Back in July, Varietyshared 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
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.
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 YouandChilling 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.
The verdict’s in: Netflix’s new satirical comedy Insatiableis a disastrophe. And not the good kind you can sit and enjoy with a bottle of wine and absolutely no shame. The kind that misfires in its attempt to be edgy while lacking the sharpness and wit to nail the delivery of its controversial subject matter.
The show itself follows a “fat girl” (a thin girl in a fat suit) named Patty (Debby Ryan) who gets punched in the face, has her jaw wired shut, loses weight (and subsequently becomes “hot”), and seeks revenge on those who bullied her.
Although the premise is problematic in itself, we were quick to challenge the naysayers who denounced the show before they’d even seen in. However, having seen the first few episodes ourselves now, we can confirm Insatiable contains none of the sharpness it needed to deliver such a satirical statement on body image.
The show is at once aggressively cruel and a total yawnfest, and contains some tired queer tropes via its depiction of Patty’s closeted lesbian bestie Nonnie (Kimmy Shields) to boot. So while everyone expected Insatiable to be bad, the reality is even worse.
Instead of wasting your time on this trash heap of a “comedy” (which drops on Netflix today), turn your focus to better content with these stunning examples of #GirlPower. Here are ten of the best female-fronted shows to stream instead of Insatiable:
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling body-slammed its way into our hearts when it first hit Netflix in 2017, and continued to do so into S2 with a solid core cast, nostalgic 80s setting, heartfelt portrayals of female friendship, and oodles of spandex.
Yas queen! While it’s bittersweet to know that Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson’s next season will be their last, marking the end of an era, we can at least remind ourselves of the hilarious times the comedy duo have brought to us over the years (from seafood allergies to Val’s diamond-munching antics – no mo FOMO).
For four tumultuous seasons (soon to be five), Abbi and Ilana have kept our sides splitting with their portrayal of two broke girls living in NYC, while teaching us the true value of female friendship. It’s thanks to this show that we can’t leave the house without a Bingo Bronson at our side and a backup vape in our rucksacks.
A dazzling thriller from Phoebe Waller-Bridge – the creative mind behind Fleabag – Killing Eve stars Sandra Oh as a woman whose job as a bored low-level MI5 security employee takes an exciting turn when she links a string of murders to the capricious and dangerous assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer).
As Eve embarks on the task to seek out her culprit, the two end up obsessed with each other and enter into a risky game of cat & mouse. The genre-bending miniseries is at once slick, gripping, and wildly entertaining, bringing fresh energy to a worn out genre.
Jenna Bans’s dramedy is getting a second season and we’re here for it every step of the way. Centering on three suburban moms (with glorious turns from Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman) who find themselves in desperate circumstances, the tired trio have had enough of playing it safe and swap wholesome housewife values for a life of crime, chaos, and dollar bills by robbing the local supermarket at (toy) gunpoint. Some girls are good, some girls are bad, and some are just doing what they can to get by.
A show that was cut from the air and from our lives too soon, the neo-noir YA crime thriller saw Kristen Bell long before herGood Place days, as a snarky high school student turned private investigator who dedicates her life to cracking the toughest mysteries in the affluent town of Neptune, including the murder of her best friend Lily.
Using her smarts and determination to unturn a number of stones (while dealing with sexual trauma of her own), Veronica is the ultimate example of girl power, proving you don’t have to show physical strength to be powerful.
The CW’s dark, edgy, and sexy take on the Archie comic books has proved highly addictive, set in the once-idyllic small town that becomes a hotbed of controversies and secrets with the death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines).
The TV show equivalent of your 00s teen angst, Daria was more than just a cartoon – it was a way of life.
Fuelled by misanthropy and cutting wit, Daria was and still is the perfect example of sardonic apathy, following the titular character through teenage life as a proud outsider in a world of mainly idiotic adolescents and condescending adults. Together with her bestie Jane, the pair take on the world in Creepers and grunge boots, one snarky quip at a time.
As their seemingly perfect lives unravel, dark secrets bubble to the surface and we begin to see that life is not as it seems in the tranquil beachfront town of Monterey. Not only does the show offer a gripping storyline and three-dimensional characters whose arcs you can’t help but be enthralled by, but the show also tackles the tricky subject of domestic abuse in a complex and nuanced manner. With season two on the way, we’d recommend giving season one a watch or rewatch ahead of its release.
Mishel Prada and Melissa Barrera star in Tanya Saracho’s latest comedy as Emma and Lyn – two estranged sisters who return to their old LA neighborhood where they are confronted by the past and the truth about their mother’s identity.
