Diversity Aboveground: Lost Girl Found

Jun 5, 2015

The Cast of Lost Girl

After Joss Whedon debuted his first television series in 1997, many, many series tried to claim they were just like them. It was an almost Herculean task when they simply wanted to catch in on the supernatural genre without understanding what’s truly needed to make a show successful. Lost Girl is one of the few series to capture that original Buffy the Vampire Slayer feeling: an original idea about a strong powerful woman caught in an impossible situation surrounded by an almost perfect cast and great writing that makes you laugh out loud in one scene and almost burst into tears during the next one.

Bo (Anna Silk) starts off as a woman harboring a dangerous secret. She’s actually a succubus; able to drain or give energy through intimate contact especially sex. Naturally, she keeps her head down after being raised in a conservative Christian society that teaches women that it’s bad for a female to be that powerful sexually and she knows she’s not normal. She also has a bit of a “Rogue” complex where without the proper control over her gifts, she could kill her partner. Working as a bartender, she spots a man spiking a young woman’s drink and knows what’s going to happen. It’s the first time that she’s used her powers in a positive way by killing the would-be rapist. She befriends the young woman, Kenzi (Ksenia Solo),who becomes her first real friend in a long time. Bo’s murder also attracts the attention of other Fae and she finds out that there are thousands, if not millions, of others with special gifts, including other succubi. Her previous bad experience with people she had considered friends and family makes her reluctant to align herself with any of her new acquaintances but over time, she’s able to overcome her fears. She’s also able to learn how to see herself not as a freak, but as a strong woman of many gifts who can do almost anything she sets her sights on.

One of the best parts about Bo’s character is that she’s pansexual. The gender of her sexual partner doesn’t matter to her as much as the connection she feels to them which has included polyamorous relationships rarely seen on scripted television. While Lost Girl‘s creators first intended her as a “bisexual superhero who uses sex as part of her arsenal”, her not needing to label herself and only referring to her partner’s gender once in the first three seasons sounds more like a pansexual who doesn’t see gender normatives. However, there are problems despite the progress made in women having sexual equality and devoting equal time to all of Bo’s partners. Its American broadcaster, Syfy, has regularly cut Bo’s girlfriend’s lines about their relationship. None of the male cast members have sex scenes with other men. Male on male action is mainly restricted to characters that exist for that episode alone although that is a problem throughout North American television. In one episode, Bo outed a trans-gender character who was immediately beaten up which while the show did offer an apology for that blunder, how did no one realize the character was trans-gender and there would be a problem with that ending? There was one instance of an Asexual but they were portrayed as a villain preying on those of other sexual identities.

Bo and Kenzi

Bo and Kenzi are joined on their adventures by Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried), Lauren (Zoie Palmer), Trick (Richard Howland) and Hale (K.C. Collins). Howland’s height is 4’7′ or 1.7 m from having Osteogenesis Imperfecta; a bone disease. His small stature is almost never remarked upon and he’s never seen as weaker than his taller cohorts. Actually, Trick is one of the most powerful characters in the show.

In the show, most of the Fae see themselves as superior to their regular human counterparts. The most bigoted Fae see humans as nothing more than resources to be exploited rather than individuals with thoughts and feelings. The parallels of racism seem pretty clear. There are some Fae who long for what they feel is a simpler life but many more humans who want to be special for once. They make deals to receive Fae powers or take special drugs to pass as Fae, just as many light-skinned African-Americans in history would do everything in their power to pass as Caucasian even if it meant cutting off their family. However, this doesn’t excuse Lost Girl from falling into the Canadian casting trap of only casting Caucasians. Hale was one of the extremely few exceptions and making him a Fae was brilliant but his character is only in the first four seasons. Plus, in those four seasons, he was never given a real storyline of his own until the very end which was actually to set up the departure of another character after him. Thus, it still wasn’t a real plot-line. Even the promotional materials either have him on the periphery so he can be easily cropped out or not present at all. His character’s sister is only in a handful of episodes and other actors of color have been very rare.

Despite its problems, Lost Girl is a show worthy of praise and ending this year could still let it end on a positive note rather than overstaying its welcome. Showcase will air the back-end of season five starting September 6 at 9 PM. Syfy, just finishing up the first half last night, won’t be having those same episodes until 2016. Apparently, it takes that long to edit the episodes for American sensibilities or maybe they want to pretend it’s like Mad Men and demands a half season a whole year later to wrap things up. Either way, it’s slightly better than when Syfy would show the Christmas episode of Doctor Who in June!

The first four seasons of Lost Girl are available online, through streaming media and DVDs/BluRays.

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Anyone found any awesome television series? Or is everyone just busy with all the new films?

Next week’s column…young adults are getting all the cool books with some twists. First, there’s a book that’s critically acclaimed but turns out to be a graphic novel. Then, there are a couple of Marvel’s biggest heroines in books with words EVERYWHERE and no drawings. What is going on?

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