20 Happy Lesbian and Bisexual Romantic TV Storylines That’ll Warm Your Heart Right Up

The world sure does feel more on fire by the day, huh? If you’re like me, between being engaged with the news and being out there fighting the good fight, you need some downtime to recharge your brain and body with a little bit of goodness and hope. I do that with stories, especially teevee — and I thought, hey, you might like some recommendations to do that too. Below are 20 happy lesbian and bisexual storylines you can watch to power up your spirit with laughter and swooning.

Special thanks to Carmen, Natalie, Valerie Anne, Riese, and Sarah Sarwar for their encyclopedic knowledge of women kissing women on teevee. 

Spencer and Ashley, South of Nowhere

Spashley! If anyone knows about surviving a long, hard walk through the metaphorical desert it’s Spashley! They premiered in 2005, when queer TV was a wasteland and the only thing gay women had to do was sit around and wait for season three of the The L Word to start. Theirs is a timeless lesbian coming of age story/queer love story that has a happy ending and, as a bonus, features a homophobic mom who rights her ways and ultimately even attends Pride with her daughter.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 101 “Secret Truths” // 105 “Girls Guide to Dating” // 110 “What Just Happened” // 203 “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” // 308 “Gay Pride”

Where to watch: Logotv.com

Naomi and Emily, Skins (Series Three and Four)

Before you start Skins, HEED MY WARNING! You must stop after the series four finale. After the show ended, the creators rolled out a couple of made for TV movies and they are an abomination in literally every way; they absolutely are not canon; and you SHOULD NOT WATCH THEM! However, the second generation of real Skins features my favorite ever love story between shy, buttoned-up, blossoming lesbian Emily Fitch and her surly, self-destructive, self-righteous pal Naomi Campbell.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 306 “Naomi” // 309 “Katie and Emily” // 402 “Emily” // 408 “Everyone”

Where to watch: Netflix

Waverly and Nicole, Wynonna Earp

The sparks between Waverly “Hermione Danger” Earp and Nicole “Hot Cop” Haught start flying in the pilot episode of Wynonna Earp and haven’t stopped yet. Waverly doesn’t even know she’s bisexual when the show starts, so her journey from confused-but-interested to climbing-Nicole-like-a-literal-tree is quite a treat. Both characters have their own storylines and grow as individuals, and they have a super-couple through-line where they grow together. They’re sweet, they’re sexy, and they get the exact same treatment as the straight couples on the show. Canada! So wild, so magical!

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 109 “Bury Me with My Guns On” // 112 “House of Memories” // 113 “I Walk the Line” // 202 “Shed Your Skin” // 211 “Gone as a Girl Can Get” // 212 “I Hope You Dance”

Where to watch: Netflix

Maggie and Alex, Supergirl (Season Two)

I, personally, am a fan of Maggie and Alex’s storyline from start-to-finish because it’s really rare to see two queer women on broadcast TV get treated with the kind of care and respect Supergirl‘s writers took with these two. However, Floriana Lima, the actress who plays Maggie, wasn’t contracted through the entirety of the third season, so the two do eventually share a tearful goodbye; if you only want what’s happy, just follow them through season two. There you’ll find a beautiful, authentic coming out story; a glorious slow burn will-they/won’t-they; a teensy bit of longing heartache; and a sweeping soaring second kiss that’ll make you want to sing.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 206 “Changing” // 208 “Medusa” // 209 “Supergirl Lives” // 213 “Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk” // 219 “Alex” // 302 “Triggers” // 305 “Damage”

Where to watch: Netflix

Cameron and Rhea, Take My Wife

Take My Wife is Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher playing fictional versions of their real life selves in the best queer comedy on TV ever. It’s smart and it’s hilarious and it’s romantic and it’s so very heckin’ gay. It’s even full of guest stars you know and love, like Jen Richards, Brittani Nichols, and Gaby Dunn. You will laugh, for sure, but the only tears you’ll cry will be good ones, and that’s a guarantee.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: All of them

Where to watch: iTunes, Starz.com

Elena and Syd, One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time is one of the best comedies of the golden age of TV, and the whole show is absolutely worth your time. Rita Moreno and Justina Machado are transcendent in theirs role as a Cuban-American mother-daughter dynamic duo. Elena’s storyline is just icing on the cake. She comes out in season one, and finds love with a non-binary lesbian nerd named Syd who just gets her.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 110 “Sex Talk” // 113 “Quinces” // 203 “To Zir, With Love” // 205 “Locked Down” // 211 “Homecoming”

Where to watch: Netflix

Tig and Kate, One Mississippi

There’s never been a show like One Mississippi, and especially season two, which features a middle-age masculine-of-center lesbian falling in love with a woman who doesn’t even know she’s gay yet. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and hopeless and want some well-earned laughs and the ability to believe love is not a lie, this one’s for you.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: All of them

