So much has changed since we first ranked all the Sci-Fi and Fantasy TV shows with lesbian/bisexual/queer and/or trans women and non-binary characters in them. The first time we ranked them, it was January 2020, back when “pandemic” was a word I only associated with these types of shows, back before the newest waves of TV cancellations… but it was also before Batwoman nearly tripled its queer characters, before shows like Haunting of Bly Manor and Willow were out yet, and before Riverdale entirely switched genres on us, thus qualifying it for consideration on this list. Almost 50 new shows qualified for the list, which means we had to make actual cuts! So, please know that this is not even close to a list of ALL sci-fi/fantasy shows, just our Top 100!
This new list had some unsurprising boots, like The Exorcist staying at the bottom of voting — like, fully 150 out of 150. Some that I was surprised didn’t make the cut (I personally would have put Jupiter’s Legacy in the top 100, but it ended up not making the list at all.) Even the Top 5 look different, because we have new contenders, as well as new members of the TV Team that switched up the order of things!
I left my original description below, because I over-explain my over-complicated point system, but I did want to reiterate two things:
+ Since this list is very unique to this website page, the TV Team’s vote heavily influenced the inclusions and rankings. So maybe there’s a gem that belongs on this list that just didn’t make the cut because no one on the TV Team has seen it yet. I encourage you to advocate for your faves (politely) in the comments!
+ This is just for fun, to celebrate our favorite queer shows, and have a list we can all use as a “To Watch” list when we’re out of queer sci-fi to watch. Please don’t fight with each other in the comments.
Also just an extra shout-out to Autostraddle TV Team members Nic, Natalie, and Shelli for helping me out with some of these blurbs this year!
This post was originally written in 2020 and updated/republished in 2023
From Doctor Who and Star Trek to Buffy and Wynonna Earp, sci-fi has been one of the more consistent places we, as queer people, have been able to find ourselves on TV over the past few decades. I think the reason is a combination of people who write sci-fi and fantasy already connecting with the “outsider” themes and therefore inherently include more minority groups, we Autostraddle outsiders sometimes being the ones writing said stories, and because it’s likely a little easier to pitch “also there are lesbians” when you’ve already been approved for “a woman sees herself jump in front of a train and then realizes she’s a human clone.”
Sci-fi and fantasy have always been my favorite genres, ever since I was a wee child watching Ghostwriter or Power Rangers. I liked the escape and the magic and the limitless possibilities, and I still do. So honestly even though I think this took longer than writing my final paper for grad school, I had a lot of fun doing this research and seeing how far we’ve come (and how far we’ve yet to go) when it comes to representation.
I had an overly complicated ranking system, and a very intense, annotated spreadsheet that was maybe entirely unnecessary, but helped me be sure I was putting as many FACTS into this list as I was heart. So while I used my own judgment for tiebreakers, to get a general idea of order, I awarded points as follows:
Every show got 0-3 points based on the quantity of queer women characters. (0 = throwaway lines/my dad wouldn’t have registered it as queer, 3 = more than one main character or 3+ queer characters over the course of the series.)
Then they got judged on quality, also on a 0-3 scale. (0 = a nameless witness mentions her wife while giving her account to the police and is never seen again, 3 = high-quality storyline, rich character development, no buried gays.)
I awarded one point for each of the following achievements: the show had a character on Carmen and Natalie’s Top 100 Queer and Trans Women of Color Television Characters in TV History (an update this year is coming for that list, too)! I could find an out queer and/or trans actor or writer with a reasonable amount of research, the show being critically acclaimed by mainstream critics, and the show being critically acclaimed by queerstream critics.
And maybe this will be controversial, but despite the fact that sci-fi is the first type of show to claim “everyone dies” in equal amounts, I still removed one whole point for every single dead queer female or non-binary character. Because we’re not at a point yet where it doesn’t count. The only time a dead queer woman did not count against a show is if their death didn’t mean they were no longer on the show. Since it’s sci-fi/fantasy we’re talking about here, often a person would die but their ghost would hang around, or they’d die but be resurrected; that’s fine. As long as the character is still on the show, I didn’t take away a point.
And finally, I had our TV Team here at Autostraddle give their faves a rating of 1-5, with the ability to give out twelve 10s. Because it doesn’t matter how perfect a story is on paper if actual queer people didn’t like or connect to it.
And before you Ctrl + F for She-Ra or Carmilla: I didn’t include cartoons because I think they belong in their own special category, and I only included original series produced by streaming services (aka Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, DCU, YouTube Premium originals) but not webseries, because those also would need a list of their own. Also this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the sci-fi/fantasy shows of all time that have ever had so much as a queer character, it’s just the top 100.
I would like to thank Riese’s exhaustive TV database for giving me a foundation to start on, Carmen and Natalie for giving me an idea for point structure, and sites like LezWatchTV, LGBT Fans Deserve Better, and Wikipedia for being invaluable sources of information, plus any help/input from friends (and my dad) I got along the way. Also shout out to the folks who keep fan wikis up to date, you’re the real MVPs.
I think those are all the caveats.
Oh wait, one more thing: This is for fun! While based on a fuckton of reading and watching and learning, and a lifetime of experience consuming sci-fi, this is a rating system I made up! While I feel like my hours of research and toiling makes for a fairly accurate list of 100, when it comes down to it, the difference between the #15 show and the #10 show could have just been how many people on the TV Team saw it. This is mostly a space to discuss all 100 of these times we’ve been represented in the genre. I do HIGHLY encourage you to make your case for why your favorite show should be higher on the list in the comments; just remember that this doesn’t actually have any bearing on anything besides our hearts, so please be kind to each other about it, okay? Sara Lance doesn’t keep coming back to life just so you can set each other on fire.
