The 100 Best Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Shows of All Time

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 go to) 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 judgement for tiebreakers, to get a general idea of order, I awarded points as follows:

Every show got 0-3 points based on 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, 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 crirics.

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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 ten 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. The Exorcist (2016 – 2017)

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Katherine Rance

Katherine Rance. Love 2 b tortured 4 being gay.

This show practically snuck in on a technicality, because if it wasn’t for out actress Brianna Hildebrand being cast in Season 2, it might have been beaten out by something else. Because to be honest, The Exorcist’s lesbian storyline isn’t…great. Season 1 follows the story of a teenage girl, Katherine Rance, whose family believes is possessed when at first it seems really she’s just depressed that her girlfriend Julia died. Which she did. After a heartbeat of screentime. But here the show is, because technically it had a queer main character, and hey at least SHE survived.

99. Krypton (2018 – 2019)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on SyFy

Nyssa-Vex and Araame

Nyssa-Vex and Araame. I wonder if Sara Lance knows Kara Danvers has a relative named Nyssa

This is another show that only really made the list because their queer character was in the main cast. Nyssa-Vex was a main character, in all 20 episodes of the series, but her ex-girlfriend Araame (who apparently cheated on her in their relationship that happened entirely before the events of the show) got shot to death. That said, Nyssa-Vex was a fierce warrior, and would eventually become Superman’s grandmother, so I’m not too mad at her being on the list of badass bisexuals.

98. Supernatural (2005 – Present)

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charlie from supernatural

Charlie. Maybe go watch her lick an egg in The Magicians instead.

This is probably the lowest Supernatural has ever been on anyone’s TV list, given that it’s been around for 900 years (okay fine 15 seasons), but they sure like to kill off their queer characters. There was Jenna Nickerson, who got killed by a demon baby. Then Lily Baker and her girlfriend, because Lily killed her girlfriend by accident, and then eventually was hanged by a demon. But their saving grace was Charlie. Even though she only appeared on 11 of the 327 episodes, and even though she got hella dead, Felicia Day’s charm really stood out. Even when she wasn’t kissing fairies. An alternate reality version of her came back to the show for a bit, but all in all, with the sheer quantity of episodes, you’d think we’d have more to report re: queer female characters on this show.

97. The Last Ship (2014 – 2018)

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Lt. Alisha Granderson

Lt. Alisha Granderson. Get a girl whose face lights up like this when she mentions you. (But don’t kill her later.)

Lt. Alisha Granderson made it four and a half whole seasons being a lesbian on a sci-fi/post-apocalyptic show, taking charge and taking names, before she ultimately met her end at the hands of her girlfriend, Kelsi. Alisha realized Kelsi was a baddie so Kelsi stabbed her to death. Kelsi made it sound like her feelings for Alisha were real, but that doesn’t really matter much now. Kelsi ended up dying too, and while I promise eventually we’ll get to shows that haven’t killed 100% of their queer characters, but I will warn you that literally 40 of our 100 shows have at least one Bury Your Gays offense.

96. Hemlock Grove (2013 – 2015)

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Clementine holds destiny's boob

Clementine Chasseur and Destiny Rumancek. There’s a 60% chance it’s raining right now.

One thing I noticed while doing this research was that sometimes an actor has a BEAT. For example, Kandyse McClure, who plays Clementine Chasseur on Hemlock Grove, is on like 10 shows on this list alone. Unfortunately, Clementine also has the distinct pleasure of having her skin eaten off her body and then suffocated to be put out of her misery. She was focused and serious and kept people at arm’s length, emotionally. Clementine sought out Destiny, a fortune-teller, for some answers, and they shared an intense spiritual connection that lead to a physical connection. Though after their…connection was over, Clementine left money to ensure Destiny knew it was nothing more than sex. Unfortunately Destiny was eventually murdered too; but while she lasted, she was a strong, loyal woman who would do anything to protect the people she cared about.

95. The I-Land (2019)

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Blair from I-Land

Blair and her wife. Ooh, heaven is a place on–WAIT.

Black Mirror meets Lost in this widely-hated Netflix miniseries, but hey they had a lesbian character (Blair, who does doing her best Mary Kills People impression, which is what landed her in the prison simulation) and they didn’t kill her, so here we are, in a respectable (?) 97th place. (And actually the flashback they gave her where she remembered she had a wife was very sweet and cute.)

