Sexual Power on Lost Girl: Gateway to a Golden Age?

This week we bring you Part 1 of Laura LaVertu’s paper from the 2014 Film and History Conference. As a reminder, the theme of the conference was “Golden Ages” and the prompt for the LGBT track was “Given all of the representation we’re seeing, are we in a Golden Age for LGBT representation on TV?” Part 1 means that there is also a Part 2, which we will post soon. As well, Laura believes in having actual facts to back up your assertions, so there are 61 endnotes in Part 1 alone. I haven’t seen this many citations since everyone in downtown Washington, D.C. forgot to move their cars on street sweeping day. Hope you all enjoy Laura’s paper!

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 3.24.11 PM
Lost Girl
is a Canadian supernatural fantasy television series. It is produced by Prodigy Pictures, in association with Shaw Media and the Canadian Television Fund. It premiered in 2010 on Showcase, a Canadian cable channel. It will be airing its fifth and final season in December 2015.[1]

Jay Firestone

The concept for the show was first developed by Jay Firestone, a Toronto based film and television producer. He described the origins of Lost Girl in a 2012 Comic-Con interview:

“Oh my gosh, the idea was born in a cafe during the Cannes film festival. A couple of my friends and I were talking about what sort of Buffy would be like today versus when Buffy was out. And I made a joke at one point and said Buffy would be bisexual, and everyone said what a cool idea! So we started developing it from there. The basic premise was when we started, my basic pitch was she’s good, she’s bad, she’s bi. And everybody got a kick out of that. So I put the challenge out to a few writers to come up with a vehicle for that type of character. And we got one and we went.”[2] [3]

“She’s good, she’s bad, she’s bi? Five by five.”

The writer was Michelle Lovretta, who took the concept of a “female superhero”[4] who uses “sex as part of her arsenal,” and structured it around a heroic lead character named Bo. Lovretta explains that Bo is a succubus: “She uses sex to feed, heal and kill”[5]

Michelle Lovretta
Michelle Lovretta

She pointed out that succubi are “known by many different names.”[6] The word itself is Latin-derived; from the Latin word “succuba” for “strumpet” and the word “succubare,” where “sub” means “under” and “cubare” means “to lie down.”[7] Strumpet is defined as: a female prostitute; a promiscuous women;[8] or a bold, lascivious woman.[9] The legend was developed in medieval folklore, where a succubus is a demon who takes the form of a woman to seduce men, usually while they sleep. Men who have sex with them repeatedly can suffer or die.[10]

But the roots of the story are much older. It is associated with the legend of Lilith, who was also developed in the Middle Ages. Lilith was said to be Adam’s first wife, and also the first succubus. Lilith and Adam argued about their positions during sex. Adam refused to let Lilith be on top, saying he was the superior, and she the inferior. But Lilith believed them to be equals. When they could not agree, she left him. In later stories, she became the wife of Samael, one of the fallen angels; and being defiled by him, could not return, instead becoming his queen and birthing demons. She was derived from Jewish mysticism, but her roots go all the way back to the ancient cuneiform texts of Mesopotamian religions.[11] These are among the oldest known forms of writing.[12]


Lilith and the succubi have offshoots in Islamic, African and Indian mythology, as well as various similar forms of supernatural entities. Lost Girl has featured several characters associated with them: the Egyptian Qarinah, the Celtic Leanan Sídhe, the Hungarian Lidérc and the Japanese Kitsune.[13] They have an impressive reach throughout worldwide culture.

Jennifers_body_ver2But behind all of the history is the idea that, from the beginning of recorded history, the succubi and their ilk have been used to personify the fear and misogyny swirling around the sexual power of women. What is astonishing is that today, they still are. Although more popular in modern media, the appearance of the succubus on screen remains vanishingly rare. When they do appear, they are invariably cast as evil antagonists. The television series True Blood[14] and Supernatural[15] both had major recurring characters named Lilith who served this function. The X-Files featured a succubus in one episode who seemed to be responsible for murder, seduction and blackmail.[16] Jennifer’s Body was a black comedy about a high school girl who was sacrificed as a virgin. But she was not a virgin, so the sacrifice backfired and she transformed into a succubus who seduced and ate boys.[17] [18] [19]

Lost Girl represents what is, possibly, the only positive on-screen presentation of a succubus ever made. In doing so, it has subverted the stereotype of the evil demon seductress and instead, made it about the sexual empowerment of women. Lovretta thought this was the story she was “unintentionally” telling through Bo. It was about a sex-positive world and a woman’s “liberation” from the expectations other people were putting on her and her body.[20] These are timeless ideals that women are still fighting for today. Part of that fight was expressed bringing the show into production.