Okay, without further ado… the top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Shows featuring lesbian, bisexual, queer and/or trans characters OF ALL TIME!
100. Shadow and Bone (2021 to Present)
Based on Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy and Six of Crows duology, Shadow and Bone tells the story of Alina Starkhov, a cartographer in a war-torn world who discovers she has powers that have the potential to set her homeland free from darkness known as the fold. The show has been both praised and criticized for its diversity (yay!! BIPOC characters! Less yay…ignoring the book’s description of Jesper’s dark skin tone and Nina’s fatness in their casting choices), but there’s an implied and casual queerness to multiple characters that feels refreshing. Nina (a Squaller) mentions her attraction to Zoya in passing, Jesper’s sexual fluidity is merely a thing that exists, and while Alina’s season 1 love interest is a cis man, Jessie Mei Li (the out queer actress who plays her) doesn’t see why Alina wouldn’t be bisexual; and in fact, is with me in wanting Alina to explore her relationship with Genya! — Nic
99. Fantasy Island (2021 to Present)
As a reboot/sequel to a show my parents loved in the 70s and 80s, my expectations for this show were pretty low. But it blew them all out of the water. Not only does it have a Very Special Queer Episode that is better than most lesbian romance movies I’ve ever seen, one of the main characters is a woman who was married to a man who was her best friend but now that she got her fantasy of starting life over as a young woman, she is realizing she was hiding the truest part of herself; the part that loves women. So we get to see Rose explore this side of herself for the first time, and it truly is a magical thing to witness.
98. Archive 81 (2022)
While significantly less queer than the source material, Archive 81 is a haunting story of a man named Dan who uncovers a mystery while restoring damaged videotapes. Time seems to fold in on itself as new videos and clues are unearthed, and along the way we meet Melody, her queer ex-roommate Anabelle, and an elegant woman, Cassandra, hiding an illicit affair with the woman she pretended was her sister so they could live together, unbothered.
97. Warrior Nun (2020-2022)
Based on a graphic novel, this action-packed adventure about a secret faction of ass-kicking nuns, and the woman who finds herself their reluctant hero has a very passionate fanbase. Lesbian nun Beatrice falls in love with aforementioned hero, the bisexual Ava, and they embark on the slowest of slow burns while trying to save the world from an ancient evil. If you like angst and longing, this is the show for you.
96. Under the Dome (2013 – 2015)
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, this show explores the lives of people in a small town who find themselves trapped under a mysterious, invisible, inescapable dome. Amongst these people are wives Carolyn and Alice. Unfortunately neither of them make it out from under the dome alive, leaving their teen daughter Norrie a likely-very-traumatized orphan.
95. Limetown (2019 – Present)
Based on the spooky narrative podcast of the same name, Limetown follows lesbian journalist Lia Haddock as she tries to solve the mystery of an entire town that disappeared, in one of those every-answer-begs-more-questions type of situation. Lia has a girlfriend, and she may or may not have slept with her boss, Gina, played by Sherri Saum. It’s a creepy, disturbing tale (and Jessica Biel is a bit creepy and disturbing herself) so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is undeniably gay gay gay.
94. Light as a Feather (2018 – 2019)
A cheesy horror series — think “I Know What You Did Last Summer” meets “Final Destination” but with a PLL-esque cast — Light as a Feather focuses on a girl who lost her twin sister, a mysterious stranger, and a deadly sleepover game. One of the main girl’s best friends is a lesbian named Alex (of course), who may or may not have harbored feelings for the dead twin, but definitely got a girlfriend named Penny in Season 2. Unfortunately, the girlfriend ended up being evil and psychotic and crushed possibly to death (but possibly not??) but you can’t win ’em all.
93. Legion (2017 – 2019)
Legion took a character written for a man and cast Aubrey Plaza in it without changing a single thing, which gifted us with the magical chaos that is Lenny. Technically Lenny died a bunch of times but always came back in one way or another (not as a ghost though…this show is real weird, y’all) so who knows if she would have returned if the show continued on. She also had a relationship with a woman called Salmon, because, as I may have mentioned, this show is real weird. But Aubrey Plaza is truly a sight to behold and takes the weird to a whole new level in the most delicious ways.
92. Timeless (2016 – 2018)
Remember how Wishbone tried to teach you facts about history but also there was an ADORABLE DOG so you were actually paying attention? That’s sort of how I feel about Timeless. I learned so much (Hedy Lamarr was a legend, Google it) because instead of boring lectures, Abigail Spencer was dressing in period garb and teaching me through ACTION. The boss of this time travel operation was Agent Denise Christopher, who casually revealed at one point she had a wife and kids, and then sometimes those wife and kids would be on screen, and there was never a to-do about it. Except that one time Lucy and Jiya pretended to be lesbians named Cagney and Lacey to try to encourage young Christopher to come out to her mom and not go through with her arranged marriage. That was a to-do and a delight.
91. Y: The Last Man (2021)
While wading into transphobic territory on source material alone, Y: The Last Man does manage to have a few LGBTQ+ wins along the way. Included amongst its cast are lesbian and queer women like Allison Mann (Diana Bang), Beth DeVille (Juliana Canfield) and bi actor Olivia Thirlby as Hero Brown. Plus! The cast includes a few trans characters and actors, including but not limited to the wonderful Elliot Fletcher.