94. Dominion (2014 – 2015)

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Dominion Uriel and Arika

Arika and Uriel. Unfortunately wing-sex is only in the bonus Blu-Ray content.

This show has true love and fake love, queer humans and archangels, deception and WINGS. Technically Uriel dies between Seasons 1 and 2, but it happens off-screen, so it’s not AS terrible as it could have been? And Akira is still quite queer and in love (for real this time) with a nurse named Daria. It’s a strange, fantastical show, but I have mentioned the wings.

93. Dante’s Cove (2004 – 2007)

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Van from Dante's Cove

Van. At first I thought I accidentally found a gay porn parody of Dante’s Cove by accident but then I realized Dante’s Cove IS a gay porn parody.

A truly bonkers supernatural soap opera, what’s unique about Dante’s Cove is that it was a made up of largely LGBTQ+ characters, and a good number of the actors were queer, too. However, it was mostly centered around men, and since it was whackadoo, a lot of the characters ended up dying. This show had a whopping five queer women on it, and my favorite of the three deaths was listed on Riese’s Dead Character List was, and I quote, “killed by the shadows.”

92. Hex (2006 – 2007)

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Thelma and Maya Kiss

Thelma and Maya. I like to think that all our dead lesbians are living post-mortem happy ever afters…

Hex starts out by turning the tropes on its head — technically the lesbian dies, but she ends up staying on in a huge capacity as a ghost for the rest of the series. She does eventually get a ghosty girlfriend so she can stop invading her roommate’s dreams to get her rocks off, though that doesn’t end particularly well for anyone involved. But in the meantime this show has British accents, boarding school, witches, fallen angels, and so much more.

91. The Expanse (2015 – Present)

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Rev. Dr. Anna Volodov and her wife Nono facetimeing

Rev. Dr. Anna Volodov and her wife Nono. What if all the sci-fi universes are linked and this is just another version of purgatory for Juliet Burke?

This out-of-this-world adventure series (see what I did there) has already lost one queer character, though to be honest they didn’t do a great job of declaring her queerness; if it wasn’t for Julie Mao’s dating profile, we may have never known she identified as pansexual. Unfortunately she died in the Massacre of 2016, along with too many other queer characters. Season Three, however, boasted Elizabeth Mitchell as Reverend Doctor Anna Volodov, who has a wife, and is still alive. Small victories.

90. Swamp Thing (2019)

Watch on DC Universe

Liz Tremayne and Margaux stand next to each other

Liz Tremayne and Margaux. I don’t know the survival rate of lesbians in the swamp so maybe this show’s cancellation was for the best.

This short-lived DC venture didn’t quite make it to Arrow-status but it did gift us Liz Tremayne, intrepid reporter, and her girlfriend, Margaux, a shrimp fisherwoman. They are cute, and I would say it was a shame it got cancelled before people could get a handle on how even to watch things on the DC Universe website, but Jennifer Beals was in that show, and we all know she’s moved on to better things now.

89. Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (2017 – 2018)

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Sarah and Katie sit relaxed on a couch together

Sarah and Katie. Where’s the VR game I can play that gets me into THIS scenario?

It’s always nice when an anthology series thinks of us, and in this case one of the ten episodes of this series has Anna Paquin, known bisexual, playing a woman with PTSD whose wife gets her a virtual reality simulator to help her through it. However, the character she becomes in this VR world, George, thinks HE’S in the simulator and that the woman, Sarah, is the character. Hello, existential crisis, nice to see you again.

88. Ghost Wars (2017 – 2018)

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Val and Marilyn McGrath-Dufresne kiss with coffee in hand

Val and Marilyn McGrath-Dufresne. “Good morning, hope our kids don’t invoke any evil spirits today!”

In this short-lived venture, Beck from Victorious investigates supernatural happenings in a creepy-ass town. Wives Marilyn and Val become reluctant believers when their daughters get tangled up in the ghosty goings-on and they have to do everything they can to save their family. This is one of those instances where on paper this seems ideal, but considering the show was cancelled after one season, and no one on the TV team saw it, I’m not sure it hit audiences the way it hoped.

87. Falling Water (2016 – 2018)

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Alexis Simms (Gigi from Gen Q) and Christy in bed together

Alexis and Christy. :cue Halsey: Everything was blue.

