Greg Berlanti Archives – FutureFemme

The upcoming 'Batwoman' series not only sounds like a fine addition to the Arrowverse, but it also sounds like it possesses a lot of potential to be a great show in and of itself.

Everything we know about The CW’s Batwoman show

By News

Back in July, Variety shared the news that The CW is developing a Batwoman series due to debut in 2019. You might be inclined to roll your eyes at the thought of another superhero drama, but you should have a little more faith in the Arrowverse that The CW has been building for the past six years.

Whether you’re a fan of the shows or not, there’s no denying the Arrowverse features some invigorating takes on the classic superhero canon along with some boundary-pushing characterization and storylines that promote diversity.

The upcoming Batwoman series not only sounds like a fine addition to the Arrowverse, but it also sounds like it possesses a lot of potential to be a great show in and of itself. Here’s everything we know about The CW’s Batwoman series so far that is making us hyped for it.

Batwoman will be the first openly gay female superhero on TV

If you hold this sentence close to your ear like a conch shell you can hear the shrieking of a thousand bros complaining about “SJWs” and “feminazis” – so we highly recommend against such a practice. As described by Variety, the show follows Kate Kane, a young woman “armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind” – which in fairness does sound like someone is deliberately trolling the sort of toxic fandoms who for some reason still believe superheroes should continue to be white, male, and straight forever.

Batwoman’s sexuality isn’t just an exercise in virtue signaling to keep the diversity back slaps coming – it’s also a crucial part of her identity and backstory. In the comics, Kate is shown to have a military background (which is why she’s so kickass) with a storyline that explores her being forced to quit when she’s accused of having a lesbian relationship with her roomie at the United States Military Academy, which she doesn’t deny because she’s an absolute boss. It’s a defining moment that undoubtedly shapes who she is as a woman and as a hero.

Batwoman has a complicated family history in the comics

It’s still uncertain how closely the show will stick to the comics, but considering the synopsis touches upon how “Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope”, it sounds like it may be sticking tight to the canon of the character.

Kate’s origin story is similar to Bruce Wayne’s, with the character witnessing the murder of her mother and sister and growing up to become a wealthy socialite after her father remarries a billionaire weapons heiress. There’s plenty of tortured angst to be found in the residue of that story, as Kate struggles with the ramifications of it. Worst still, Kate discovers her sister may not even be dead, bringing some serious doubt and complications to her already complicated life.

Batwoman is set to appear in the annual CW DC crossover episode

The CW’s president Mark Pedowitz announced at Upfront in May that Batwoman will be appearing in the network’s annual superhero series crossover event next season. Though it may only be a teaser, fans should regardless be excited for the first glimpse of the superhero (who is still yet to be casted) in the crossover event between The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.

A Smallville and The Vampire Diaries alum is serving as executive producer & writer

Having previously worked as a writer on the reboot of Melrose Place and Smallville and as an executive producer of teen-vamp fest The Vampire Diaries, Caroline Dries has the credentials necessary to lead a creative team in developing this comic book adaptation. Her experience on these shows should help to provide the perfect balance of delicious soapy drama, twist-heavy narrative, and genre goodness that the Arrowverse demands.

Greg Berlanti’s ever-expanding empire bodes well for the show

Though it’s still uncertain as to whether the show will even be picked up by The CW, we’re going to go all out and speculate that it seems damn likely it will be. Sarah Schechter and Berlanti are both executive producers on the show via Berlanti productions, which is presently dominating the network.

Currently, Berlanti has seven TV shows on The CW including all four of the DC shows, as well as Black Lightning, Riverdale, and upcoming high school drama All American. Beyond The CW, Berlanti is also a producer on a further seven TV shows including the upcoming Lifetime show You and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. So to add a Batwoman show to his CW roster? It’s a no brainer and we can’t wait to check it out as and when it gets picked up.

This weekend marked the end of the 2018 ATX Festival. With the year that Hollywood and the entertainment industry at large has had, it’s no surprise talks turned to the discussion of women in the workplace.

Why Hollywood’s diversity problem starts in the writers’ room

By News

This weekend marked the end of the 2018 ATX Festival, the annual event that celebrates and showcases the past, present, and future of the television industry. With the year the entertainment industry’s had, it’s no surprise talks turned to the discussion of women in the workplace. Utilizing this period of introspection that follows the sexual harassment scandal regarding disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and other industry figures, the power dynamics inside the writers’ room was a resounding theme on Saturday during a panel discussion.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Liz Tigelaar (Little Fires Everywhere), Christopher C. Rogers (Halt and Catch Fire), Shawn Ryan (Timeless), Rina Mimoun (Everwood), and Patrick Sean Smith (Greek), as well as moderator Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead) discussed the challenges of finding experienced female writers and giving “difficult” industry women second chances. Opening up about their experiences with diversity issues in the writers’ rooms, the TV showrunners also explained how things are starting to change.

Tigelaar – who is currently working on her upcoming Hulu adaptation Little Fires Everywhere starring Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies) and Kerry Washington (Django Unchained) – said she is looking for diverse voices across the board as she’s staffing the room. “And not in a token way, like I checked a box — but in a deeply substantial way. I’m not just talking about staff writers but co-EPs and others shaping the show.” For example, since the story is largely about motherhood, she’s aiming to have moms, dads, and people who don’t want kids contributing to the script. “I want to round it out in a full way.” This was just one of many examples discussed on Saturday about how the writing rooms are shifting and moving towards inclusivity in every sense of the word. However, this was not always the case.

