Tom Swift is giving the people what they want.
“In Episode 3, I think we have probably one of the most boundary-pushing, sexiest gay hookup scenes I’ve ever seen on network TV,” executive producer Cameron Johnson tells TVLine. “There are perhaps vehicles involved. I watched the cut and was like, ‘There’s no way the network is going to let us get away with this.’ And they were like, ‘Of course you can!’ So, shout-out to The CW.” (That episode airs Tuesday at 9/8c and will be available to stream the next day.)
Of course, there’s much more to appreciate about the show — which stars Tian Richards as a Black gay billionaire inventor with the weight of the world on his shoulders — than just its affinity for showing skin.
“It’s been really wonderful to see people connect with the show and understand what we’re trying to do,” Johnson says. “They love the fashion and the reads and all of that. But what we’re also interested in doing is examining the challenges of the day through the lens of our witty, fun, exciting show. And to talk about stuff that goes beyond the very surface-level explorations of race, sexuality and family that you see on TV.”
Johnson was recently pleased by many viewers’ responses to an experience Tom had in the show’s second episode: “I saw dozens of people tweeting about how common it is for you — whether you’re a person of color, a minority, a queer person, whatever — to get harassed and made fun of, and then have everyone get mad at you when you defend yourself. The audience is seeing things we didn’t even know were there.”
Tom’s aspirational friendship with bestie Zenzi (Ashleigh Murray) is also resonating with viewers, some of whom consider it the love story they care about the most. Which is why we’re especially eager to see where things go romantically for Zenzi, who has expressed an interest in Tom’s bodyguard Isaac (Marquise Vilsón), whom Zenzi previously thought only had eyes for Tom, who has his own eye on several different gentleman callers. Complicated doesn’t even begin to describe this love tria… squa… shape.
“There are a lot of women who have had a crush on the same guy as their gay friend, and the only difference here is that there’s chemistry between all of them,” Johnson says. “There’s platonic friendship chemistry between Zenzi and Tom, which means any choice that they make about Isaac have a lot of [weight] to it. They’ll have to ask what it would do to their relationship with their actual best friend.”
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