Starring – Liz Vassey, Chistina Cox, Janina Gavankar, Jim Beaver, Aasha Davis, Armin Shimerman, Wallace Lanham, Justin Jones, Tess Harper
Created by Nancylee Myatt
2004 (original pilot)
2014 (Season 1 of web series)
Remember The Thin Man film series?
Ok, so unless you’re a film buff like me, you probably never even heard of The Thin Man film series or even its stars William Powell and the wonderfully funny and sexy as hell Myrna Loy. The series ran from 1934 to 1947, so more than likely your parents weren’t even born when the series ran on the big screen (only my dad was), so it’s understandable if you aren’t proudly raising your hand that you are also a Thin Man fan. In the film series, Powell and Loy played Nick and Nora, a witty and alcoholic married couple who solved crimes while bantering with each other as they downed martinis. The mysteries in these films weren’t as important as watching Powell and Loy drink and banter and banter and drink. I have never been much of a mystery movie fan, but I downed these films like the characters downed martinis because the witty dialogue and Powell and Loy’s chemistry were some of the best ever in a filmdom.
Fast forward 57 years after the last Powell and Loy Thin Man film was released and Hollywood was on the verge of making history, but Hollywood being Hollywood, they chickened out in the end. Before chickening out they did green light a pilot with an updated twist to Nick and Nora. This time they wouldn’t be a straight married couple who always found themselves solving mysteries, but instead a lesbian couple who were detectives.
Oh yes, it is true that back in 2004 for a few glorious moments, Hollywood got some balls and decided to make a pilot called Nikki and Nora about a lesbian couple who were cops in New Orleans. Same witty banter-type relationship as the original Nick and Nora, but not nearly as much drinking because if they did match the originals drinking then, well, they would eventually end up on Rehab with Dr. Drew because for those of you who actually watched The Thin Man series know that Nick and Nora had some serious issues with alcohol, but it being the 1930s and 1940s, those issues could be laughed off, but not so much in 2004.
Nikki and Nora had one episode shot and then Hollywood passed on having any more episodes made and so it never came to our TVs and I have a very strong feeling it had a lot to do with the main characters being women and lesbians.
Where was the man to help out these poor girls??!!
Ladies always need men to help them out.
Lesbians as leads in a series??!!
Nope, you’ve got The L Word for that. (And Lord help us all if that show is still the only TV series about us!)
Isn’t one series about lesbians enough for them lesbians??!!
Well, of course only one mediocre series about lesbians is enough for us lesbians. Silly us for wanting more than one series. We completely understand that even though cable and satellite offers 75,000 channels there is certainly not enough room for more than one series about us. Thank you for taking the time to almost consider us in the equation of TV. We’ll go slink back into our hole now and not bother you anymore with our ridiculous needs for more than one series about us and maybe even getting a quality series like Nikki and Nora, instead of the sometimes almost good, but mostly frustrating and what-the-fuck-are-they-doing-now The L Word.
And then the Internet Gods got a hold of this unaired pilot and Nikki and Nora found itself a cult hit. Lesbians are some powerful bitches and it would be nice if Hollywood would notice this one of these days because they are missing out on a major market here. We got money Hollywood and we would love to spend it on you if you would only give us a chance. Well, too bad for Hollywood because instead of lesbians spending money on them, a crowdfunding campaign was born and the creator of Nikki and Nora, Nancylee Myatt, got the two original stars, Christina Cox and Liz Vassey, to agree to reprise their roles and so Myatt decided to take the series into her own hands and raised the money to make Nikki and Nora into a web series thanks to us lesbians giving them the funds to do it.
Crystal Chappell did something very similar when Guiding Light was cancelled. She starred as the character Olivia on the soap opera for many years and took the lesbian storyline her character was playing on that show and created a whole new show and characters for her own web series, Venice The Series. She then created a second lesbian web series The Grove and has a lesbian-themed movie coming out soon. If we can’t get our stories on TV, then at least we are getting them on the web. Like Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox once sang, “Sisters are doing it for themselves.”
