Rocket Man

7.5.2006

By Matthew Breen

'When you look at Battlestar Galactica, they're fucking all the time'because they're playing people,' says Fuller. 'Every [Star Trek character] was this one-line description for a character, which really isn't the most fertile ground to write from. The sexuality was always a little more removed.'

'Sexuality in the show is one of the ingredients that turns it from a kids' show into more of an adult thing,' says Bamber. And we're not talking hyperflowers and space chocolates here; there's not much wooing going on. 'There are people in very confined spaces that have to live in close proximity to one another. So it makes sense that sex is a much more aggressive, confined act. And this world is a kind of gender-blind world. Men and women are called 'sir,' there are coeducational facilities, the shower and everything, and they bunk and they sleep and live and eat and do everything together. In that regard, I guess what we've created is a world in which sex is not as much of a taboo as it is in our world.'

This genre has blazed trails before: The famous first televised interracial kiss was between Uhura and Kirk on Star Trek. The international cast was a veritable United Colors of Benetton, plus a Vulcan. Various Star Trek series created episodes that metaphorically dealt with sexism, racism, and even AIDS, yet they never once created a gay character of any significance.

For the most progressive and groundbreaking show in the genre, Battlestar's lack of gay characters is acute. 'Well, as far as you know you haven't seen any gay characters,' says Eick, claiming that because the characters are still dealing with the annihilation of civilization, there's not much room for gay story lines yet. 'As we evolve through the series and get further away from that cataclysm, we may feel like it's less of a stretch to start showing people getting involved with each other. Who's to say who won't turn out gay?'

Bamber champions the prospect: 'There's no reason, in a world that is gender-blind, on the Battlestars and across this fleet, that we haven't had an overtly gay relationship come to fruition. It should be there, and it should be as unabashedly honest as the heterosexual relationships.'

While Battlestar may be late to the game in this respect (assuming the show's creators do enter the game at all), others have already begun to take up the mantle of depicting characters more reflective of their queer audiences. NBC's upcoming fall drama Heroes, created by Crossing Jordan exec producer Tim Kring, features a diverse international cast and depicts the fallout in ordinary people's lives when, due to an evolutionary leap, they discover they have extraordinary unexplained abilities. Heroes will feature a gay character, according to Kring and Fuller, who is now writing for the show. In the pilot a popular high school cheerleader with superhuman invulnerability selects a loner from her class to divulge her secret to'though he's not revealed as gay in that episode. Kring admits, 'I'm feeling a little odd about it, because I literally haven't even discussed it with the actor yet.'

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