90. The Walking Dead (2010 – 2022)
This zombie apocalypse drama is a critical darling that is lower on our list than it would be a mainstream site’s because they have killed three of its five lesbians, including one named Tara, which frankly is just rude. Alisha and Denise also went the way of the Tara, and in the ninth season, the gang met up with girlfriends Magna and Yumiko, a leader and an archer respectively, who somehow managed to survive until the show’s eventual end.
89. The Boys (2019 – Present)
I like to describe this show as “what if superheroes were assholes.” It’s kind of The Magicians of the superhero world in that way; take a typically joyful and empowering genre and make it dark and twisty. The Boys imagines a world where the capitalism of Marvel Studios also involves the superpowered people themselves, and being a hero is a high-profile job, not an honor-bound duty. Queen Maeve is this show’s answer to Wonder Woman, casually stronger than all the boys but getting less respect. She’s jaded and broody and grumpy, and, much to my delight, gay. She has some issues with her on-again, off-again girlfriend though, and maybe a few more things to work out, but can she save her relationship and the world at the same time? :cue dramatic music:
88. Dracula (2013 – 2014)
This is another way you know I am not just arbitrarily making this order up because Dracula would be MUCH higher if I were. Katie McGrath was the picture of perfection as Lucy Westenra, harboring a soul-crushing love for her best friend Mina, knowing her feelings would probably never be returned. She learned to identify these feelings by way of Lady Jayne, who showed her what kissing girls is like, Cruel-Intentions-style. Lady Jayne was mercy-killed at the end of the WAY-TOO-SHORT run, because she’d rather be dust than a vampire, and technically Dracula killed Lucy, but SHE was totally down to be a vampire, and I will never, ever, ever forgive the TV gods for denying me at least one season of Vengeful Lesbian Vampire
K’tay McGrawww Lucy Westenra for as long as I live.
87. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (2022 – Present)
It looks like I might have to start lumping all the Star Treks together into one category like I had to do the American Horror Story franchise because though this is the first Star Trek installment on this list, it’s far from the last! Strange New Worlds is the newest addition to the long legacy of space adventures, though set in a time before some of the most famous adventures even began. The show features bisexual Nurse Chapel, non-binary Doctor Aspen, and also features IRL queer Broadway superstar Celia Rose Gooding, who uses they/she pronouns.
86. Manifest (2018 – Present)
Imagine if, on Lost, instead of landing on a mysterious island with smoke monsters in polar bears, the people on the plane landed back in their real life, but five and half years after their plane took off, despite it feeling like one (1) plane ride. That’s Manifest. There are visions and mysteries and someone killing the passengers off and it’s all rather exciting. One of the flight attendants, Bethany, was illegally transporting her (male)cousin’s boyfriend from Jamaica, where it is illegal to be gay, and also just trying to get home to her wife. In Season 2, we learn that Saanvi is queer and dating a woman. A married woman, but frankly that’s the least of her problems.
85. Now Apocalypse (2019)
Not unlike Legion in its what-the-fuckery, Now Apocalypse is confusing, interesting, and sometimes upsetting. This is also another show that has an everyone-is-queer vibe, with one of the main girls, Carly, saying that their generation has a much less binary view on sexuality and assumes everyone’s at least a little bit gay. There is a somewhat eye-rolly lesbian teacher/predator situation, but also an interesting exploration into an attempt at polyamory. Overall this weird trip has a very can’t-look-away vibe to it that is hard to peg as good or bad. (Which just goes to show how far having main/many queer characters and not killing any of them will get you on a list like this.)
84. American Horror Stories (2021 – Present)
Despite my best attempts to keep Ryan Murphy’s influence on this list down to one (1) entry, cutting off its head just caused a second one to grow. American Horror Stories, the AHS-themed anthology series, is hit or miss episode to episode, starting off with a bang in the form of a lesbian murderess and her ghost girlfriend. The second season features queer milkmaids in what stands out as one of the better episodes of the series.
83. Torchwood (2006 – 2011)
Torchwood, a Doctor Who spinoff about Captain Jack Harkness, takes the “everyone is queer” vibe and put it in ink — creators of the show have confirmed that everyone of any gender on Team Torchwood is queer, and we see at least five women bring that to life on screen. And I know 2008-2011 doesn’t sound like that long ago, but in Queer TV years, it’s practically a lifetime, so this was truly a unique situation. Not all of the queer women survive, but whew did we enjoy the timey wimey, wibbly wobbly ride.
82. Witches of East End (2013 – 2014)
A tale about a family of witches cursed to live and die a thousand lives without remembering the last, this show starred Jenna Dewan and Riverdale’s Mädchen Amick and I’m afraid part of the reason it went highly under appreciated was that it was on Lifetime. The matriarch of this magical family, Joanna Beauchamp, is revealed to have been in a relationship with (yet another) Alex, played by the illustrious Michelle Hurd. We get a glimpse into the domesticated life in the past and one post-baddie goodbye kiss and it sure is magical. (Side note: Bianca Lawson is also on this show. I believe her character drew from Bianca’s real life when she revealed how she stays eternally young.)