In its first season, the show has been praised for its portrayal of Latinx culture, LGBTQI relationships, and gentrification – with another season on the horizon, we’re excited to see what hot topics Saracho and the creative team will take on.
Ryan Murphy’s portrayal of 80s NYC ball culture is dazzling, authentic, and deals with its challenging topics with tact and finesse. A landmark show in terms of LGBTQI representation, Pose explores the fetishization of trans women and the details of gender reassignment surgery in ways that have not been seen on TV before.
As well as lifting the curtain on the bold ball subculture and the issues the trans community faced both inside and out of the scene, Pose also feels like a family drama thanks to the relationships formed by the sweet yet powerful Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), who builds lives and shows love by making a home for Angel (Indya Moore) and Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain). In short, Pose demands to be seen – it’s one of the greatest shows on TV and we’re giving it tens across the board.
Give us a film that honors adventure and travel over some sleazy asshole who has sex with his students any day. We love this movie because it interrogates what feminism actually means – does it mean a right to choose or does it mean breaking the mold? Mona Lisa Smile is a film that gives you all the joys of any good romantic film, but will ultimately leave you whooping when the heroine (Julia Roberts) ends up on her own, with adventure as her only companion.
Although Jane Austen is great, she is a product of 18th and 19th century England, which (lets face it) wasn’t exactly known as a time for gender equality. That said, Whit Stillman’s brilliant Love & Friendship is the wittiest, most biting, most Austen-esque film to be made based on the writer’s work. The film’s heroine – Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) – is as fierce as she is cunning and would even make Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth (Pride & Prejudice) balk at her audacity.
Far From the Madding Crowd is really less of a romance film and more of a coming-of-age one, as we watch Bathsheba Everdene (played the lovely Carey Mulligan) choose herself and her needs above all else.
It’s through love that our protagonist – Dido Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) – ultimately seems to change, rather than the change coming from herself and her own desires. That said, it makes the list because it incorporates some diversity into a genre that is so whitewashed it hurts. Here’s a period film that features a badass woman of color is its lead, portrayed with excellence by actress Amma Asante.
Yes, we know – Outlander is a TV show. But if you truly want to dive into a period romance that upholds strong feminist values, you’ve gotta give it a watch. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is the ultimate feminist heroine, primarily because she isn’t from the 1700s. Perhaps it’s only through time travel that Hollywood can give us a truly progressive heroine in a period setting. Either way, we’re living for Outlander and we hope you are too!
Naturally, a bender ensues (because what the hell else are you gonna do when you get dumped like that?) and Bell’s character wakes up aboard her honeymoon cruise with ole Pops in tow. Oh, and Seth Rogen also turns up on board to provide some “rebound assistance” to the lady – if you know what we mean.
The movie is filled with the kind of lighthearted yet heartwarming japes we need after a long mind-melting day. It’s also one that utilizes all of Bell’s best skills – her adorable sincerity, her luminous charisma, and (most importantly) her sharp acerbic sense of snark.
We’re huge fans of the multi-talented actor and have been for a long time. Which is why we’re kind of the experts on what her greatest roles have been in her career so far. Here’s our ranking of our favorite sassiest and snarkiest performances from Bell so far.
The teenage conartist didn’t fare well in the mean streets of Deadwood. Poor Flora didn’t win. Turns out those old boys were wise to the tricks her and her brother were trying to pull and they were both savagely murdered for it. Welcome to fucking Deadwood!
Depicting an actress who plays a sassy on-screen crime fighter (hmm, sounds familiar somehow), Bell’s talents are woefully underused in this Judd Apatow production in which she plays a bitchy ex of Jason Segel’s everyday schlub.
Ryan Hansen’s web series spinoff of Veronica Mars helped to promote the release of the highly anticipated Veronica Mars movie. The show’s cast reunited for the quirky meta-series, playing versions of themselves clearly exhausted by Hansen’s determination to develop a Dick Casablancas spinoff.
Though her cameo is brief in the one episode of the Rob Thomas horror-crime comedy, it’s also stupendous. Particularly to hear Liv (Rose McIver) declare she’s always felt a “connection” to Bell before listening to the actor narrating an erotic audiobook.
A complex antihero with the power of electronic manipulation, Elle is deeply unstable but is also utterly captivating. A major part of that is thanks to Bell’s incredible charisma in the role – arguably the actor’s real-life superpower.