As someone who often has vivid or lucid dreams, this show as a bit of a trip for me. Strangers have trippy, realistic dreams about each other, and about horrible things, and they have to figure out how to use this power to their advantage. Alexis and her girlfriend Christy were the lady-kissers in this series, and FUN FACT Christy was played by Sepideh Moafi aka Gigi from Generation Q. Trans actress Pooya Mohseni also pops up in three episodes as Dr. Duria.

86. Dark Angel (2000 – 2002)

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Original Cindy and Diamond walk in a dark alley

Original Cindy and Diamond. I know it was called Dark Angel but would it have killed them to go into the sunlight now and then?

A few years after Buffy arrived in Sunnydale, Jessica Alba cartwheeled onto the scene as Max. By her side from day one was Original Cindy, the funny, no-nonsense best friend, who never shied away from making it clear she was a lesbian. Add to it that she was a woman of color, and Original Cindy is probably more groundbreaking than we give her credit for. That said, her only on-screen love interest, Diamond, was in one episode before she was killed off, but 20 full years ago, the creators of the show fought through two actresses dropping out and network push-back to ensure Original Cindy stayed a lesbian, so I have to give them credit for that.

85. Van Helsing (2016 – Present)

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Vanessa holds Susan's hand

Vanessa Helsing and Susan. “There, there, I know it’s upsetting that our vampires are more like zombies.”

One way you know this list isn’t 100% just me picking an order arbitrarily is because if it were, Van Helsing would be mysteriously missing. But that’s just because I’m a vampire snob and this show’s “vampires” follow practically none of the established vampire lore on my favorite TV shows. And also because they made their title character queer then killed the friend she kissed, Susan, not too long after. However, the lead is still bisexual, which is not nothing, and she’s still a sort of vampire slayer I GUESS, and there are still two lesbians left alive in this canon, Doc and her girlfriend Carol.

84. Babylon 5 (1994 – 1998)

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Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters. sit at a bar

Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters. For some reason this screenshot makes me want them to host Weekend Update on SNL.

Starting in 1994 makes this one of the earliest shows on the list, so I’m honestly impressed it’s here at all. (Though, its first episode has a woman running for president of Earth against the male incumbent, and she lost to the man whose campaign promised to “preserve Earth cultures in the face of growing non-terran influences” so it may have been ahead of its time.) It’s considered a “space opera,” aka my new favorite phrase, and featured a nice slow burn between Talia Winters and Susan Ivanova. These fierce ladies passed the Bechdel Test the first day they met, which in 1994 And though eventually Talia’s personality was wiped, ending their relationship, their love (and the fanvids) will live on forever.

83. For All Mankind (2019)

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Ellen Waverly and Pam Horton lie in bed together

Ellen Waverly and Pam Horton. Oh, Princess! If Betty McRae could see you now!

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.

82. Nightflyers (2018 – 2019)

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Lommie and Melantha lie in bed

Lommie and Melantha Jhirl. :sings: Twooo flyers at night. Nightflyers delight.

A lesser-known adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s writing, Nightflyers is classic “let’s go find aliens, oh shit we found aliens” kind of story. Our queer friends in this are genetically enhanced cadet Melantha Jhirl and Lommie, a gender-fluid cyber technician who would rather port into computers than interact with humans, which is, frankly, relatable. Their relationship is short-lived, not unlike the show itself, but both were main characters and neither of them died, giving them the boost they needed to get to this position in the list.

81. Shadowhunters (2016 – 2019)

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Helen and Aline kiss at a wedding

Helen and Aline. What a beautiful wedding, what a beautiful wedding says a bridesmaid to a waiter.

Shadowhunters is the classic coming-of-age tale of a girl who discovers not only are supernatural creatures real but also she IS one. It’s also one of those shows where it seems like no one is entirely straight, and also no one is entirely human. It clocks four total queer women Aline Penhallow, Helen Blackthorn, Ollie Wilson, and Samantha. Both couples get a relatively happy ever after; Aline and Helen discussing their future wedding, and Ollie and Samantha going into hiding together. (I said relatively.)

80. The Strain (2014 – 2017)

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Dutch looks out the window while nikki sleeps in bed

Dutch and Nikki. “I see straight people. They’re everywhere.”