From the beginning, both Lovretta and Firestone expressed the difficulties with having a sexually powerful, LGBT woman as their lead character. Firestone attempted to sell Lost Girl to U.S networks first, but was rejected. And despite the fact he secured funding within Canada, even his own network was afraid of it. “It started as a Canadian show because..I think people were nervous about it here. I went and sold it, tried to sell it, to everybody here and they were all scared of it a bit.[21]

No American producer would touch it.[22] “They were nervous about the bisexual element,” he says. “That’s what scared everybody.” So Firestone began looking for other sources of financing. His connections and reputation as a successful businessman within the Canadian television industry were probably invaluable. He convinced one of the major Canadian media conglomerates, Canwest Global Communications Corporation[23], to help finance the show. This may have been helped by the fact that Firestone created Canwest’s entire entertainment division over a decade earlier, when he sold them their first production company. It happened to be his production company: Fireworks Entertainment, Inc.

Firestone had built Fireworks with genre productions, and he reportedly had a “quirky” but effective[24] business model. He was also known as someone who liked strong female protagonists.[25] This is clearly demonstrated in his projects, among them the hit cable series La Femme Nikita, as well as Relic Hunter, Mutant X, Black Hole High, Wild Card, etc.[26] He said he decided a long time ago “people would rather see a woman kick someone through a window than serve them breakfast.”[27]

The acquisition marked Canwest’s first foray into broadcasting, and Firestone became the sole chairman and CEO of the new Canwest Entertainment.[28] As Canwest was seeking to expand and diversify its assets, Firestone pushed out into international markets.[29] But the economic downturn in the early 2000s saw European sales slumping, and Fireworks losing money. Firestone left in 2003. By 2006, he had started up another independent production company, naming it Prodigy Pictures.

After its earlier slump, Canwest had refocused on the Canadian and U.S broadcasting market. By the time 2008 rolled around, they were expanding again. In January, they showcaselogoacquired Showcase, one of Canada’s specialty cable channels. Showcase itself was created in 1994.[30] It was originally supposed to showcase the best of independently produced Canadian and worldwide movie and television content, with “limited” input from the United States.”[31] But over the years, it apparently developed a “seedy” reputation. It was known for its adult programming, including an erotically themed Friday night line-up. Believing the channel was turning off investors, Canwest began a major effort to rebrand it.[32] They had seen their chief rival, CTV, have success with homegrown dramas, like The Listener.[33] Due to licensing requirements, Showcase was obligated to air Canadian content in its prime time slots.[34] So Canwest was willing to invest in new projects for its new assets. On Oct. 16th, 2008, they announced the commission of four new Canadian pilots, Lost Girl among them. It was the first television commission for Prodigy Pictures[35].

The Canadian Television Fund was the second major backer for Lost Girl. The Canadian government is highly supportive of its native television productions, providing funding for ctf-logothem through a public-private merger between itself and cable and satellite broadcasters.[36] It is for this reason that broadcast licensing comes with requirements for hosting Canadian content. Over the years, Canada has become well known as a cheap place to shoot television, with cities vying for who can provide the most attractive tax credits.[37] The American drama series, Mistresses, just made headlines by moving its production from Los Angeles to Vancouver, thereby prompting its lead actress to leave the show.[38]But for whatever reason, Canada has primarily attracted good genre-related fare; luminaries such as The X-Files, the long-running Supernatural,[39] as well as the revamped Battlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary, Defiance, and many more,[40] have all been Canadian based productions. Lost Girl itself is filmed in Toronto.[41]

Jay Firestone was at the forefront of these production deals during the previous decade, producing Canadian shows, like La Femme Nikita, that ran internationally through syndication deals. But the end result was that Canada had lots of good, experienced film crews running around[42]. It was “inevitable” there would be a leap towards their own productions. Lost Girl was among the first of this new wave of native shows, helping to brand Canada as the “sci-fi nation”[43].

