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Showtime Confirms "L Word" Spinoff Details at TCA Press Tour

At the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour yesterday, Showtime president Robert Greenblatt released a few details about the pilot for the L Word spinoff, a drama series set in a women's prison and tentatively titled The Farm.

The pilot has been shot, Greenblatt told reporters (including AfterElton.com's Michael Jensen, who reported back to us), but Showtime execs have not yet seen it cut together.

The spinoff is "a substantially different show" from The L Word, Greenblatt said, and includes only a few lesbian characters among the cast:

We've been a little bit, sort of, mysterious about the concept, but you know, I don't think it's that much of a mystery anymore. One of the characters from The L Word actually goes to prison, and the show then moves to prison with a largely completely new cast. ... While The L Word was predominantly lesbian characters, [the spinoff is] a big group of characters. And there's a few lesbians in that group, but it isn't the exact makeup of what The L Word was.

"The spinoff is anchored by Leisha Hailey," he told reporters, confirming what Hailey and Chaiken stated publicly a few months ago. "So I guess I've given it up. She's the one that ends up going to jail."

But, Greenblatt cautioned, "it's a big cast of characters ... there's three guest stars in the pilot, and whether or not those characters would continue in the series is — you know, we don't know yet."

Greenblatt confirmed that the three guest stars are Famke Janssen, Laurie Metcalf, and Melissa Leo, as we speculated last week.

When a reporter commented that the spinoff sounded like "a female version of Oz" — HBO's critically acclaimed drama about a men's prison that ran from 1997 to 2003 — Greenblatt agreed, saying "that's not a bad description." But he believes it has a slightly lighter tone:

There's a lot of female prison shows around the world from that — you know, that have spun off from that Cell Block H show that's been — there's half-hour versions of it and everything, which tends to be campy. This is a — it's a grittier look than that would be. I wouldn't say it's as dark as Oz. I don't know what could be, but this isn't.

Showtime will make a decision in the next few months about whether to pick up the series.

Read news, reviews and recaps of The L Word

Twat's picture

Hmmm

I guess Showtime decided to let the cat out of the bag much like their spoilers for season 6 of the L Word. 

I'm still skeptical about this project. There are interesting names attached to it but the premise is so different from the L Word I'm not sure if the fanbase (including myself) will transplant. That said, it might attract a whole new crowd which weren't into the L Word.

I guess I'll have to reserve real judgement until it airs. 

 

_______________________________________________________

Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got. - Janis Joplin

lauraleigh's picture

Spoiler Alert

I wish you guys would have given me a heads up that this article included a L Word season spoiler. I've really tried to avoid all spoilers. : (
Cookingolfer's picture

What is Showtime Thinking?

Why would Ilene do a spinoff of a lesbian show that has few lesbian characters? The draw of the L Word is showing the world and life issues of lesbians. I do not intend to watch this unless it gets out of prison and back into the community. There are a lot of shows to pick from with a couple of lesbian characters...the uniqueness seems to be missing.

I am disappointed.

Rosalarian's picture

Yeah, it's great to have a

Yeah, it's great to have a show with a lot of lesbians in it, but wouldn't you also watch a good show just because it's good? It'll still have more lesbians than most tv shows, so unless TLW is the only show you ever watch, any other show is going to have less lesbians in it. Why not watch "The Farm" because you like the character of Alice/ like Chaiken's writing/ like prison dramas/ etc.?
sapphicbeats's picture

the issue here is...

...i don't expect it to be good.

ilene's writing has grown more and more insane, and the character assassination of putting alice in PRISON?

i'll pass.

Rosalarian's picture

See now, that's a reason I

See now, that's a reason I can understand. But not watching because it doesn't have enough lesbian is... silly.
Dearlylovedaimee's picture

But...

I'm like so many others here, I think the show sounds ridiculous and I'm not convinced it will last. But I will give it a chance because as Megan Rose Gedris mentioned there are not a lot of shows out there with lesbians/bisexual females characters on them. This really will be one of those shows that you have to watch before you judge. It may not be as bad as well all think.
Damask's picture

...