You might remember The Strain as “the one whose posters were of a worm coming OUT OF AN EYEBALL,”, or maybe you watched and loved seeing Ruta Gedmintas play bisexual hacker Dutch Velders. And despite the entire premise of this show being about people dying from a virus outbreak, somehow she and her ex-girlfriend Nikki survive it. Their on-again/off-again romance is heated and stressful, though short-lived, and includes the too-relatable phrase, “I have always been in love with you and it has never made me happy.”

79. The First (2018)

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Kayla and Nancy snuggle on the floor

Kayla and Nancy. “You’ve got a prize, but don’t compromise, you’re one lucky baby.”

This show is about the first humans to travel to Mars, and features a black queer astronaut named Kayla Price. Her storyline with her wife Kayla isn’t the most fleshed out story in the world, Kayla IS played by Tracie Thoms, and I can’t be mad at that. Plus they both survive. Cannot emphasize the importance of that enough.

78. Dark Matter (2015 – 2017)

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Rebecca holding Irena Shaw

Rebecca (aka Two aka Portia Lin) and Irena Shaw. Hold me closer, Zoie Palmer.

This show is like if someone handed you a handmade gilded plate and you used it to serve chicken nuggets and ketchup. It’s still pretty and still has good structure but goddamn is it a mess. Dark Matter had a lot of great things going for it — one of the leads of the show, Two/Portia Lin, was an absolute badass with some killer fighting skills, and the android on the ship was hilariously executed by lesbian legend Zoie Palmer. But when it came to the queer storylines, it fell short. One was barely a storyline; Two hallucinated kissing her dead shipmate Nyx (and the actress later said they kissed in a friend way :rolls eyes:) and the other was the human that Android, Irena Shaw was based on and Two’s original identity were in love, though Two doesn’t remember loving her. There was also shipmate Solara but she didn’t get nearly enough screentime. We could have had it all, Dark Matter!

77. The Man in the High Castle (2015 – 2019)

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Nicole Dörmer and Thelma Harris dance and almost kiss

Nicole Dörmer and Thelma Harris. Why is it never “what if the Nazis never existed” or “what if only queer people had superpowers”?

This show is another what-if historical re-write but way worse than For All Mankind. This one is: what if the Nazis won. I’m not sure anyone asked for this, but I suppose in 2015 they didn’t realize just how terrifyingly close to home this would become. In this version of reality, homosexuality is illegal, but Nicole and Thelma find themselves drawn to each other and decide to risk it anyway. It…doesn’t go well for them, as I’m sure you can imagine.

76. Travelers (2016 – 2018)

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Samantha Burns and Amanda wear business outfits in a lab

Samantha Burns and Amanda Myers. “You can tell we’re scientists because we’re dressed like Lena Luthor.”

This is a timey wimey, body-jumping, occasionally confusing show where people called Travelers are assigned to inhabit people from the past to help prevent an apocalypse. It is dramatic and exciting an, occasionally, a bit queer. Recurring FBI agent Joanne Yates mentions she has a wife, plus Samantha Burns and her partner Amanda Myers appear in the show’s third and final season, developing an advanced engine that is extremely energy efficient that may or may not eventually wipe out 1.4 billion people. Oops.

75. Smallville (2001 – 2011)

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Tina Greer and Lana Lane walking down the high school hallway

Tina Greer. (right) “I’ve got a big lesbian crush on you! Suck on THAT!”

A beloved Superman origin story, Smallville, had many characters that were canonically queer in the comics appear (Maggie Sawyer and Barbara Gordon to name a few) but the only character that was queer on screen was Tina Greer, a shapeshifter who was…well, a psychopath. When she first appeared she became (understandably) obsessed with Lana Lang and set out to BE her. Like actually shapeshift into her and take over her life. But after a stint in jail she realized actually she LOVED Lana and used trickery to try to get her, impersonating people to get closer to her, including Clark. This escapade ended in her death, her last words about Lana.

74. Pandora (2019- Present)

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Atria and her purple hair smiles at Jax

Jax Zhou and Atria Nine. This show gives me serious Space Cases nostalgia.

This futuristic venture is centered around Jax, a student at Earth’s Space Training Academy, who is trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be while defending Earth from threats from anywhere in the galaxy. Along with a band of misfits she joins, because let’s be honest, friendship is always the best part of shows like these. Jax (aka Pandora herself) is queer, along with her ex Cornelia and pansexual clone Atria-Nine.