The web series follows Nikki and Nora as they investigate a closed case of a former drug addict who died from a drug overdose, but they’re thinking maybe it was murder instead. The ladies travel across New Orleans looking for clues while bantering up a storm with each other and burning up the screen with their sexy flirting and unbelievably hot chemistry, giving Powell and Loy a run for their money. And I spent the whole time loving every minute of watching these two women, but also feeling depressed because I was reminded again how little this happens on my TV. How very sporadic it is that I get to see lesbians on my TV or movie screen as the main characters and so I wanted more, more, more of Nikki and Nora to help fill the void forever, but there are only 7 episodes and they are only about 10 minutes long each and so for about an hour I got to fill that void.
A new study has come out that while most people approve of same sex marriage, they do not approve of same sex PDAs.
You don’t want to see beautiful images of two people in love like this??!
People make no sense.
There are lesbians on TV and I do watch a lot of TV, but I’m still not seeing us very often. “Rarely” is the word that I would use to describe lesbians on TV. There is the lesbian couple on Grey’s Anatomy, but they are part of a very large ensemble cast and I tried to mire my way through all of the straight people love drama to get to the lesbians, but I only have so much patience. The Fosters is about a lesbian couple raising several children and is probably a great show for kids who have same sex parents to watch because finally they have a place on TV with a family like theirs, but the show is really about the teen kids drama and being many years away from being a teen, I found myself drifting away from that show as well. It’s shows about adult lesbians in adult situations that I find myself yearning for in my entertainment options, and no creepy trolls, I’m not meaning adult lesbian entertainment as in porn. I’m talking about adult lesbian/bisexual women characters that are well-rounded and meaningful and are doing more than being a supporting character among many characters or just a lesbian for sweeps week.
There is Orange Is The New Black, which is overflowing with lesbian and bisexual women characters, but because I am so desperate for adult lesbian/bisexual women characters, I always binge-watch the Netflix series within two or three days, so that’s only two or three days out of the entire year that I have a quality show with lesbian/bisexual women characters that I look forward to and can relate to and get excited about watching. There is also the British series Last Tango In Halifax that has a middle-aged woman who is finally coming out of the closet, but that series only has 6 episodes a season and so once again after just one day a week for 6 weeks out of the whole year, I’m back to yearning and longing to see women like me on my TV. Transparent is another great series that just debuted last year with a couple of lesbian and bisexual women characters, but again I’m back to the binge-watching situation and after a couple of days, I’m out of options of being able to turn on my TV and see me on it. At least that’s progress since the original Nikki and Nora pilot was made back in 2004, but we still have such a long way to go when it comes to lesbian/bisexual women characters, especially as main characters, on TV.
And that is where tello comes into the story. What is tello? It is a website that is dedicated to providing web series for lesbians that are made by lesbians. Every series on tello has lesbian main characters with lesbian storylines and with at least one lesbian serving as a producer. “Our mission is to support the creation of lesbian entertainment and encourage lesbian creators whose ideas aren’t often welcomed in mainstream media.” So in other words, Nikki and Nora is just one of several web series that tello offers and so now I’m off to go check out more of the series on tello because this lesbian entertainment void is consuming me again and so far there is no second season of Nikki and Nora. But I’m hooking my computer up to my TV to indulge in tello and all of its lesbian glory because this gal is from the TV generation and finds it very, very weird to watch a series on my laptop, especially when I’ve got a 55 inch Sony HDTV with a Dolby digital surround sound speaker system hooked up to it. I’m still working on getting my very own movie theater in my very own home one of these days, but this set-up will do for now.
Cool Fun Fact: The original pilot from 2004 did have Nikki and Nora owning a dog that was in homage to Asta from the original Thin Man series. Except the new Asta didn’t do any back flips, dammit!