50. The 100 (2014 – 2020)
I don’t think I really have to explain this one to you. I think if you’ve followed queer TV at all since 2014 (or hell, 2016), you’ve heard about The 100. About Clarke and Lexa, the bisexual leader of her peers who all grew up on a space station then were unceremoniously dropped on a potentially uninhabitable earth, and the woman who leads the people who were already there that fell in love with her. About Lexa and Clarke, the Commander of Trikru and the Commander of Death. Or, at the very least, about Lexa kom Trikru, whose death in 2016, amongst too many others, after a long line of dead queer characters before her, launched an industry-wide pledge to treat LGBTQ+ characters better. It makes sense to me that this show lands smack in the middle of a list of 100 shows. Because when it was good, it was very, very good. Clarke and Lexa were loved by many, and still are. But then it betrayed the fans’ trust by not only killing Lexa when they teased her survival, but having a lifelong trained warrior struck down by a bullet not even meant for her, in an all-too-familiar situation that Buffy fans were still healing from. I think The 100 is a good milestone in our history, a point we can look to as a beacon, to see how far we’ve come, to remember how far we have left to go.
49. The Vampire Diaries (2009 – 2017)
I will admit that the TV Team’s score on this really bumped it up higher than it would have been on its own, because despite having two of the most fun queer characters, and despite a threesome that made one of the series’ best characters officially bisexual, they did end up killing three of their four queer ladies by the end. The Vampire Diaries had strong women at its center, queer among them including Original Vampire Rebekah, Vampire/Traveler Nadia, and Heretics (Vampire/Witch hybrids) Nora and Mary Louise. Their stories were complex and delightful and oh how I wish I could stop here because I love this franchise so much. But Nadia met an unfortunate end, and while if it happened in 2019 I would have argued Nora and Mary Louise, and their love that lasted literal centuries, went out in a blaze of glory, they died during the Lesbian Massacre of 2016, and it was the last wlw relationship we ever saw on the show, so they’ll get no defense from me on that front.
48. Game of Thrones (2011 – 2019)
Game of Thrones isn’t known for its respect for women, and the show did a better job of it than the books, if you can believe it. For this reason, maybe it’s better that the show only gave us three canon queer women over the course of its eight seasons. Yara Greyjoy and Ellaria Sand unapologetically enjoyed the company of women (and each other), as well as a sex worker Ellaria entertained once called Marei. A lot of us were rooting for Yara to take her seat next to an Iron Throne with Daenerys upon it, but sadly that was not our fate. Ellaria didn’t make it out of the show alive, but Yara is still out there as the fiercest Lady of the Iron Islands as far as we know.
47. Andor (2022 – Present)
I could hardly blame you for steering clear of yet another Star Wars spin-off series. The latest iterations have felt more like money grabs than true contributions to the lore. They satiate fanboys with weapons and wizardry and enticing the rest of us with nostalgia and cute merchandise (Baby Yoda!). They’ve been escapism — vacuous, spectacle-filled escapism — and hardly feel worth the investment. But Andor is different; it is so unlike every other Star Wars spin-off that it may be the only one worth seeing. Andor strips away all the hallmarks of those other shows and invests in character building and storytelling. The show goes back to the roots of Star Wars — as political allegory — and showcases the early days of resistance against a fascist Empire. And among those freedom fighters, our gay heroines, Cinta and Vel.
Cinta is the fiercest of warriors, driven by the murder of her parents by Stormtroopers. For her, “the struggle always comes first” and what’s left belongs to them. Meanwhile, Vel struggles to balance the life of a revolutionary with the life of a regressive…trapped in a conservative cloister that will, one day, arrange her marriage to a man. It isn’t the most ostentatious display of queerness — and it’s understandable to want and demand more — but the story of rebellion can’t be told without queer people, both in real life and on the small screen. — Natalie
46. The Originals (2013 – 2018)
The Originals looked at The Vampire Diaries’ Thelma and Louise vampire couple, and said, “Oh yeah, watch this?” And thus was born Keelin and Freya, a werewolf/witch duo for the ages. Their relationship starts…strangely, to say the least, but it develops slowly and deeply until the two ultimately not only get the first wedding to go off without a hitch (read: murder) in the TVD universe, but also they got their happy ending doubled down upon when Freya made an appearance on Legacies and confirmed that her, Keelin, and their wee child were still doing just fine.
