Queer TV: 5 Shows Worth Waiting For

Orphan Black, The Fosters, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Transparent
I just imagined a world in which all of these characters knew each other and my head exploded. Maybe a university? Cosima, Paige and Emily are students, Maura is a professor, Lena is the Dean, and Stef is assigned to help Poussey transition out of prison in a special college release program? I don’t write fanfiction, but someone, please, write this.

Long weekends and holidays are upon us. Need a new queer TV addiction? All of my favorite queer tv shows, while currently on hiatus, are available on Netflix or Amazon Prime. 

I can’t watch every tv show with a queer character on it these days — there are just too many. Anyway, let’s face it: I’m just not fond enough of Batman, for instance, to watch Gotham just for the queer character. But I do have a core watchlist of shows I hold very dear to my heart. These shows are important for visibility, sure; fortunately, they’re also a sheer delight to watch.

The problem: none of them are airing right now! But they’re all due to return to our screens this spring, if not before — and many of their earlier seasons are available on Netflix or Amazon for marathoning.

Orphan Black

Why I Love It: Actress Tatiana Masanly plays a bevy of clones so convincingly that my brain STILL can’t think of them as a single actress, after two seasons. This Canadian sci-fi series is impeccably layered, very suspenseful, and 100% queer-friendly.

Queer Cred: Deadlocked smarty-pants scientist clone Cosima is gay, as is punk-clone Sarah’s foster brother Felix. Queer storylines are written organically and the queer characters get just as much action as everyone else (Felix’s hookup with the morgue attendant — the first gay sex scene to give lube a starring role that I’ve ever seen outside of HBO — is strangely sweet.) Bonus: Clone Tony, who just passes through, is trans — things get complicated when Felix and Tony almost hook up.

Returning: Spring 2015 on BBC America

Catch up: Season 1 is available on Amazon Prime.

The Fosters

Why I Love It: This teen drama has plenty of angst and after-school special storylines (selling Ritalin to fund your birth mother’s drug habit, Mariana?), but it’s worth watching just for the relationship between married lesbian couple Stef and Lena. Actresses Teri Polo and Sherri Saum have got their couple mannerisms and affections down, to the point where TV interviewers sometimes ask, “are you sure you’re not in love in real life?” They definitely win my cutest tv couple award; even old-Glee Kurt and Blaine can’t compete with this level of adorbz.

Queer Cred: QAF alumn Peter Paige co-produces this ABC Family show. Beyond featuring a biracial lesbian couple who are successfully (mostly) parenting a boatload of teenagers, the show also features guest appearances from Rosie O’Donnell and actor Tom Phelan, one of the only trans actors cast to play a trans guy on our televisions (Dale Harvie of Transparent is the only other one I know of). Tom’s character Cole doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but his story is respected.

Returning: The Christmas special airs Monday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family. A regular schedule of new episodes will resume Spring 2015.

Catch up: Season 1 and the first half of Season 2 are available on Netflix.

Orange is the New Black

Why I Love It: Two words — Poussey Washington. Actually, everyone in this ensemble cast is excellent. I’ve just got a huge crush on Poussey (Samara Wiley). If you haven’t seen the show (still living under that rock?), it’s ostensibly focused on real life Wasp-turned jailbird-turned-author Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Shilling), but really uses Piper as an in to show us the stories of a variety of women living their lives in a minimum-security prison.

Queer Cred: Piper goes to jail after she smuggles drug money for her girlfriend. About three-quarters of the imprisoned women seem to be queer, but not in an exploitative pulp fiction way. Well, it kind of is sometimes, I mean the sex is graphic, but we also get to know their stories. Lea DeLaria finally gets to play a dyke on TV without making fun of them, and trans woman and Time covergirl Laverne Cox co-stars. And I hear Larry might be leaving, thank GOD.

Returning: Mid-2015, exclusively on Netflix, which produces the show and releases each season in its entirety on one very special weekend.

Catch up: Seasons 1 and 2 are currently available on Netflix.

Pretty Little Liars

Why I Love It: I didn’t expect to like this show, a slightly supernatural teen murder mystery that never ever ends. (You know like when they answer every question with a question?) I came to it after reading one of Heather Hogan’s wickedly funny recaps, and life has never been the same since that day. If you’re new to Pretty Little Liars, I recommend watching each episode and then reading Heather’s recap as a kind of companion text. She roots out and expands on every queer moment and provides the voice of reason when the male characters on the show are being hella creepy or possessive.

Queer Cred: One of the four besties on the show — we call them Liars — Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell), figures out pretty early in Season 1 that she is gay. Coming out is a nonissue with her friends, and the roadblocks she hits with her parents and peers are, luckily, navigable. Once Emily does come out, she never looks back. Her shame and fear are gone, and she won’t take anyone’s shit when they try to put her back into that place. Bonus: Over the course of the first four seasons, she gets more romance than most of her straight friends combined.

Returning: Regular episodes won’t be back until January 2015, but we do get a Christmas Special on ABC Family on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. EST.

Catch up: Seasons 1-4 are available on Netflix.

Transparent

Why I Love It: You know why!

Queer Cred: Transparent was created by Jill Soloway and is based loosely on her parent’s experience as a trans woman. Many of the extras and actors on the show are trans*, including Dale Harvie, who is one of the only trans guys playing a trans guy on TV at the moment. I also LOVE Ali Liebegott’s appearances — she wrote for the show and then found herself with an amazing bit part (she’s an “extra,” but she steals her scenes like a pro). One of the main characters is bisexual — she reconnects with an old flame in the first episode and questions whether to leave her husband for her — and there is plenty of yummy sex between the two.

Returning: Amazon, where Transparent is released exclusively, just renewed Transparent for season 2 on October 9th. There’s no word yet when it will be released. We’ll be waiting!!

Catch up: Season 1 is currently available on Amazon Prime.

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