Boob(s On Your) Tube: 16 Summer TV Shows You Can Count On For Queer Characters

Hello, goji gummy berry bears! Welcome to Boob(s On Your Tube)! We’re in that weird two-week window between fall and summer TV where there’s hardly anything happening. I mean, my DVR managed to record 22 episodes of The Golden Girls in the last seven days, so something is happening, but not a lot of new somethings. So! This week, I’m going to run down the 16 TV shows that are coming at you this summer that definitely feature queer characters. There will probably be more. Old shows will add new queer characters. New shows will debut queer characters. (For new shows, my money is on Killjoys, a new Syfy show by the producers of Orphan Black and creator of Lost Girl; and Stitchers, a new ABC Family show that is probably gay because nearly all ABC Family shows are gay these days.) However, here are the shows I know we can count on.


June

Pretty Little Liars

ABC Family, June 2

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Super lesbian Emily Fields returns to continue her courtships with Alison DiLaurentis, Paige McCullers, probably a new handful of gorgeous queer women who fall out of the sky, and potentially an actual Liar. Masks will mask masks of faces on faces. Parrots will fly. Mona will transcend. And Hanna will continue to know what Hanna means. Can’t miss, must see, Rosewood forever.


Hannibal

NBC, June 4

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Margot Verner is a lesbian character on NBC’s brain-bending gorefest, Hannibal, a show my girlfriend calls “the most beautiful, psychologically damaging thing on network TV.” I have asked her multiple times about the fate of Margot Vener, but I keep checking out when she gets to the part where Margot’s brother cuts out her ovaries. She’s alive, though. That much I know for sure.


The Fosters

ABC Family, June 8

summer-fosters

In the season two finale, Lena kissed another woman! The other woman was Monty, the principle at Anchor Beach! But Lena didn’t have time to tell Stef because Jesus and Mariana and their birth mother (who was pregnant with a child Stef and Lena had agreed to adopt) got into a car accident that included one fatality! If that level of drama delights you, you’re gonna love season three, which promises a brand new foster kid and Lena not telling Stef about the aforementioned kiss.


Becoming Us

ABC Family, June 8

BECOMING US - ABC Family's "Becoming Us" stars Suzy, Ben and Carly. (ABC Family/Jean Whiteside)

Mey has watched the first two episodes of this show, and she’s not really feeling it. From her review:

I also said I hoped that, unlike Maura’s family in that show, the transgender parent in Becoming Us‘s family wouldn’t be filled with horrible people. While I wouldn’t go that far, after watching the first two episodes I was definitely expecting Carly’s family and the other people in the show to be much more supportive of her and to be better examples of how to act when you have a trans family member than they were. After all, why would you agree to star in a reality show unless you thought it was going to paint a good picture of you? Instead, I found myself crying halfway through the first episode — not because the show was touching my heart, but because I couldn’t believe how Carly was being talked about by her family.


Orange Is the New Black

Netflix, June 12

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This needs no introduction or explanation. Orange Is the New Black is everything. I know it, you know it, Netflix knows it. Now we just need it. Give it to us so we can binge it!


Defiance

Syfy, June 12

summer-doc-yewll

Last season, Syfy’s post-apocalyptic alien/human western revealed that Doc Yewll is a lesbian who sometimes has visions of her dead Indogene wife. Also, of course, there’s Stahma Tarr and Kenya Rosewater’s love affair that did not die when Stahma shot Kenya in the face. Sure, Kenya is dead now, but only kind of, because Kenya is also alive as a clone. She’ll be back in season three, and it’s one of the things I am most looking forward to this whole summer.


Chasing Life

ABC Family, June 17

REBECCA SCHULL, HALEY RAMM

Brenna came out as bisexual during season one, a thing her grandmother loved and celebrated every time she had the chance. Brenna’s girlfriend, Greer, had to skip town to go live with her dad in like Rhode Island at the end of the season, but everyone’s fingers are crossed that she will return for some more live-in lady-love.


The Last Ship

TNT, June 21

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Lt. Alisha Granderson is the only lesbian lady surviving on the last ship, but she does have a girlfriend back home. Granderson didn’t have enough to do last season, but I’m hoping the writers explore her backstory and place on the ship a little more this summer. Christina Elmore, who plays Granderson, is a marvel.


Rookie Blue

ABC, June 25

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Rookie Blue kicks off its sixth season here in the States this summer. The Canadian drama kicked off its new season in its home country on May 19th. The show’s creatives have talked very candidly about being blown away by the online response to Gail and Holly’s relationship. On the upside, Gail is not going back to men. On the downside, there’s no firm word on how Holly will factor into the coming season.