81. Firefly (2002 – 2003)
A cult classic, this one-season Joss Whedon space cowboy show made waves long after it was over, leaving us to wonder if Inara, the spaceship’s resident sex worker and confidante, could have explored relationships with women further if the show had continued on. As it stands, she takes on female clients occasionally, seemingly by choice and not out of necessity. She also seems to have a bit of a history with Julie Cooper Nichol, but that might be me projecting.
80. Star Trek: Picard (2020 – Present)
Oh hey look, another Star Trek! This entry into the franchise follows iconic character Jean-Luc Picard into retirement…and back out again. Picard has Jeri Ryan reprising her Voyager role, Seven of Nine, and introduces Raffi Musiker, played by Michelle Ryan. And in Season 2, the duo is a couple, albeit a bit of a rocky relationship sometimes, but complex and thoughtful overall. Gays in space, you love to see it.
79. Counterpart (2017 – 2019)
This timeline-hopping thriller follows Baldwin, a soft butch assassin, who is having a time of it; she feels her life is not her own, she watches her alternative timeline self die, she struggles to connect to the women she encounters, which makes sense because the risk of betrayal is always just around the corner in a world like hers. This show blurs the line of the Bury Your Gays trope, by killing of a queer character in one dimension but not the other, but overall it is unique representation that should not go uncelebrated.
78. The Librarians (2014 – 2018)
This campy, ridiculous show is like the bookish cousin of Warehouse 13 and Legends of Tomorrow. A spinoff of the movies starring Noah Wiley, the show follows a bunch of “chosen” nerds with special skills who have to save and protect magical objects. One of said nerds is Cassandra, a sweet, bubbly woman with an amazing brain, who once had a fairytale prince spell put on her, and another time had a tempting encounter with a vampire. It’s cheesy and magical fun all around.
77. Roswell, New Mexico (2019 – 2022)
There was a long time where I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on re: the queerness of this aliens-among-us reboot of the 90s show, but eventually they made it crystal clear that alien hottie Isobel is bisexual as heck, and the show proves that we don’t have to give some shows to the boys and some to the girls, but you can in fact have multiple main queer couples at the same time.
76. Defiance (2012 – 2015)
Jaime Murray is another actress who shows up in multiple shows on this list, but this is only one of two where she plays canon queer. (Though let’s be honest, Jaime Murray has chemistry with practically everyone like some kind of Katie McGrath.) In Defiance, she plays a quiet, obedient alien wife who has her eyes opened up to the world beyond her husband and starts to rebel in her own ways. One of which is by sleeping with
Jenny Schecter the madame at the local brothel, Kenya Rosewater. This show also boasts queer alien Doc Yewll, and while Kenya goes the way of Jenny in this show, overall it’s still a fun supernatural romp.
75. The Sandman (2022 – Present)
The Sandman lives up to its name, having a dream-like and nightmarish quality depending on the episode. With a combination of throughlines and vignettes, it follows the story of Morpheus, one of seven entities called the Endless. The Endless all seem to live outside humans’ limited concept of gender and sexuality, plus there is a healthy sprinkling of queer human characters throughout. Not all of them survive, but they’re all incredibly interesting, in my humble opinion.
74. Vagrant Queen (2020)
This SYFY space adventure was short-lived but not lacking in queer content. The sweet and bubbly pansexual alien Amae was a foil for grumpy and serious bisexual Elida as they made their way through space with their unlikely group of friends, and luckily the slow burn paid off before the show got sucked into the black hole of cancellations.
73. The Imperfects (2022)
Speaking of the black hole of cancellations, I’ll be forever salty this show only got one season. It has everything I love in a sci-fi romp: people discovering their powers and testing their limits, found family feels, a reluctant adultier adult who pretends to be annoyed by the youths but ends up feeling connected to them anyway. Plus, it gave us two queer characters of color: Abbi, who is asexual, and Hannah, who is cool with it. It would have been cool to get an entire season with those two as a couple, but what we do get is delightful and feels fresh and new. The cast also included non-binary Australian Rhys Nicholson, and Rekha Sharma who I don’t think is gay herself but she has played gay before, as recently as Roswell, New Mexico.
72. Caprica (2009 – 2011)
This Battlestar Galactica prequel did not last very long, despite having Buffy alum Jane Espenson at the helm for the first few episodes. And yet, in its one short season, it tackles topics like technology, religion, loss, and more. Clarice Willow — who Heather Hogan once described as “a psychotic bisexual Mommi” — has many husbands and wives, but despite living in a polytheistic community, is secretly a monotheistic terrorist. She even murders one of her own wives on suspicions that proved unfounded. It’s…a lot. But! Those who loved the show LOVED it, and those who love the Battlestar Galactica franchise but didn’t love it still accept it as the weird cousin they don’t really talk about at Thanksgiving.
71. The Shannara Chronicles (2015 – 2017)
Shannara is a rare mix of post-apocalyptic and high fantasy, not too dissimilar from Into the Badlands in that regard, but with more elves and magic. The opening scene in this show features an elven girl named Amberle running a blindfolded race intended only for men and winning it, so I was in from the start. Then they added bisexual rover Eretria, and though they killed her ex-girlfriend, she ended the series with a literal princess (played by Toni Topaz herself, Vanessa Morgan) by her side.
