By Derrick Hart & Daniel Hart
The average American has four television sets in their homes, and receives over 180 channels of cable and streaming programming available at any time of the day or night. While much of those shows are encore presentations of hits from the past, there are any number of superb first-run series—an increasing number of which are featuring lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual characters.
Next week, marks the start of the Fall 2016 Television season which will unfold in the months ahead. Check out your favorites or discover new ones in our countdown to Agenda’s Gay Television Annual Roundup.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY
FX’s American Horror Story is an LGBT’s wet dream. First and foremost, the show is written and created by openly gay TV industry icon Ryan Murphy, and has featured appearances from gay actors like Matt Bomer and Neil Patrick Harris. If you haven’t seen the show, its dynamic and setting changes year-to-year. A haunted hotel one season; a side-show the next. If you like horror, sex, and blood, this is your kinda show. As the titles tell us: viewer discretion is advised. Sex, nudity, violence—they are here in spade. Previous seasons/titles were “The Coven,” “Freak Show,” and last years “Hotel” which featured Pop singer Lady Gaga. Viewers can expect our Gaga to be returning in season six on September 14, 2016. Ryan Murphy describes it as “more rogue” and “dark,” and will revolve around children. To stream previous seasons, catch them on Hulu.
In 2015, CW’s popular television series Arrow, cast Echo Kellum as Mr. Terrific who was the shows first gay African American superhero–a rarity on television. According to NewNowNext, actor Echo Kellum stated that it’s the fifth most interesting thing about him. His character Michael Holt is actually heterosexual in the comic books and is haunted by his wife’s death. However, on the show, he’s openly gay and is happily married. The CW has released a little teaser for the upcoming season (its fifth) stating that someone from Oliver’s past will return to threaten his legacy. Only question is who is the mystery person? Viewers will find out when it returns Wednesday October 5, 2016 at 8pm. If you’re a hardcore DC fan of the Green Arrow series, and if you like hot abs, this show has you covered!
DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow season two will premiere on October 13, 2016 online at Amazon.com. One of the show’s kick ass heroines, Sara Lance, (played by Caity Lotz), has women going crazy over her. From her relationships with Nyssa al Ghul and Oliver Queen, she just might have everyone wanting to get a kiss from her. Although Sara is one of the characters that joined with the other legends, she feels like she’s in this world all alone. Her past was dark, making her not have a care in the world. However, she does have a soft spot for new lover, Lindsey. Missed season one? No need to worry. You can catch full episodes online at Hulu.com.
Empire season three will return to FOX network on September 21, 2016. This series showcases Jamal Lyon played by Jussie Smollett in one of the most talked about TV series yet. Jamal, who is an openly gay talented singer/songwriter, is trying to take over his father’s empire, with the help of his mother Cookie (Taraji P. Henson). Lucious, who is Jamal’s father, despises him because of his sexuality; however, Cookie favors him and wants nothing but the best for her child. The question remaind: who will take over the Empire? Cookie or Lucious? At the end of last season, Jamal had been shot and his music career seemed over. Will Jamal re-think his decision to continue his music career in season three? A good question. Missed an episode? Catch up on seasons one and two on TVOne.
GAME OF THRONES
HBO’s Game of Thrones has been renewed for a seventh season and will return next year April 2017. The mythical drama focuses on several powerful families fighting for control of the Seven Kingdoms. Viewers love the show because they want the good guys to win but the bad guys are so good at being bad. Throughout the years, sadly the gay characters on the show have met tremendous blood and death. In season six, viewers even had to say goodbye to its lovable oaf Hodor (Kristian Nairn), the only openly gay actor in the cast. To find more fantasy drama, catch up on previous seasons on HBO before the new one returns to slay.
TV series Girls have been renewed for its sixth and final season on HBO and will air in 2017. The show focuses on four young women living their lives in the “big apple” of Manhattan. Normally, the series shows the leading ladies and their sexual encounters. However this year, an early episode “Old Loves” took a turn by showing two male characters Elijah and Dill played by Andrew Rannells and Corey Stoll getting hot and heavy. This gay scene was definitely a first for the series! Also, fans are eager to learn how Hannah (Lena Dunham) and the rest of her girl friends wrap up their lives by the end of the season. Catch up on previous shows on HBO and stream it on Amazon Instant as well.
GRACE AND FRANKIE
Netflix’s original series Grace and Frankie has been renewed for a third season and is coming to TV in May 2017. Stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as Grace and Frankie find their lives have been turned upside down when they’ve both found out that their husbands are in love with each other. Can you say messy love triangle–or is that love rectangle? Sam Waterson as Sol (Frankie’s former husband) says “they don’t expect such delicate and difficult and hard subjects as late-in-life sexual-orientation changes and divorce and death itself and aging to be funny at all.” Co-creator Marta Kauffman told Deadline, fans can expect “the subject of age and coming to terms with it more in season three.” Haven’t seen seasons one and two yet? Catch up and stream on Netfli–especially if you enjoy comedy and gay professional men.