Good crews and a supportive government aside, it was an unusual show. Firestone confirmed that Canwest was nervous about it. The fact Bo could “kill with sex” was a tough sell,[44]especially as they were trying to swing Showcase in another direction. Plus, it was a genre show; notorious for coming with comparatively expensive price tags, and hard-to-find niche audiences. Some genre fans will not even watch a genre show until it has a confirmed second season. Too many of them fail during the first one.[45] Even well-performing shows are likely to be canceled if the network has other promising pilots in its pipeline.[46] They’re just trouble.

And trouble seemed to plague Lost Girl. They already had a nervous network and a lack of investors. Instead of a traditional pilot as an introduction to the series, Canwest requested something more typical of a regular episode. [47] Even Lovretta was worried about how to write it. In her Watercooler interview, she explained:

 But after that initial excitement came trepidation – it is so, so incredibly easy with a template like that to create something mind-numbingly insulting, anti-female, and exploitative. I wouldn’t want my name on that. And, as someone who respects both the straight and queer communities, I was afraid of alienating either of them in the process… or, of just making neutered, boring TV by overthinking it and being too PC. Gah!! The challenge was to create a fun, sex-positive world that celebrates provocative cheesecake for everyone, without falling into base stereotypes or misogynistic (or misandristic) exploitation along the way. [48]

Then there were problems with the filming and with the casting. They had searched exhaustively for a lead actress and almost had to shut down production before finding Anna Silk.[49] They rewrote the part for her, and then rewrote or modified at least two other major roles, perhaps even recasting one of them.[50] [51]They even had to reshoot parts of the pilot due to a problem with the film.[52] But Jay Firestone must have believed in the show. He provided the rest of the financing himself.[53]

Best succubus EVER

While the show was thrashing about in production, Canwest and the Canadian Television Fund were having their own convulsions. Canwest had stretched themselves thin again with their convergence theory economics. When the 2008-2009 global recession hit, they began selling off major media shares to pay down debt, and started negotiations to avoid collapse. Exactly one year after the initial pilot commission, in October 2009, they filed for bankruptcy protection.[54]

With one of their major backers in litigation proceedings, their second major backer, The Canadian Television Fund, was mired in a major corruption scandal. Cable companies in Canada are required to contribute a certain percentage of their profits to the Fund in order to support native Canadian productions (like Lost Girl). In 2007, a public report was filed that accused the cable companies of overcharging subscribers and shortchanging the Fund. Although the charges were picked up by major media outlets and debated in the parliament, the Canadian Prime Minister was criticized for doing nothing about it. In March 2009, the Prime Minister announced the dissolution of the CTF and the development of a new entity, called the Canada Media Fund. [55] [56]

Under the new Fund, television content must also have a digital component, like a website, and be available online. While the aim was to modernize Canadian media with the internet, there was speculation it was as much motivated by political expediency to remove a troublesome CTF. More importantly, for Lost Girl, it meant the funding rules had changed on them. The old funding streams would be allowed to function through the 2009-2010 season. The pilot was still in production in 2009. But the old Fund would be phased out on April 1, 2010. Should Lost Girl be picked up, it might face a new set of challenges in obtaining financing. There was much more money available in the new Fund. But producers suddenly found themselves having to shoulder the extra costs of a website to stream content in order to meet requirements, which did not necessarily cover those extra costs. There was an estimated 40% shortfall. That could be difficult for a small, independent production company like Prodigy Pictures. [57]