70. The Midnight Club (2022)
The Midnight Club is the first Mike Flanagan joint we’ll see on this list, but it sure won’t be the last. Maybe it’s because his wife is bisexual icon Kate Siegel and he just carries that bi wife energy into everything he makes, maybe he’s just a stand-up guy, but so far we have yet to go unrepresented in a show he’s produced with Netflix. The Midnight Club is an amalgamation and reimagination of some classic Christopher Pike tales, centering around a group of teenagers in a facility for end-of-life care, as they all have terminal illnesses. To entertain themselves, they have a club not unlike Are You Afraid of the Dark’s Midnight Society, where they take turns telling each other stories. Some of these stories have queer vibes, and one of the patients is the resident rich kid with a good heart that everyone suspects might be a pathological liar, Cheri, confides to the other gay resident, Spencer, that she’s gay, too, in a rare, earnest moment.
69. For All Mankind (2019 – Present)
This what-if imagining of a future where the space race was more diverse and neverending, this addition to the queer canon is one of the newest shows on the list. Set in the late 60s/early 70s, Ellen the astronaut (played by Jodi Balfour from Bomb Girls) can’t exactly reveal to NASA that she is a lesbian who used to date Pam the bartender. Instead she finds herself a beard (a gay man himself, because the best beards are mutual beards) and shoots for the stars.
68. American Horror Story (2011 – Present)
Watch on Netflix // Watch on Hulu
I know that technically each season of American Horror Story is kind of like its own show, but they’re always at least a little bit queer, and I didn’t want 1/10 of this entire list to be filled up by Ryan Murphy, so I smooshed them together. The shows range in quality, both on a large scale and on a queer scale, but every time Lana Winters survives another decade of chaos, a lesbian
reporter angel gets her wings. Because despite having upwards of 25 LGBTQ+ characters to date, they also come in at the highest kill rate with a whopping 15 dead queers. And honestly I could have missed some, I just grew weary from counting. Everyone has their favorite season of AHS, but as far as queer people go, Murder House (a classic fave, the first), Hotel (hello, Gaga), and Coven (a Stevie Nicks music video, a lesbian witch’s fever dream, and a haunted walking tour had an orgy in New Orleans, what’s not to love?) tend to trend as favorites. Also a shout-out to Asylum, because even though it was far from kind to our gal Lana, she was the Final Girl in the end.
67. Heroes (2006 – 2010)
Save the cheerleader. Save the world. Even if you never watched Heroes, you’ve probably heard this phrase, because this ominous tagline was so pervasive while this show about ordinary people with extraordinary abilities became popular. We find out in later seasons that the cheerleader in question, Claire, is bisexual, which we learn via a kiss from her roommate (during sweeps week, of course) and a hand-holding that implied things could have gone places if the show hadn’t ended.
66. Naomi (2022)
Everything’s seemingly idyllic for Naomi McDuffie in Port Oswego until it isn’t. She’s got two loving and supportive, adoptive parents, a true “ride or die” best friend, and friends that are down for whatever. But then Superman appears and does battle with an enemy above the town square and it’s clear: everything Naomi thought she knew was in doubt. Naomi discovers that superheroes and aliens exist, beyond the pages of the comic books she covets, and — to her great dismay — she could be one of them.
An adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, Naomi is brought to the small screen by Ava DuVernay and Jill Blankenship. The adaptation expands Naomi’s world to include Lourdes, the queer owner of the local comic book shop, who wants to be more than just friends with Naomi. But even the show’s A-list creator and lush visuals couldn’t save Naomi from the CW’s Red Wedding and it was canceled after just one season. — Natalie
65. Utopia Falls (2020)
Utopia Falls is like if Hunger Games and High School Musical had a strange, futuristic baby. Set in a world where different sectors send teenagers to compete in a high-stakes talent show, the show also uncovers long-kept secrets, including but not limited to a bunker full of archives of long-forgotten music. Hilariously, the AI voice of this archive is Snoop Dogg. Two of the contestants are Brooklyn 2 and Sage 5, despite being each other’s competition, the two girls also start to develop feelings for each other. Which is how I imagine all real competition shows go.
64. Midnight Mass (2021)
Mike Flannagan is back! The time with his wife, bisexual actress Kate Siegel, as the leading lady, Erin. This dark and twisty tale is a stunning take-down of Christianity, and a thoughtful inspection of life and death, all with a supernatural twist. It could be equal parts triggering and cathartic for someone raised Catholic, and overall it’s a very compelling story. The canon queer in question here is Sarah Gunning, played by Annabeth Gish, who is the local doctor and Erin’s best friend.
63. Arrow (2012 – 2020)
If we were judging shows only on their most recent seasons, Arrow would be much lower on this list, but we’re looking at the whole sum of these shows, and when it comes down to it, this DC-comics-based vigilante show gave us Sara Lance, so we are forever in its debt. Sara and her assassin girlfriend Nyssa al Ghul came to us by way of Arrow Season 2, and they were dark and tense and a bit star-crossed, and it was beautiful. Sara died a few times but it never stuck, and she ended up being so compelling she got her own spinoff, while Nyssa stayed back and hung out with Sara’s sister Laurel for a while, eventually training the future Green Arrow. (And, most importantly, staying alive.)
62. Lucifer (2015 – 2021)
For a show that could have very easily crossed the line from “a bisexual demon” to “demonizing bisexuality,” Lucifer earned its spot in the Top 100 by never treading those dangerous waters, and in fact compensating for any qualms about that by pairing up the demon Mazikeen (aka Maze) with Eve. Yes, THAT Eve. Their story was heartfelt and touching and not just a lusty corruption tale; there was real, deep love and a few tender moments that really sunk their cloven hooves into my heart.
