Fans of both mystery and LGBTQ+ representation get a win tonight with two new episodes of CW’s Two Sentence Horror Stories. Now in its second season, the series—which experiments, innovates, and centralizes people of color and queer folks behind and in front of the camera—makes for a very modern, intersectional show that packages diversity and inclusion with fairy tales, stalkers, contagions, ghost stories, demonic possessions, and just plain human madness.
One of tonight’s two episodes, “Elliot” follows a young transgender high schooler who’s just come out, dealing with the usual issues of public transition, and is getting bullied not just by other students but the school’s administration as well. When Elliot gets the chance to change tables, he learns what price there may be to power. Since two episodes run each Tuesday until Feb. 16, fans can also see “Bag Man,” a sort of combination of The Breakfast Club (including queer rep) and Asian horror stories like The Ring.
While cisgender actors add value to the “Elliot” episode (including Margot Kidder’s niece!), there’s little doubt that it’s the young trans lead, Canadian actor James Goldman, that is at the heart of the episode, which was also directed by Chase Joynt (the trans filmmaker behind the Billie Tipton documentary, No Ordinary Man.
This isn’t a “special” episode in terms of creatives. The Two Sentence Horror Story series — which was renewed for season three before season two even aired — is created, directed, and starring queer and trans talent and creators. Diane Anderson-Minshall, the president of GALECA: The Society for LGBTQ Entertainment Critics (who also happens to be The Advocate’s editorial director) chatted with the creatives behind Two Cent Horror Stories and tonight’s two episodes for the first GALECA Recommends Panel, a Zoom series aimed at providing visibility for TV and film of exceptional merit that would otherwise go unrecognized.
In this conversation, Goldman and Joynt are joined by lesbian executive producer and showrunner Liz Levine; queer Latinx writer Stephanie Adams-Santos; and the series creator Vera Miao, the queer Asian-American powerhouse behind the entire show. They talk about the language of monsters, the metaphors between horror and queerness, filming in Canada during a pandemic, and what it means to pair a real-life trope (like racism and homophobia) with a horror tradition (like demonic possession and ghost stories) and why that’s necessary in 2021.
“Bag Man” airs at 8 pm/7 pm Central tonight and “Elliot” at 8:30 on CW. Both can be streamed for free tomorrow at CWTV.com (and “Elliot” airs again on February 9).
Here’s also a special clip from tonight’s episode of “Elliot.”