Cold open, indeed

Principal photography on the pilot was reported complete on Feb. 18, 2009.[58] This episode, which ended up being number 8 in the season one order, is generally regarded as one of the grittiest and most explicit episodes the show ever produced. Bo has two contrasting sex scenes, one with a man and one with a woman. The cold open has her bloody, injured and needing to coerce an ex-lover into a scathing sexual reunion so she can heal herself. He has to force her to stop. The contrasting scene is a romantic interlude where Bo herself is coerced into making love with a woman who later confesses she was sent to distract her. This prompts a bruising emotional meltdown.[59] Bo’s power and her sexuality are on full display. But the pilot invests not just in the power of the sex, but in the risk of it as well. It shows her potential to abuse and to be abused. It was a risky[60] move, but Showcase bought it. On August 19, 2009, Canwest announced the series would be picked up for a first season.[61]

Vexed_108_Bo_&_Dyson_1 300px-Vexed_108_Bo_&_Lauren_(1)


[1]“Lost Girl.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[2]Firestone, Jay. “Syfy Lost Girl Producer Jay Firestone Discusses New Season and Show Origins.” GamerLiveTV. 23 July 2012. Web. Oct. 2014.

[3]Firestone, Jay. “Cast Interviews” Lost Girl Season Three. Blu-ray. Oct. 2014

[4]Lovretta, Michelle. “Anna Silk, Michelle Lovretta discuss Lost Girl – SyFy 20th Anniversary Special.” X5452MG1. 10. Dec.2012. Oct. 2014.

[5]Lovretta, Michelle. “An Interview with Michelle Lovretta.” Water Cooler Journal. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014.

[6]Lovretta, Michelle. “Cast Interviews:About the Series.” Lost Girl Season One. Blu-ray. Oct. 2014

[7]Harper, Douglas. “Succubus.” Online Entymology Dictionary. Sponsored Words. 2010-2014. Web. Oct. 2014.

[8]“Strumpet.” Google. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014.

[9]Harper, Douglas. “Succubus.” Online Entymology Dictionary. Sponsored Words. 2010-2014. Web. Oct. 2014.

[10]“Succubus.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[11]“Ancient Mesopotamian Religion.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[12]“Cuneiform.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[13]“Succubus.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[14]“Lilith.” True Blood Wiki. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014.

[15]“Lilith.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[16]“Avatar (The X-Files).” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[17]“Jennifer’s Body.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[18]It’s worth noting that Jennifer’s Body was intended to do many of the same things Lost Girl does. It was written to subvert the “classic horror model of women being terrorized,” and turn it into female empowerment. It was also meant to explore the bonds between adolescent girls. Both the writer and director described themselves as feminists and wanted to write powerful roles for women. The film also addresses bullying, virginity, and the sexualized position of women in our culture.

[19]Succubi can be found several card games, webcomics, video games, fantasy novels, television series or horror films, all as enemies. There is one urban fantasy book series with a positive protagonist who is a succubus: the Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead.

[20]Lovretta, Michelle. “Anna Silk, Michelle Lovretta discuss Lost Girl – SyFy 20th Anniversary Special.” X5452MG1. 10. Dec.2012. Oct. 2014.

[21]Firestone, Jay. “Syfy Lost Girl Producer Jay Firestone Discusses New Season and Show Origins.” GamerLiveTV. 23 July 2012. Web. Oct. 2014.

[22]Lederman, Marsha. “How Canada is becoming the sci fi nation.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, Inc. 13. Apr. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014

[23]“Canwest.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[24]Jay Firestone. ReBoot Wiki. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[25]Hogan, Heather. “EXCLUSIVE: Rachel Skarsten talks Valkubus and the ‘Lost Girl’ finale.” Totally Her Media. 9 Apr. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014.

[26]“Fireworks Entertainment.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[27]Firestone, Jay. “Extras.” Lost Girl Season Three. Blu-ray. Oct. 2014

[28]“Jay Firestone.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[29]Poirier, Agnes. “Canwest dumps Firestone as Fireworks fizzles.” Screen Daily. Media Business Insight Limited. 6 May 2003. Web. Oct. 2014.

[30]The channel was the result of a merger between Alliance Communications, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and “a number of smaller Canadian producers.”

[31]Alliance Communications happened to be the production company Jay Firestone helped found back in 1984, when he first entered broadcasting. He left Alliance in 1995. That means that in 1994, when Showcase was created, he was one of its founders.

[32]Semansky, Matt. “Showcase Puts New Look On Display.” Marketing. 28 Aug. 2009. Web. Oct. 2014.

