It looks like we, the LGBT audience, will have a lot to look forward this winter. Long gone are the days when catching a queer character on TV was a rarity. An ill-conceived two-dimensional, flat and unbelievable one at best. Now its more like you can’t turn it on unless seeing a least one gay, bi or trans character on every other show, ranging from to “Masters of Sex” to DC’s “Gotham”. Yes, that’s correct, even the world of Batman got a lot “gayer”. Here are the TV and online shows that have caught my attention in a good way and in no special order.
Transparent. Extremely interesting new series from Amazon Prime. Tells the story of Maura, formerly Mort (played by Jeffrey Tambor), a 70-year-old divorced, retired college professor who comes out as transgender to family and friends. Which causes everyone’s secrets to spill out. Superb acting and direction, an interesting story-line with a healthy dose of drama, comedy, quirkiness and surprises along the way and a realness to it which is the show’s greatest strength. This combined makes “Transparent” one of the best and moving series of the year.
Orange is the New Black. In this comedy drama we follow Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) who is doing time inside a low security women’s prison in NYC for smuggling drugs with her girlfriend (lover to be exact) years ago. On the way we meet some fascinating, believable and some likable characters who’ve made bad decisions in life. My personal favorite: trans woman Sophia Burset played by the beautiful Laverne Cox, who I saw during the San Diego gay pride this summer. The show is a Netflix original series and in its second season. Based on the 2010 memoir “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” by Piper Kerman.
How to get away with murder. ABC’s new hit show from the creators of “Scandal” and “Gray’s Anatomy” – which was enough to get me personally excited in the first place. A brilliant criminal defense professor (Viola Davis) and a group of ambitious law students become involved in a twisted murder plot that will alter their lives. Good writing – full of suspense and twists and turns – and good acting thanks to Oscar-nominee Viola Davis and a group of relatively unknown, up-and-coming actors (look out for hunky Jack Falahee who plays Connor, a gay student who’s determined, ambitious and doesn’t hesitate to bend the rules if it serves his purpose).
Looking is all about awkward dates, unglamorous sex and boyfriend troubles. It tells the story of three gay friends in San Francisco who are standing on cross-roads, each in their own way. Much unlike older gay shows like comedic “Will and Grace” or steamy hot “Queer as Folk” HBO’s “Looking” is all about “real gay men with real issues”. Men who just happen to be gay. Men that feel so real that the gay male viewer can easily relate to them (at least I could). The first season didn’t hit it off immediately but steadily grew on the audience. The second season is being filmed and airs early next year.
True Blood. A horror/fantasy/romance that focuses on vampires and other creatures in New Orleans. A fun and at times very (homo)erotic story-plot – not to mention stunning actors and actresses – certainly makes it worth watching (over and over again). NO GAY MAN should miss the sizzling hot scenes between sizzling hot Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) and Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) in the seventh and last season.
Orphan Black. An exciting science fiction series about human cloning. We follow con artist Sarah (played by the oh so brilliant Tatiana Maslany) and her gay prostitute brother Felix (Jordan Gavaris) as they tackle mad scientists, religion fanatics, secret service agents and cold-blooded criminals whilst trying to solve a creepy mystery from their past. A Canadian series from BBC America that has its third series in production to premiere in 2015.
The Hunting Season. Comedy-drama based on a very popular and painfully trutful blog called “The Great Cock Hunt” (also a book now). A story of four young, single, gay friends in NYC. The main character Alex (Ben Baur) is a blogger at Gawker by day and writes about his social life with his friends anonymously by night. The storyline is reminiscent of “Sex and the City” but way gayer and more sexually explicit (as is currently the trend). The series are much more ambitious than other web series. Still waiting for the word if the second series is coming.
My Gay Roommate. Web series that deals with modern-day antics of a young gay man Nick (Noam Ash), such as loosing his virginity and exploring the world of Grindr. Not expertly acted nor is it a high budget one. However the script is often good and funny. In its third season and I look forward to see more.
The New Normal is a comedy about a wealthy Californian gay (male)couple who decide to have a baby with a straight working class (girl)friend. Not cutting edge but a sweet, funny and harmless show (in a “Will and Grace” sort of way) that didn’t get to the second season.
Don’t trust the bitch in apartment 23. June (Dreama Walker) moves in with party girl/con artist Chloe (Kristen Ritter) in NYC and you could say they don’t hit it off (mildly speaking). Finger snapping funny and in a way very “gay” (although it only has one gay supporting character). James Van der Beek, from “Dawson’s Creek”, plays himself in a supporting role. Unfortunately it got cancelled last year after only two seasons, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching!
Main photo (above): From gripping sci-fi tv series “Orphan Black”.
Note: Ok it may be exaggerating a little bit to say the LGBT characters can be seen on every other show. However it is true that television has actually increased its portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans characters this year, with the edge going to cable and the Internet over broadcast networks, according to a new study by the advocacy group GLAAD. The study found that 3.9 percent of 813 characters regularly seen on prime-time network scripted series will be lesbian, gay or bisexual, a total of 32 characters. An increase over last year’s 3.3 percent. But down from the 4.4 percent record high for LGBT depictions on network series in 2012.Among cable TV shows, there were 64 regular LGBT characters, up from 42 last season. And though not many transgender characters are featured they are on the rise and can be seen on cable and net series such as “Transparent”, “True Trans” and “Orange Is the New Black”.