Where no show has gone before: The bisexual future of Other Space

A minute and a half into Other Space, Paul Feig’s new sci-fi comedy for Yahoo! Screen about an untested spaceship crew getting lost in another universe, we see a revealing sight: a man in a skirt next to a woman in pants. Feig doesn’t call attention to it with the script or the camera, although the next scene is a discussion mocking the ancient gendered custom of wearing neckties as opposed to gender-neutral “collar balls,” the truck nuts of future formal wear. By keeping such a straight face, Feig’s creating sight gags for his 21st century audience while demonstrating how gender roles have changed by the 22nd. He’s sneaking the sci-fi speculation in with the comedy. That’s how Other Space flies past the real final frontier into a future where bisexuality is the norm.

Bisexuality in 2015 terms, that is. A recent YouGov poll reveals 29 percent of Americans under 30 classify themselves as neither strictly heterosexual nor strictly homosexual, but rather somewhere in between, and nearly half of young Britons too. Monosexuality may well be as outdated as neck ties to the characters of Other Space. They might not call themselves bi, but pretty much all are attracted to both men and women over the course of the season. That’s a giant leap for genre TV.

Speculative TV has never been very speculative about sexuality. The great subject of Lost is how love can transcend the laws of physics (or is it metaphysics?), but apparently only for opposite-sex couples. That’s emblematic of the whole genre. To be an LGBTQ fan of sci-fi TV is to suffer the recurring rigmarole: Of course producers would love to feature LGBTQ characters if only they could figure out how to do that without making it a whole thing.

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