What is it about about witchcraft that attracts queer female audiences? Is it the heavy focus on female friendship and empowerment, and that witch covens often work together to achieve some sort of common goal? Is it the fact that in the supernatural world of spells, demons, trolls and possessions, gender roles and heteronormativity don’t apply?
Or is it just the fact that queer women are fed up as seeing themselves as one-note characters, stifled by the storylines of men and shows about witches just seem to cater to that?
One of the most famous television shows of all time –Buffy the Vampire Slayer – covered all of those things, even if its famous femslash couple ended in misery. But with BTVS having ended its run some time ago and with the CW’s teen witch drama The Secret Circle being cancelled before it fully delved into its ‘non-het witches’ storyline, there’s been a bit of a hankering for that sort of show recently.
Could new web series Last Life fill that void? Quite possibly. The show stars a witch named Sloan, who is essentially the boss of a clan called the Bloodborn. Then there’s Taylor, who had a boyfriend named Rick, but Rick died three years ago and Taylor is still in mourning. But Sloan has actually been possessed by Rick’s soul and is trying to find Taylor, fast.
Why is Sloan so desperate to find Taylor? The rest of Sloan’s clan are intent on killing Taylor off, meanwhile, a rival clan called Alina have drugged Taylor with the help of her psychiatrist. So it’s not looking good for Sloan’s love interest but as is the case with most supernatural shows, most of the fun comes from seeing how the rivalry plays out, spells and all, and trying to figure out the mysteries of its witchy lore.
It’s also important to note that there has been some backlash from would-be viewers about the implications of Sloan being a woman possessed by Rick and if that really counts as ‘femslash’, but Last Life‘s writer and creator Elesha Barnette has explained that “it’s not a man in a woman’s body. It’s a soul. They have been both Male/Male, Female/Female, genderqueer throughout centuries of reincarnations. It’s not about gender, it’s about the connection two souls have” and that “it’s not a heteronormative web series masquerading as lesbian content”, it’s a “girl meets girl story”.
Episodes of Last Life can now be viewed KitschMix.TV.