So, it’s January and with both the holidays and the new series of Sherlock already over (sob!), it’s time to turn our attention to the brave new world of 2014. I’m not making any New Year’s Resolutions this year, since I’m now of an age when I realise the folly of trying anything that requires willpower at the most miserable time of the year. But I would quite like to see some resolutions from other people – particularly in the world of entertainment. So here’s my wish list for what I hope to see in the coming year…
More female led movies
With Catching Fire and Gravity being two of the most popular films of 2013, will this finally be the year Hollywood wakes up to the fact that people do want to see women head up a movie, and that there is also a huge female audience for genre films? Seriously, we’re going to see a space raccoon in cinemas before we see a Wonder Woman or Black Widow movie?
More diverse casts
2013 feels like it’s made decent strides in this, with shows like Sleepy Hollow, American Horror Story: Coven and Elementary giving proper, meaty parts to a pleasingly diverse collection of actors, while Pacific Rim – whatever its flaws – stood out for being a blockbuster where only one of the three leads was white. But there is still a long way to go, and it would be nice to see a broader range of characters on our screens – and not only in terms of race and ethnicity; a mix of different ages, body shapes and abilities would be good, too.
Less bromance, more romance
Now, I say this as a woman who has a massive soft spot for a manly bromance, but too often it feels like shows want to have their cake and eat it, setting up faux-sexual relationships between male characters that are constantly teasing the fans while still loudly proclaiming their characters’ heterosexuality (yes, Supernatural and Sherlock, I’m looking at you). It’s easy to mock fans for reading too much into what’s on screen, but can you blame them when actual representation is so sparse? So how about having some actual gay characters in your shows rather than just coy hinting? I watch a huge amount of genre TV and I can’t think of a single show with a main character who is gay, and only a handful that have LGBTQ secondary characters (The Originals has a young gay vampire in it, though he’s a fairly minor character so far; Felicia Day’s Charlie, a lesbian, is now a recurring character on Supernatural, and I am very much enjoying Hoon Lee’s ‘kick ass, takes no shit from anyone’ trans character in Banshee, but I did struggle to think of any others). Obviously I’m aware I am probably missing some shows out, since even with my prolific viewing habits, I can’t watch everything; I think both Lost Girl and Orphan Black have central LGBTQ characters, though both are still on my ‘to get round to watching’ list so I can’t really comment, except that’s still only a handful of characters in a huge number of shows. It’s the 21st century, guys: how hard can it be to write well-formed, interesting LGBTQ characters and relationships?
Less of comic creators being dicks
I love comics, but pretty much everything I read last year convinced me that the industry is seriously tainted and in need of an overhaul. DC’s failings have been well-documented so I see no point in rehashing their car crash of a year, but bad corporate decisions aside, it felt like every week there was another new scandal about some male creator harassing women or some insane instance of institutional sexism, with the occasional dollop of homophobia thrown in to keep things interesting (not to mention the woeful lack of diversity in the writing pool). I’m not sure I have any idea what the solution is – that’s probably for people with a better understanding of the industry to say – but if people could stop tarnishing the industry I spent my childhood worshipping, that would be super, thanks.
I realise that it’s easy to look at this list and sum it up as ‘more political correctness’, which I know gets a knee-jerk reaction from many people. Fine, be annoyed if you want to. And maybe, as a straight white person, I’m not the one who should be commenting on this: I’m the first to admit there are better informed voices out there, and that this is just my personal opinion. But I know I’m not the only one who would like to see the diversity of the world I live in reflected in the media I consume. And I’m happy to put my money where my mouth is: put out a Black Widow movie, I’ll be first in the queue to see it. So, come on, Hollywood, what are you waiting for? Take my money!
Anyway, let me know in the comments what you think. And since I’d also like 2014 to be the year of more book sales for me, do feel free to assist in that cause by buying my new book, A Vampire In Edinburgh – which features both LGBTQ people and women of colour as main characters, lest you think I’m a raging hypocrite… (I still wanna write that comic book, though…)