LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Showtime's "The L Word" is coming to a close after next season, but its impact could live on long after the series finale.
The lesbian-themed drama, which debuted in January 2004, has been groundbreaking. Never before had a show with an all-lesbian ensemble that spoke directly to lesbian issues aired on television.
The series has cultivated an extremely devoted following, with many fans meeting every Sunday night for viewing parties at viewers' homes or at packed establishments like the Falcon in West Hollywood. It also has spawned its own social networking site (http://www.OurChart.com), garnered huge popularity in the virtual world Second Life and generated dedicated fan Web sites, blogs and podcasts.
But what's more, "L Word," recently renewed for its sixth and final season, has transcended its niche categorization to become a mainstream show about women that is watched by women and men, both gay and straight, nationwide.
And that's something that Showtime executives couldn't have predicted, president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt said.
"I think, at the end of the day, it's just a really good nighttime soap," he said. "It was gratifying that it didn't really matter what the characters' sexual orientation was, just that people thought it was a fun show to watch."
five seasons, the series has brought to light
several issues of relevance to the gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender community as well as
character portrayals not often featured in
mainstream television. Such topics have included gay
civil rights, closeted celebrities, transgender
operations, bisexual relationships and the
military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
In addressing these issues, "L Word" is part of a trend in scripted television that really kicked off with Showtime's gay-themed "Queer as Folk" and has continued with HBO's "Six Feet Under" and now ABC's "Brothers & Sisters," said Damon Romine, entertainment media director at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.