73. Legend of the Seeker (2008 – 2010)

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Dahlia and Cara.

Dahlia and Cara. I’m not mad at them or anything but those deep cleavage Vs seem impractical in this particular case.

Tagged as “swords and sorcery” on Wikipedia, which I think is my kink, this show is high-fantasy with killer costumes, Bridget Regan, and, though only on for two seasons, queers! Main character Cara Mason is another bisexual badass for the books, and for a while is in a relationship with aother Mord-Sith (long story) named Dahlia. Though Dahlia…did not fair well.

72. Roswell, New Mexico (2019 – Present)

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Isobel Evans-Bracken and Rosa Ortecho point at stars together

Isobel Evans-Bracken and Rosa Ortecho. An ambiguously gay duo.

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, and frankly it’s still not entirely clear. Alien hottie Isobel was possessed by a creepy man when he was hitting on the now-dead Rosa. However, when Isobel was remembering this connection with Rosa, she says she thinks she was in love with her, and doesn’t seem fazed by this news, accepting her welcome from her bisexual brother. Plus I’m still convinced that Rosa’s best friend Maria was in love with her but that is neither here nor there.

71. The Walking Dead (2010 – Present)

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Alisha (Juliana Harkavay) and Tara (Alana Masterson)

Alisha and Tara. Pro tip: Don’t name your queer characters Tara. It doesn’t end well for any of them.

This zombie apocalypse drama is another 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 as of the ninth season, the gang met up with girlfriends Magna and Yumiko, a leader and an archer respectively, that can hopefully survive until the shows eventual end. (It has to end someday, right??)

70. Carnival Row (2019 – Present)

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Vignette Stonemoss almost kisses Tourmaline Larou

Vignette Stonemoss and Tourmaline Larou. Literal manic pixie dream girls.

It’s always a delight when a queer person gets to play a queer character, and Cara Delevingne’s Vignette Stonemoss is no exception. A magical fantasy to be sure, Carnival Row follows some mystical creatures (like Vignette, who’s a fairy) in a gritty, dramatic tale of mystery. Vignette’s story is linked with fae Tourmaline Larou, who had a romance during events that preceded the show, but do share an on-screen kiss in the show’s first season; and maybe/hopefully more in the upcoming second.

69. Being Human (2011 – 2014)

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Emily Levison sippin coffee

Emily Levison. “My Brother is a Werewolf” sounds like it could be a Goosebumps book.

This show is like Friends but with supernatural creatures. Okay, fine, it’s not quite as simple as that, but it does explore the hilarious (and occasionally dramatic) situations that arise when a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost are all roommates. The show overall was very good, though the werewolf’s sister, Emily, is the only lesbian character, and she just bops in and out at random. She eventually goes into rehab for alcoholism, but overall her role is to be supportive of her werewolf brother like he was supportive of her lesbianism. It hits the metaphor a little on the head but I like it.

68. Gotham (2014 – 2019)

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Montoya tops Babs

Barbara Gordon and Renee Montoya. #JusticeForMontoya #NeverForget

This show as undeniably a mess, top to bottom, but it did have queer characters front and center for most of its run, which cannot be discounted. Even though I will never forgive the show for letting lesbian detective Renee Montoya walk off into the parking lot of no return, Babs Kean did continue to be a bisexual babe (though occasionally crossing the line into the “crazy bisexual” trope we all know and hate). Unfortunately one of her girlfriends, Tabitha, fell victim to a trope too, and was stabbed to death by the Penguin.

67. The Flash (2014 – Present)

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Nora West-Allen smiling

Nora West-Allen. I just feel like a lot of gay speedster jokes went unsaid.

The only show in the Arrowverse to not provide us with a meaningful wlw relationship, The Flash really let me down by introducing the daughter of Barry and Iris, Nora aka the speedster XS, making a point to let it be known she was into women, then never mentioning it again. Granted, she didn’t have any relationships of any kind, but as someone who makes jokes about her own sexuality all the time, I’m sure it could have come up again at least one (1) more time over the course of her stint on the show. That said, Nora was undeniably not straight, and was a very delightful addition to the show. The only other on-screen ~situation~ between two women on the show was when Marlize DeVoe’s husband inhabited the body of a woman and she still loved him the same, but a) I’m not sure that counts b) it turns out she was being drugged into being compliant, so either way, no thank you.