"It may not be as bad as well all think."

 Oh, it'll be much, much worse than what anyone could possibly imagine. 

Lword1970's picture

I think Ilene and the rest

I think Ilene and the rest of the producers and writers for the L word overall did a terrible job . This show was overall artistically terrible. At a time when cable drama shows were supreme the Lword stood out as a mess. some of the storylines were boggling and ridiculous . Ilene did not have much of a career before the Lword and I suspect she will not have much of one after. She is not talented, creative and she failed to create an interesting show which is sad. At some point I as a lesbian only watched the show sporadically
Steph Stance's picture

I'm with you

on this one.Loads of show's out with a "few" lesbians but no where near enough with predominately lesbians.What a shame.
eohl's picture

Reality check

Not all women in prison are lesbians so I don't expect a show on a woman's prison to feature an all-lesbian cast.

I'll give it a go before passing judgement. There are not enough shows that feature lesbian characters for us to negate this one without seeing if it is worth watching.

Why be a negative Nelly? We may be pleasantly surprised.

As for it being unrealistic for Alice (my fav. L character) to be Jenny's murderer and being framed, I await evidence to prove she is not.
canderson38's picture

Cyndi Anderson I am

Cyndi Anderson I am dissappointed also. I wanted a show with Jennifer Beals playing in it. The L word has been awesome and I just don't know if I am going to like this one. I just don't understand why she would do a show like this. The L word has been a big thing in the gay community. It has helped a lot of people to come out of the closet and to be just happy with themselves. Jennifer Beals is the biggest star on the show and I am going to be very dissapointed if I can not see her in this show. I am 43yrs old and have never been in love, and I just love Jennifer Beals. I just can not get enough of her. I just cannot imagine her not being on the show. I am not interested, if she is not.
zhane.'s picture

..

showtimes can't keep anything in.. ..

sleepedver's picture

The Farm...

Honestly I am not liking this whole idea, of it being in a jail setting, Alice going to jail, only 3 lesbian characters. Where would Tasha be? I hope they think of somethin better...

- Peace, love, vegan! -

nandadelena's picture

just one word

CAPADOCIA
shelleyc's picture

I agree

I like it too. That's a worry for me that they could rip off ideas from that show. Although I do have to admit there are a couple of things in "Capadocia" that are very similar to "Bad Girls."

Shelley C

LilyJadeRose's picture

  so are we to assume then

  so are we to assume then that alice killed jenny?  showtime is really ruining this...shouldn't all this be, ya know...a surprise?  to keep viewers interested?  if you tell everything what's the motivation to actually watch it?  and then...why tell all this and then say, you're not sure if you're going to pick the series up?

madness is what this is

"I don't mind making jokes, but I don't want to look like one." ....... "I've been on a calendar, but never on time." ~Marilyn Monroe~

VashtheStampede's picture

Anyone else think....

Anyone else think that the main subplot will be that Alice was framed for Jenny's murder (or incorrectly jailed for it) and will be fighting to get out, all the while trying to make the prison a better place ala Nikki Wade in Bad Girls? I enjoyed Bad Girls, and wouldn't mind an American version of it, but spinning it off from the L Word universe seems a bit strange and kind of depressing (I wonder if Betty will do the theme song LOL)
deathmetallez's picture

yeah i was thinking that too...

it's truly impossible to think that Alice can murder a person so the only logical explanation is that she was framed.

also, i love the L word! but it's sooo disapointing on how the show is gonna end. this show was so groundbreaking for lesbian and bisexual woman and just how come Ilene, Showtime, or whoever's making these wierd decisions couldn't just have left the series on a high note. i mean it didn't have to be "and they lived happly ever after", but i think the last season plot could have been better instead of it blarring "MURDER!". i think it just leaves a sour note to all the fans.

