All of the big streaming services introduce each new TV show with much fanfare, sending out trailers and press statements in a mighty flood many month before the actual launch date.
So you can imagine my surprise when I noticed that I had completely missed out on one of the best and funniest and most interesting TV shows I’ve seen since Breaking Bad, the new nerd show about Woman In Comics called BGSD. (It’s a short season, only 7 episodes long, but still …)
Being neither a woman nor a proper geek, I have to wonder if I’m even allowed to have so much fun with a show about female geekdom, but I cannot help, so here we go:
The show is about MellowCon, a fictitious Comic Con style convention held in a fictitious city in an unidentified state in the deep south of the USA, and about the titular BGSD, which stands for B*tches Get Sh*t Done, and is the name of a presentation track and a discussion panel about Women In Comics that will be held the first time during MellowCon.
The full name is often used, but always censored: Every time it is spoken out, some noise drowns part of the words. And the visual censorship is quite literally lampshaded, when during every potentially dangerous wide shot some of the letters are obstructed by lighting equipment.
Viola Davis plays the head of the organization committee, who for the first time wants to keep out the Confederate Soldier cosplayers who traditionally attend, claiming that the only grey uniforms allowed would be those of color-impaired stormtroopers. (Christopher Cousins, who was Ted Bernanke on Breaking Bad, plays her assistant.)
Her fight for this change, with all the assorted politics, is the A plot, and the stories of the female creators who participate in the BGSD presentations and panel collectively constitute the B plot.
The story is told in today’s typical non-linear fashion; we see both the preparation for and the start of MellowCon in parallel. The different timelines converge in the penultimate episode.
Anyone who has ever watched a presentation by or an interview with any of the comic creators that are portrayed in the show will have to agree that it is a shame that they let only one actual Woman In Comics into the cast:
- Christian Beranek, who plays pretty much herself, in a stunning & irreverent performance.
That said, all the comic creator main characters have been cast with excellently chosen actors:
- Christine Baranski, showing all the intelligence and charm of Diane Lockhard from The Good Wife, plays The Grande Dame Of Comics, who has just illustrated a graphic novel biography of a famous comic creator, called Awesome Mindblowing Unbelievable.
- Australian actress Margot Robbie plays an influential Canadian comics historian and independent publisher, who has just published the anthology Geek Girls’ Graces.
- Mackenzie Davis, who was Mindy Park in The Martian, plays the creator of an occasionally NSFW slice-of-life comic, oscillating between acquired boldness and natural shyness.
Lest you think that BGSD actually means Blondes Get Sh*t Done, take note that:
- Melissa Rauch, the powerful Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory, now rainbow-colored instead of her natural blond, plays a multi-talent working in academy and industry and as an independent comic creator.
- Carla Gugino, known from the TV show Threshold and the movies Sin City, Sucker Punch, and San Andreas, this time with flaming red hair, plays a comic writer who created an extraordinary feminist dystopian sci-fi series that quickly becomes popular and influential.
- Anna Gunn, the fabulous Skyler White from Breaking Bad, dyed her hair to play a comic book writer who is writing for several well-shaped female (super)heroes, which for some odd reasons doesn’t stop some stupid male detractors to claim that she hates boobs.
- Gillan Anderson plays a webcomic creator and self-published novelist who writes and draws stories about world-wide conspiracies, cyborgs, shady government agencies, power-hungry men and women, mind-control, and a couple of millions of ghosts.
Surprisingly many actresses who play smart and sexy CSI Miami characters are part of the cast:
- Emily Procter [Calleigh Duquesne] plays an Australian comic artist who draws a story about a female police officer with supernatural background.
- Eva LaRue [Natalia Boa Vista] plays a writer who works for the Big Two as well as on independent comics, which makes her feel like the luckiest girl in America.
- Megalyn Echikunwoke [Tara Price] plays a comic publisher and cartoonist from Chicago.
Several more minority characters and actors are involved:
- Cote de Pablo, the unforgettable Ziva David from NCIS, plays a renowned psychologist who writes a lot about superhero psychology, discussing serious mental health issues.
- Archie Panjabi, one of my favorite actresses, probably best known as Kalinda Sharma from The Good Wife, or as Serena Johnson from San Andreas, play an artist and webcomics creator with Indian heritage (who might be a mix of different real-life persons).
Additionally, one male creator has a small but still relevant part in the show:
- Jonathan Banks, known as Mike Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad, difficult to recognize with all that hair if not for his charm, plays a creator who, 25 years ago, created a science fiction comic with a female hero who is smart, strong, and sexy, but not hyper-sexualized.
There are also a few performances that could be called Easter Eggs:
- Jewel Staite, Mark Strong, Josh Brolin, and Aaron Paul play four authors who meet at MellowCon to perform a life recording of their award-winning podcast OverWrought. (Great, I love it, but does Aaron Paul really have to wear an I’m Not A Serial Killer t-shirt?)
- The dream team from the movie Spy, Melissa McCarthy and Miranda Hart, play the creators of a webcomic about a posse of hitmen (and -women) in space. Because they cannot afford to go to MellowCon in person, they follow everybody on social media, and make acerbic comments on the proceedings, in the best Statler & Waldorf fashion.
- Christina Hendricks plays an English superhero movie screenwriter who is admired for her colorful hair and her voluptuous curves almost as much as for her excellent writing. She prefers to talk about her most recent movie script rather than about Woman In Comics.
Finally, there is a cameo from a male creator:
- Because what’s good for movies is also good in TV, the man himself shows up when his graphic novel autobiography Awesome Mindblowing Unbelievable is presented.
My recommendation is that you search for and check out the TV show BGSD as soon as possible.
And please tell us in the comments what you think about it!
Also tell us if you can figure out who the creators played by each actress are supposed to be in real life! And please accept my apology for being such an annoyingly unabashed fanboy today! (Yes, I promise it won’t happen again till next year.)