45. The Magicians (2015 – 2020)
Imagine a world where a bunch of messed up, self-absorbed college students had the capacity for magic and were deemed rulers of a fantastical world. That’s The Magicians. They bounce back and forth between the real world and Fillory, a land long thought to be fictional, while trying to save their friends, their worlds, their sanity, and sometimes even all of magic. This is another show where I ship every combination of the main ladies, but so far only Margo is confirmed sexually fluid of the fab five. Outside of the core cast, we also had a little visit from a (female) Pirate King (appropriately attracted to our own High King Margo), an unfortunate aside from a lesbian named Kira who asked to be killed, and, the lovely revelation that Marina has a girlfriend that she keeps jumping timelines for so she can get the relationship right. (Also I know this is not why we’re here but almost all the boys are bisexual too, which is awesome.)
44. Doctor Who (1963 – 1985; 2005 – Present)
Before the Thirteenth Doctor graced us with her presence, along with her enamored companion Yaz, queering the scene indefinitely, Doctor Who has been making us feel seen across space and time for a long while. There was Twelve’s companion Bill and her girlfriend Heather, Clara Oswold who made out with Jane Austen (albeit off-screen), the legendary River song, and a Silurian and her wife: Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint. Here’s to decades more of saving the universe, the timeline, and the queers.
43. Nancy Drew (2019 – Present)
A newcomer shooting up the ranks, Nancy Drew is a new, ghostly take on the classic YA novels about a girl detective and her band of misfit friends who help her solve mysteries. A lot of us read the books as kids and shipped Nancy and George before we knew what shipping was, but in this iteration however, I found myself accidentally shipping Nancy and Bess even when Bess had a girlfriend named Lisbeth. And then when she fell in love with the ghost possessing her best friend. And then again when she started dating the new girl in time. I love Bess, is what I’m saying. Bess is a sweet, airheaded-but-not-dumb girl and the optimistic believer to Nancy’s pessimistic skeptic, and a vital part of the team, and I love to see a queer girl in the spotlight.
42. Impulse (2018 – 2019)
Impulse is about a teenage girl named Henry who discovers her ability to “jump” aka teleport while experiencing the trauma of sexual assault. The show takes us through her journey of PTSD and healing, all while trying to figure out what these new powers are all about. Key in supporting her during all this is Jenna, her mother’s boyfriend’s daughter who becomes a sister to her, whether she likes it or not. Jenna is smart and kind and on a figuring-out journey of her own, trying to solve the mystery of her sexuality while trying to help Henry solve the mystery of her powers. Jenna’s journey is sweet and slow and very grounded in reality despite the sci-fi nature of the show.
41. What We Do in the Shadows (2019 – Present)
This may be one of the queerest shows I’ve seen in a long time and it’s so casual about it. Maybe it’s because it’s about a crew of vampires who have been around for a few hundred years and have literally seen it all. We got Guillermo (familiar turned bodyguard?) who is queer and kinda had his boyfriend stolen from him by Nandor (his old boss), who is friends with Nadja and Laszlo who are both pansexual and be loving on each other and both have a thing for a centuries old decrepit vampire with blonde hair. I know it sounds like a weird soap opera — and it is — but it’s also proven to be one of the best film-with-a-cult-following-turned-tv-show in a long time, and it just so happens to be hella gay. — Shelli
40. Humans (2015 – 2018)
For a while I thought maybe Riese and I were the only ones watching this show, which was truly a shame, because it was a deeply thoughtful and haunting-but-in-a-good-way exploration of humanity by way of synthetic humans aka synths who were considered “broken” because they had free will. What makes a person human, is it their body, their brain, their heart? Their ability to fall in love? Because fall in love they do, specifically the usually-stoic-and-hard synth Niska who softens for her human girlfriend Astrid.
