It’s that time of year again, when we formally recognize the people who have positively or negatively impacted lesbian and bi visibility in American
entertainment in 2007. From Best Queer Reality TV Series and Best
High-Profile Lesbian Couple to Worst Theatrical Release With Lesbian
Characters and Worst Lesbian Moment on Daytime Television,
we recognize the television shows, movies and people who entertained, inspired
or downright shamed us this year. (We covered 2007’s out women in music thoroughly here and the year’s top 10 albums here).
So read on to see the winners and losers of our fifth annual AfterEllen.com
Visibility Awards …
BEST SCRIPTED TV SERIES ON CABLE OR NETWORK TV
WITH LESBIAN/BI CHARACTERS
WINNER (tie): The L Word (Showtime)
The fourth season of The L Word was
a considerable improvement over the third, as the cast moved on from the death
of Dana (Erin Daniels), and the tiresome baby-napping custody
battle between Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel
Holloman) was finally put to rest. Meanwhile, newcomers Tasha (Rose
Rollins), Jodi (Marlee Matlin), Phyllis (Cybill
Shepherd) and Paige (Kristanna
Loken) injected fresh blood — and romance — into the series.
Jenny (Mia Kirshner) and Max (Daniela Sea)
were annoying as usual, but Bette was restored to her former alpha glory, and
much collective heat was generated by the sex scenes between Alice and
Tasha, Paige and Shane, and Bette and Jodi. Jane Lynch’s return as a sleazy
lawyer in love was a nice bonus, too.
WINNER (tie): Exes & Ohs (Logo)
Despite some uneven scenes and an all-white cast, Exes
& Ohs won us over with its humor, extremely appealing lead character,
Jen (Michelle Paradise), and its realistic
portrayal of lesbians and lesbian life (i.e., women who don’t all look like
glamorous L.A. lesbians). Its lighthearted take on lesbian relationships was
a nice change of pace from the more serious lesbian drama we usually find on
television. We only wish there had been more than six episodes!
RUNNER-UP: South of Nowhere (The N)
South of Nowhere, the teen drama about
a family who relocates from the Midwest to Los Angeles, recovered some of its
mojo in the third season, as Ashley (Mandy Musgrave)
inherited millions, Spencer (Gabrielle Christian)
experimented with dating another girl, and Spencer’s mother, Paula (Maeve
Quinlan), took steps toward repairing her relationship with her daughter.
The writers made some missteps this season when Spencer’s girlfriend Carmen
(Brooke Vallone) became unhinged, Kyla turned into Paris Hilton, and Ashley
became completely self-absorbed. But the honest and evolving Spencer-Paula
relationship and the long-awaited Ashley-Spencer reunion in the midseason
finale made up for them.
WORST SCRIPTED TV SERIES ON CABLE OR NETWORK TV WITH LESBIAN/BI CHARACTERS
WINNER: Degrassi: The Next Generation (The N)
Only a few short months ago, we gave this long-running
Canadian teen drama high marks for its handling of the lesbian relationship
between Alex (Deanna Casaluce) and Paige (Lauren Collins).
That all went out the window with a single bizarre episode in October when
Alex inexplicably reverted to the character she was three seasons ago, Paige suddenly kicked her to the curb, and Alex left town. Alex’s departure wasn’t unexpected, since the actress had made it clear
in interviews that she was planning to leave the show, but the way the writers
handled it was clumsy at best and extremely disappointing at worst, especially
for the show’s longtime viewers who had become emotionally invested in the evolution
of these characters and their relationship.