Set in the chic world of Los Angeles, this humor-laced dramatic series explores the lives of a group of lesbians, their friends, family and neighbors. The series takes a smart, sexy and fun look at the hopes, dreams and lives of these people as they deal with things like career struggles, relationships and the pressures of tying to start a family. The second season of The L Word takes off with 13 hotter-than-ever, sexy episodes filled with sizzling new characters. A must-have DVD set for the legions of fans that have purchased Season 1.
Once a series has broken new ground, where does it go from there? Showtime's The L Word, concerning the relationships of a community of lesbian Los Angelenos, turned heads with its smart, funny writing and fully realized characters. Season Two offers more of the same, with some notable guest stars and experiments in narrative and music. This season, Jenny (Mia Kirshner) fully embraces her sexuality as her ex-husband/roomie (Eric Mabius) departs and voyeuristic documentary filmmaker Mark (Eric Lively) and womanchaser Shane (Katherine Moennig) move in. Shane and Jenny struggle good-heartedly over the affections of new character Carmen (Sarah Shahi), who isn't given much to do plot-wise apart from occasionally spinning records and serving as one corner of the love triangle. Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman) start the season on the rocks due to Bette's infidelity; the introduction of the one-dimensionally nasty Helena Peabody (Rachel Shelley) causes further friction between Bette and Tina while playing havoc with Bette's curatorial career. Meanwhile, Dana (Erin Daniels) and Alice (Leisha Hailey) go from being best friends to being a whole lot more, providing some of the most touching scenes of the season. Kit (Pam Grier) takes on The Planet, the seeming center of LA's lesbian universe, converting it into a nightclub where, conveniently, guest-starring bands can play.
Strong points of the season include Bette and Kit confronting the death of their father (the superb Ossie Davis) and Shane's new job as a gopher for a high-powered Hollywood producer (the equally superb Camryn Manheim). Less strong are the distracting, neo-expressionistic passages meant to be glimpses into Jenny's creative mind and the interminable use of the series' theme song--re-interpreted in a number of genres--to the point of distraction. Mark's voyeurism, which crosses all sorts of boundaries as he installs hidden cameras around the house, is a brilliant way to challenge male viewers who may tune in just to TiVo their way to the sex scenes. That said, the arc of that particular story grows increasingly far-fetched as Mark somehow avoids criminal prosecution and instead endures the horrible fate of having Jenny refuse his offer of coffee and a muffin. Despite its flaws, The L Word is a show that deserves to be cheered on, not for its politics, but for the skillful way it conveys complex human entanglements with sensitivity. --Ryan Boudinot