39. Westworld (2016 – 2022)
Elsie Hughes isn’t the BEST representation we’ve ever had, as a community, but Westworld has been walking the line between queer and not ever since Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual made her first appearance as Dolores. While all the hosts are defaulted to a sort of pansexual situation to accommodate any guests, there is at least one guest who does prefer the company of women. In the final season, Tessa Thompson brings her Big Queer Energy to the screen, and queer couple Frankie “C” and Odina kick some ass and take some names. Canon queers aside, seeing real life queer people be endlessly badass on screen is always a delight.
38. Astrid & Lilly Save the World (2022 – Present)
This campy sci-fi darling centers around two best friends who are bullied for being fat and weird, but who find out that actually they are really good at fighting aliens and saving the world. They reclaim an insult slung at them and become the Pudge Patrol, battling the monster of the week together, often having to save the very popular kids who once terrorized them, becoming an unlikely squad of superheroes. In a truly fanfic-ian turn of fate, Lilly ends up in a friends-to-enemies-to-lovers relationship with queen bee Candace. The show is equal parts hilarious practical effects, adorable antics, and touching moments of friendship, identity, and found family.
37. Killjoys (2015 – 2019)
Killjoys is a story about a found family of bounty hunters…in space! Dutch, played by Hannah John-Kamen, is a bounty hunter in space who goes on missions with her two best boys, Johnny and D’av. She sparks up a flirtation with Delle Seyah-Kendry, and when the writers saw those sparks, they created a whole separate character also played by Hannah John-Kamen just so they could put them together without breaking up Dutch and D’av. Okay fine so probably that’s not exactly how it played out but it worked out for the best because Aneela, an alternate timeline version of Dutch, (kind of, it’s complicated) and Kendry were perfect murder queens, both of them complicated almost-villains who did the right thing when it came down to it, and got their own happy ending.
36. The Umbrella Academy (2019 – Present)
In the third season of The Umbrella Academy, Elliot Page’s character comes out as a trans man, telling his siblings that Viktor is who he’s always been. He says his relationship with Sissy in the second season opened his eyes to living outside the box and living his truth. His brothers accept him immediately, and his sister loves her “tiny badass brother.” It’s a relatively small part of a very complicated plot and that, in itself, is pretty sweet. They all have bigger things to worry about – like time travel, and reality folding in on itself, and their respective powers – than the gender or sexuality of their siblings. They have to find a way to work together to keep each other safe.
35. She/Hulk (2022)
If this show was being ranked on queer content alone, it would be a lot lower, but the truth is, even though the queer content is minimal, the show itself is a blast. Queer favorite Tatiana Maslany expertly plays Jennifer Walters (who is, of course, the titular She/Hulk), and her best friend and assistant Nikki being one of the first openly queer women in the Marvel cinematic universe. Granted, it’s a blink-and-you-miss it moment that reveals that fact, but Nikki remains a delight throughout the series. Plus, bisexual actress Jameela Jamil plays one of the season’s main villains with over-the-top, delightful exuberance.
34. Warehouse 13 (2009 – 2014)
A niche nerd fave, Warehouse 13 is a show that marches to the beat of its own drum. It mixes history and mythology with humor, mystery and shenanigans like it pulled themes from a nerd’s toybox. We enter into this wacky world by way of Myka Bering, assigned to protect this warehouse of artifacts, and eventually meet literary legend H.G. Wells, and in this universe, the H stands for Helena. Myka and H.G. enter a flirtationship that ultimately ends in my own personal heartbreak soundtracked by Ellie Goulding, but we all know the truth, and also H.G., at least, was explicitly and undeniably the queer hero we deserve.
33. Once Upon A Time (2011 – 2018)
My very first gig for writing about queer TV was recapping Once Upon a Time, and I wrote about that show for so long with only subtext, shouting about Swan Queen, begging for them to just commit to Mulan and Aurora, finally throwing in the towel when we finally got a very special Ruby and Dorothy episode, assuming that was the best it was going to get (and believe me, it was great.) So imagine my surprise when a few seasons later, after I had stopped writing about it of course, Robin and Alice embarked on a very sweet fairytale romance. Like their ancestors before them, they found their way to each other in Storybrooke and in the fairytale realm where they were Margot and Tilly, because love is magic.