As the uptight leader of Valhalla Catering, Bell clearly delights in being able to fire off sharp, savage snipes against the poor hapless bastards of the catering team. Uda is a veritable nightmare, busting Ron’s (Ken Marino) balls at every opportunity and taking an unexpected shine to Henry (Adam Scott).
If there’s one thing we love, it’s seeing Bell getting down with her bad self and pushing her comedic skills to full capacity. Opposite Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn, the star parties like a mother and lets her sardonic side shine.
Scream 4 is easily one of the most fun horror films of the past decade, with a genius opening act that reveals a Stab film within a Stab film within a Scream film that catches the audience up on the previous decade of horror.
Bell plays a surprising Stab character who murders her bestie (Anna Paquin) for talking too much, telling her dying pal, “shut the fuck up and watch the movie.”
As the voice of salacious blogger Gossip Girl (your one and only source in the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite), Bell is probably the greatest TV show narrator of all time. Every line drips with sass, snark, and sophistication.
We’re still disappointed a certain Lonely Boy (Penn Badgley) was revealed to have been the trashy blogger the whole time (and, frankly, confused), but we were at least happy to see Bell enjoy a cameo in the final episode opposite Rachel Bilson.
Fork yeah! The NBC comedy has only been on the air for two years, but we’re already completely taken with Bell’s complex portrayal of bad-girl-making-good Eleanor. The character is mischievous and selfish, but with the help of Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Good Place engineer Michael (Ted Danson), she’s coming round to the idea of being her best self.
The character’s journey (and Bell’s depiction of her growth) is subsequently as funny as it is heartwarming.
1. Veronica Mars: Veronica Mars (2004-2007)
The sassiest, smartest, snarkiest teenage detective the world has ever seen, Veronica Mars is probably the role most fans fell in love with Bell for.
The self-proclaimed Marshmallow (as defined in the 2014 movie, at least) used her diminutive and adorable looks to her advantage to take down the crooks of Neptune and gain access to just about wherever the hell she wanted.
Vidacenters around two Mexican-American sisters from the Eastside of Los Angeles who returned to their hometown in S1 following the death of their mother. It has been lauded for its portrayal of Latinx culture, while also tackling important societal issues regarding gentrification and LGBTQI experiences throughout its debut season.
With another round on the horizon, we’re excited to see what hot topics Saracho and the creative team will take on. While we wait, here are a number of other TV shows taking on tricky subjects and addressing reality in a conscious way.
Ryan Murphy’s Pose made history by featuring the largest transgender cast in TV history, as well as taking on the first transgender woman of color to direct an episode of television thanks to the talents of best-selling writer Janet Mock.
As such, Pose is a landmark show in terms of LGBTQI representation, exploring the fetishization of trans women and the details of gender reassignment surgery in ways that have not yet been seen on TV before.
Taking place in the 80s, Pose is centered around the acrimonious relationship between two ball houses and delves into the lives of the trans characters who are finally shown to be more than just one-dimensional sex workers.
Via its numerous side stories, from Blanca’s journey as a “mother”, to Angel’s love affair, to Ricky and Damon’s blossoming relationship, Pose tackles a number of important issues including transphobia, homophobia, the HIV crisis, and racism, and it does so with tact, sensitivity, and finesse.
While Amazon Prime’s Transparent centers on one trans woman’s journey as she transitions in later life, the show also veered into political grounds as the Pfeffermans headed to Israel in season four.
Offering a ten-episode exploration on the issue of borders, Transparent explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as Maura is invited to give an Israeli conference on gender and Judaism, bringing her kids with her to the holy land.
Their journey allowed for the creators to explore Israel, the West Bank, themes on God and religion, politics, the history of the area, and the conflict that has been going on for 70 years. As Transparent does so well, these heavy themes are lifted with moments of hilarity and humanity – but more essentially, they were a departure from the usual way Israel is depicted on US television.
“She refers to them as ‘they,’ sort of like ‘the man.’ Personally, as a young American Jew, I’ve felt often frustrated by the one-sided Israel at all costs perspective. I think I was excited to bring in a world that we don’t get to see, and hear people’s opinions that we don’t get to hear.”
The ABC family show has never shied away from exploring cultural issues within its storylines, having focused on issues such as gun control and racial prejudice in modern society.
However, there’s one episode in particular that serves as a significant example of why Black-ish deserves credit for incorporating such serious subjects into its narrative and that is season two, episode 16 “Hope”, in which the Johnson family discusses race issues while watching news coverage of a grand jury considering the indictment of a white police officer accused of killing an African American teen.