Under the Dome

CBS, June 25

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Last year, lesbian mama Carolyn Hill spent too much time in captivity and not enough time on-screen. The show is headed to Thursdays this summer, hoping to capitalize on Big Brother viewers. CSI fan favorite Marg Helgenberger is also joining the cast for an extensive arc. Carolyn remains one of the only black lesbian TV characters on broadcast network TV, so I’m rooting really hard for more for her to do this season.


Scream

MTV, June 30

summer-scream

Bex Taylor-Klaus, who you remember from The Killing and Arrow, has joined the cast as a “bi-curious” character. In the realm of horror films, that means she’ll face an imminent and horrific death. Let’s see how that trope translates to the small screen.


July

Ray Donovan

Showtime, July 12

summer-ray-donovan

Kate Moennig as Lena never has enough to do on this show, but also, it’s Kate Moennig, so every minute on-screen counts as ten minutes on-screen.


Masters of Sex

Showtime, July 12

summer-masters-of-sex

Betty was upgraded to a series regular in season two, but weirdly, it didn’t translate into much more screen time. Mainstream and queer critics alike thought it was a dumb move to relegate her to the shadows. She did, however, ditch The Pretzel King, so her storyline is wide open for sapphic shenanigans this summer.


Hollywood Game Night

NBC, July 17

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Jane Lynch doing her best Jane Lynch once a week with other celebrities!


August

Survivor’s Remorse

Starz, August 22

Survivor's Remorse 2014

One of the biggest and best TV surprises last year was M-Chuck, the lesbian character on Starz’s original series about a basketball player who makes it from poverty to the NBA and brings his family along with him. She’s smart about life and smart about business and completely unapologetic about being an openly gay lady. She’s also her family’s rock. I am very excited to see where Survivor’s Remorse takes her this season. (Riese also just watched this show and loved it!)


Faking It

MTV, August 31

summer-faking-it

Amy’s in love with Reagen, or Karma, or herself, or all three. Who even knows at this point. Definitely season three will be a lot of girls kissing and fandom losing its mind and Riese writing brilliant recaps. Those are things you can count on.


I’ve also made you a downloadable PDF calendar with each of these premiere dates! I’ll updated it as more information becomes available!

What shows are you most looking forward to this summer?

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 854 articles for us.

34 Comments

  1. Pretty Little Liars and Carmilla both come back on June 2! THANK THE SAPPHIC GODDESSES!!! And I’m looking forward to oitnb so much as well.

    In Hannibal they had Margot fuck their male lead in a drawn out scene making a major change from the books and then when women complained on twitter, Brian Fuller spent a good bit of time mocking them, including such gems as saying he asked his crew if they’d like to fuck a lesbian and they all said yes. That show can fuck right off as far as I’m concerned.

    • Yep, and that’s the last time I have ever watched Hannibal and I have no intention of going back. Having Margot sleep with Hugh Dancy was one thing but it was unapologetically and mercilessly mocking the lesbians who complained about it in an even more tasteless manner than Ryan Murphy that earned Hannibal an immediate ban in my house. Along with no interest in supporting any other project Brian Fuller is involved in from here on out.

    • i didn’t know that! what a douche. I feel like that is the bad side to twitter/social media and being so familiar with show runners and cast, a revealing comment is made and there goes your ability to ever enjoy the show

  2. I watch Masters of Sex for Lizzy Caplan and Annaleigh Ashford’s characters but it’s been a painful process given how loathsome Michael Sheen’s character is and he takes up the bulk of the show. I also felt like they really ruined Caplan’s character towards the end of Season 2 in order to try to make that relationship palatable to the audience. I”m hoping Betty has more to do in Season 3 and they bring back her girlfriend played by Sarah Silverman. Or give her a new love interest, I don’t care which one.

    I’m also looking forward to the return of Rookie Blue. I’m just hoping this season isn’t all about Gail and that kid. What is it with tv shows sticking the lesbians with babies? It’s either that or cheating storylines.

    • Turkish, I totally get your frustration with writers always dumping the lesbians with a kid, but I think this situation is a lot less about Gail suddenly longing for a child, and a lot more about her very real connection to this one kid in particular. Now, that being said, I’m super pissed that her wanting to adopt Sophie is putting a wrench in her relationship with Holly, but I don’t think this is the typical, overdone lesbian-suddenly-wants-a-baby storyline.

      Slight spoilers for the season premiere of RB:

      Gail is in like, two scenes, she briefly mentions the ongoing adoption process, and Holly is not mentioned AT ALL. I’d rather have Gail and Holly as a storyline, but will take Gail adopting Sophie as a storyline over Gail having no storyline at all.

      • Yeah, that is exactly my big concern about this Sophie storyline. I watched the premiere and it seems like all the other characters have love interests and/or love triangles coming up out of the floorboards. Meanwhile, the last we heard from Holly was that she was moving to another city and wanted to take Gail with her, then Gail dropped the Sophie bomb on her. I can’t believe they left us with that cliffhanger last season and then didn’t even mention Holly in the premiere. Who does that?

        • In fairness to the writers, the reason we got so little Holly last season (and will likely get very little Holly this season) is due to the actress’ schedule, and the fact that she lives on the West coast, but yeah, totally agreed. Just because they can’t get the actress, doesn’t mean Gail couldn’t have SAID something about how she misses her, or how they are trying to make long distance work, or SOMETHING to indicate where they are at. I’m trying to hold on to the hope that Gail namechecking herself as “homosexual” means she might get a different female love interest in upcoming episodes, but I’m not holding my breath for that one.

    • The 1st. season of Masters of Sex was promising, it had a lot of potential. But season 2…

      CAN SOMEBODY, PLEASE, EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT A HELL HAPPENED THERE?

      Virginia was transformed into some kind of weird version of Cosmopolitan’s keep-your-man-satisfied woman, with some science on the side. A sexualized version of Donna Stone.

      Betty almost disappeared from the show, I had to used a freaking magnifier to see her, and she was in 11 of 12 episodes.

      I ended up watching the whole season just to see Libby and Robert’s relationship, the only salvageable point in season 2.

  3. I so want to know who Stahma’s lady loves will be this season. Will she reunite with the Kenya clone? Will she win over Amanda somehow? Will she do more than share a bath with Kristi? What about that lady soldier?

  4. Carmilla comes back on June 2 and I can’t wait.

    Also I’m really looking forward to Sense8, it will be released on Netflix June 5 and one of the 8 main characters is a trans girl (and there’s also a gay man I think). It seems that it will deal a little with identity, sexuality and gender among other things. I don’t know, it seems quite interesting.

    Here’s the trailer:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9c_KSZ6zMk&w=560&h=315%5D

    P.s. I’m currently binge-watching Person of Interest right now, and Root and Shaw are killing me. ALL THAT FLIRTING

  5. I started watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix which involves a gay (male) couple in the plot but it stars Lily Tomlin (yay! oh and she’s amazing). Brooklyn Decker is some mighty fine eye candy and Jane Fonda is gorgeous/super talented, too – I hope I’m 1/8 as beautiful as her when I’m her age.

    • Some scenes with the gay couple made cringe, because they looked like those old representations of gay men on TV in my country, probably you all seen those in the US too.

      Maybe I’m oversensitive (I really don’t think so because everybody who knows me will tell you that over-anything is not my style), but I did feel like the characters were some times caricatured.

      But Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are amazing in that show.

    • I also really super loved Grace and Frankie. Carmen told me to watch it. I don’t know why I was a little skeptical but I was. Anyway, it was a surprisingly moving show to me, and obviously Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are foxes and so funny. I hope Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are still making stuff together in their late 70s.

  6. I’m so excited for so many of these shows! I mean, the obvious: PLL, OITNB, Faking It, but also Scream, and also Survivor’s Remorse. I really liked the first season, it was too short.

  7. I won’t post the names of the characters involved because spoilers, but we’ve been promised a lesbian love scene in Hannibal season three that’s “described as erotic and sensual and completely unusual for network TV shows. It tells a story that people usually refuse to tell.” Details about the characters involved here.

  8. Can we talk more about Hannibal? I tried to watch it in the first season and it was way too gory. And now those comments above make me wonder if it’s worth it. I have a friend who produces for the show, and I am interested in catching up. But is it worth it?? Like the gore vs lesbian content?

    Maybe I, too, will just let Heather’s gf keep me updated.

    • Do not watch Hannibal for lesbian content. You will be disappointed if you do. Season 3 seems has a really promising spoiler in that department, but WE’LL SEE.

      The gore continues in Season 2. It may actually be gorier than Season 1. It’s frequently presented in a stylized way, but those low gore and/or blood tolerances should probably steer clear.

  9. WHY THE F*** WOULD SYFY PREMIERE DEFIANCE THE SAME DAY AS ORANGE?!? I mean, who needs to sleep right?!? Not me I guess!!!

    (But also Jenny Schecter will FOR SURE ONE HUNDRED PERCENT NO DOUBT RETURN?)

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