.... i didn't think about Betty doing the theme song though. hahaha, that made me laugh!! good one!

______________________________________________ 

We Want Revolution Grrrl Style Now! -BIKINI KILL 

Ed Would's picture

Oh God, not another Betty

Oh God, not another Betty theme tune!

"Crying weeping sobbing shanking shanking shanking"?

shakespeherianrag's picture

Shanking, shanking, shanking.

You = for the win, sexy dinosaur!

"Most Lesbians are deliberate cowards. Usually they're too lazy or too full of themselves to go out and get themselves a man." (The Shadowy Sex, Hilary Hilton)

goldenXyears's picture

theme song

"shanking, shanking, shanking..."hahahaha! good call
NPR1286's picture

disppointed

this is all truly a disappointment to me :(

 

NpR

iar's picture

What are they, stupid?

So. Not only have they ruined any mystery surrounding the spin-off, they are ruined the last series of the L-Word. Yeah. That's smart.

I don't like the L-word. Never have. But, for goodnesss sake...way to keep those that still like it, interested! I realise it's tough to keep those proverbial cats in the multiple bags, but there are ways and means. My God. If Grey's Anatomy can gag an entire cast, you would surely think Showtime could keep quiet about somethig that hasn't even aired.

I get that there have been multiple internet rumours, and that it turns out most were correct. But until you officially confirm rumours, that is all they stay. And nothing gets people more excited than rumours.

Less regular lesbians on the show? That's just the latest fashion.

pecola's picture

Can't Compete

I don't understand why Showtime would even entertain the notion of a women's prison show when Alan Ball is helming an American remake of Bad Girls. Perhaps the success of True Blood has moved it to the backburner, but if not, Showtime would be absolutely crazy to challenge Ball with a show with a semi-similar premise. Very little about Ilene Chaiken's six season stint on The L Word leads me to believe she can compete with the guy that's given us True Blood and Six Feet Under.  

 ----

"The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use — of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public." -- Robert F. Kennedy

flistopher's picture

I have this stupid feeling,

I have this stupid feeling, based on nothing bit a teeny bit of faith, that there'll be more to this than we think, like some kind of twist, rather than it playing out exactly as we expect it to. I don't know, perhaps it's the same part of me that thought 'Ok, maybe Callie and Erica won't last but it can't be that bad' and we all know how that turned out, so I should expect to be disappointed again, I suppose.

At the moment, it kind of seems like Chaiken/Showtime have just gone 'ah, bugger it, we may as well just give up on it now', which is kind of depressing.

At least the one good thing which we can be sure of is more Alice! Yes, always a good thing.

Flis x

MetalWiccaDyke's picture

...

I was wary about a prison themed show. I love leisha Hailey since I saw her in All Over Me but I won't be tuning in.
chiffchaff's picture

Yeah, I was reading it

Yeah, I was reading it thinking 'So they're re-making Bad Girls'. I hope they've spoken to the UK makers in case they get their butts sued for copyright infringment...
badpenny's picture

Bad Girls

I'll hold out for the Bad Girls remake.
likethe309's picture

Ugh

I hate this so much. There is so much they could do with an Alice spinoff. Instead, jail?
7Up's picture

I don't know

A prison spinoff could be fine, though I'd prefer to think of it as a new series with a known character, and Ilene would probably need to add some new writers and more researchers to her team... still if Famke Janssen plays a lesbian like the one she played in the hilarious movie Eulogy I could get caught up.... and Laurie Metcalf would be hilarious...  but I'll be pissed if Alice is suddenly made into a cold blooded murderer.   I could see an accident maybe, but even that is a stretch unless Alice was actually protecting someone else... (how twist of Nikki of Bad Girls would that be....) I prefer the idea that she was framed....

