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A new Dorian Gray web series wants to make gay media a little less white

Trevor Ketcheson and Phillip Shaun DeVone get close for 'Dorian Gray'
Trevor Ketcheson and Phillip Shaun DeVone get close for Dorian Gray.
Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

Earlier this week, a Twitter conversation about the whiteness (and maleness) of the gay media landscape led to the hashtag #GayMediaSoWhite. In between complaints about how queer and genderqueer people of color are too often excluded from portrayals of the gay community, we noticed something intriguing — this teaser for a new literary web series.

If you're not familiar with the popular crop of literature-based web series that have sprung up in recent years, don't worry — it looks like Dorian Gray isn't quite like the rest of them. We've seen plenty of cheeky-but-faithful modern adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and many more classic works of fiction, including the lesbian vampire tale Carmilla. But Dorian Gray appears to be less a straightforward retelling of Oscar Wilde's classic Faustian morality tale and more a dark, supernatural riff on old themes involving familiar characters, much like Showtime's Penny Dreadful TV series.

The plot involves an art history researcher named Heath, who digs up a chilling story in an attempt to locate his boss. Ian Gray, as it turns out, is a century-old immortal who warns Heath that by trying to uncover the truth he may have set off a violent chain of supernatural events.

So far the trailer is all that exists of the series, which is being produced by a grant from a Canadian film development group. But its two leads (Phillip Shaun DeVone and Trevor Ketcheson) are definitely sporting some chemistry, not to mention that contextless kiss between Heath and an unknown character.

The production is rallying for support on Twitter and Tumblr, so if you want to see where this journey goes, you can tune in there for updates.