Less than a decade after The L Word completed its original run in 2009, the groundbreaking Showtime series is staging a comeback in the form of a sequel – with a few familiar faces in the mix.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jennifer Beals (Bette), Kate Moennig (Shane) and Leisha Hailey (Alice), three of the series’ original stars, will return for the revival project both in front of and behind the camera (all three will exec produce).
Series creator Ilene Chaiken will also lend a hand in the vision of the new series as an executive producer, though she will no longer hold the title of showrunner. (Her role as a showrunner on Fox’s Empire is what primarily prevents her from playing a larger role in The L Word sequel).
As a result, the call is still out for a new writer/showrunner who will ideally have ties to the lesbian community, Deadline.com reports.
Beals, Moennig and Hailey will act as bridge characters into the upcoming series, which will follow the lives of a new ensemble of women, chronicling the trials and tribulations of their lives. Other original characters, including Erin Daniels (Dana), Laurel Holloman (Tina), Mia Kirshner (Jenny), Sarah Shahi (Carmen) and Pam Grier (Kit), may also make appearances in the new series.
The original series was praised as the first drama series to focus on lesbian characters in a three-dimensional, realistic way when it first debuted in 2004, and won numerous awards over the years for its portrayal of a group of friends and lovers residing in West Hollywood, California.
The success of The L Word – which ended in 2009 – helped open the door for more varied and sophisticated LGBT-driven series to flourish: Looking, The Fosters, Transparent, Sense8 and Orange Is the New Black, among others. Additionally, the drama featured storylines about equality, legal marriage and benefits and HIV/AIDS at a time when they were frequently overlooked by more mainstream shows.
Showtime previously developed a spin-off for The L Word in 2008, called The Farm, which would have starred Hailey and was set in a prison, not unlike Netflix’s Orange. The idea did not ultimately go to series.