66. The Boys (2019 – Present)

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queen maeve smiles at her ex

Queen Maeve (and Elena’s reflection.) She’s a real Diana Prince on the streets, Wonder Woman in the sheets kind of gal.

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. The Boys imagines a world where the capitalism of Marvel Studios also involved 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 ex-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:

65. Manifest (2018 – Present)

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Bethany

Bethany. “I don’t want to say this is Prince Charming’s FAULT, but all my flights went smoothing until he got on one.”

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.

64. Timeless (2016 – 2018)

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the christophers looking lovingly at each other

Michelle and Denise Christopher. “You’ll always be du jour, mon amour, you’re timeless to me.”

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.

63. Dracula (2013 – 2014)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on NBC

Lucy Westenra and Lady Jayne pre-kiss

Lucy Westenra and Lady Jayne. Someone better FIX THIS and cast Katie McGrath as a lesbian vampire for me someday.

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.

62. Stargate Universe (2009 – 2011)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on Hulu

Sharon Walker and Camile Wray

Sharon Walker and Camile Wray. “Just hanging out with my gal while she’s in someone else’s body but pretending she’s still Ming-Na Wen, nothing to see here.”

This space adventure, a spinoff of Stargate Atlantis, boasts the first lesbian character in the franchise, Camile Wray, highest ranking officer on the spaceship, played by none other than Ming-Na Wen. She occasionally gets to visit or communicate with her girlfriend Sharon Walker. They don’t quite get a happy ending, but frankly it’s not the worst on the list, and even though Sharon only ends up in a handful of episodes, Camile remains a regular character throughout.

61. Into the Badlands (2015 – 2019)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on Netflix

Tilda and Odessa

Odessa and Tilda. Flap flap, motherfuckers.

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. X

60. Agents of SHIELD (2014 – Present)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on Netflix // Watch on Hulu

piper looking serious

Piper. “Where are Captain Marvel and Valkryie when you need them?”

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. In the meantime, Briana Venskus as Piper is holding it down for us; hopefully she gets an on-screen love interest some time soon.

59. Legion (2017 – 2019)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on Hulu

Lenna looks directly at the camera while kissing a girl

Lenny Busker. Would I watch a series of Lenny Lennying around? Yes. Would I watch Day in the Life of a Puddle if it had Aubrey Plaza? Also yes.

Legion took a character written for a man and cast Aubrey Plaza in it without changing a single thing, which gifted us which 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.

58. Light as a Feather (2018 – Present)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on Hulu

alex and perry snuggling on a couch

Perry and Alex. Fort-building is the only safe sleepover game.

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.

57. Limetown (2019 – Present)

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Lia and Ashley have coffee

Lia Haddock and Ashley. Know what else could make a whole town disappear? Not vaccinating your children.

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.

56. Under the Dome (2013 – 2015)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on CBS All Access

Carolyn Hill and Alice Calvert.

Carolyn Hill and Alice Calvert. “Under the Dome? Is that the sequel to Below Her Mouth?”

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.

55. Witches of East End (2013 – 2014)

Watch on Amazon

Joanna Beauchamp and Alex

Joanna Beauchamp and Alex. At this point it almost feels redundant to point out when witches are queer but it’s still fun to talk about anyway.

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.)

54. Defiance (2012 – 2015)

Watch on Amazon

Kenya Rosewater and Stahma Tarr.

Kenya Rosewater and Stahma Tarr. Do you think Jaime Murray and Lucy Lawless are in a competition to see who can play queer the most?

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.

53. The Shannara Chronicles (2015 – 2017)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on Netflix

Lyria and Eretria

Lyria and Eretria. What universe do you think is weirder, a post-apocalyptic land with magic trees and elves, or Riverdale?

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.

52. Now Apocalypse (2019)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on Starz

Two women in sexy outfits kissing

Severine Bordeaux and an unnamed lover. I’m not 100% sure this show wasn’t just a nightmare I had, tbh.

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 (X, I presume) 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 explore 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.)

51. Firefly (2002 – 2003)

Watch on Amazon // Watch on Hulu

inara

Inara. It’s interesting to me that they’ve rebooted everything under the gorram stars but never gave this a go.

