For decades, there have been few subjects more dramatically debated than the ethics and legality of abortion. Yet it’s a topic that is largely ignored in scripted TV, with only a few recent series willing to do anything more than allude to the procedure. Show creators Jen McGowan and Eliza Lee are looking to change that with “Angelica,” a new series they will pitch at the Canneseries and Mip TV’s In Development section.
The show follows the stories of four women in a small Midwestern town, soon to be home to the state’s only remaining abortion clinic. Once that happens, the population of the area splits, and the clinic itself becomes a flashpoint of activity for people from in and outside the community.
“Angelica” is a series created and written by two women, which will focus primarily on women characters to address an exclusively women’s issue. The creators make no claims towards neutrality on the subject. But they say the narrative of the show will strive towards objectivity, that characters on all sides of the debate will be treated fairly, and with dignity.
“Every single audience member will come to the show with an opinion,” McGowan explained to Variety. “What we want to do is give voice to as many of those perspectives as we can by portraying all of our characters with respect and three-dimensionality.”
It is also the belief of the creators, that if presented without a political agenda, characters with opposing viewpoints might be a catalyst for civil conversation in the real world.
“We hope the series will encourage people to listen to, and maybe even understand one another,” said Lee. “Maybe they will unexpectedly sympathize with one of our characters whose beliefs are entirely different from theirs”
And, although the series is fiction, realism was paramount to the show creators.
“On top of the amount of research we have done,” said Lee, “it feels like almost daily there are news pieces being released about more restrictions to abortion, closure of clinics, defunding of women’s health care, etc. To say Angelica is timely is an understatement.”
The two have a finished pilot and complete outlines for the first two seasons, and there is already a lot of buzz surrounding the project.
“The response has been pretty phenomenal,” they said. “We’ve had broadcasters and producers reach out since the announcement and are looking forward to meeting them in person at Cannes. We also took a few meetings in advance in LA.”
“But we have not committed to any partnerships at this point,” the two pointed out. “We want to see what our options are and find the best collaborators we possibly can.
(Pictured; Eliza Lee and Jen McGowan)