Sparking emotional responses on social media, the episode put the show within the thick of the Black Lives Matter movement. “This is the age of #BlackLivesMatter and sometimes there is no better way to get a message out to the American public than secreting it in one of their favorite sitcoms,” noted The Guardian.
There are thirteen reasons why we support Netflix’s decision to renew the young adult drama 13 Reasons Why for a third season, one of those being the show’s dedicated to not only portraying mental health issues, bullying, depression, sexual assault, and suicide in an honest and frank manner, but also its efforts to help audiences seek help if suffering from such afflictions.
S1 depicts the suicide of teen protagonist Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who leaves behind a series of tapes revealing the events and the people who led her to commit the act. The show incorporates narratives of depression including those dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault.
Although many of the adult viewers clutched their pearls in horror at a show discussing these topics and portraying them uncensored (you know, like in real life), a study showed teenagers reacted well to the content, with more than three-quarters of respondents stating they learned about depression and suicidal ideation.
Meanwhile, another major issue the show tackles is that of sexual assault and rape culture, which it does so convincingly by using the narrative to highlight its persistence in schools, its dark evolution through social media, and the debate surrounding consent.
The scene in which Hannah is raped shows her turning numb and unresponsive, portraying how rape doesn’t necessarily mean the victim has to fight back to show they do not consent and that there is no right or wrong response when faced with a traumatic experience.
It’s rare for a teen show to level with its audience in such an honest manner and it’s for this reason its audience deserves a third season. No matter how much it “offends” the Parents Television Council.
Starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, HBO’s Big Little Lies was one of prestige TV’s big wins. A dark crime drama about the seemingly perfect lives of three mothers as they unravel to the point of murder, the show won over audiences and will continue to do so with a second round set to premiere in 2019.
Not only does the show offer a gripping storyline and three-dimensional characters whose arcs you can’t help but be enthralled by, but the show also tackles the tricky subject of domestic abuse in a complex and nuanced manner.
While Kidman’s Celeste appears to have the perfect marriage, we soon discover the opposite to be true. On the outside, her husband Perry is kind, caring, and affectionate. But behind closed doors he is controlling and dominating, flipping between love and rage like a light switch.
As is seen in so many domestic abuse cases, Perry manipulates Celeste into forgiving his behavior and even into feeling guilty herself. Speaking to Marie Claire, CEO of Refuge Sandra Horley praised the accuracy of Big Little Lies’s portrayal of a controlling and abusive relationship, adding that the show highlights how “women like Celeste should never be judged for how they respond to abuse.”
Donald Glover’s surreal comedy tackles social issues via the lens of rap, successfully weaving together themes of oppression, racial prejudice, and poverty told with an absurdist and entertaining oddball ride about a rapper named Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) and his manager / cousin (Glover).
“With Atlanta, Glover uses the platform of network television to express his opinions on race, black culture, hip hop, mental health, masculinity, and fatherhood,” noted The Mercury. In particular, Paper Boi’s journey provides an insight into what it’s like as a rapper in the landscape of Atlanta.
Season two of the show explores themes on exploitation and poverty, starting with a shootout at a drive-through and going on to show how Earn is now homeless and Paper Boi is under house arrest. It makes poignant statements without veering into overtly political commentary.
“The way I look at it, the years Obama was in office, and the year after Trump was inaugurated, if you were poor, you really didn’t see the difference. That stuff really didn’t touch you,” noted Glover. “We just look at what happens when someone is really poor, when someone really doesn’t have a stake in any of this.”
Justin Simien’s Netflix dramedy made bold political statements in S1 by focusing on racial issues at an Ivy League college. However, it was in season two that the show really came into its own, addressing its flaws on slippery politics and building on its topical takes on racism, black identity, and police brutality.
For round two, we see the characters of Winchester University as they deal with white supremacy, online alt-right trolls, and the psychological fallout of racial discrimination.
But we’re also shown the bigger picture, including Reggie’s suffering mental state following his traumatic experience when held up at gunpoint by a police officer, as well as the emotional distress Sam felt when being targeted by a racially-charged social media attack.
Yet the reason Dear White People resonates, outlined The Verge, is because “it’s adept at finding those little moments that feel like in-jokes to black viewers, and the ways we use humor to cope with living in a less-than-welcoming country.”
As we wait for news of whether Netflix will or won’t pick up GLOWfor a third season, what better way to show the streaming site your appreciation of the show by dressing up as your very own Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling and pulling some shapes that would even make Zoya the Destroyer blush.
To do so, you’ll likely be tempted to drop a fair chunk of money on a set of spandex ensembles. But the truth is, it takes a lot more than some shiny leotards to dress like a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling – the look revolves around a specific attitude, not just a whole set of shimmering looks.
To ensure that you can become a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling while bingewatching the second season, here’s our guide on how to dress like a GLOW superstar.
Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have
Early on in S1 we see Ruth (Alison Brie) drawing inspiration from iconic wrestler Hulk Hogan to practice some moves and some serious looks in her bedroom. Why? Because she wants this job, dammit! Rip open an old shirt, tie a towel around your head, and give yourself a fierce pep talk in the mirror to be the person you know you can be.
Don’t be afraid of a DIY look
Sometimes you just have to go with your instinct, cut some fingers out of a pair of dish washing gloves, and Frankenstein an outfit out of old threads to look your best.
Try new things
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling aren’t afraid of invention and neither should you be! Every day is an opportunity to be someone new. If that means throwing on a space helmet or a cape to your boss’s party, so be it!
You’d better work!
Who says a workout wardrobe has to be drab? Look as fierce as your regime is by rockin’ a heroic leotard, some rainbow leg warmers, and a cut off tee. Or make like Tammé Dawson (Kia Stevens) and tone down that badass body with some delicate floral spandex.
Don’t be afraid of bringing some major hair game to the gym, though. Braids and bouffants make you stronger, honey!
Speaking of which, your hair – go big or go home!
The bigger, the better, ladies and gentlemen. There are powers to be pulled from a high stack of well spitzed hair. Pair with your best gnarly fighting face.
And take your opponents down.
Your day & night looks both need to involve pure power outfits
Whether you’re kicking ass hustling for money like the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling do when they’re trying to fund the show or kicking ass in this big wrestling ring called life, you need to bring some power to your look. For daytime, this means dazzling the world for money like Melanie (Jackie Tohn):
Before unleashing your bad girl after dark with enormous hair and bodycon realness.
Experimenting with some bold shoulders, sleek hair, and sweet colors like Jenny (Ellen Wong).
Before letting your hair down and letting your wild side out.
Looking like Nancy Reagan one moment.
And looking like Nancy Reagan’s worst nightmare the next.
Always try and work a solid pair of suspenders into your look
Justine (Britt Baron) is a big fan of them and so are we. Incorporate them into every look possible. It’s dynamite!
Most importantly, always be true to yourself
We hate that characters Arthie (Sunita Mani), Reggie (Marianna Palka), Tammé, and Jenny are forced to dress as the obnoxiously offensive stereotypes of their respective heritages. Particularly as their characters are nothing like the wrestling personas they’re forced to adopt. To dress like a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling means knowing yourself and celebrating your strengths, just like Sheila who never loses sight of herself even at the damn roller disco.
Jump off the ropes and go dazzle the world, folks!
You could say it all started with Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) in Grease. Perming her hair into a seductive cloud, pouring herself into a pair of smothering skin tights, and lighting a cigarette she has no idea how to smoke. And all in the service of suggesting that Sandy has a secret darkness inside of her.
With a new dark wardrobe and sultry spirit, she exudes confidence and deviance. She can rock with Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and the rest of the T-Birds. And she can kick it with the Pink Ladies – even if in actuality she’s pure, humdrum, and totally wholesome.
In Riverdale, this trope keeps popping back up by exploring the bad girl flip side of goody-two-shoes Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart). Dark Betty (as the character is known in the show) wears a black bobbed wig and has a penchant for black lacy lingerie. She’s super dark, folks, and her dress sense reflects it.
Even the most hardcore of Riverdale fans (like ourselves) can admit there’s something irritating and poorly executed about Dark Betty. It isn’t so much the adoption of the terrible wig or her proclivity to strip down to her undies that we take umbrage with.
It’s more the suggestion that Betty’s “dark side” is something that can’t possibly be consolidated with her public identity – despite the fact she dates the town’s broodiest biker babe and nobody would likely give a shit if she suddenly went legitimately edgy.
Instead, this dark persona steps up to take on various tasks and is unleashed sparingly and seemingly at random.
Dark Betty steps in to torture a dude who’s been sexually harassing her classmates. Dark Betty becomes a cam girl. Dark Betty has kinky sex with Jughead (Cole Sprouse). Dark Betty does a cringe-inducing striptease to the most depressing song imaginable (the Gary Jules cover of “Mad World”).
