Bring It Back

A League of Their Own creators send a powerful message to Amazon over cancellation

A League of Their Own, Abbi Jacobson and Will Graham’s adaptation of the Penny Marshall classic, had more going for it than potential. The series spent time as Prime Video’s top show and earned accolades from critics and queer organizations. At the very least, it was a good enough series to earn a second season renewal—until Amazon reversed that decision last week.

Although the streaming giant cited the ongoing writer’s strike, the sudden cancellation came as a blow for serialized LGBTQ+ content on the platform. The original film followed the travails of an all-women’s baseball team striving for recognition in the middle of World War II. But the new series broke ground where the movie did not, including to its roster of women of color, a lesbian romance, and a trans storyline. The shortened second and final season would have brought closure to all these stories, but unless another network picks the series up, viewers will be left waiting in the stands.

In the wake of the news, the series’ creators have looked back fondly on all the work they did to bring the characters to life. At the same time, they’re mincing no words towards Amazon. Jacobson took to Instagram on Sunday, writing, “To blame this cancellation on the strike, (which is an essential fight for fair wages, protections and working conditions, etc…) is bullshit and cowardly.”

On Wednesday, Will Graham shared his thoughts in a lengthy thread, recognizing what the cancellation means for queer media as LGBTQ+ rights across the country face renewed assault. “In a time when all queer people are personally and politically under attack across the country and HRC has declared a ‘state of emergency,’ my biggest fear is that the many queer fans of League will take this reversal as one more invalidation, one more blow, one more effect of the general politicization of our identities,” Graham wrote. 

“Most of us grew up feeling invisible, and as we gain strength, the predictable backlash forces are trying their hardest to get us to go back underground.”

Even as times seem grim, Graham expressed hope for the future. “In case anyone needs to hear it: You are not small, niche, modest, off-putting or marginal, and neither are your stories. You are multitudes, you are building, and your stories are universal. You are the most rapidly growing audience and consumer group in this country.

“You are powerful. You are the future, and the people who don’t recognize your importance now will feel be clamoring to catch up in a few years.”

League’s viewers are, in fact, so powerful that they have launched a massive campaign to save the show. While Graham encouraged these efforts, he acknowledged that the priority right now is to humble the streamer economy. “If we have an avenue to do it well, we will continue the show, and I love seeing the noise you’re making in support of that. The noise matters!,” he wrote.

“But first things first, we have to win this strike and get a fair deal before we can explore what comes next.”

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