When Minx first aired last March on then-HBO Max, it was a breath of fresh valley air. The comedy series by Ellen Rapoport that details the trials and tribulations of a feminist erotic magazine in the 1970s was a bright and charming addition to the streamer’s catalog. It felt like a hidden gem that would be gone too soon in the streaming era. Which is why it was so wonderful when, a few months later, the show got renewed for a second season.
But we’re in the downfall of Peak TV, so nothing gold can stay. While Warner Bros. Discovery was busy shelving completed films and deleting shows from its service, they also canceled Minx while it was at the end of filming its second season. It was a shockingly low-blow to the fledgling series that quickly scrambled to find a new home for its near-complete episodes; a home it would find in premium cable service Starz.
In Season 2, Minx got to revel in the world it established. The series went from the wastelands of Chatsworth to running a Deep Throat movie premiere, a women’s magazine conference in Las Vegas, and the quads of Vassar College. Even grander, the magazine set its sights on international dominance with a foreign expansion. Minx’s characters got to have fun with their success and the excitement popularity can bring.
All this was due to the major new addition in Minx’s second season, with Constance (Elizabeth Perkins) joining the Minx team as the new publisher of the magazine. Constance was both the mentor and villain for Season 2, wavering between an under-appreciated #Girlboss claiming her power or a corporate harbinger of death that seeks to destroy the magazine’s originality. Perkins shines as the decadent and luxurious character that is always playing more games than any other character.
Constance served as Minx’s main obstacle in its Season 2 pursuit of finding the magazine’s voice as a publication while balancing the desires of its staff and audience. Feminist Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) always stood opposite to Doug’s (Jake Johnson) tendency to lean toward the more salacious parts of the magazine, but Season 2 pushes the characters to decide what’s really important about what Minx has to say. This meant Joyce got to go on a path of discovery, reckoning with her role as a feminist icon, a business leader, and a sister and friend. The character holds herself to such high (and often pretentious) ideals of what it means to be part of the women’s movement, but seeing her understand this not as an intellectual value but as a way of life gave Season 2 even greater depth than Minx’s flashy premise presents itself.
In Minx’s Season 2 finale, the fight for the magazine’s voice is clearly put on display. Joyce and the rest of the team finally understand Constance’s goal of shaping Minx into another commercial product she can control in her pursuit of power. Joyce and Constance serve as excellent foils for their own interpretations of what feminism should be for. Constance seeks to be a woman who uses the same ruthless tactics as the men who kept her from keeping her power. But Joyce’s fight against the patriarchy utilizes the ability to find allies in others who are kept down by the status quo and discrimination. She forges her own path and creates something new with Minx; while erotic magazines may have been originally conceived by and for men, she transformed them through her own perspective and the perspectives of others.
While watching Minx’s finale play out, it’s hard not to see the parallels between the journey of Minx the magazine and Minx the TV series. The magazine is a creative work that’s trying to say something about sex, desire, feminism, and what it means to create something new. But the publication is squaring up against corporate demands of what a magazine like that should be and how it fits into preconceived designs. The first episode of Season 2 features Joyce in a bidding war between every major publisher in the U.S. desperate to add Minx to their catalogs. They recognize what makes the magazine special, and they want to put it in line with the rest of their content. But Joyce has the ability to make the magazine independent. Minx the TV show cannot exist without a corporate host.
Minx was originally given a home that could highlight its voice. HBO Max—now Max—was never a stranger to nudity or shows with a message, but Minx always felt like a truly original script that miraculously made it to air. It was wonderful that a company could host something so different. Then one day, that benevolent force that once believed in the show’s vision was the same force that tried to destroy what the creators built. Ellen Rapoport and Co. wrote the second season long before Warner Bros. Discovery began its warpath. But Season 2 of Minx shows that creative individuals are always worried that the companies that give their ideas life and an audience can one day take it away.
In its finale “Woman of the Hour,” Minx decides to stand by the vision of its crew even if it means tearing themselves away from what they built. They show the radical truth of how the disenfranchised are treated by publishing photos of gay men being assaulted by police in a bath house raid—against Constance’s wishes to make the magazine suitable for capitalist advertisers. Constance tries to say that Joyce and Tina (Idara Victor) aren’t like the rest of “them,” but the magazine has always been about giving something fun and inspiring to those who are just beginning to discover their freedom. Minx may have gone brand-friendly, but it’s still spearheaded by those who couldn’t find a home in a traditional place.
“Woman of the Hour” also speaks to the temporary nature of fame and success. Joyce may be the leader of the sexual revolution in that moment, or the literal “woman of the hour” at Constance’s event, but that inherently means at some point soon her time will end. Minx is supposed to be opening a door for a new vision of feminism and the future. Joyce doesn’t want to be a momentary figurehead; she wants to create something that will last. Isn’t that what every creator wants for their art?
Minx’s second season ends with its creative team standing by the show they built and what it can become. They fought for their vision despite corporate tampering trying to take it away. Even if there isn’t a Season 3, the people who watched Minx can recognize it as a unique, brilliant, and joyous creation. Minx has always said how it felt, and it certainly never let any network or streaming service steal its voice.
Leila Jordan is a writer and former jigsaw puzzle world record holder. Her work has appeared in Paste Magazine, Gold Derby, TheWrap, FOX Digital, The Spool, and Awards Radar. To talk about all things movies, TV, and useless trivia you can find her @galaxyleila
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