Genera+ion was one of our best recent discoveries! It’s a different, daring, irreverent show that teaches us love is love, and queer representation and diversity are important. We sat down to talk about all of this with its executive producers and creators Zelda and Daniel Barnz. Do you want to know more?
Here we go!
Genera+ion is a different and diverse show, but giving life to a story like this, which feels so real, could not have been easy. So we wanted to know what the biggest challenge was for Zelda and Daniel Barnz.
“I think one of the biggest challenges is definitely the tone. They’re very, very specific tone with the show. And I think it can definitely be a really fun and exciting but definitely difficult challenge to kind of keep that tone consistent throughout every episode, we have this very specific kind of blend of humor and poignancy. And I think that it’s, it’s really fun to go through all the episodes and make sure that the voice and the tone matches, but it can be definitely difficult to keep them all cohesive,” Daniel shared.
“We’re so in love with all of these characters. They all have such rich stories and relationships. And I think we’re always dying to kind of go off with each one of them. And I wish we had hours and hours and hours of television time in order to be able to explore each one of these characters because they’re all just so rich and fascinating and complex,” Zelda added.
We could not agree more! The tone of this show is unique and its characters are so complex and edgy that we would really be immersed in their stories all day, every day. With that in mind, we wanted to challenge Zelda and Daniel Barnz: they have to tell us which was their favorite character to write, which one they enjoyed the most.
“I love writing for every single one of these characters. And for different reasons, I think, you know, writing for Chester is so rich because he is funny and layered and smart. And he’s so different from any other characters that we’ve seen before. Nathan is fun to write for because he just kind of a neurotic mess. And then something that I can identify with writing for Riley is fun, because she’s sort of the cool badass, and I always wish I had been Delilah is fun to write for, because she is so political and strong. So I think the answer to your question is that, they’re all the most fun to write for, because they represent aspects, either myself, or the person that I wish I was,” Daniel tell us.
“Yeah, I would definitely say something similar. All the characters are so much fun to write for, because I do think I relate to them all in different ways, and also specific voices. I will say that it is so much fun to write for Chester. I think that’s probably a standout. Just because he’s funny, but also a really interesting kind of deep person. There’s always like, so much going on in his head. And he’s really, really smart. And I think that that’s a really fun character to write for,” Zelda agrees.
Very good choices! We also have our favorite characters, but it is difficult to choose for us too.
Genera+ion deals with issues that young people are very aware of, issues that should be discussed and should be shown on TV and movies, because it is important that young people are reflected on TV. Representation matters. We asked Zelda and Daniel Barnz about this and why they believe that the story they bring to life is important.
“I think it’s really important for people to see depictions of queer joy in the media. I think that when I was a kid, I was seeing a lot of stories of queer pain and queer torture and queer people suffering. And it would have been really, really cool to see queer joy. I think when I was coming out for me to see queer teenagers just expressing themselves and loving who they are on camera. And it was something I didn’t really get to see for a really long time. But I’m glad that people are starting to kind of tell stories like these now. And yeah, I just think queer joy and queer love are incredibly important to show as well as stories of, you know, what it was like to be queer throughout history,” Daniel was categorical.
“I think teenagers throughout history get beat up on a lot. And, and I think Gen Z is no exception. And, you know, as the generation that sort of to phone and social media obsess, and I think that this there is so much that is inspiring, and complex and nuanced about Gen Z, and the way that they look at the world. I think that and the statistics bear it out. But Gen Z has the most worldly knowledge. I think so many members of Gen Z walk through life with openness and boldness and fearlessness. There’re so many incredibly inspiring figures across the world from Gen Z, ranging like Greta Thunberg. And I think that this show really celebrates those qualities of Gen Z. And yes, shows that teenagers can often be flawed or make terrible decisions, but at the same time are capable of such thoughtfulness and wisdom and boldness,” Zelda added.
And we’re giving them a standing ovation. Well said! SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK! We hear a lot about the bad things about Gen Z but this generation also has many virtues, it has the ability to change the world. And we need representation and diversity, but not only focused on fear and pain, but also on joy. It’s necessary to show the happiness of accepting who you are and showing it to the world.
Speaking of diversity, although there is still much to be done, little by little we are moving forward and we asked Zelda and Daniel Barnz if they, from within the industry, feel this change.
“Yeah, we think it’s, you know, we can’t really speak to the industry. As a whole, we can say that one of the things that was exhilarating about working on this show was the diversity that we had across the board, in our writers room, among our directors, in our crew, and in our cast. And we think that what that meant is by having so much diversity of race, ethnicity, gender identification, sexual orientation, it meant that we were closer to being able to, you know, get we were able to get close to our goal of representing these characters and stories in an incredibly authentic way.”
“And we think that, you know, particularly for our cast, which is so diverse, you know, there’s so many teenagers who can see people now in this show who look like them, who identify like them. And we think you can’t underestimate the importance of teenagers feeling seen. And, and that’s been the great the great gift of getting to work on this show is getting to put these characters on screen that reflect what our world actually looks like.”
We cannot add anything to what they said, to add something would be to spoil an answer that says it all, we can only nod over and over again in agreement.
Zelda and Daniel Barnz are really proud of Genera+ion, this show is really special for many reasons. But we were curious to know if they were particularly proud of a particular story or episode.
“We’re really proud of the pilot. The pilot, honestly, we spent so long figuring out how to kind of craft those three sort of intersecting perspectives. And those crossover moments we’ve worked so hard on, and it was our first time really experimenting with the tone of the show and figuring out the tone of the show. And I’m really proud of what we came up with, I really have a lot of love for the pilot,” Zelda shared.
“Yes, I’m very proud of the Delilah birth storyline through the first eight episodes, because I think it’s such a wild ride. But by the time you get to the end of it, it’s raw, we have brought all of these characters together. And in supporting Delilah in making this incredibly thoughtful choice about what to do with her baby. And as an adoptive father, I’m so excited to put out a story that really celebrates, you know, kind of the heroism and thoughtfulness of birth mothers. And so that’s one that I’m particularly proud of,” Daniel added.
Zelda and Daniel Barnz are absolutely charming and wonderful. They were sincere, kind and open and told us how deeply they feel for these characters and for this story. You could feel the excitement, the passion and the joy of having the opportunity to tell this story. But you can also feel how aware they are of how important it is to tell it, and the responsibility that comes with it.
They are committed to Genera+ion, to diversity and to representation in a way that is rarely seen, they are committed to offering a safe space to the queer community, among other things, because they understand how it feels not to be represented in shows or in movies both on and off screen. They speak and act from the heart, and that is the key to everything. Talking to them felt natural and we are looking forward to doing it again.