The power of representation on screen and in the media is huge and it is something CLAIREvoyant co-creators and stars Natasha Negovanlis (TheCarmilla Movie, Freelancers Anonymous) and Annie Briggs (TheCarmilla Movie, Luvvie) have experienced firsthand. Carmilla was a series known for positive queer representation and many of its central characters were women. By working on that project and then seeing and feeling its impact on audiences, Negovanlis and Briggs knew they wanted to continue to carry that forward with them when creating their new series.
CLAIREvoyant, which will continue to drop episodes on Wednesdays through May 30 on the YouTube channel KindaTV, is the story about best friends Claire (Negovanlis) and Ruby (Briggs) who pretend to be psychics online to make rent money. Things start to get really weird though when they discover that Claire has real abilities. Negovanlis and Briggs came up with the idea while working on Carmilla and wrote the 14 episode series with Jason Packer (Undercover High, Spun Out).
While the premise about “fake” online psychics may seem a bit out there, at its core CLAIREvoyant is a story about female friendship. “That was super important to both Nat and I,” Briggs told The TV Junkies. In fact, they based a lot of Ruby and Claire’s relationship on their own friendship and how they support one another. “Natasha as a human being, as a collaborator and co-worker, is truly one of the most supportive people of her female colleagues I have met in this industry. She really is a champion of other women around her,” Briggs explained.
Bringing a bit of themselves to the friendship on screen also ensured that it was as authentic as possible, and that means these women aren’t perfect. “We definitely wanted to show two women who are very different, but unconditionally support each other and really love each other for all of their quirks and flaws. Like any friendship or relationship, there are going to be disagreements,” said Negovanlis. However, she was quick to add that “the way they are able to handle problems together is quite touching.” That’s really what it’s all about for Negovanlis, who said that the comedies and shows she’s interested in most “have a lot of heart.”
Heart and women being there for one another are pillars for CLAIREvoyant, especially as it keeps getting labelled as a feminist comedy. “We’re not trying to hit people over the head here,” said Negovanlis. She said what really makes the series feminist is that “these are real women, well written, detailed characters that have agency,” and that it’s just “two women making choices for themselves and living truthfully for themselves.” That carries over behind the scenes as well, as she pointed out that CLAIREvoyant also has “a lot of women behind the camera as well, from our line producer to our director [Simone Stock].”
Briggs added onto those thoughts saying that Ruby and Claire are “two people who are exacting their own agency over their lives and don’t live for the purpose of men, basically.” While she acknowledges that the comedy does “go at times in a bit absurdist root,” she says it was done on purpose. “There’s a lack of truly messy women represented in entertainment,” said Briggs. With CLAIREvoyant, she and Negovanlis maybe are “just being true goofs,” she said it’s because that’s who they are. “It’s not particularly polished or pretty and that was super important to me. That’s a big part of who I am, I’m not a polished woman.”
By writing and creating the show, the opportunity to do something different was certainly there too. “We could’ve been super indulgent where we made ourselves glamourous all the time,” Negovanlis explained. However, she said both she and Briggs wanted to “just be a gal. A regular old gal.” She added that with Claire, she “didn’t want to be super sexy and glamourous because that’s not the point.”
Through their work on Carmilla and behind the scenes here, Briggs and Negovanlis realized something else pretty major. “There’s really a responsibility in the images and stories you’re putting out to the world,” Briggs told us, especially for women. “If we keep regurgitating such a polished and absolutely unachievable image all the time, it can be detrimental overall to society, and certainly to young viewership,” she said.
That audience is exactly what the women had in mind when writing CLAIREvoyant. So including these unpolished women and aspects such as positive queer representation, Negovanlis said they were delivering “the type of show we’d want to watch.” After viewing the first several episodes, it’s pretty safe to say they aren’t going to be the only ones tuning in.
Have you watched CLAIREvoyant yet? Add your thoughts in the comments below!
CLAIREvoyant Season 1 episodes are now available on KindaTV.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.