She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (reboot)

The first time I had heard of Noelle Stevenson was back in 2012, shortly after she had began posting pages of her then webcomic, Nimona.  Aside from hearing about her spectacular Lumberjanes series, she faded out of my realm of knowledge for a good while. And then there was a minor miracle.

She-Ra was getting rebooted. The characters all looked soft and pastel and wonderful. The women looked strong and no body type was identical from what I could tell. In the original show, the character models were identical so that more dolls and toys could be easily produced, but the reboot seemed to be intentionally avoiding that. Each character was unique in their color scheme and style. And somehow, the images seemed familiar. Who else could have been behind it but Stevenson.

And then the content was even better. For the first time, I was able to experience a show without any hetero-normativity. Characters were fluid in how they presented themselves in gender and personality. Women were able to be softhearted and deadly at the same time. Men were able to love unconditionally and not be seen as just a goofball. And the talk of the town has been the relationship between Adora and Catra as former best friends with all of the romantic undertones a fanfic author could dream.

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Adora and Catra dancing during Princess Prom.

The first season primarily focused on introducing characters and setting up relationships between them. Season two is going to be where the shit hits the fan and everything goes sideways. But one thing that I have absolutely loved about it is how very clearly this is a children’s show. From the brightness to the drama of the villains to Seahawk’s constant destroying his own ships, everything about it is childlike wonder. I look forward to seeing where the show goes and having a new version of She-Ra for the current and incoming generation of kids.

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Orphan Black

Orphan Black features a lot of just plain weird shit. If you like clones, mystique, and secret organizations, this show is for you. It’s currently completed, so you can even binge the entire show in a few sleepless nights. (I do not recommend this. Personal experience talking.)

The show features Felix, a gay man and the adopted brother of the main character. He is a modern artist, sex-worker, and  the (occasional) voice of reason. There is also Cosima and Dr. Delphine, a couple of lesbians, the first is one of the clones of the main character and the other an undercover doctor turned to the light side. One of the clones, Tony, is a trans man.

All clones are played by the remarkable Tatiana Maslany.

One Day at a Time

This one has made me cry multiple times.

The story focuses on a Cuban family who are proud of their heritage. The show deals with issues like immigration, queer families in uber Christian households, and veterans returning to civilian life.

This show is honestly the closest I have ever seen in reflecting what my life was like growing up. When I say I cried, I mean that I sat there going through every emotion under the sun in the span of seven minutes. The season finale is intense. It shows men unafraid to not know “manly” things, to be concerned with their appearance, to be themselves in the face of adversity. It shows women stepping up to the tasks that the world says they can’t do, supporting each other even in times of anger at the other, and (one of the more intense ones to me) stepping out of their social norms to express love to each other.

The show features a gay main character and a nonbinary partner, which is a pretty big deal. The humor in their pronouns doesn’t come from making fun of the character but from the family trying to get across whether “they” in a sentence someone else said is plural or singular.

I highly recommend this show to anyone who enjoys sitcoms. It’s refreshing and sweet. Beware that in the second half of the season, you will need a pack of tissues to cry into.

The Legend of Korra

Time to pop the BIGGEST bottles.

The Legend of Korra had… a lot going on. Both sortywise and in production. It was a sequel series of Avatar the Last Airbender so there was already a lot of pressure on it. It went through four different production companies. At some point it was literally pulled off the air. And still it continued on, because it had a story to tell.

When the finale was coming out, a lot of people were under the presumption that Korra, the main character, and her original love interest, Mako, were going to have their happily ever after in the same way that we got Aang and Katara’s at the end of Avatar. This ship was called Makorra by most fans.

But then surrealy, we had something else entirely.

In the last few moments, Korra and Asami, a former flame of Mako’s and resident kick-ass, share a moment of tender conversation. Words cannot express how intense this moment was for fans. So here’s a video of one of the first animated bi couples.

And never forget the most popular Legend of Korra post on Tumblr.

tonrag: avatarskorra: we popping the BIGGEST bottles when makorra happens tomorrow

Sailor Moon

There’s always been issues with anime and the American localizations. Whether it’s something as casual as 4Kids replacing cigarettes with lollipops or calling onigiri donuts in the dub, there has always been something for us to laugh at in localizations.