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.

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Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 232 articles for us.

41 Comments

  1. It’s just so satisfying to see the progression in quality from “straight-focused show with queerbaiting for sweeps week” to BATWOMAN, a show with more queer women than you could shake a stick at and a masc of center lead. How far we’ve come!

    Also, I watched Humans specifically because of Niska! It was so good!

  2. So what I got from this, is whole I should probably be watching a lot more TV, I’ve got my basics covered.

    Also, did anyone else spend an unnecessary minute of their lives wondering about the logistics of the w/w sexrifice from American Gods?? Like was this a three-fingers/fisting/noodling progression?? Did she go out strap first?? I had questions!

  3. I have a lot to say about this list, but honestly, I can’t get over the fact that the character on „Krypton“ was called Nyssa—Vex. As an Arrow and Critical Role (and Supercorp) fangirl I‘m just sitting over here, slack jawed.

    Oh, and by the way, that Jadzia Dax situation occurred in a Star Trek Deep Space 9 episode called „Rejoined“ and is, if I’m not mistaken, the second f/f kiss on TV AND easily available on YouTube and the likes and you want to watch it.

  4. I loved Torchwood! Series 3 was so good (but horrifing), series 4 will just be ignored. And Doctor Who didn’t only give us omnisexual Captain Jack Harkness but also an interspecies lesbian. And in a way the doctor is genderqueer?

    You put Under the dome on 56? I finished it, but it was more to see how bad it would get. Random plots, so many events happen in 4 weeks. Also people were supposedly starving after 4 weeks. They had fully stocked kitchens and power and water, how? Plus: they also suffer from the dead lesbian syndrome.

    The 100 gets a bad rep for killing of Lexa, but they left several queer people alive, including Clarke. The actress who played Lexa wanted out and this is how they did it. One of the things I like about that show is how they make being queer a total non issue, it’s never discussed, it just is.

    I’ve seen Buffy completely several times and each time I cry for Tara. I’ve also seen Supernatural completely several times and I cry each time for Charlie. I’m a total cliche fangirl but they did a lot of shit to queer people in that show. Thankfully in later seasons they improved that, including a pair of though male hunters who were also a couple and didn’t die.

    Sense8 had some of the most sensual clips ever. Loved the show, although it gets pretty weird.

    Dark Angel realy could have benefitted from a better lead actress. I’d love a remake!

    • 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.

  5. This is a great list, I was surprised by where some shows ranked but I understood the explanation behind it.
    But I am a little confused how The Good Place got on a list about Sci-Fi/Fantasy shows. It doesn’t really fall into the definition I know of a Sci-Fi show to be and as for Fantasy…maybe but I think that’s also stretching it a bit.

  6. Ok but how is Person of Interest not on this list at all??? An AI procedural that builds to an AI apocalypse with an epic love story between Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker!!! It’s one of the most well-crafted shows I’ve ever seen.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  7. So first: Hats off for taking the time and due-diligence to do this list justice. It is a very important list indeed! Things I REALLY appreciated: The commentary around The 100 and where it lands on the list. SO true/ perfect iconic show for a moment in time. Xena being included. YES the subtext was so transparent it may as well have been cannon & the actresses openly admitting they were a couple post-finale seems solidly queer. Also wildly surprised Wynonna Earp didn’t sweep this list… but so stoked Orphan Black DID! Lastly: there are so many new shows I have to watch and so little time…
    PS. future content ideas: list of top X subtext queer narratives. (i.e. Star Trek Voyager, Xena other obvious ships passing in the media night?)

  8. Loving this list and noticing how much TV I have to catch up on and likely never will; I’m rewatching Person of Interest (a slightly dystopian procedural?) instead.

    The inclusion of Star Trek: DS9 here is debatable, but I squeaked when I saw that picture so I’m not mad about it. I still think The Good Place is just barely a notch above subtext and queerbating, but I was happy to see Xena on this list so who am I to say what’s what.

    Valerie, thank you for the hard work!

  9. I would like to submit to the list The 3%, which went and made my (already) favorite character queer this season. I keep on trying to put into words why I love Joana so much in this deeply terrible/wonderful dystopian future and I think it comes down to that I don’t see many black women in post-apocalyptic stories on screen get to have such complicated arcs. This season I feel like she got to not only be the sanest person, but also the secret heart of the show, all while opening her own heart up for the lovely lady fighting by her side.

