HBO Max’s upcoming series Generation might be the first major teen show that fully embraces the “yeah, Gen-Z is all a little queer” sentiment from the first seconds of the trailer. It’s set to Todrick Hall’s “I Like Boys,” after all. Justice Smith, of Detective Pikachu fame, plays lead character Chester who is both unapologetically himself and, all things considered, quite well-adjusted (he’s the star of the high school water polo team with a 4.1 GPA). There’s another character who’s struggling with his bisexuality, but in a way that seems to upend tired stereotypes about bisexuality. One of the few characters who doesn’t seem to identify as queer herself happens to have been raised by two dads (and she’s cool if they add a third to their relationship).
“They all like to say, ‘I’m this today,’ or, ‘Today I’m that.’ There was a time when people were just normal,” gripes one of the parental characters played by Martha Plimpton, representing the generational shift at the heart of the series.
If it seems like the show is unapologetically Gen-Z, that may be because one of its creators, Zelda Barnz, is. She sold the idea for the show to HBO Max when she was just 17 (one of her fathers, Dan, is a co-creator, while her other father, Ben, serves as an additional executive producer). Lena Dunham, HBO’s favorite Millennial, came on board as an executive producer as well.
The show is the latest series under the wider HBO banner to push into teen television after the success of Euphoria. It will, of course, eventually be joined on HBO Max by a Gossip Girl reboot that promises to be more diverse, more queer, and, seemingly, a little more daring in content. They’ll eventually be joined on the streaming app by a brand new Pretty Little Liars spin-off and a superhero-themed teen drama as well. HBO Max isn’t exactly The CW yet, but it wouldn’t mind getting a slice of their audience.
Generation is set to debut on March 11th.