32. Riverdale (2017 – Present)
Riverdale is a rare entry onto this list, because despite being in its 4th season the first time around, it didn’t qualify since it wasn’t a sci-fi or fantasy show. Just a regular teen drama! Okay fine, not regular but not supernatural. And while not yet supernatural, it was gay, with Cheryl and Toni falling in and out of love a few times. Now, between its sixth and seventh seasons, the show does qualify, because somewhere along the line we discovered Rivervale, a twisted reflection of Riverdale where magic is real and even more absurd storylines are possible. But no matter what dimension she’s in, lesbian icon Cheryl Blossom continues to reign supreme, eventually discovering her witchy bloodline and ascending to her final form.
31. Motherland: Fort Salem (2020 – 2022)
In an imagined world where witches are real and are drafted into the military, an unlikely trio is forced to learn to be a cohesive unit. One of those witches is Raelle Collar, a lesbian and healer, who eventually meets necromancy witch Scylla Ramshorn, and the two embark on a tumultuous adventure full of steamy moments, broken trust, daring rescues, and the quest for a happily drever after. There are other shippable characters along the way, like her unit-mate Tally and their general, Alder, as well as Tally and non-binary officer M, played by non-binary actor Ess Hödlmoser.
30. Charmed (2018 – 2022)
A lot of people, myself included, were originally unsure about the idea of completely rebooting a beloved franchise that went off-air frankly not all that long ago, but now that it’s happening, I can confidently say that while it is definitely a reboot, it is not a rip-off, and is well worth watching. It has elements of the original while still being totally and utterly unique, and so, so much gayer. Middle sister Mel is a lesbian witch who has a myriad of love interests over the course of the show, plus there’s Abigael, the saucy demon who prefers threesomes and once bedded two Susans at once, probably just because she could. The final season introduced a fourth sister, Kaela, who is a queer witch played by queer actress Lucy Barrett and, frankly, a downright delight.
29. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018 – 2020)
Oh hey more queer witches, can you even believe it? This Riverdale-universe’s twisted take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch boasts queerness at every turn, including but not limited to Prudence Night and her coven of “sisters” who are definitely not related by blood which you can tell from all the orgies. Hail Satan. One of Sabrina’s best friends, Theo, also goes on a trans coming out journey of his own and is played by genderqueer and pansexual actor Lachlan Watson.
28. Battlestar Galactica (2004 – 2009)
Despite all three of its resident queer characters being not long for this
world universe, it has risen to the Top 20 by being BELOVED by three members of the TV team, who all gave it a perfect 10 (plus there were other non-10 votes.) Maybe it’s part subconscious conditioning, since 91 actors from The L Word were also on this show, or maybe it was just the mere fact that queer characters were part of this space opera at all. All I know is that we, as a people, seem to love us some Cylons and their love affairs.
27. Stranger Things (2015 – Present)
I’ve loved Stranger Things from the get-go, because superpowered kids are my jam, as are themes of friendship above all, which is really what the heart of this show is. Sure there is also a mysterious mirror realm called the Upside Down and horrible monsters and evil scientists, but at the end of the day, it’s about a little girl raised in captivity learning what it means to be a friend, and then doing everything in her power (and whew does she have a lot of it) to save those new friendships. The first season featured Barb, who maybe wasn’t canon queer but we sure did see a lot of ourselves in the way she felt about her best friend Nancy (I feel like Ingrid Michaelson’s song Best Friend on her album Stranger Songs makes it canon enough for me; plus the actress is bisexual.) The third season, however, had one of the sweetest coming out speeches I’ve seen in a while, where the snarky, brassy Robin tells teen dream Steve Harrington that their storyline wasn’t going where he thought it was, and she wasn’t actually into him; she was into the girls who are into him. It was a rare quiet moment in an action-packed show and it sure packed a punch to my heart. And the fourth season seamlessly incorporated Robin onto the team, much to my delight.