But there is one thing that transcends cringy adjustments and falls into the what the ever living shit category. Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus. In the original Japanese version of the show, the two were lovers. No holds barred. They were two women in love with each other and dedicated to fighting for good in the world.

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Sailor Uranus (left) and Sailor Neptune (right)

The English translation made a big change. In the original English version, they decided to make them cousins. But didn’t change any of the animation. Which means that all of the times that the two casually flirted were… not changed. This had some worse implications than the original “worry” about exposing a lesbian couple to children. This persisted in the series’ show and films.

Years later, VIZ media redubbed the show and stayed truer to the original content, restoring some deleted scenes, and kept the couple as just lovers instead of the implied incest.

BoJack Horseman

Most asexual folks can count on one hand how much representation they’ve seen on TV. So it was kind of a major deal in the ace community when Todd said with no uncertainty that he is asexual. Full stop. There is a conversation between him and other aces at a community meeting where they go into the intersectionality of relationships and how not all aces are aromantic and that not all aros are ace (which is also the first time in a while that I had even heard someone explicitly mention that they weren’t romantic).

Now, I could absolutely wax poetic about how much I adore this character, but honestly I can’t watch too much of BoJack without accidentally triggering a depressive episode (which happens to a good amount of fans) so instead, I’d like to redirect to this article about how the show approaches asexuality.

Real Quick Note: Dragon Age

I know this blog is about television and film, but honestly I feel the need to remind people that representation in video games is also incredibly important. It gives us a chance to actually see the characters interact with each other and have developing relationships that we feel apart of because we take an active role in the storytelling.

I recently replayed Dragon Age: Inquisition and for the first time played as a male Inquisitor. For those who don’t know, it’s a Bioware game which are most known for their long-form multi-game storytelling with decisions carrying over from game to game. Romances are one of the elements to their games that are especially appreciated by fans.

This run-through, I was set on romancing Cassandra, a tragically straight fighter. But then it hit me. I had romanced one of the pansexual characters before (The Iron Bull). I knew that Josephine is also pan. Sera is a lesbian. Dorian is gay. I got curious about how these other queer characters were handled. And since I can’t romance Krem – the only explicitly trans character in the game – I decided to do run-throughs with each of the queer romances.

My conclusion? I’m too gay for this.

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Sera’s romance tarot card

Sera is a wonderful woman with a severe case of sarcasm that can and will destroy a man. Her romance is sweet. When she gets a “gift” for the Inquisitor it’s an ugly hat with a drawing of the antagonist filled with apples for people to beat. And what do you get for someone you love so dearly but refuses to open up to people? Ask all of your friends if they know and in the process let the entire world know that you and Sera are lovers. Which she adores.

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Dorian’s romance tarot card

Dorian was surprisingly dear to me. His romance flows as awkwardly as you’d expect from a first relationship, especially when he realizes that the flirtation is genuine. I still have mixed feelings about how the romance is handled when it comes to the ending. No matter what happens, Dorian leaves to his homeland and is placed in the position of needing to either end the relationship or make it a long distance one without any real contact for two years (and that’s only revealed if you have the Trespasser DLC). If you ask him about the relationship within the Trespasser DLC, he’ll give the Inquisitor a magical Thedas equivalent of a cellphone, with the sentiment that nothing could keep him from the man he loves.

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Josephine’s tarot card

Everything about Josie makes me giddy, honestly. She’s so sweet and loving with an intense knowledge about how the internal workings of the noble courts function on all sides. She is one of two pan characters in this game, and I was genuinely surprised that there wasn’t a sex scene like the other romances have. It seemed like something that the studio could have easily done in a way to give some eye candy the way they have with other female romances, which made Josie’s romance all the sweeter.

Iron Bull romance tarot
The Iron Bull’s romance tarot card

What Josie’s romance lacked in sex, Bull’s makes up for. The relationship with him begins as a purely physical one, leaving it up to the Inquisitor how much of it will be the light and breezy pace they’ve been working at. Although this is how it starts, the romance aspect of it is also funnily sweet. The way to initiate the romantic aspect of the relationship involves giving Bull a traditional token of the Qunari that is made of two matching halves of a split dragon tooth and means that no matter how far one is from the other, they are always together.