Where to watch: Amazon

Stef and Lena, The Fosters

The Fosters always spent more time on Stef and Lena’s kids than the queer adult audience wanted, but in between their high school shenanigans, Stef and Lena had one of the realest, rawest, most uplifting lesbian relationships in TV history. They got married multiple times, even.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 101 “Meet the Parents” // 110 “I Do” // 318 “Rehearsal” // 416 “The Long Haul” // 518 “Just Say Yes”

Where to watch: Netflix

Kate and Emaline, Everything Sucks

Netflix’s 90s-era show was a breakout among young queer people (and, um, queer people in their late 30s too) but Netflix cancelled it after just one season. What a tender gay season it was, though!

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 105 “What the Hell’s a Zarginda” // 108 “I Just Wanna Be Anybody” // 110 “We Were Merely Freshmen”

Where to watch: Netflix

Santana and Brittany, Glee

Glee was not without its glaring issues, but it remains one of the only shows on television to give its queer female couple a very happy ending. In between the now iconic throwaway line — “Sex isn’t dating; if it were, Santana and I would be dating” — and that #BrittanaWedding, there’s plenty of laughter and tears and songs and dances and a coming out story that ends up with a dude getting punched in the face. Lots to love, is what I’m saying.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 113 “Sectionals” // 215 “Sexy” // 313 “Heart” // 512 “100” // 603 “Jagged Little Tapestry” // 608 “A Wedding”

Bonus Brittana Songs: Me Against the Music, 202 “Brittney/Brittany” // Songbird, 219 “Rumours” // Rumour Has It/Someone Like You, 306 “Mash Off” // Hand in My Pocket/I Feel the Earth Move, 603 “Jagged Little Tapestry”

Where to watch: Netflix

Marceline and Princess Bubblegum, Adventure Time

It seemed like subtext in the very beginning, but Adventure Time finally gave itself over to a canonical relationship between the ruler of the Candy Kingdom and her curmudgeonly vampire best friend. By the end, they’re promising to grow old together.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 310 “What Was Missing” // 529 “Sky Witch” // 702 “Varmints” // Season 7 “Stakes” Mini-Series // 1007 “Marcy & Hunson”

Bonus comic book mini-series: Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens

Where to watch: Hulu

Petra and JR, Jane the Virgin (Season Four)

Jane the Virgin fans read Petra as bisexual for a good long while before the show’s writers decided why not? and gave her a woman love interest. Watching Petra physically melt into her kisses with Jane Ramos was fun, but watching the sure-footed Slytherin navigate real romantic feelings for the first time in a very long time was even better.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 410 “Chapter Seventy-Four” through 416 “Chapter Eighty-One”

Where to watch: Netflix

Ruby and Sapphire, Steven Universe

Unlike other animated shows that hinted around at queerness, Steven Universe made it clear that Ruby and Sapphire were in lesbian love with each other as soon as they made it clear that Garnet was Ruby and Sapphire. They are the emotional anchor of Steven’s whole family, and the episodes when they’re unfused and interacting are some of the most romantic queer moments on TV, full stop.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 212 “Keystone Motel” // 221 “The Answer” // 415 “That Will Be All” // 519 “Now We’re Only Falling Apart”

Where to watch: Hulu

Nomi and Amanita, Sense8

Sense8 was cancelled too soon, but the show’s writers knew they had something special with Nomi and Amanita’s romance; so much so that the two of them join Brittany and Santana as one of the only queer couples on TV to be sent off into the sunset with a big gay wedding.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: You kind of have to watch this whole show to get it, but the most swoon-worthy episode is the series finale.

Where to watch: Netflix

Cosima and Delphine, Orphan Black

Cosima and Delphine’s relationship started out as just a little crush and a little crazy science and, well, some serious duplicitousness — and became the most moving, epic romance on the entire show. It seems like one or both of them are gonna be dead at the end of basically every season finale, so prepare yourself for that TV trickery. In fact, when the show revealed the Delphine actually was alive, I literally leapt from my couch and rushed the TV to press my nose against it. Plus Delphine and Cosima’s season four reunion features the best fan fiction trope: “naked body heat to stay alive!”

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 105 “Conditions of Existence” // 108 “Entangled Bank” // 202 “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” // 410 “From Dancing Mice to Psychopaths” // 505 “Ease For Idle Millionaires” // 510 “To Right the Wrongs of Many aka Happily Ever After”

Where to watch: Amazon, BBCAmerica.com

Kat and Adena, The Bold Type

Kat and Adena’s story was one of the sweetest and most surprising things on TV last summer. It tackled an adult coming out as bisexual, Islamaphobia, the Trump administration, and U.S. immigration. This year, so far, it has tackled oral sex. The writers of The Bold Type have given Kat and Adena as much — more, really — care than any of the straight pairings on the show. As of this moment, they’re even still together!