61. Vampire Academy (2022 – Present)
In the latest remake of the popular book series, Vampire Academy follows vampire royalty Lissa Dragomir and her bodyguard-in-training, best friend and (supposedly platonic) soulmate Rose. While, at first glance, it might seem like Lissa and Rose are in love, but it turns out while their is the main love story, they are strictly best friends. This television adaptation does give us some some queer vampires though, including Mia, who also has two vampire dads. Despite her desire for upward mobility in the social ranks, Mia ends up falling for a guard, Meredith, and learning illegal battle magic just to protect her.
60. Peacemaker (2022 – Present)
On paper, Peacemaker is not the kind of show that one might expect would show up on this list. John Cena as a beefy, dim-witted man who loves to smash in every sense of the word. A Suicidie-Squad-themed show with no Harley Quinn in sight. But as it turns out, there’s a character in the main cast of this show that makes it extremely up our alley. Danielle Brooks’ character Leota Adebayo is a lesbian, and easily the best part of the show. Out of her element, and constantly either making hilarious missteps or saying out loud what the audience is thinking, she’s an amazing addition to this cast, and with important (spoilery) ties to the main plot. She has a wife, Keeya, played by Elizabeth Faith Ludlow and they are downright adorable.
59. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993 – 1999)
I don’t have to tell you about Star Trek. You know about Star Trek. But in case you didn’t know THIS about Star Trek, I will tell you that Jadzia Dax and Lenara Kahn have this heartbreaking, forbidden love type of story and really stunning Trill markings. Trills have this whole symbiont/host situation where it’s illegal to associate with their hosts past lovers, or their past hosts lovers, it’s a whole thing. What’s fun about this is that Trills change their bodies’ genders all the time, which maybe makes them all the genders? Or gender-fluid at the very least. It’s not explored all that explicitly as far as gender identity, but these two Trills find themselves drawn to each other despite it being against the law and despite them currently being in two female bodies and it being 1995.
58. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2014 – 2020)
I’ll be perfectly honest with you, Agents of Shield had exactly one (1) point for being critically acclaimed, and the rest of its points that got it to the 60th position came from TV Team points. Because it’s a compelling, action-packed show, with some seasons better than others, but they don’t have much to report on re: queer women. Victoria Hand and Isabelle Hartley were queer in the comics, but that was never mentioned in the show, and even if you count them, they both died pretty quickly. And Sk’Daisy and Simmons should have kissed decades ago, it seems. Briana Venskus as Piper and Jolene Anderson’s Olga Pachinko seem to be the closest things we have to alive representation.
57. Legacies (2018 – 2022)
The Originals was a gayer spinoff of The Vampire Diaries, and Legacies is an even gayer spinoff of that spinoff. (It’s also, generally, lighter and funnier despite occasionally harking back to its emotional ancestors.) Set in a boarding school for supernatural teens, everyone is queer and
nothingeverything hurts. Witches Josie and Penelope were the couple to watch out for in Season 1, then witch-werewolf-vampire tribrid Hope and Josie keep mentioning their past crushes on each other despite them both having current feelings for the same boy, and eventually Josie found a new wolf to
56. American Gods (2017 – 2021)
You know you want to watch a show where a goddess occasionally devours her lovers via her vagina, right? No? Well, that’s what this show has. Bilquis is a goddess who will seduce any gender she pleases to turn them into her worshipers, on this show where New Gods and Old Gods live in America to wreak their havoc (or the opposite of that.) This show also features a guest appearance by queer, Indigenous actress Devery Jacobs plays two-spirited, Indigenous Sam Black Crow.
55. Siren (2018 – 2020)
If you, like me, are horny for mermaids, or thirsty for poly triad representation, this is the show for you. In a world where a town’s mermaid folklore proves to be based in reality, and the mermaids in question tend to be murdery, Siren somehow balances a mythical mystery, a PSA on the dangers of overfishing, and an endearing throuple between a man, a woman, and a mermaid who is learning how to live on land.
54. Mr. Robot (2015 – 2019)
If you have a thing for quintessential disaster lesbians, this show is for you. Amidst the hacktivism and corruption and conspiracies of the show at large, there is an FBI Agent named Dominique DiPierro who seems so smooth when she’s on the job but is immediately disarmed by Darlene when she asks her what her type is, and later, when she’s in her apartment and starting to make moves. It’s all very relatable. The show is dark and gritty and there is deception and trust issues but maybe these two crazy kids could make it work. Side note, trans actress Eve Lindley appears in four episodes in season four, and her character’s name is Hot Carla, which honestly is #goals.
53. Santa Clarita Diet (2017 – 2019)
I never thought I liked zombie-themed things, but when things like Anna and the Apocalypse added queerness and humor to the mix, I thought twice about my zombie ban. In the second season of Santa Clarita Diet, out queer actress Natalie Morales plays Deputy Anne, who starts dating her dead police partner’s widow, Lisa. They are funny and important to the plot and, despite how many brains got nibbled on over the course of the series, still alive.
52. Stitchers (2015 – 2017)
Stitchers imagined a world where a woman with a unique brain chemistry could be “stitched” into newly dead bodies and relive their last memories to help solve their murders. A fascinating concept, brought to life by the main character’s coworker and roommate Camille, a sarcastic, hilarious computer scientist who later reveals herself to be bisexual. She talks about her queerness in that frank, explicit way we don’t see on TV nearly often enough, and her eventual romance with Amanda, played by real life queer actress Anna Akana, was breathtaking (but not literally, which is something I feel has to be said on a list like this.)
