Hulu’s ‘The Bravest Knight’ is a Bold Step in LGBTQ Kids Programming
“We’re teaching life lessons. In ‘The Bravest Knight’, it’s an adventure about how to be a great knight, which translates into how to be a good human.”
Although Hollywood has made many strides in LGBTQ representation for films and TV, it is still perhaps taboo for the most impressionable and youngest audiences: children. The new Hulu series “The Bravest Knight” may help change that.
There certainly have been examples of LGBTQ themes being introduced into kids’ programming before: Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe” featured a same-sex marriage between two characters last year; TV series “Andi Mack” featured the first gay romance on the Disney Channel this past summer; and Nickelodeon’s “The Loud House” introduced a bi-racial gay couple in 2016.
It has even permeated venerated stations such as PBS, when the 22nd season of the long-running cartoon series “Arthur” premiered this year with a surprise wedding, revealing an elementary school teacher was gay and marrying his husband. The reaction to the episode was mostly positive but there was some opposition such as Alabama Public Television refusing to air the episode on stations within the state, claiming it would be “a violation of trust to broadcast the episode.”
Unlike these examples, however, “The Bravest Knight” producer Shabnam Rezaei thinks that a streaming service such as Hulu will grant her show more creative liberty.
Based on a children’s e-book by author Daniel Errico, “The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived” tells the story of Sir Cedric (voiced by openly gay actor T.R. Knight from TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”), his husband Prince Andrew (openly gay actor Wilson Cruz, “Star Trek: Discovery”), and their 10-year-old daughter Nia (A Wrinkle in Time‘s Storm Reid). Nia wants nothing more than to become a brave knight just like her dad, so she listens to Cedric’s tales of how he was once a young pumpkin farmer who became a fierce warrior.
“We’re teaching life lessons,” Rezaei said. “In ‘The Bravest Knight’, it’s an adventure about how to be a great knight, which translates into how to be a good human.”
Along with being one of the first kids’ shows to feature an openly gay lead character, the big bad wolf of this story also likes to wear women’s clothes and is voiced by drag icon RuPaul.
Although the show has attracted wonderful talent, Rezaei disclosed the challenges that she faces in selling the show to different markets.
“There is a whole part of the world where I don’t even pitch,” she said, citing the Middle East and Asia. Fortunately, Hulu has been nothing but supportive of the new series.
“They’re incredible,” Rezaei said. “Because [they know] that they’re going into new ground and new territory and there could be backlash, but they’re like, ‘Screw it,’ which is kind of our attitude. We know we’re not going to please everybody and know we’re not going to sell the show internationally, so financially it might not make sense, but it’s something we have to do. We have to do this.”
“The Bravest Knight” will debut the back half of its first season on Hulu on Oct. 11.