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 104 ” If You Can’t Do It With Feeling” // 105 “No Feminism in the Champagne Room” // 109 “Before Tequila Sunrise” // 201 “Feminist Army” // 204 “OMG”

Where to watch: Hulu, Freeform

Bette and Tina, The L Word (Seasons One, Five and Six At Your Own Risk)

Ah, Tibette. The L Word‘s supercouple. Loved and loathed by The L Word fandom in equal measure. They were committed to each other, they cheated on each other, they cheated with each other, and at the end of the day the rode off into the future together. Also, to this day, nothing competes with The L Word‘s lesbian sex scenes, and Bette and Tina are always second best at that. (Behind Carmen and Shane, obviously; I’m a shipper, not a monster.)

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 101 “Pilot” // 504 “Let’s Get This Party Started” // 506 “Lights! Camera! Action!” // 510 “Lifecycle”

Where to watch: Netflix

Bo and Lauren, Lost Girl

Lost Girl was hit or miss in its final seasons, but Bo and Lauren never lost their sizzle. There’s an egregious Bury Your Gay in the final episode, but if you can fast forward past that or Eternal Sunshine it from your memory, you get the resolution of a five-season love triangle that concludes with the two women in each other’s arms.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 108 “Vexes” // 206 “It’s Better to Burn Out Than Fae Away” // 222 “Flesh and Blood” // 405 “Let the Dark Times Roll” // 507 “Here Comes the Night” // 512 “Judgment Fae” // 516 “Rise” //

Where to watch: Netflix

Karolina and Nico, Marvel’s Runaways

Karolina and Nico’s relationship is a slow burn without too much screentime, but the scenes they do share are charged and intimate and so very relatable. Plus who doesn’t love that age-old story of the innocent, most popular girl in school falling in love with the tortured goth outcast.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: 106 “Metamorphosis” // 109 “Doomsday” // 110 “Hostile”

Where to watch: Hulu

Sue and Mel, Great British Bake Off (Series One through Six)

Okay this isn’t technically a storyline and Sue and Mel aren’t technically a couple. They’re just professional partners! But Sue Perkins is one of the most famous lesbians in the UK and Great British Bake Off is hands-down the most feel-good show in the history of the world. Series four even stars queer superstar chef/bestselling writer/masterful tweeter Ruby Tandoh.

Most swoon-worthy episodes: Every moment of series one through six

Where to watch: Netflix

Drop your favs in the comments with a list of best episodes if you have them!

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Anne Bonny and Max’s relationship in Black Sails! Swoonworthy lesbian pirates, plus plenty of ofher other fantastic LGBT rep throughout the show, such an overlooked piece of media! Not the most lighthearted show, but incredible nonetheless.

  2. “Stef and Lena had one of the realest, rawest, most uplifting lesbian relationships in TV history. ”

    True that

    • I came to this article with the strong belief I would find a comment from Carms about the Fosters and my faith in the world has not been shaken

  3. How on earth did you forget Callie and Arizona? After S14, there story was def. happy.

    • Hi Hi! As the website’s unofficial Calzona expert, I’ll go ahead and take the hit for them being on this list. Callie and Arizona are my favorite FAVORITE love story of all time. And I am so incredibly thankful that Shonda them off in a happy manner. They will always make me sing! And their story is the one I return to most often to believe in love in this world.

      But I think that between the “you don’t want to have babies” season 6 break up, the “I’m moving to Africa without you” season 7 break up, and the car crash, and the plane crash, and pretty much everything about seasons 9 – 12, it’s pretty hard to pinpoint them down for a list about “Happy Lesbian and Bisexual Romantic TV Storylines”. Maybe if super narrowed it down and just picked just their season 5 storyline? But even then… The show is teasingly called “Tears of Grey’s” for a reason, you know?

      At least, that’s my logic. I think there’s a lot of awesome lists for Calzona to be on, and I will advocate for them whenever possible. You have my promise!

      • Excuse me, the opening line of my response was supposed to say “I’ll go ahead and take the hit for NOT them being on this list.”

        Typos are the worst. Even when you re-read the comment before posting! :(

      • Let’s be honest, no Shondaland couple can ever be in a “Happy romantic storyline” list.

  4. I don’t get the insistence on calling Waverly bisexual when the character (in an alt-universe, but still), the actress, and the writer refer to her as gay.

    Headcanon away and it could still be ambigious in the maintext of the show, but this site’s continual assertion that bisexual is the most accurate description *just* because she has an ex bf feels goldstar-y and bad

    • Dominique said Waverly was bi recently at a con. I think it was this past ClexaCon but it might have been one of the others since then.