Frat house environment

ATX Festival

During the 80s and 90s, American production houses attempted to recognize their issue of sexism in the workplace by hiring more female staff, but this led to a new issue – the token woman. As screenwriter and author Debbie Moon declared when discussing an open letter from female screenwriters calling on TV to change, “Female screenwriters have been aware of this for a long time. We all have our war stories. The exec who said ‘We already have a show written by a woman,’ or the commissioner who felt that a female lead wouldn’t appeal to a wide audience. The times we’ve been the only woman in the writing team, routinely talked over and ignored.”

A similar story was discussed by Mimoun at ATX Festival, who recounted a time when she became the token woman on a comedy years ago after the showrunner was forced to hire a female writer by the studio. “It was constant hazing. Naked pictures being drawn of me . . . one rape joke after another.” Luckily there was one showrunner – Greg Berlanti – who fought hard to hand her Everwood when he was ready to move on. “At the time, he (Warner Bros. TV executive Peter Roth) was like, ‘Hell, no,’ but Greg stood up for me and said, ‘Well, she’s doing it.’”

Likewise, Orange Is the New Black’s Jenji Kohan opened up last year about her experiences of sexism in the workplace, suffered when she was a struggling TV writer. In an interview with The New Yorker, Kohan discussed how sexist an environment it was in the writing rooms and how difficult it was as a woman and a new mother. Working in the 90s on shows like Friends, Gilmore Girls, and Sex and the City, Kohan said she experienced years of stunted ambition and Hollywood sexism.

“She had her ‘tit grabbed’; her name was taken off a script. Once, when she was pregnant and about to have a job interview, her agent advised her to wear a big shirt and eat candy, so that the showrunner would think she was just fat. After a pitch meeting for The Larry Sanders Show, her agent told her that the show’s star, Garry Shandling, wasn’t comfortable working with women. ‘I was fired from everything,’ Kohan said.”

These stories mirror the experiences of most female writers – as Moon said, “We all have our war stories.” For UnREAL showrunner Stacy Rukeyser, she described the malecentric writing rooms as resembling a “frat house” and discussed the uncomfortable experience of her two-year job on One Tree Hill when she once had to beg the showrunner not to install a hot tub outside the writers’ room. In her guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, Rukeyser explained, “Showrunner Mark Schwahn created, from the top down, a writers’ room that I described at the time, perhaps naively, as a frat house — and that I now see as a misogynistic quagmire.”

Why diversity is important

Lyle Friedman

Over to the big screen, and a recent study highlighted why diversity in the writing rooms is key to recognition on screen. This thesis was tested by 2016 research from TV writer Lyle Friedman, data scientist Matt Daniels, and researcher Ilia Blinderman, who examined four thousand films reviewed on the website that lists movies that do or don’t pass the Bechdel test. For a movie to pass, it must include two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.

The team gathered the results from films between 1995 to 2015 from the site, then broke it down in terms of the gender of the writers, producers, and directors on each film. “Their study found that movies in which women were involved in the production were far more likely to pass the Bechdel test,” noted Forbes. “When writing teams are entirely male, about fifty percent of films fail the Bechdel test, the study shows. Add a woman to the team and only a third of films fail. The seven films written entirely by women in their data set all pass the Bechdel test.”

Daniels went on to muse that this might not necessarily relate to overt sexism, but that “these people were just writing about themselves.” This issue translates with regards to how women are represented on screen and how their stories are told. Perhaps no one has made this quite so crystal clear as indie producer Ross Putman, who launched the Twitter account @femscriptintros in 2016 to share some of the most offensive introductions for female characters that he has read in movie scripts over the years. Entries include, “JANE pours her gorgeous figure into a tight dress, slips into her stiletto-heeled fuck-me shoes, and checks herself in the dresser mirror,” and, “JANE, 28, athletic but sexy. A natural beauty. Most days she wears jeans, and she makes them look good.” Clearly if we want female characters with more depth than having the ability to make jeans look good, changes need to be made in the writing room.

A different picture

Liz Tigelaar

Recent years have shown this frat house culture starting to change and this is only set to shift even further as the entertainment industry wakes up to its diversity issue in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal. And it’s not just women who are fighting for these changes – at ATX, when asked how a showrunner can put his or her writers in a position to succeed, Ryan noted the importance of leading by example. “If, in the first day of work, you’re making crude jokes about women sexually or you’re making ethnic jokes, people are going to think that’s how the show is going to run.” Avoiding these jokes is crucial, but so is taking on board a diverse staff. “That means diversity of gender and race, but also geographic diversity and diversity of thought.”

Tigelaar also spoke up and was honest about how she had previously overlooked the importance of diversity. For example, when she was hiring writers for Life Unexpected, she recalls centering on the scripts of those she liked in meetings and the writers who were going to complement each other. “When I thought I was being thoughtful, I was being thoughtless,” she acknowledged. “Now, obviously, I’m thinking about it in a much deeper way.” While there’s still some way to go with regards to gender parity in the writing room, the fact that writers – both male and female – are experiencing introspection and taking action to make changes behind the scenes shows that a shift is occurring and showrunners are moving outside of the traditional system to fill the writers’ room with talent from all walks of life. Not just the “single, white male” slot.