By Romeo San Vicente
Lesbian sci-fi’s Octavia Butler heads to TV
She died in 2006, but Octavia Butler’s work lives on. The late lesbian sci-fi author was critically acclaimed during her lifetime – and posthumously awarded a place in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame – but now her MacArthur Fellowship-recognized genius is finally coming to television. You can thank the always-working Ava DuVernay (“13th,” “Selma”) for that one; the filmmaker is bringing Butler’s 1987 novel “Dawn” to series with collaborators Victoria Mahoney (“Queen Sugar”) and Charles D. King (“Fences”). Dawn is the first book in Butler’s “Lilith’s Brood” trilogy, and concerns a post-apocalyptic future that sees most of the human race eradicated, with the remainder stolen for breeding by an alien race. A black woman named Lilith Iyapo must navigate this dystopia and work to save humanity. Currently DuVernay is still at work on the big screen adaptation of “A Wrinkle In Time,” another sci-fi classic, so the project is still in its very early stages. Casting news – and any other attention-getting progress that hopefully steals thunder from “Confederate” – to follow.
‘Dear White People’ creator has ‘Bad Hair’
“Dear White People” creator Justin Simien is making a horror movie about a weave. That’s not a typo. A horror movie about a weave. As in fake hair attached to real hair. The comedic horror satire is currently called “Bad Hair,” and has no cast or shooting schedule yet, only this announcement, which is, honestly, plenty to give us all the pleasure we needed for the day. Set in 1989, at the height of the New Jack Swing trend in R&B music (think Bobby Brown, Paula Abdul, Pebbles, etc.), the story follows a young artist who, desperate to freshen up her hair game for the beauty demands of music videos, gets her first weave. Unfortunately, she quickly discovers that the new hair is haunted and has plans of its own that don’t involve playing nice on the set of the latest Al B. Sure video. The price of being a video vixen, we guess. Anyway, dear Mr. Simien, please make this movie very quickly because we want to see it right now.
Shay Mitchell goes full-on Queen Bee for ‘You’
Cast members from a couple of TV’s hottest young adult soaps are teaming up for what promises to be yet another steamy outing. Shay Mitchell of “Pretty Little Liars” and “Gossip Girl”‘s Penn Badgley will be joined by “Once Upon a Time” co-star Elizabeth Lail to form the love triangle at the heart of gay producer/creator Greg Berlanti’s latest exercise in sexy twentysomething drama, “You.” The premise for this show with the maddeningly vague title involves a brilliant young man (Badgley) who uses technology to make the woman of his dreams fall for him. (How, exactly? Every time we’re on Twitter a brilliant young woman is dragging some dork for trying that very thing.) Meanwhile, Mitchell’s character plays the boss of her friendship circle, rivaling Lail for this allegedly brilliant young man’s attention. It sounds kind of goofy, but we’re going to hope it’s a satire about the toxicity of heterosexuality and gender roles. And if it’s not, we’ll probably watch it anyway. We like hot people.
Gurl, Trixie Mattel and Katya are getting their own show
The spinoff-ification of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is picking up steam, and not a moment too soon. These dark days call for more and more drag queens to right the wrongs of politics and culture, and that’s where Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova come in. The “Drag Race” alums already host a World of Wonder-produced YouTube series called “UNHhhh” and it’s as delightfully weird as it is format-less and scattershot. To take this team to the next level of pop culture domination, then, would require a network that fully understands the appeal of format-less and scattershot. Enter Viceland, a network whose lineup includes a program where rapper Action Bronson smokes weed and watches “Ancient Aliens,” and it is there that Trixie and Katya have found their next home. The “UNHhhh” way of life is heading to something currently known as “The Trixie & Katya Show,” on which nobody knows exactly what till transpire. What we do know, though, is that it kicks off this November and that Peak TV is about to peak even harder.