26. Star Trek: Discovery (2017 – Present)
I already told you about the Star Trek franchise, and Discovery is yet another adventure in that world, and has a theme of what Riese and Kayla called Hot Women in Space. In this iteration of the classic franchise, Captain Philippa Georgiou’s mirror universe counterpart is bisexual, plus lesbian Starfleet officer Jett Reno, played by real life lesbian Tig Notaro. Jett’s story is a little bittersweet, as she still wears her wedding ring despite her wife being dead, but it’s nice to have more masc-of-center representation on TV. The show also has lesbian Michelle Paradise behind the scenes, and we love to see it.
25. True Blood (2008 – 2014)
Vampires are here on this list trying to give witches a run for their money re: queer representation, with True Blood boasting seven queer women over the course of their 80 episodes. Including but not limited to Vampire Queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq, played by Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual, and power couple Pam Swynford De Beaufort and Tara Thornton. Unfortunately the latter joined the least of dead lesbians named Tara in the season six finale, but her legacy lives on, as does that of this very vampy show, which also had lesbian writer/director Angela Robinson in the writers room.
24. Xena: Warrior Princess (1995 – 2001)
The other day I was talking to my dad on the phone about making this list, and I told him I was worried people wouldn’t like that I included this show on this list. And despite the fact that we have never talked about this before, about the subtext of Xena and Gabrielle, really about the show much at all since we watched it together when I was young, he said he understood why. He said, “You could see it in the way they looked at and talked to each other. And the way Xena always went out of her way to make sure Gabrielle stayed alive.” He also mentioned the hot tub, but my point is, that if my dad can see it, it’s not just me and my gay dreams spewing rainbows where there aren’t any. I always use the “Dad Test” to say that if your queer story is so subtle that my dad didn’t pick up on it, it doesn’t count, but I think the opposite is true too. If your subtext is so loud my dad thought it was canon, it’s canon. Sorry/not sorry. Xena and Gabrielle’s story is an epic love story, and if it was made in 2005 or 2015 instead of 1995, they would have kissed even more than they already did. And they kissed a lot.
23. Jessica Jones (2015 – 2019)
Marvel’s movie universe queers are still just shy of bursting out of that closet door, but the Marvel TV universe is riddled with gays who are living, loving, laughing, breathing…etc. Jessica Jones, superstrong super-smartass with trauma for days but a big heart buried deep under that leather jacket, has a friend and confidante in lesbian lawyer Jeri Hogarth. While her story is not always happy, she is a compelling, complex character who survives til the bitter end of the series. In Season 3, trans actress Aneesh Sheth also plays Jessica’s no-nonsense, take-no-bullshit assistant Gillian.
22. First Kill (2022)
If you like vampires, clandestine romance, cheesy special effects, and Elizabeth Mitchell, this is the show for you. Vampire teen Juliette Fairmont meets Monster Hunter Calliope Burns at a high school party, and sparks fly immediately. But, of course, when they find out about each other’s families, tensions rise and they have to choose between the life they were born into and their undeniable connection. With two blonde bombshells who have played multiple queer favorite characters Gracie Dzienny and Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliette’s sister and mother, respectively, and queer artist MK xyz as Cal’s ex, there really is something for everyone in this show’s too-short run.