51. Into the Badlands (2015 – 2019)
In this post-apocalyptic world, society is split into factions, and only the strongest survive. With magical abilities as an undercurrent, this show was a combination of stunning visuals and battle scenes that could be mistaken for a ballet. One of the main characters, Tilda, a baby assassin who is ready to grow into her own person, falls for a sex-worker-turned-assassin named Odessa. Just two little Butterflies in love. (The assassins were called Butterflies…hence the caption above.) Eventually the two part ways, Odessa moving on to date a fellow assassin named Mercy, and overall their storyline didn’t feel like it got the closure it deserved, but it was nice while it lasted.
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To be fair, they kill of their straights too. And their main characters, but those just keep on coming back.
But I will never ever forgive them for Charlie.
I know!! Root even reads Flowers for Algernon and Bear chews on Isaac Asimov books.
The random crime procedural that goes classic sci fi and explores the nature of humanity through a lovable AI and a bunch of literal misfits.
I’d vote to sub in PoI for The Good Place tbh.
I was just coming to make this comment!
I’ve thought about it for a moment and I realized who I am to say what’s what: Xena debuted in 1995 and The Good Place debuted in 2016. I love TGP, but I guess I just expect more now.
Yup. The picture used for Doctor Who is I think one of my favourite scene from all of Who. The door opens and the first thing Vastra says is : “Good evening. I’m a lizard woman from the down of time, and this is my wife.”, and then in the same episode I also fell in love with Clara Oswald, literally. So it meant the world to me when she was finally shown unequivocally bi later on. Even if only through speech.
Timelords are totally genderqueer. Missy was brilliant too.
I agree about the 100. The lack of labels and sexual orientation being a total none issue was so freeing. Lexa meant a lot to me and I had big issues with that show generally and her death isn’t even what I give the show the more grievance about.
In the end, I ended up more traumatized by the (online) assault I was a victim of by a queer person (most likely wlw since : lexa) later on, after posting a comment on what I thought of the way the show had handled the romance.
I was disappointed, but not really surprised. POI is an incredibly tech-y show, more so than most other pop culture sci fi (which tends to be more futuristic), and tech-y is not something this site caters to.
At least not anymore
Person of Interest has one of the most epic queer romances I’ve ever seen on a sci-if show!
Yeah, they do seem to like soaps here, but in a list explicitly about SFF?
It’s just baffling.
Have to agree with you here. Root’s alive.
Where’s Motherland: Fort Salem. One of the better queer love stories that I have seen and not a bad storyline either to back it up.
Great suggestion, I had completely forgotten about 3%. I think that not a lot of people know about that show, though, and even less are aware that they now have a lesbian storyline. I was surprised when they actually went with that storyline, but I liked it. I think that Joana is a very interesting character. I really hope that there’s going to be another season.
Is a period drama. But if the TARDIS shows up… *fingers crossed*
Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!!
It is one of the best sci-fi shows that has ever been on TV. Sure, it’s “contemporary” and all that, but we still don’t have any sentient AISes.
Root is just 100% gay. Shaw is awesomely bi. They have a fantastic thing with each other. And there’s even kinky rep, ffs.
None of the other characters bat the slightest eye at their relationship once they realise what’s going on – other than perhaps silently speculate a bit on what kind of bizarro stuff might go on when no-one’s looking (personally, I’m sure Harold’s desk got some action). But they acknowledge it IS going on.
They both have rich stories, Shaw is literally the last character we see on screen (and she’s a WOC), they have great character arcs, they drive plot.
Not to mention the very relevant storyline of the surveillance state and surveillance capitalism – in fact, after Cambridge Analytica and so on, it’s even more relevant.
What else do we need for this show to be appreciated in these “best of” lists?
I was so disappointed, honestly. Scrolling thru thinking “ok, great, it must be in the top 20! well-deserved!” … and then it wasn’t. Some good choices in the top 10 – yay Killjoys and Orphan Black, etc.
But this is a really strange omission.
Yes to both!
Exactly! I am blinking my eyes still in disbeluef that Root and Shaw are not on the list! At first I thought I was not seeing well….
I love lists and particular your TV lists.
I had to take a pause on Dickinson but can’t disagree with your opinion.
My pick not listed is a french one, Les Revenants. Absolutely amazing.
Mr Robot is my favourite show of all time, so very happy to see it on here! At first it seems simply to be a show about taking down capitalism by way of hacktivism, and it is, but there is so much more depth and complexity to it than that – at its core, it’s a show about finding connection and healing from childhood trauma in a world which in so many ways is structured to alienate and to be traumatic in and of itself. Just absolutely beautiful.
And yes, very dark and gritty so absolutely look up trigger warnings before starting. There’s a lot in it that triggers me so I have to be in the right mindset and prepared before watching. I do have some criticisms of their queer representation (of which there is a lot – half of the main characters), but nothing too egregious (though others may feel differently).
Also little note – Eve Lindley/Hot Carla is in S3, not S4.
Perhaps a more succinct way to describe Mr Robot would be to say its a real examination of both personal and systemic trauma and the intersections between the two.
I have added *a lot* of shows to my to watch list! I use an app called Just Watch which tells you what streaming services shows are available on (I am in the UK so they are different) and did get a bit confused a few times when certain shows gave me pictures of me!
*men, not me!
