Showtime confirms that a sequel to The L Word will be hitting screens late in 2019. The original series, starring Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig, Erin Daniels, Leisha Hailey, Laurel Holloman, Pam Grier, and Mia Kirshner ran from 2004 to 2009. The drama focused on the lives, romances, and misadventures, of a close-knit group of queer women living in Los Angeles. Development for a sequel was first announced in 2017, with creator and showrunner Ilene Chaiken (Empire) rumored to be involved with, but not managing the project.
Following the original series, Chaiken had planned a spin-off entitled The Farm, starring Famke Janssen. The L Word finale hinged on a murder-mystery surrounding who in the group may have killed the protagonist turned pseudo-villain Jenny Schecter (Kirshner). The premise of the spin-off was a prison drama involving Alice Pieszecki (Hailey) serving time for Jenny's death. While The Farm was never picked up, some fan theories have suggested that the idea helped pave the way for later prison dramas focused on queer women, such as Orange Is The New Black and Wentworth. Showtime did, however, commission a follow-up reality series called The Real L Word which ran from 2010-2013.
Showtime confirmed this morning that The L Word sequel will be going into production this summer, and premiere sometime in late 2019. Beals, Moennig, and Hailey are set to reprise their roles, and Chaiken will return as showrunner and executive producer, in collaboration with Marja-Lewis Ryan (6 Balloons). Gary Levine, Showtime’s co-president of entertainment spoke to Variety about including Ryan's voice in continuing the groundbreaking series:
“Marja has brought her unique and contemporary vision to ‘The L Word’ and blended it beautifully into the fabric of Ilene’s groundbreaking series.”
While this is only the first cast list, many fans will be eager for news on Holloman's return. The actor, along with Beals, played the series' tumultuous but undeniably central romantic couple, Bette and Tina. The two were last seen preparing to move to New York and trying to have a second child. With the sequel presumably picking up with the cast years later, the as-of-yet unanswered question of how Jenny died may finally be resolved in the coming episodes. Chaiken confirmed in a 2010 interview that Alice wasn't the killer.
During its original run, The L Word, much like its Showtime sister series Queer As Folk, revolutionized portrayals of queer people on television with raw and complex characters from various walks of life. The show was also unapologetically political, frequently criticizing the George W. Bush administration, the then state-based legality of gay marriage, and gender and sexuality workplace discrimination and harassment. However many legacy viewers have leveraged criticisms, particularly with regard to how the writing under-addressed the experiences and challenges people of color and trans folk face in and outside of queer communities.
Chaiken, who mirrored components of the series after her own life, has been vocal about acknowledging fan criticisms since the series ended, even conceding that she regretted killing off a main character in a way that was so devastating to some fans. It's hopeful that the sequel will reinvent everything wonderful about The L Word, while the exploring the full-range of conversations happening in queer communities today.