21. 4400 (2021 – 2022)
THIS SHOW IS A SLICE OF ACTUAL SCI-FI PERFECTION! The title gives away a dash of the plot. In 2020, 4400 people from various time periods get dropped onto Belle Isle in Detroit. They don’t know how they got there and don’t yet know how they are going to get back. We also end up finding out that they are each given powers of some sort — telekinesis, ability to see the future etc. — that appear at different times. It was also honestly queer perfection, showing queer, enby, and trans folks from the past and connecting them to queer folks of the present. Showing how many of us have faced similar issues, but the growth that has come as time has passed. It’s also worth noting that most of the queer folks on the show are POC! We got to see them kissing on each other, going to pride, and sharing stories and connecting — all while trying to figure out why in the heck a green light brought them all to the year 2020 ‘cos my gosh what a time to be alive. — Shelli
20. Person of Interest (2011 – 2016)
I’ll be honest, the reason this is technically a new entry on this list is entirely my bad. The truth is, because of my utter lack of understanding of all things technology, I wasn’t convinced the level of AI they used on the show was science-fiction. But luckily a few of you pointed out my misstep in the comments and now that I’m updating this list I have a chance to redeem myself and kick off the Top 20 with Root and Shaw, who have one of my favorite dynamics: peppy optimist and grumpy pessimist. It was a shining example of showrunners following the chemistry; they play off each other so well and balance each other’s demeanors and overall are a damn delight to watch, in part because they are expertly played by Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi.
19. Lost Girl (2010 – 2014)
Lost Girl‘s Bo Dennis was the bisexual succubus who encouraged us weekly to live the lives we choose. Sex was her gift and her curse, her weapon and her energy source, and yet somehow the show still wove deep, meaningful love stories into the show. With human doctor Lauren Lewis, queer Valkyrie Tamsin, and, in a platonic way, with her best friend Kenzie. And those weren’t even all the queer characters. It was a queer, queer world of light and dark fae, of life and death and afterlife, and of the kind family you build.
18. The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
And here we are, with yet another Mike Flanagan joint (though still not the last) and arguably the gayest one. The Haunting of Bly Manor is the story of an American woman,Dani, who is hired to nanny British children and falls in love with a snarky gardener named Jamie. Dani is haunted by her past, by heterosexuality, and by literal ghosts, but she leans on Dani as an escape from all of that in this (pardon the expression) hauntingly beautiful lesbian love story. Plus, in a very special flashback episode, we get a black-and-white appearance by noted bisexual Kate Siegel.
17. Willow (2022 – Present)
Willow just started airing a few weeks ago but it has already rocketed itself into the Top 20 by being an Autostraddle TV Team fame, coming in hot with the queer stuff of dreams. These dreamy things include but are not limited to: a lady knight who has sworn to protect her princess, said princess being a sword-wielder herself, a grumpy traveler seeing through them pretending that they’re just best friends, and truth plums forcing them to finally confront those feelings. And that’s just in the first five episodes! Aforementioned lesbian knight, Jade, is played by IRL lesbian Erin Kellyman, and her queer princess, Kit, is played by IRL queer actress Ruby Cruz.
16. Black Mirror (2015 – Present)
Every episode of Black Mirror is its own mini psychological thriller, often projecting into imagined futures a possibility for how advancing technology could go so, so horribly wrong in human hands. Most episodes end with something harrowing and dark, and when the Netflix screen goes dark and you see your own horrified expression staring back at you, you suddenly understand the title of the show. There are a rare few exceptions to this rule, one of which is the beloved San Junipero episode, where Yorkie and Kelly are two women who find each other in the most unlikely of (digital) places. The end of this episode is also a little harrowing, if I’m being honest, but it has more of a hopeful note to it than the episodes usually do, despite it being the gayest episode, which is honestly a blessing.
15. Station Eleven (2021 – 2022)
This miniseries is a rare gem in a lot of ways, beginning with the fact that it’s an adaptation of a book that is as good as its source material. Starring Mackenzie Davis as our queer heroine, Kirsten Raymonde, a comic book nerd and thespian with a strong spirit and a kind heart. (PS. This officially qualifies her for the “Rule of Three” – she has played queer thrice now (Black Mirror, Happiest Season, and Station Eleven) which means she is officially assumed queer until she states otherwise.) And I love this for us. Davis gives a stunning performance in Station Eleven, which is a poignant post-apocalyptic tale that hits a little close to home in a mid-pandemic world and is a stunning exploration of human connection in disconnected times.
14. The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
I’ve always loved horror movies and thrillers and ghost stories, but none so much as I love The Haunting of Hill House and spooky lesbian empath Theo Crain. Played by bisexual actress Kate Siegel, Theo is a whipsmart badass, a child psychologist as an adult and a quiet but bookish kid. She’s a loyal, loving sister to her four siblings, despite trying to give off the air that she doesn’t give a single fuck. The truth is, she cares so much it literally hurts her, despite the gloves she wears to try to keep her empath powers at bay.