[33]Vlessing, Etan. “Canwest Oks quartet of pilots.” The Hollywood Reporter. 16 Oct. 2008. Web. Oct. 2014.

[34]During the hours between 7 – 10 pm.

[35]It is probably worth noting that of the other 3 commissioned dramas, one was never picked up and the other two only made it one season.

[36]“Canadian Television Fund.” Wikipedia. A Wikimedia Project. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014

[37]Bailey, Ian. “B.C. wants truce with Ontario, Quebec on film tax credits.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, Inc. 17 Jun. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014

[38]“Alyssa Milano quits ‘Mistresses’ because production moved to Vancouver.” Canadian Press. CTV. 3 Oct. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014.

[39]Lederman, Marsha. “How Canada is becoming the sci fi nation.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, Inc. 13. Apr. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014

[40]Brioux, Bill. “The stars film among us.” Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 9 Jul. 2010. Web. Oct. 2014

[41]“Development and Production.” Lost Girl Wiki. n.d. Oct. 2014.

[42]Brioux, Bill. “The stars film among us.” Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. 9 Jul. 2010. Web. Oct. 2014

[43]Lederman, Marsha. “How Canada is becoming the sci fi nation.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, Inc. 13. Apr. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014

[44]Firestone, Jay. “Extras” Lost Girl Season Three. Blu-ray. Oct. 2014

[45]This was a comment expressed by Dave or Wayne on The Faetalists Podcast, which is a podcast dedicated to Lost Girl and other genre related fare

[46]Hibberd, James. “The nine highest rated canceled shows.” Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly and Time Inc. 15 May 2012. Web. Oct. 2014.

[47]Firestone, Jay. “Extras” Lost Girl Season Three. Blu-ray. Oct. 2014

[48]Lovretta, Michelle. “An Interview with Michelle Lovretta.” Water Cooler Journal. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014.

[49] Landau, Emily. “The Erotic Education of Anna Silk: the Lost Girl star on playing a bisexual succubus.” Toronto Life. Toronto Life Publishing Company Limited. 01 Feb. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014.

[50]Jay Firestone stated they expanded the role of Kenzi because Ksenia Solo had such good comedic timing.

[51]An early press release for the series listed Sarah Allen in the role of Lauren Lewis, but it may have been a mistake. I never found any other mention of Sarah Allen in that role. In fact, most of the early press releases failed to mention the role of Lauren Lewis at all. In interviews, Zoie Palmer said the role was expanded past what the writers initially planned for it. Jay Firestone hinted that the romantic triangle between Lauren, Dyson and Bo was due to the chemistry between the actors and not necessarily something that was planned either. Zoie Palmer also mentioned in interviews that when she auditioned, she was told the director needed her to have lots of chemistry with Anna Silk for the role.

[52]“Lost Girl panel at 2013 Comicpalooza (2-4) [1080p].” idratherbeherping. 27 May 2013. Web. Oct. 2014.

[53]Lederman, Marsha. “How Canada is becoming the sci fi nation.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, Inc. 13. Apr. 2013. Web. Oct. 2014

[54]“Canwest Global Communications Corporation (Canwest Global).” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation. n.d. Web. Oct. 2014.

[55]Timbot. “Canadian Media – A Hard Look.” Oddly Studios Blog. 12 Nov. 2011. Web. Oct. 2014.

[56]“Minister Moore announces Canada Media Fund to give viewers what they want, when they want it.” News Releases. 9 Mar. 2009. Web. Oct. 2014.

[57]“REVAMPED CANADA MEDIA FUND SEES 85% JUMP IN FUNDING REQUESTS” Canadian Press. Marketing. 24 Jan. 2011. Web. Oct. 2014.

[58]Wild, Diane. “Production Complete On Lost Girl Pilot.” TV, Eh? 18 Feb. 2009. Web. Oct. 2014.

[59]One reviewer offered the notion the differences between the sex scenes may have been a way to ease the network into the female/female sexuality being portrayed on screen

[60]Killingsworth, Melanie. “Lost Girl: How Vexed Works As The Perfect Pilot.” Mehlsbells: Ringing Opinions on TV, Film and Music. 6 Jun. 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

[61]“Canwest Finds Lost Girl.” Canwest Broadcasting. 19 Aug. 2009. Web. Oct. 2014.