Immensely pleased that Batwoman and Buffy are resting in the top 3 where they belong. AMAZING WORK TEAM!!! I know this is a ton of labor to figure out and put together and you all are simply too good to us <3
There are so many things about this list that make me super happy, including how high Runaways and Paper Girls made it. But the surprise that most warmed my heart was the call-out of how cannon Skimmons should have been. (I may never be over it.)
Now I just really hope the rest of Willow lives up to its begining. Ngl, the cliffhanger at the end of episode 6 is a rough time to have caught up with the show’s release schedule.
jesus christ has the CW’s acquisition by a flock of reactionaries been a disaster for queer genre fare. 4 of the top 13 just from the Beeboverse and depth for days.
I have a soft spot for a low-budget 1984 kids’ sci-fi miniseries from New Zealand called Children of the Dog Star. The main character is Gretchen, a 12-year-old staying with her aunt and uncle for the summer. She’s interested in astronomy and dreams of going into space, prefers helping her uncle with the farm machinery to helping her aunt in the kitchen, and firmly tells the aunt that she hasn’t packed any dresses to wear. She teams up with two misfit boys, one a a Māori tearaway and the other a shy Pākehā birdwatcher with a stressful home life, to solve an alien mystery. It’s possible that the character is deliberately coded as a kid who’ll grow up to be lesbian, bi or ace, but more likely that she’s meant to be ‘just’ a hetero tomboy; still, I really appreciate the show’s matter-of-fact presentation of a little girl who breaks stereotypes.
I vaguely remember that show. Something about an alien artifact that was separated into three pieces.
I wish this was more widely available – apparently a DVD edition was released several years ago but it appears to be out of print.
(And the one copy of it on eBay is over £80, even before postage. Eep.)
I could easily imagine myself as Madame Vastra from Doctor Who; also, I will always want to look up at the face of M from Motherland looking at mine (that goes for Ess too)
for anyone interested in that star trek deep space nine listing, lenara kahn shows up for exactly one episode; called rejoined, it’s Entirely worth watching, even as a standalone.
jadzia dax is a recurring character who gets killed off at the end of season 6 in truly the stupidest way possible, but because of the whole symbionts thing, we get ezri dax, who is also definitely queer, even if the showrunners didn’t realize it. also, shoutout to kira nerys for being the best 90s butch lesbian ex freedom fighter turned not-starfleet commander (her planet doesn’t join the federation, so it’s their local equivalent)
Rejoined is one of my favorite DS9 episodes!!! I always liked that Jadzia came off queer throughout the series because she has existed as both a man and a woman.
Love this list, but did Yellowjackets not make it on here? (please correct me if I’ve missed it!)
I actually couldn’t think of hard proof that Yellowjackets is supernatural at all! So far it just seems mysterious and culty! But believe me, the second we find out there’s a possession demon or something, it’s being added haha
I know the article is on fantasy/sci-fi TV shows with lesbian, bi, and queer characters, but I was also hoping the list could have included more fantasy/sci-fi TV shows with trans characters. Along those lines, I would have liked to have seen Babylon 5 included somewhere in this article’s list. I am a trans woman, and I find it fairly easy to interpret the character of Ambassador Delenn from this show in a trans feminine kind of way. Also, this show is from the 1990s, which makes its positive portrayal of Delenn that much more unexpected and endearing.
I apologize, I meant to post about this article and Babylon 5 separately and not as a response to another post! Oops!
Babylon 5 was actually in the Top 100 the first time around, but with the new additions it ended up getting bumped to like 120 this time so it didn’t make the cut.
Yellowjackets ne faisant pas partie du genre fantastique ou/et science fiction, je pense que ça doit être pour ça qu’elle n’y figure pas.
I CANNOT believe Star Trek DS9 made it to 59 on this list… that episode, if you watch it entirely, was actually not in any way shape or form something I’d ever want to have included in a Best Of list!
I love that after all these years and all these queers, Willow and Tara still come out as Number 1. And truthfully, of the 100 or so the shows on this list that I’ve actually watched, of all the pairings I’ve loved (Nomi & Amanita, Dani & Jamie) none come quite close enough to what Willow & Tara had and represented on our screens.
Great list, once you hit the Top 50. Picked up a few recommendations I’d not heard of having queer love included so my thanks for that!
Great list! #SaveWarriorNun we need another season.
Where are Wren and Haniwa from “See”?
I disagree with Buffy being no.1 just purely because if it wasn’t for Xena Warrior Princess paving the way then we wouldn’t have had Willow and Tara in Buffy. I’m not saying Xena should be no.1 (though in my mind it is no.1 cause its my favourite TV program), im just saying that Buffy should have been lower down than Xena Warrior Princess.
I’m surprised Babylon 5 didn’t make the list. The scene with Talia Winters and Susan Ivanova was pretty groundbreaking for mid 90s sci-fi. It was right there with Buffy & Xena IMO.
“One of the teenagers, KJ, is surprised (but also not surprised) to find her adult self happily canoodling with her college girlfriend, and has to wrestle with the fact that the big gay feelings she has been fighting off in her own lil gay body won’t go away with time, and also face the fact that there might be a world where she can be both gay…and happy.”
This was one of the best parts in Paper Girls, and it was so very healing. Thanks for including this!
Where is Gentleman Jack?? The true telling of a lesbian in the early 1800s married and moved her wife into her ancestral home??? Seriously?
this is a sci-fi and fantasy list, my friend!
I’d love to see a top action list.
Maybe a strong queer female character list.
I hate romance/drama shows but want to find more queer shows.