13. Black Lightning (2018 – 2021)
Arriving just when we needed her most, Black lesbian superhero Anissa Pierce boomed her way onto the scene as Thunder, daughter of legendary Black Lightning. She navigates family dynamics and girlfriends (and one night stands) while also trying to navigate her powers, her activism, and the various mysteries afoot in Freeland. And while they never got quite as much screentime as we would have wanted, we loved every minute we did get with our hero Anissa and her shapeshifting girlfriend.
12. Legends of Tomorrow (2016 – 2022)
In the first season of Legends of Tomorrow, most of us were there because we followed bisexual blonde bombshell and buttkicker Sara Lance over from Arrow. But instead there was a man we’d never met at the helm of the timeship, and despite Sara having the best storylines (including but not limited to the time she made out with Betty McRae), he still seemed to be the focal point. But then the show did the right thing. The risky thing, but the right thing. They pivoted. Seeing that Sara was the reason people were showing up week after week, they gave ol’ Rip Hunter the boot and put Sara in the Captain seat. They had her lead the Legends away from the dark grumbly undertones of its parent show and into uncharted wacky waters, and everyone was better for it. Sara Lance has the best character arcs and the most growth in the entire Arrowverse – eh hem, sorry, Beeboverse – and, after a few seasons of sleeping her way through the centuries, she now has one of the longest, most healthy relationships with Ava Sharpe. Plus, in the final season, we find out that one of the Legends, Spooner, is asexual! The show as a whole is a hard sell on paper, I know, but trust me when I say that this show is packed full of humor and heart, and will give you all of the big, gay, found family feels you could ask for.
11. Wynonna Earp (2016 – 2021)
If you’ve been collecting evidence, here’s my closing argument for how this list isn’t rigged and I didn’t blindly pick the order of these shows, because Wynonna Earp would be in my Top 3. With traces of Buffy and Lost Girl in its veins, but a truly unique show at its core, Wynonna Earp is about an unlikely hero and her unlikely crew. Wynonna’s sister Waverly is an optimist, sweet, genius bisexual angel, and the love of Waverly’s life Nicole is the loyal, strong, local sheriff, with stories and relationships and mysteries of her own. The show has queer characters, queer actors, and queer writers, and even though a Canadian Western about the heir to Wyatt Earp’s demon-hunting curse who falls in and out of (and in) love with THE Doc Holliday isn’t going to be EVERYONE’S jam, it sure as hell is mine.
10. Paper Girls (2022)
It’s bittersweet that Paper Girls rocketed onto the scene and directly into the Top 10, because it is only one season long, canceled too soon. But the one season we did get is an amazing story about four teenagers who accidentally time travel to the future and encounter their grown-up selves. 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.
9. Russian Doll (2019 – Present)
Including this show might get a bit of an eyebrow raise, because it’s a little outside the typical sci-fi/fantasy genre, but it’s a frackin’ time loop, man! What’s more sci-fi than that? In fact, I’d guess that close to half of these shows have a time loop episode of their own (I know for a fact the last two did), so of course I would include a show whose entire concept is a repeating birthday. Natasha Lyonne (already beloved in the queer canon for But I’m a Cheerleader and Orange is the New Black) somehow made hearing the same song every few minutes and the endless chorus of “Sweet birthday baby!” seem palatable as she rushed through her days and died a thousand times. It would have been easy to forget about us on a show that didn’t linger too long on all that many people, but Lizzy and Madonna were there to represent us again and again and again and again.