About unaligned

Unaligned Unicorns Uncover Lost Girl's Universe: A collaborative blog about the Canadian television series, Lost Girl.

11 thoughts on “Sexual Power on Lost Girl: Gateway to a Golden Age?

  1. Thank you Laura! A fascinating and meticulously researched behind-the-scenes account of how Lost Girl reached the light. Seems miraculous that it ever did, and I give a lot of credit to all those who believed in the show and kept pushing it. Bring on Part 2!

  2. Laura, I echo the other three people – this is fascinating! I think maybe I nominate you to write that Lost Girl book that nic had previously mentioned.

  3. Agree with Sally, you would be an awesome pick to write a Lost Girl book, which I very much hope they do. Thanks for such a thorough job researching this piece and giving the back story on LG.

    I had heard that the “film issues” that required reshooting for the pilot was that it was originally shot with a different actress playing Lauren so they reshot the scenes with Zoie. Regardless it is one of my all time favorite episodes and I love ZP as Lauren.

    It’s also interesting to me how Bo’s sex scene with Dyson in the pilot (the normative m/f interaction) was much more explicit than her sex scene with Lauren, though I guess two women in bed together no matter how tame the encounter would be viewed as more risque by many. This actually continues throughout the seasons. Note that a quick count from memory yielded eight total Bo/Dyson sex scenes–five of them in S1–vs six total for Bo & Lauren including 4×05 but not 4×07. This is interesting considering Bo & Lauren were dating for 9 straight episodes in S3 and there were three BoLo sex scenes during that period, including twice in 3×04, and is the second time Bo sleeps with Lauren & Dyson separately in the same episode (1×08 was the other).

    I’m curious if you feel that Bo’s two main relationships receive equal attention and care–or even if it matters if they do or do not. The outrage over the SyFy cuts of scenes in LG, which often seem to downplay Lauren’s relationship with Bo took an interesting twist for me when I heard that SyFy receives them cut that way, begging the question of who is cutting them (if it is true) and is it an intentional revision of the story?

    Sorry for the rambling; thanks again for this thoughtful piece!

    1. Yes, it was allegedly Sarah Allen. I put a note about it in the citations in the first installment. It’s an interesting piece of trivia, but hard to tell if it really happened. There was only the one media release, and I don’t think it was direct from one of the official sources (i.e. Canwest, Prodigy, Showcase). Likewise, hard to know if they reshot because they recast, or recast because they had to reshoot. I let it go because it wasn’t germane to my research. I think it would be really fascinating though, to sit down with the original players – writer, casting director, producers, etc. – and ask them about the character and what happened.

      As for the relationship angle, my first impression is that the Lauren/Bo pairing has an edge in the narrative. How the sex scenes are filmed would be a different issue and I would have to do some research on it. But yeah, I believe Jay Firestone did indicate they are allowed to make the cuts. Too many people, too many considerations to really tease out what is going on there without a lot of speculation.

      What I have gathered, from interviews, is that JF was always pushing for more sexiness, whereas ML felt more ambivalent about it. JF does have a history of f/f sexuality on screen. I am specifically thinking of Peta Wilson and Gina Torres, and the general characterization of Nikita, from that series. It does not guarantee, though, that he is not subject to holding back either.

      Also, I would have to factor in what the director does about it. I remember ZP did talk about one of the explicit sex scenes between her and AS in S3. The director dictated what was shot, what they were looking for, etc. I would look at the directors for episodes too.

      John Fawcett was the pilot director and based on his other work (e.g. Orphan Black) he does not back off from explicit sex scenes. On the other hand, that does not mean he will approach m/f and f/f sex scenes the same way. I would go look at what he is doing over on that show to try and get a bead on his approach.

      Then there are the writers to consider and their input. I remember in one of her S4 interviews, Emily Andras said one Bo/Lauren sex scene was deliberately left non-explicit in order to produce a more “romantic” feel to it.

      Finally, you have considerations coming from above, like the networks, etc.

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