Dark Betty doesn’t make an appearance at Jughead’s birthday, but this dark persona still gets the blame for Betty having the gall to organize a surprise party for her boyfriend against his wishes. (Oh and sure, not telling him about the whole “I tortured Chuck” thing.)
“Something is very, very wrong with me,” she tells him, “Like, there’s this darkness in me that’s overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t know where it comes from, but I think that’s what makes me do things.”
The character’s declaration to her boyfriend brings to mind Dexter Morgan’s (Michael C. Hall) excuse that his “dark passenger” is the one who requires him to kill with a thirsty regularity in Dexter. It provides a personification of his need to take life and also absolves him of responsibility for the murders.
He doesn’t want to be doing this but he has to. Ultimately, Dexter is in charge of the journey, but he’s still allowing for his “dark passenger” to dictate the destination – however, the serial killer decides to only kill people who have committed hideous crimes against others.
Likewise, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) goes off the deep end with her magic dependency after her girlfriend is killed. Subsequently, her red hair turns black, as do her clothes, and she transforms into Dark Willow.
Like Dark Betty and Dexter’s Dark Passenger, Dark Willow has a thirst for punishment and winds up flaying the skin from the body of the man who killed her lover. But as it turns out, that isn’t quite enough to satiate the flip side of the formerly good witch.
Dark Willow winds up on a rampage of magical rage that threatens to destroy the entire planet. However, unlike Dark Betty and Dexter, at least Dark Willow commits wholeheartedly to her new savage persona – Dark Betty and Dark Passenger are like lounge outfits to be slipped into after a long, hard day of presenting as “normal”.
Which is perhaps our biggest problem with the trope. The whole “I have a secret, uncontrollable inner darkness” kind of loses its edge when it’s clear the character can in fact control these dark urges that define this side of them on some minor or major level.
It’s a trope commonly seen in teen TV shows for exploring the “dark sides” of young women struggling with the complications of growing up. However, for most young adult shows, this isn’t all too often explored by simply paying fanservice by throwing the female character into some sexy underwear and a dark wig.
In The O.C., it’s Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) drinking herself into a young ruin, throwing pool furniture around when her mom asks her what’s on her mind, and shooting her boyfriend’s brother because, well, why not.
In Glee, it’s Quinn piercing her nose, dying her hair pink, and turning “punk” overnight because she’s sad and that’s just who she is now (deal with it, Glee Club!).
In My So-Called Life, it’s Angela dressing up like Rayanne after she finds out her former bestie slept with her ex-boyfriend and figures bad girls don’t get hurt.
And in Gossip Girl, it’s little Jenny Humphrey’s transformation into a Chuck Bass screwing, teenager from hell with a wardrobe full of solid black kinderwhore creations.
Where all of these dark transformations differ from Dark Betty is that these characters are all given space to experiment with these dark sides without it being highlighted as an unhealthy or dangerous mode of expression.
In Riverdale, there’s an insinuation that Dark Betty is inexplicably both. As a result, this side of the character is confined to the sidelines. She digs her nails into her palms and sits out her turn.
Overall, it’s a supremely lame way to explore a young woman potentially struggling with mental health issues or who simply might have a healthy interest in pursuing a consensual sadomasochistic relationship.
But instead, Dark Betty is treated like a part of the character’s identity that needs to be chained down and locked up – left unexplored and misunderstood unless Betty can bring her out for the occasional striptease, cam sesh, or sex time with Jugs.
This suggests that Riverdale is more interested in fetishizing Betty’s inner anguish than it is in effectively exploring it. That’s incredibly disappointing for a show which otherwise delivers strong and complex female characters with compelling feminist arcs.
The bottom line is that good girls can be bad – and they shouldn’t have to concoct some bullshit “I have an inner darkness” excuse to do so. Every person has a dark side and it serves TV shows well to explore those aspects of a person’s identity in depth and with care.
So to throw a wig and some hot lingerie on that dark side? Come on, Riverdale – you can do better. In S3 of the show, we hope to see Betty refusing to apologize for her dark side and simply referring to it as “Betty” – no further adjective required.
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? So the good news is that Broad City is returning for a fifth season. The bad news is it’s going to be the last one. We know, we know – it’s not what you wanna hear. Set to air in 2019, one of Comedy Central’s best shows from creators, showrunners, directors, and stars Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson will hopefully end with a worthy conclusion for our favorite skint New Yorkers.