Actually the cast selections seem really fun and full of possibility....

drip's picture

me too

but I'll be pissed if Alice is suddenly made into a cold blooded murderer.   I could see an accident maybe, but even that is a stretch unless Alice was actually protecting someone else.

you and me both..  it is TOTALLY out of character for Alice... but I suppose they could do a complete personality transplant like the did to some/many of the other characters throughout the seasons of The L Word

I think I would feel (even more) compelled to throw something at Ilene C if she does that to Alice.

Canuckgrrl's picture

Hmmm...

Kind of skeptical - then again, I was totally against remaking Battlestar Galactica and that worked out pretty well...
ColetteLala's picture

Get Over Your Hate Already

I love it. I love everything about it. I'm actually a LOYAL L Word fan and I find it very hard to criticize a new Chaiken show without even seeing it. The overwhelming condescension here at AE is staggering.

I also kind of like Showtime's approach to promoting this final season. It's kept us all talking about who dies and then who could have done it and then how and then why and then could it be a frame up. It's gotten me excited about Season 6 and has started tons of great conversations about the show. I know several people who've never seen the show before, but have been keeping up with the promos. They're now watching all the back episodes in order to be ready for Sunday. That, to me, is concrete proof of a successful publicity campaign.

Thegirloverthere's picture

Bad Girls!?

This reminds me exactly of Bad Girls. It takes place in prison, like Bad Girls, it has a few lesbian characters, like Bad Girls, and it sounds like it's going to be a drama...like Bad Girls. I like Bad Girls so i'm excited it will be similar, but couldn't they come up with something a LITTLE better for Leisha Hailey? Alice is such a funny character, and that's why people love her, and putting her in prison is probably going to put her down a bit...hence making her less funny...which makes the audience less happy. Anyone agree wtih me on this one!?
Damask's picture

.,.,.

I completely agree with you, because it is rational thinking. Ilene Chaiken probably doesn't agree with you...because she is crazy.
Formerlurker's picture

They got one thing right.

Alice is the most interesting character from the L Word.  With apologies to all the Shane lovers out there, Alice seems like a real person.  The credit should go to Leisha Hailey, because the Goddess knows that Chaiken tried her best to sabotage the character (remember all the crazy Dana obsession stuff?).  I love Alice's snarkiness and humor. 

 Now, as to the question of why they would spoil the finale of The L Word by revealing the murder victim and the killer in advance, I'm sure they have their reasons, but they missed an opportunity.  Lot's of people have a motive to kill Jenny -- including some of the people on this message board.  Why not make it be a surprise?  I have an idea though.  Alice did not kill Jenny and she doesn't know who did, but she is sent to prison anyway.  Guess we'll find out what evidence was used to convict her.  A continuing theme of The Farm will likely be Alice's efforts to find out who really killed Jenny so she, Alice, can get out of prison.  We're likely to be treated to a lot of flashbacks (with lovely opportunities for guest appearances by the L Word ladies). 

 As for "the real killer," my money is on Adele.  That is a ruthless nut case if I ever saw one.  And I have seen one in real life, so I know what it looks like.

Britches's picture

Agreed!

I totally agree with what you said!  I like some of the other characters, but Alice is the most real to me.  At least on a every day "common" person level.  I definitely think she's most interesting, too, with her amazing humor and sarcasm.  Also as a fellow bisexual I'm glad they included one in the show. :)

 

I hope the spinoff is better than it sounds!  I don't know how I feel about a plain old prison drama, but if it's about Alice trying to find out who framed her or something I think I could handle that.  And if Alice simply did the murdering I'll be PISSED as some previous posters mentioned because Alice is SO not a cold-blooded killer.  

lilpinkchainsaw's picture

Yeah, because someone who's

Yeah, because someone who's emotionally damaged but sweet is less real in this world than someone who's two-faced and 'funny'.  Riiiiiiiight.
Formerlurker's picture

Huh?

OK, I get that you prefer Shane to Alice.  Why is it that you felt the need to respond with sarcasm and anger instead of simply explaining why you like Shane more?  Don't we get enough of that hostile crap from straight people? 