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER
How To Get Away With Murder will return on ABC network for season three on September 22, 2016. This series consist of law students working for series star Viola Davis who plays lawyer and law professor Annalise Keating. This series also showcases a hot gay student who is very promiscuous– Connor Walsh played by newcomer Jack Falahee. Connor keeps his LGBT fans wanting to see more of his sexy, steamy, and super-hot love scenes with his partner Oliver Hampton (played by Conrad Ricamora) and other gorgeous men. The show concentrates on Annalise and her students trying to cover up murder crimes, so that she can save her students from going to jail as well as save herself from destroying her career and her life. Wanna catch up? Catch re-runs of the first two seasons on demand or on AmazonPrime.
In January of this year, Marvel comics Jessica Jones was renewed for a second season on Netflix (with a release date TBA). This series stars smart and very dark character Jessica Jones (played by Kristen Ritter), a former superhero who has now opened up her own detective agency taking on cases dealing with people who have incredible abilities. Jones’ boss and ally Jeri Hogarth (played by Carrie-Ann Moss) is the epitome of a powerful lesbian. Moss described the character by saying that “she’s fierce, she’s strong, she’s powerful, and she likes that power.” In the comic book series, Jeri’s character was a man, but changed to female for the series and LGBT viewers are certainly down for that. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg told Deadline that in season two, she wants to expand on the ensemble and on Jessica’s world. Stream season one only on Netflix.
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
Orange Is the New Black will be back on Netflix for season five in summer 2017. Gay characters fly all over this female series set in prison where orange uniforms are de rigueur. One in particular: popular transgender model/actress Lavern Cox who plays Sophia Burset on the show. Sophia was sent to prison for credit card fraud and she is someone who speaks on the rights of transgender people. This show is similar to the series Oz, but even better because that show was more focused on men and their issues, whereas this series concentrates more on woman and their erotic, crazy, hot, and steamy behavior with one another. It’ll make a straight woman second guess her sexuality. Thirsty for more? Catch seasons one through four on Netflix.
Sense8 will debut for its second season in December 2016 on Netflix. This TV series showcases eight strangers that live totally different lives, but somehow are suddenly linked together for a mysterious reason. The LGBT community is glued to this show because the gay association in this TV series is out of control. There are gay relationships, down low flings, cat fights, and juicy stories that Sense8 leaves viewers wanting more. Miguel Silvestre plays Lito, a closeted actor who lives with his boyfriend in Mexico City. Their love scenes will make you want to marry say, even if you’re straight. Wanna be up to speed? Catch full episodes of season one all on Netflix and get your life.
Transparent will return for season three on Amazon in the fall of 2016. This scripted TV series follows Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) is a retired college professor and a transgender woman who came out to her family and friends two years ago. It hasn’t been confirmed, but sources tell us that popular transgender person Caitlyn Jenner may have a supporting role in season three. Thanks to a show like Transparent, life inside a body of a transgender is explored, perhaps even help to give courage to closeted transgender people to open up to his/her family. Catch reruns all online at Amazon.com.
HBO’s anthology crime drama True Detective created by Nic Pizzolatto debuted in 2014 with stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as the leading detectives on a seventeen-year pursuit for a serial killer. Second season focuses more on political corruption and gets a twist with a whole new cast, and a very interesting highway patrolman Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch). Paul is “straight” but uses Viagra to have sex with his girlfriend; his odd sexual behavior and closeted ways comes into the light when he is confronted by an ex-military pal and former lover. And soldier doesn’t even know about Paul’s association with a gay prostitute. Although a season three hasn’t been announced, HBO president Casey Bloys states, “It is not dead. I talked to Nic about it and both Nic and HBO are open to another season.” Until then, stream seasons one and two on HBO Go, HBO Now, and Amazon video.
UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
On January 17, 2016, Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was renewed for a third season. The series focuses on 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) as she adjusts to life living in New York City. The series also showcases Kimmy’s gay best friend/roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) as the bold and vibrant guy LGBT viewers love, and every girl wish they had in their corner. He’s an aspiring musical theater actor who’s had to deal with a lot of rejection in the past from the business, but still manages to stay strong and always carries a larger than life persona. Tituss Burgess’ hilarious performance on the show even earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series at the 2015 ceremony. Though a release date for season three has yet to be revealed, season two left viewers with a cliffhanger as Kimmy received a phone call from the reverend. We don’t know what he wants, but whatever it is, it can’t be good. Season cliffhangers are like that. In the meantime, catch seasons one and two on Netflix.
THE WALKING DEAD
The Walking Dead season seven will return on AMC on October 23, 2016. This bloody scripted series features Aaron (Ross Marquand) and his boyfriend Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson). Aaron and Eric were introduced as a couple on the show. Cutely pie Aaron took care of Eric when he became immobile, poor thing. So far, both guys remain alive, but who knows when there are zombies walking about doing whatever it is zombies do. If you haven’t caught up on seasons one through six, you can catch up on demand or on Netflix.