      • Hey, thanks I didn’t realize that!! I think I was mostly going off of what was the case a year-ish ago, before that panel this april, when AS/buzzfeed/etc were posting a ton of Waverly Earp BI ICON stuff when it still was super ambiguous in the show and by the discussions of the actors/showrunner/writers.

        I hope they let her come out fully this season because the whole “a character is gay if they explicitly come out as gay like it’s an overwrought afterschool special but otherwise they’re bi because bi characters aren’t allowed to directly address or name their sexual orientation” is a bad system all around.

        • Also, just FYI, lots of bi people use the word “gay” to describe themselves!

          • That’s true but definitely does not help the ambiguity when a character’s sexuality is not made explicit in a show and is instead only talked about using a variety of different terms, which each hold a variety of different possible meanings/connotations, by a variety of people involved in the creative process that brings that character to our screens!

          • like to be clear I never said Waverly Can’t Be Bi Because Someone Called Her Gay Once I said that I didn’t understand why bisexual was the default sexuality ascribed to her when the information available to me seemed ambiguous.

        • If you want to hear Dom say Waverly is bisexual with her own adorable British accent I have queued up this video for ya! http://bit.ly/2KIucPK (The whole panel is really great but Dom is just especially adorable answering this question.)

  5. Yes to Spashley and WayHaught!

    I want to include Laura and Carmilla, even though it was the internet and not tv.

    • Also seconding Carmilla! Heck, they had three seasons and a full-length film, which is credentials enough for me.

      Or maybe make a follow up article for all the lesbian/bi romantic webseries storylines? Because there’s so many good ones that deserve mentions!

  6. hahaha omg i cannot believe you finished this article with mel and sue! the only ones here who are ACTUALLY just gal pals lmao

    (but i do love them a lot and i highly recommend sue’s memoir, spectacles)

    • i deeply love mel & sue and am beyond delighted that they’re included on this list.

  7. I tried to find Marvel’s Runaways on Netflix as you indicate is “Where to watch”. That was unsuccessful. A quick google search shows it’s actually over on Hulu instead.

  8. Okay Heather you FINALLY convinced me to watch Wynonna Earp

    ALSO ending this with Sue and Mel had me squealing, I love GBBO and I love Sue and I love her platonic life partnership with Mel

  9. Love this list! Aww WayHaught, Cophine, Emily and Naomi, Bo and Lauren. Gosh I miss Orphan Black! That episode where the camera is panning around Cosima and Delphine and they flash back to season 1! ❤️

  10. Can someone drop that super hot Tina+Bette gif in the comments plz? You know the one

  11. If you skip everything right after the wedding vows (as I did) Pepa and Silvia could belong on this list.

      • AhhhHHH!!! I’m just going to gush for a moment because I love your fic. I fell in love with CTM and GBBO last year and was absolutely delighted to read this over the winter. In summary:

        Mary Berry saying Sheer Perfection

    • Me too!! I have a lot of (often frustrated) feelings about how their relationship was sometimes written or portrayed, but the characters are so rich and the actors have such chemistry that they’re one of my favorite ships. Though I’m not a fan of how they more or less just disappeared from the show, I’m grateful for a happy ending – especially amid many other tragic storylines.

  12. I just finally watched Everything Sucks and I loved it so much. I’m currently listening to the Spotify playlist on repeat.

    Also I really liked the way that they treated Emaline’s self-discovery in the second half of the series. As a bi lady it rang really true for me and I couldn’t relate to Kate’s experiences in the same way, so I think it’s great they have both.

    • I love Everything Sucks and especially Kate. But I wasn’t a fan a her getting together with Emaline. I couldn’t get past how horrible Emaline treated her in the beginning.

  13. I think it is a crime that “Jailbreak” and “Hit the Diamond” are not included in most swoon-worthy episodes for Ruby and Sapphire. But with the inclusion of “Now We’re Only Falling Apart”… like, wow, this article is real current.

    • And speaking of current, let’s unreservedly add ‘The Question’, although I can see why it wasn’t included in this article posted before the episode came out.

  14. Just a reccomendation- check out Sydney and Maggie on saving hope. Issues of religion, coming out/questioning, and it’s all just very cute and wholesome. Plus some great call room funny business

  15. ~* raise your hand if you’re still heartbroken that we didn’t get s3 of One Mississippi *~

  16. Um WHAT how can you talk about cute Ruby & Sapphire episodes without talking about Hit The Diamond!!! The most fluffy episode ever about my precious space gays playing baseball and flirting

  17. Dr. Maggie Lin and Dr. Sydney Katz from Saving Hope! Also, soon Freya and Keelin from The Originals are gonna be married! Hopefully nothing bad will happen.

    • As late as I am, thanks for this. I actually missed this adorable couple and had a blast binging it thanks to this comment!<3

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