 Alice is sweet, funny, smart and loyal to her friends.  I love those characteristics in a person.  Other than the Dana-obssession stuff, which I think was completely out of character for Alice and a mistake on the part of the writers, Alice seems like a well-adjusted person.  She's not perfect, which is ideal in my book.

 I like Shane too, but from a distance.  I have had a relationship with the sweet but tortured and wounded type.  It's a lot of work for very little reward.  Plus, she is completely incapable of being faithful.  I can relate more to Carmen than Shane.  I totally get why Carmen has written her off.   She probably still loves her, but sometimes love is not enough.  I will say this, though.  Shane is loyal to her friends.

jennifer from pittsburgh's picture

Spin Out

Initially, for some reason, I had it in my head that they would go for a sort of Chained Heat brand of campiness and this whole thing might be a fun romp. Well, solipsistic thinking aside, the reality seems to be that this show is going to probably take itself too seriously and then seriously suck. Just my opinion, humble, or otherwise.
alexc9's picture

ugh

this cannot be anything other than awful. im so disappointed by the whole spin off / in prison situation (um, overdone much?) that im having trouble looking forward to the last season of the l word. ilene chaiken just adores alienating her audience, doesnt she?

maybe this whole thing is a big publicity stunt and the spin off will take place in NY and not in prison and all the girls will be free and jenny's death will have been some awful dream or mediocre plot device in the real, very-much-alive jenny's next great american novel... one can only hope!

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http://rightmindleftcoast.wordpress.com

impromptubabe's picture

yeah...

that's what I'm rooting for.

Jenny's death was a very bad idea! I know they messed her up pretty bad these past seasons, but still, she was the main character! Dying is just stupid!

And Alice in prison? c'mon! Why do they torture us? Keeping up the l word old material would be so much better.

lesbarian's picture

Women Behind Bars

I think that's hot.  Any kind of institution where the sexes are divided always ends up being pretty gay in real life--so for them to claim that it's only going to have a "few" lesbian characters is probably way off the mark.  What about all those women who are gay until release date?  And how about those tough girls that can make anyone their bitch?  Though many of you are not, personally I'm excited to see how this all pans out.

Wicked1's picture

This is so stupid, and is

This is so stupid, and is going to be a disaster. The way that they have been going and revealing stuff, they shouldn't even had given the L Word another little semi-season, because I have a feeling it is going to wreck the entire series for me. I mean, they have already told us Jenny dies and someone else in the cast killed her. Then Leisha is in the spinoff that is set in a prison, so that means she will be the 1 that goes to jail for Jenny's murder. If I know this already, why will I watch the last 6 episodes or whatever it is. I love Leisha but even I don't plan on watching The Farm, with the premise of the show as it is. There was already a show like this, its called "Bad Girls". I would have much rather it been like the L Word but just centered on Alice, or have her move to NY or Miami to show a different lesbian scene. We'll see how long it lasts, I have a feeling not very long.
Britches's picture

Did they?

Did they really already say someone else in the cast killed Jenny?  Or is everyone just assuming that?  I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm genuinely curious because I haven't seen that anywhere.  Thanks! :)
kimmie331's picture

As long as

there is a show with prominent lesbian characters, I will be happy. Leisha Hailey being the star of the show is just an incentive...I LOVE HER! =)

 

http://kiiimmmaaayyy.blogspot.com/ CHECK IT!

tallica_badgurl's picture

Title

If they are going to make this spinoff the least they can do is change the title.  It sounds ridiculous.
anomina82's picture

what the hell?!

a few lesbians?

 

there will never be a show like the l word

i'll always remember that show

the best show in history!

GI_Jo_The_Ho's picture

She did it???

So I'm guessing we can all assume that Alice killed Jenny? Is it just me or is it semi impossible to think that Alice can kill someone?

This whole spinoff kinda ruined the last season for me and it doesn't even air till sunday.


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