Why the CW’s Fall Hurts So Much

Why the CW’s Fall Hurts So Much

It’s been a rough couple weeks for me, and I was trying to get my mind off things when a friend complained about how much the who disaster collapse of the CW hurt so much. His husband was a little unsympathetic and told us we were both making too much of it.

The thing is… we weren’t.

With a Whimper

Back in May, I was trying to make sense of the cancelations on CW, and why it was predominantly aimed at their queer (and female) centric shows. And right now, it’s probably easier to list the original (as in not-Canadian or UK) scripted shows that aren’t officially canceled yet:

  • All American
  • All American: Homecoming
  • Gotham Knights (new)
  • Kung Fu
  • Superman & Lois
  • Two Sentence Horror Stories
  • Walker
  • Walker Independence
  • The Winchesters

Not listed is Pandora, which was canceled but reports say it’s coming back on ‘another network’ … no clue on what that is.

The number of shows (9) is about the same as before, due to Stargirl, Riverdale, and Nancy Drew being canceled, but Walker Independence, The Winchesters, and Gotham Knights being added on.

But with those numbers you might think “Okay, so the new equilibrium is just smaller. Not terrible, right?”


Taking Two sentence out of the mix for a moment, as it’s an anthology, tell me how many queer female or trans characters there are on those shows, total?


Add in gay men and you’ll get a little higher, eight.

That’s less than one a show.

The CW Was Queer

Up until last year, every single CW show had at least one regular queer character. Most had multiple, and their character traits were not defined by their sexuality.

In fact, of all network linear stations, the CW was hands down the best for representation. The only network who comes close to that is Freeform and personally I think they keep going gay because it ticks off the 700 Club.

But now… who’s the queer leader? It’s time to do something I’ve not done for two years… It’s time to evaluate scores!

Back in 2018, I decided to see “Is the CW really that good with rep?” and the answer was yes.

Shows on Air1315171312
Total Shows9378486291
Scores (on Air)58.2848.1355.6751.2745.73
Scores (Total)42.4838.847.1743.540.01
Dead Characters2432251639

Now, your first thought may be “Hey, CW still has more shows!”

This is because these stats count the shows who are canceled but in final seasons like Flash and Riverdale so if we adjust for that, CW has 3 qualifying LezWatch shows on air.

Yes, 3.

They took the best, hottest, highest place for all queer TV and butchered it.

The Future is Reality

Regrettably, the future is skewing towards Reality TV. Now, I like bad reality TV as much as the next person. I regularly watch The Amazing Race and Project Runway as well as The Great British Baking Show. I like the uplifting reality instead of the Survivor / Chopped mentality of screw-the-neighbor. But honestly I prefer scripted stories.

With both HBO and CW turning away to scripted, it’s going to be up to NBC, the currently worst-rep but inching up, to pick up the slack. But also it’s going to be ‘back to indies’ for content. And this is a higher risk than it would have been 4 years ago.

If you haven’t been living under a rock, the impending threat of collapse from Facebook Meta and Twitter, due to the weight of the tremendous egos of their owners, the idea of generating traffic and attention via social platforms is at an all-time low. Going ‘viral’ is harder and harder to do organically, and most of our small-form content which we’d normally consume happily is being … well … smothered by the ‘algorithm.’

Honestly… I’m nervous. I can see where this is going, and I’m not pleased. The only ‘good’ news is we have a 150+ show backlog to watch, document, and add, so I have some TV for a while yet.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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