We’re one day away from the 2018 Emmys nominee announcement, and we can’t help but wait on the edge of our seats in apprehension. As is often the case with such prestigious awards ceremonies, this year’s event will no doubt be another exercise in predictability and – as the Emmys is famous for – some rather questionable categories (in no world does it make sense to shove drama and comedy series into one box).
While the organization has certainly improved over the years by increasing the number of nominations in some categories and shaking up its voting processes, as Vox so bluntly put it: “They (Emmys) still stink when it comes to variety, and they make a lot of bad choices.” Notably, there have been many women left out of the running over the years – and with numerous actresses of the small screen today showing new levels of badassery across the genres, we have no doubt the 2018 nominations will contain some hefty disappointments and glaring holes.
So although the nomination announcements are less than 24 hours away, we thought we’d turn our attention to the fierce females of TV today who without a doubt deserve an Emmy Award of their very own.
An Emmys Best Villain category should be created purely for Tessa Thompson’s depiction of Delos’s Charlotte Hale in HBO’s sci-fi series, Westworld. Thompson depicts a subtle level of evil that rots right to the core with a performance that is surely deserving of one of those little, gold statuettes. Surely.
The title of Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series basically belongs to Phoebe Waller-Bridge for her outstanding comedic voice in the Brit dramedy Fleabag. (Perhaps an alternative Emmy should be handed to Olivia Coleman for her role in the show too, as the complete bitch of a Godmother-turned-stepmother who throws out some of the nastiest insults hidden behind that Cheshire cat smile of hers. She’s a comedic genius, we tell you!)
Can two people win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series? If so, we think the second honor should be handed to our primetime fave, Issa Rae, for her HBO hit Insecure. This woman is having her moment and we’re with her every step of the way.
We’re 100% jumping the gun with this one, but we don’t care – Amy Adams has proved her serious acting chops in a number of drama films since her jump from romcoms to thrillers, similar to that of Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club). And just like McConaughey, she’s now the center of a gritty noir crime-drama with HBO’s recently released Sharp Objects. If she doesn’t deserve at least a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, we don’t know who does.
Did we mention we love Alia Shawkat and her leading performance in the hilariously dark millennial satire Search Party? Someone give this girl an award – hell, give her all the Emmys! We certainly wouldn’t complain.
It’s been a while since Eva Green wowed us with her turn as the haunting and haunted Vanessa Ives in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, but we thought she’s worth a mention if only to highlight the glaring holes in the Emmys voting process, as Green has never even been nominated. As critic April Neale wrote: “Her work was breathtaking and exemplary for this white-knuckler TV series, and she should have at the very least earned an Emmy nom.”
There was a furore a couple of years back when actress Constance Wu from Fresh Off the Boat presented the Emmy Awards, yet wasn’t nominated for an award herself. Her comedic chops on the small screen have been proved time and again and yet still she’s not taken home the gold – there’s always this year to make up for it. Here’s hoping!
For some reason, over the years the Emmy voters have forgotten that Kaitlin Olson has been kicking ass as “Sweet Dee” Reynolds on the hit comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. As critic Tim Surette pointed out, this is made all the more frustrating by the fact that the award ceremony seems to have a tough time padding out its Lead Actress in a Comedy category. With another season of the show on the way, there’s still time for this mistake to be rectified – just maybe not this year.
She might be currently covering the voice for Oxana Hauntley in the kids animated show Vampirina, but we (and many others in the industry) are still of the view that it’s a fallacy Lauren Graham never received even a nomination for her role as the quick-witted Lorelai Gilmore in Gilmore Girls, despite the fact that she so clearly deserved one. It’s okay though, because Graham took home the honor of our hearts instead.
Okay, so The Americansstar has been nominated twice. But as IndieWire pointed out: “She should be spending her weekends repeatedly fixing the mantle above her cozy cottage fireplace because it can’t hold the weight of her six goddamn Emmys.” The woman shouldn’t be able to walk through her house because of all the statuettes blocking her way. Come on, Emmys – sort your shit out!
It’s that time of year again when the most lit members of the TV and movie world gather at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica to make Kardashian jokes and hand out those cute little golden popcorn trophies. That’s right – last night we were treated to the annual MTV Movie & TV Awards.
