Seeing Double at Upfronts: ‘Queens’ and ‘Girls5Eva’ Both Focus on Nostalgic Music History
If you watched Disney’s upfront presentation on Tuesday you might have wondered if you were seeing double. The ABC network unveiled a first look at their new primetime series, “Queens,” focused on four women formerly in a ’90s girl group who reunite in their 40s for a comeback after a new artist samples their song.
Wait, isn’t that show already on? Technically, there is a show very, very similar to that…over on Peacock. Like “Queens,” “Girls5Eva” also follows a girl group of the music video era who also reunite for a comeback after being sampled.
In the television landscape there’s often a fair amount of overlap with regards to genre and storytelling devices, but it’s been awhile since two shows on two different networks had eerily similar shows coming out. “Girls5Eva” premiered earlier this month on Peacock and was conceived by Meredith Scardino. Outside of the girl group narrative, the series, which stars Renee Elise Goldsberry, Sara Bareilles, Paula Pell, and Busy Phillips looks at the misogyny and homophobia of the girl group era.
ABC had no comment with regards to the similarities between the projects, while Peacock did not respond to inquiries by press time. With just a brief snippet of “Queens” available and shown at the upfront, it’s unclear how similar the themes are beyond what what was shown in the teaser. There is certainly room for the show to expand; much has been written on the ways Black girl groups were marketed against their white counterparts and “Queens” could not just fill a niche, but act in tandem with a competing show to examine the music industry from all angles.
In the wake of documentaries like “The Boy Band Con” and “Framing Britney Spears,” there’s been a reckoning with musical acts of the ’90s and ’00s — though the discussion has still been framed almost exclusively through white musical acts. Like “Girls5Eva,” “Queens” also benefits from stars of the musical industry; and the addition of Brandy and Eve adds a grander sense of authenticity and discussion on the subject.
Because of “Girls5Eva’s” status on a streaming service, and because “Queens” won’t arrive until the fall it’s possible there’s enough time and space for both to coexist. Here is to hoping it’ll be fun to revisit the era with a fresh, clear- eyed look.
Watch the first look at “Queens” below.
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