the show.
For the record, Fringe fans, Nicole's favorite scene is when Walter is at the phone booth, and he panics when he can't remember the number to get in touch with Peter. (Sniff sniff) Another popular favorite was the Torv-tastic scene where Olivia goes into her house and realizes that Faux-livia had taken over her life. (Sniff sniff sniff) But the tears really started to flow when Reddick had a hard time describing my own personal favorite Fringe moment — when Nicole's alterna-Astrid (who has Asperger's Syndrome) visited our own universe to see if its Astrid was also disowned by her father. In this scene, Astrid tells alterna-Astrid that yes, her father was also distant, but only because he didn't know how to be there for her. Alterna-Astrid seems to be at peace with this answer, knowing that her father's failures were not solely due to his disappointment in having a daughter with Asperger's. At the end of the episode, we learn that our Astrid had lied — she comes home after a long day to see her loving father waiting with a home-cooked meal. After this tearful moment, Noble joked that his favorite scene was when Peter chopped a guy's fingers off, because "I'm not going to cry."
As for that trailer, we learned that the original Fringe team will indeed be back: Removed by Peter and Olivia's daughter after spending 20 years frozen in amber. In 2609 AD, the Observers destroyed the planet — and as we saw last year, they traveled back in time to establish some horrific dystopian society. In the trailer, we see mention that William Bell's (Leonard Nimoy) services might be needed to help the insurgent Fringe team save the world. The premiere, which will air on September 28, will pick up the day after we left Peter, Etta and co. in the Observageddon future, in the year 2036. (But the real question is — can they somehow sneak in Lincoln Lee?) Later in the panel, three ladies dressed as Observers asked Wyman why we haven't seen any female Observers yet. Wyman said that there is a reason for this, and we will find out soon.
The rest of the panel was a giant love-fest, with each actor waxing poetic about the others. But Nicole did find time to poke fun at Reddick's Comic-Con "disguise": "When we got here, I thought I was going to do my hair different as a disguise for Comic-Con. Lance was wearing a Breaking Bad hat. He thought that was going to be his disguise. He's like, 'They're going to think I'm a fan!' Then fans swarmed him. He's the tallest, darkest, handsomest man at Comic-Con.! Of course, things eventually turned to sex. After Torv unfortunately began a sentence with "I've learned to come..." and then paused, the rest of the cast (and the crowd) exploded with laughter. But Torv was a good sport. "I'll tell you what, that's what we need to get Olivia to do!" (Meaning orgasm on screen, of course.) But that wasn't the last orgasm joke we'd hear this panel. Nobel began reminiscing on his first scene, where he put on a big beard in the asylum, then turned to the camera and said, "I knew you'd come." The actor then turned to Torv and said, "Speaking of!" All of this sex talk reminded Nicole of the racy fan fiction that exists on the internet. "By the way, Anna and I have read some of that fan-fic out there," she said. "You guys are scandalous!" Torv joked that they just haven't found the time to shoot it yet. Of course, Noble noted that it's not sex or sci-fi that keeps Fringe fans hooked — it's love. "What we've learned is about the power of love in this story. What holds things together is the power of love. Between all the characters there has developed genuine love. The love between father and son, the love between Peter and Olivia." Noble then added that he thinks a future Fringe film is very possible.
When all was said and done, the audience in Hall H gave them all a deserving standing ovation.
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[Photo credit: Fox]
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.