    I also appreciate you, Valerie Anne, for outlining your argument as to why Isobel is canonically queer. Roswell is the show I became most obsessed with in 2019, and while I’m not sure I fully agree with the argument, I 1) do think it is a good one and 2) makes me feel like I am THAT much closer to my ultimate goal of getting to watch the courtship of Isobel and Maria (It would be AMAZING).

    Thanks for this list and all the work that went into it. I love discussing the queer folks of Sci-Fi (and agree that POI should probably be on there too somewhere)

    • 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.

  10. I understand that the popularity of a show influenced its ranking so I get why it’s not even in the top 20 but I’m a bit upset that Killjoys is (right) behind Once Upon A Time. It has 4 prominent queer characters and they all live happily ever after. Heck, the lesbians are even IMMORTAL !
    To have it rank lower than a show that treated its queer audience so poorly makes me a bit bitter (though I admit I’m fond of Alice/Tilly).

    And I agree with the others about Person of Interest.

  11. I absolutely agree with your impressions of Warehouse 13,I was heartbroken as well and to this day cannot re-watch that show. I’m a little bit surprised that you didn’t add Person of Interest with Shaw and Root as the love interest. It is technically a Sci-Fi as it involves an AI.

  12. One show that’s definitely missing from the list is A Discovery of Witches, but I know from Twitter that it’s because no one from the TV team seems to have watched it. Luckily, they at least know about it now. :) Anyone else who is wondering why they might want to take a look at that show: Alex Kingston as a lesbian witch in a long-term relationship with another witch!

    Another show that I was wondering about is the German Netflix show Dark. Granted, the lesbian storyline is very small and I maybe wouldn’t recommend the show if it was just for that storyline, but Dark is a great show in it’s own right and it having a lesbian storyline with both women still alive (for now, at least) is like the icing on the cake.

  13. So much, positives and negatives in this list … god how much do I love The 100, but that show also caused me so much pain that I walked away from it for literally years after THAT EPISODE. I’ve only just recently gone back and watched the rest since. But damn, that still hurts. Can I just say though, with the final season of The 100 happening this year, I SO SO hope they bring back Lexa for Clarke somehow. I’m probably inevitably going to be disappointed and heartbroken of course, but a girl can dream.

    I just ignore the whole final season of Warehouse 13 btw and headcanon Bering & Wells as ending up together. I will not be taking questions at this time.

    Xena totally deserves to be on this list! Not convinced by The Good Place being here though. But where is Person of Interest?! ;)

    Great list, VA, this is really excellent, speaking as a massive geek lesbian that I am :)

  14. I’d been a Supernatural viewer from the very beginning — I watched the pilot live and everything — but I stopped watching when they killed Charlie. I did watch the Wayward Sisters backdoor pilot episode because I’ve always been fond of Claire Novak, who is confirmed queer (“First love strikes quick,” Jody Mills said of Claire and Kaia).

    I was actually going to give the writers a chance again when they were spinning all the ladies off into Wayward Sisters, as even though Kaia died in the backdoor pilot, the writers said they’d learned their lesson with Charlie and it wasn’t what we thought this time. Based on stuff the writers and actors were saying, it sounded very much like Claire would get Kaia back. However, the show didn’t get picked up, so we may never know.

  15. Russian Doll never really landed with me, maybe just because I am not a fan of messy sexually liberal characters with a drug/alcohol/smoking problem, and so its no wonder I missed that it had queer characters or maybe just forgot.
    So maybe I am wrong in thinking that it and The Good Places queer representation/storylines were overall a bit too thin to make it into the Top 10 in my opinion.
    I think Humans should one of the Top 10 spots opened up and of course Point of Interest should be at least somewhere in the Top 50. I do think that no other show quite deserves that second open Top 10 spot though, either from a storyline standpoint or a quality of the show overall standpoint though. Batwoman isn’t that good of a show – which maybe just because of the first season as other Arrowverse shows have grown quite alot, but still- and both Black Lightning and Star Trek Disovery are lacking in storylines when it comes to its queer characters. Killjoys, Nancy Drew and Impulse could all be contenders for that last Top 10 spot.

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