But forget movie stars and TV shows and all those involved in shipping to content to our greedy eyeballs. Because before people had sat their perfectly glossed butts down on the seats, a far more dominant competition was underway: the red carpet fashion showdown. Yes, once again in the hangover haze, the raucous and shameless energy of the tabloid press has dominated the headlines to discuss who the real winners of the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards were – the ones who looked on fleek on the red carpet. Jezebel summed it up perfectly in its coverage by stating, “The MTV Movie & TV Awards, for a famous person nominated or someone just looking for something to do on a Saturday in June, appears to be a very difficult event to get dressed for!”
Yes, no one seemed dress for the same event, but does that even matter? How have we reached this point where the fashion statements are more heavily regarded than the content itself? Awards season is dominated with red carpet fashion coverage that acts as a smokescreen for the fact that no one really has a clue what they’re doing or even really cares.
Let’s look at the Oscars – the yearly event where Hollywood’s A-listers give themselves a proverbial pat on the back and for some reason keeps on going despite the fact that it’s run by a bunch of old, white dudes*. The idea is to highlight the world’s top talent in cinema; the reality is the Academy Awards, along with other major award ceremonies, are simply an afterthought to the production companies and their eye-wateringly expensive marketing campaigns. Which is perhaps why the prestigious event has a dirty history of bribery, release date tactics, and voters not even watching the damn film they’dvoted for.
When it finally comes round to it, the world is distracted by the glitz and glamour of it all. The most depressing of all is the emphasis on “what she wore” coverage and the many alleged fashion mishaps that are evidently considered more important than the fact that the Oscars is a practice in shuffling money around and into the pockets of Hollywood’s top execs. For example, Vanity Fair’s coverage of actress & singer Rita Moreno (West Side Story) proved that you quite literally can’t wear an outfit more than once without someone writing an entire feature about it – even if the last time you wore it was in 1962.
However, fashion fails do not apply when you’re Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) a.k.a. the golden boy a.k.a. the Oscars darling. He can do no wrong – even when wearing an all white tux. Whoa, slow down there boy! The Thrillist agreed, citing his “moment” in the spotlight thanks to a somewhat “sexy” appearance on the cover of GQ. Same goes for the “Executives (and their dates) on the red carpet”, as The Hollywood Reporter’s photo gallery was titled as it presented the “heroes” of the industry, their multi-thousand dollar suits, and their doting wives – in brackets.
A similar fawn fest unfolds each year at the annual Golden Globes awards as paps capture pictures of celebs hoping to make it into the best dressed category. This year the coverage took a weird turn as confused journalists attempted to morph reductive fashion coverage with the ongoing sexual harassment scandal that engulfed Hollywood over the last year. What resulted is this weird phenomenon where wearing an LBD is considered an act of defiant protest. “The Golden Globes’ red carpet has seen many iconic fashion moments,” wrote Harpers Bazaar, “but none have quite stood out as much as this year’s sea of LBDs in recognition of #MeToo and #TimesUp.”
In similar vein, The Spec noted how thanks to a red carpet dyed black by actresses dressed in a color-coordinated statement, “the Golden Globes were transformed into an A-list expression of female empowerment in the post-Harvey Weinstein era.” And of course, let’s not forget the men’s role in this admirable show of activism – wearing Time’s Up pins on the lapels of their Prada suits.
Weirder still, this idea morphed further at the Oscars when journalists, in a state of panic and further confusion, started actually categorizing colors in relation to social statements. The Guardian’s take on the Oscars was even more reductive than the concept of a dress code protest itself, stating, “not all protests have to be monochrome. Film stars struck blows for feminism at the Academy Awards in dresses of pink, gold, red, yellow, and furry slippers.” So remember A-listers, you don’t have to wear black if you want to enforce change within the industry. You can don pink, furry slippers too!
We’re at a point in history when the smoke screen is clearing. Awards ceremonies are proving themselves to be as the old guards of Hollywood, as outdated as the red carpet coverage we’re subjected to each year. The proof is in the ratings, which continue to plummet year on year as viewers favor the hundreds of scripted TV shows and movies available online and SVOD services over these tired televised events. As Rotten Tomatoes (an organization that is far better at judging the success of content than a televised awards ceremony) put it, “The Emmys and Oscars . . . are largely unchanged since at least the 1970s: people in gowns and tuxes reading stiffly off TelePrompTers. Awards for categories no one cares about. A massive orchestra playing people off even if their speeches are entertaining.”
Such ceremonies are a practice in traffic direction, sticking to a safe formula year on year. So long as this format is followed, not a lot can change. Which is perhaps why movie and TV fans are increasingly ignoring the awards fanfare and sticking to what they love best – good content.
*An LA Times study revealed 91% of members were white, while 76% were male.