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‘Batwoman,’ a Black Female 007, and Good vs. Bad Pandering

When do Hollywood’s attempts at diversity feel like progress, and when do they feel like pandering?

When do Hollywood’s efforts at increased diversity feel like progress, and when do they feel like pandering? That’s the question pondered on the latest “Low Key” podcast, thanks to a report that a black actress, Lashana Lynch, may play 007 in the next James Bond film. You can listen below or right here:

On every episode of the “Low Key” podcast, co-hosts Aaron Lanton, Keith Dennie and me talk about pop culture subtleties, often through a racial lens. This week we’re joined by super-guest host Sarah Lanton, who happens to be married to Aaron.

On this episode, we talk about how we’re happy to hear that Lashana Lynch might play 007 (James Bond will reportedly still be played by Daniel Craig) — but wonder if her casting is meant as a way to placate fans who want a black James Bond — specifically Idris Elba.

Our discussion of the Bond franchise leads us into a discussion of the American James Bond, Batman. That in turn leads to a discussion of the CW’s new “Batwoman,” played by Ruby Rose — and how much Keith does not like the trailer. He explains why, and I explain why I’m looking forward to “Batwoman.”

Here are a few of the other subjects we handle, and when they occur in the podcast, with timestamps:

1:55: I express my strong reservations about The Daily Mail newspaper, which reported on Lashana Lynch’s casting.

3:22: Is Lashana Lynch’s casting an attempt to placate us?

6:20: Who was the best Bond?

7:55: Who is the audience for the new Bond movie? And what Marvel and “Into the Spider-Verse” did right in their reimagining of Spider-Man, and avoided bad pandering.

10:01: Does James Bond have to be a man for his character to make sense? And is misogyny built into the character?

15:24: We talk about characters who don’t pander at all, but are still fascinating and fun to watch — from Patrick Bateman (“American Psycho”) to Humbert Humbert (“Lolita”) to Hannibal Lecter (“Silence of the Lambs”) to Norman Bates (“Psycho”) to Anthony Jeselnik’s onstage persona.

21:59: Sarah says something shocking.

21:22: Aaron and Sarah agree that “Black Lightning” is “super-pandering”… in a good way

23:20: Is Batwoman (played by Ruby Rose) more or less deserving of the “Bat” legacy than Miles Morales is of the “Spider” legacy?

32:30: Is pandering always a bad thing?

39:02: Shoutout to pandas

We hope you’ll like the episode and let us know what you think, either with a review on iTunes or a comment on our Instagram feed.

You can also listen on your favorite podcasting app below:







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Finally, here’s the “Batwoman” trailer: