My Top 10 Television Shows: Heather Hogan, Lover of Love and Laughing

In My Top 10 Favorite Television Shows, various members of Autostraddle’s TV Team will be telling you about the TV shows nearest and dearest to our hearts, EVEN the ones that don’t have lesbian / bisexual / queer woman characters. 

Today TV Team Editor and Senior Writer Heather Hogan shares feelings about her favorite shows of all time.


10. How to Get Away With Murder

How to Get Away With Murder isn’t the kind of show I usually watch. Even fictional murder freaks me out; I can’t stay invested in procedurals; and non-linear plots on broadcast TV lose me as soon as the episodes take a break. But How to Get Away With Murder was anchored and elevated by the one and only Viola Davis, a generational talent and my all-time favorite actor, playing a Black bisexual character on primetime, and there was no way I was going to miss that. Natalie’s words are the ones that belong here; I hope you read and cherish them as much as I did.

9. Steven Universe

Korra and Asami crawled so that PB and Marceline could walk so that Ruby and Sapphire could run so that Catra and Adora could fly — but it’s important to note the huge chasm between walking and running. It feels like only Rebecca Sugar could have bridge that gap. And boy did she ever. Steven Universe was a masterwork of queer storytelling, exploring everything from gender to gender presentation to commitment to grief to depression to trauma, and everything in between.

8. Orphan Black

There will literally never be another Orphan Black, one of the greatest feminist series and sci-fi shows of all time, and the fact that Tatiana Maslany doesn’t have a dozen trophies to show for it is a crime.

7. Jane the Virgin

It never stopped surprising and delighting me, especially in the end with Petra and JR, which turned out to be one of my favorite TV romances ever. Jane the Virgin made me laugh and cry, in good ways, combined, more than another other show I’ve ever watched.

6. Skins

This series transformed everything about my life: my understanding of myself, my writing, my career, and, well — I met my wife when she tweeted at me about my recaps in 2010. I waffled on including this because Skins Fire is the greatest abomination of my professional life, but look at these faaaaces.

5. Derry Girls

As a child of the ’90s, Derry Girls tickles my nostalgia — and it also tickles me to my core. I have never laughed as long or hard or loud as I do when I watch this series, even if I’ve already seen the episode ten times.

4. One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time is the reason I fell in love with TV when I was a little kid. It reminds me of the shows I grew up on and cherished because they showed me families (found ones, too) that didn’t often remind me of my own — Family Ties, 227, The Facts of Life, The Golden Girls, A Different World — and taught me things and brought me belonging I wasn’t learning or having in real life. And also made me laugh and lot and forget my worries for half an hour at a time. I honestly cannot imagine what seeing Elena as a child would have done for me. It would have changed everything.

3. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

It’s epic sci-fi and fantasy on par with Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, series-long masterful character development, heroes in all shapes and sizes and backgrounds and genders and races, and a queer love story that saves the literal world.

2. Gentleman Jack

What else can I say: “Declarations of love and promises and pleas not to be hurt, a camera on a crane sweeping the Yorkshire landscape, rings! Fingers intertwined! A wedding! There has never been a show like Gentleman Jack on TV. The messiness and the misandry and the ascendent lesbian happiness.”

1. The Wire

When Natalie and President Obama agree on something, who’s going to argue with it? There are very few shows that have stayed with me like The Wire; the first time I watched it, I was expecting to be at least a little underwhelmed because, like Natalie said, so many TV critics choose it as their all-time favorite show. But nope! It exceeded the hype in every way. It is a masterpiece of storytelling and Omar Little is one of the greatest TV characters in pop culture history.


Shows that almost made the list: Golden Girls, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Bad Girls, Grace and Frankie, Warehouse 13, One Mississippi. 

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer 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 1004 articles for us.

46 Comments

  1. In no particular order because I can’t do that: Glee, Pretty Little Liars, The L Word, Transparent, Scandal, One Day at a Time, Supergirl, Friends, This Is Us, and The L Word: Generation Q

  2. Yesss what a great list, so much of mine would be the same but the ones that I would have to include that aren’t here are Freaks and Geeks, Wonderfalls, Please Like Me, Black Sails and Halt and Catch Fire.

  3. Woah, to pick my top 10… gosh, I’ll go with things I can rewatch and never get tired from… in order on rememberance but not love
    Orphan Black
    Kipo and the age of wonderbeasts – it’s such a beautiful show
    – I almost wrote orphan black again-
    She-ra and the princesses of power
    Avatar the last airbender and the legend of korra – yes two as one, Korra is technically Aang
    Supergirl – I just makes me smile (could be my crush on melissa benoist)
    Invader Zim
    Rocket Power
    Sense8
    Skins – what is skins fire? Naomily for life
    The good place

    I really love cartoons and anime but I don’t have an anime I could call my favorite, I didn’t get to see most of them trhough the finale.

  4. 10. ALF
    9. Sense8
    8. The L Word
    7. The West Wing / Homeland
    6. Schitt’s Creek
    5. The Legend of Korra
    4. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
    3. Dickinson
    2. Orphan Black
    1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    It was surprisingly hard to pick ten… you can tell because I picked eleven.

  5. 1. Orphan Black. Love the relationships between the sestras. I keep forgetting they are all played by Tatiana Maslany rather than a separate actor for each character because that’s how good she is.
    2. Legends of Tomorrow. I love a ridiculous show that don’t take itself seriously.
    3. Wynonna Earp. It’s not that I hugely love the show, I like the show, but I love the cast and the fandom and the relationship between them.
    4. The Good Place. A comedy that punches up and has a good message.
    5. Sense8
    6. Sex Education
    7. Russian Doll
    8. Gentleman Jack
    9. One Day At A Time (Elena is the teenager I wish I’d been)
    10. You Me Her. Despite being about a throuple this feels like the most heteronormative show on my list, so it’s kind of a guilty pleasure.

  6. 10. Gravity Falls
    9. Steven Universe
    8. One Day at a Time
    7. Hilda
    6. Twelve Forever
    5. Sex Education
    4. The Legend of Korra
    3. Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
    2. Schitt’s Creek
    1. Avatar: The Last Airbender

    strong personal cartoon brand I guess

    This doesn’t include any of the dozens of reality shows I watch

  7. Heather, I’ve been waiting for your list specifically because of everyone on the TV team, your tastes line up best with mine. Sure enough, I’ve seen and loved almost everything on this list, and I guess I need to watch The Wire next!

  8. 6. The Secret World of Alex Mack (my root)
    5. Danger and Eggs (hella fun all-ages cartoon by a trans creator, sadly there’s only one season)
    4. The Muppet Show (I will die on this hill.)
    3. Veronica Mars (mostly s1 and s2, mixed on the movie and reboot)
    2. BoJack Horseman (mostly s2-s6)
    1. One Mississippi. (This one’s not hard at all. That show was perfect.)

  9. Orphan Black <3<3<3
    My list would also include Person of Interest and probably Warehouse 13.
    I still walk through a subway station, see a security camera and think about "The Machine" and Harold playing chess with it some days.
    Warehouse, while I don't forgive it for its ending (still haven't watched the last episode) it was full of found family, quirkyness and managed to instill magic into the every day.
    Xena would also make that list:Came for the subtext, stayed for the camp.

  10. Just starting with the ones that haven’t been mentioned:

    Wentworth – Consistently high quality prison drama over 6+ seasons. Puts OITNB to shame.

    Scott and Bailey – The first season in particular is a masterpiece or storytelling.

    Sense8 – Beautiful, diverse, moving and with an actual satisfying ending.

    Faking It – Just sheer joy. Cancelled far too soon.

    The Fall – Come for Gillian Anderson (heh), stay for brilliant writing and acting.

    Happy Valley – Sarah Lancashire needs every award going for her performance. A bit dark, but such high quality.

    The Good Wife – Kalinda.

    And of course…
    Pretty Little Liars
    Buffy
    Orphan Black

  11. I’m terrible at ranking things because I like things for different reasons, but my top ten list would contain:

    Pushing Daisies – Season 2 falls off the rails a bit (especially in terms of character development for Chuck), but it’s fun and quirky and wholesome, and the way Ned learns to accept love is just beautiful.

    Merlin – Season 1 was one of my favourite seasons of TV for a very, very long time. The way they end up showing these very heartfelt, delicate, open, and caring relationships between men who are supposed to be the manliest of men? The care that Merlin and Arthur have for each other? Kills me.

    Sense8 – Just watched this for the first time during quarantine and it blew my little mind. So clever! So gripping! It combined so many aspects of storytelling that I love.

    Grace & Frankie – Old women who are finding themselves, finding life and love and good sex? I can’t say that I’ve ever been scared to get older but this show has helped me see getting older in a new, really fun, light.

    Schitt’s Creek – Love me my Canadian media and there’s something so soothing about it. The one-liners? The sibling bantering? The caring and loving, and very unique, parents? Absolutely love it.

    Murder, She Wrote – I used to watch this with my grandma and just recently started re-watching it (parts with my mother and younger brother) and it still holds up. Jessica Fletcher cares about everyone she meets, she doesn’t judge anyone for their choices/how they live their life/etc, she’s willing to listen to people and try and see where they’re coming from, I could go on.

    One Day at a Time – Such a beautiful show that’s already been discussed here so I don’t need to say more.

    Russian Doll – The storytelling! The styling! Ugh. So. Damn. GOOD. I’m such a sucker for a perfectly told story and this one does that exceptionally well.

    Orphan Black – Tatiana Maslany is a queen. That’s it.

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