8. Supergirl (2015 – 2021)
When Supergirl moved from CBS to The CW, one of the first things it did was give Alex Danvers a girlfriend. Whether that was always the plan or a mandate from what was, at the time, the queerest network is anyone’s guess, but either way we’re glad it happened. Alex met Maggie Sawyer, came out, had her heart shattered to nine billion pieces, and is learning to love again by way of a brand new Guardian, Kelly Olsen, all while standing by the side of her sister with alien superpowers (aka Kara Danvers aka Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl). And if we’re being honest, as invested as I always am in Alex’s romantic storylines and general happiness as a lesbian, the truest love story for me will always be the sisterly love between Alex and Kara. Their bond has been their lighthouse in the storm more times than I could count, and I would watch Alex help Kara remember to pull the sunlight from the darkness for the rest of my life. And an extra special shout out to trans actress Nicole Maines and her amazing portrayal of trans superhero Nia Nal aka Dreamer; she is a darling and an amazing addition to the Superfriends.
7. Sense8 (2015 – 2017)
Groundbreaking for a billion reasons, and beloved for a billion more, it’s no surprise Sense8‘s Nomi and Amanita made it so high on this list. First, we have trans actress Jamie Clayton playing the trans character Nomi Marks, which should be a given but unfortunately it’s not so it’s worth mentioning. On top of that, Nomi is a trans lesbian who has delightful and stunning sex scenes with her girlfriend Amanita, as well as the mental orgies she has with her cluster, aka the people she has a psychic connection with from all around the world. Amanita is an amazing girlfriend despite the very strange goings-on of the series, and the two all but ride off into the sunset together in the end.
6. Marvel’s Runaways (2017 – 2019)
In another instance of Marvel’s TV shows outstriding its cinematic universe re: queer representation, Runaways has featured one of the sweetest teenage romances since Season 1. Lesbian rainbow alien Karolina Dean and bisexual goth witch Nico Minoru have been trying to balance their light and dark for years, finding strength and hope and truth in each other. Their story was cut short, but we have reason to hope for a future where they have the wedding of their dreams, two sides of the same magical coin.
5. The Good Place (2017 – Present)
Hey! Hey, stop! Hey stop shouting and listen to me! I know that, being a 30-minute comedy, The Good Place is not typically categorized as sci-fi and/or fantasy, but I want you to look me in the eye and tell me that a show that is set in the afterlife and features AIs and demons and butthole spiders is not science fiction! I won’t hear it! I did feel a little guilty when its popularity amongst the TV Team shot it up to fifth place, but the thing is, it’s a great show! And the protagonist, Eleanor, is undoubtedly a bisexual woman, so I think we deserve to claim this show as ours. Plus, Janet lives outside the gender binary and even though she is also not human, her giving language, importance, and precedent for correcting someone misnaming/labeling/gendering you to an audience that might not otherwise have been exposed to it is something unique.
4. Batwoman (2019 – Present)
Batwoman flew onto the scene with a huge legacy to uphold but with the broad gay shoulders to do it. When a historically gay character makes their way to TV, you never know quite how it’s going to pan out, but Batwoman continues to defy expectations and double-down on its gayness over and over again. It’s so refreshing and exciting to have a lesbian in the titular role on TV, and even though her queerness isn’t the only part of her story, it is a real, huge part of her, because that’s how it is for all of us. After publishing this list the first time in January 2020, a lot of changes befell Batwoman; including but not limiting the queerness factor getting cranked up. Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane left the scene, and Javicia Leslie took over the show as Ryan Wilder, kicking up a romance with Meagan Tandy’s Sophie Moore. Later seasons also vindicated Gotham‘s Renee Montoya by casting Victoria Cartagena to reprise her role, but this time giving her a girlfriend in Bridget Regan’s Poison Ivy. Javicia brought new life to the show and helped it jump from #11 to #4 on this very list.
3. Dickinson (2019 – 2021)
I once again ask you to hear me out before yelling at me. I know Dickinson is an unusual inclusion on this list, but tell me that it’s not a fantasy show when there are talking bees, visits from Death himself (who looks a lot like Wiz Khalifa), powers of invisibility, and even a dash of time travel. Even if you take all those things out of the equation, chalking them up to Emily’s overactive imagination, but the concept alone, with modernized vocabulary and music, and liberties taken with her story could be considered fantasy. It’s a stunning show that brings the queerness historians tried to bury back out into the spotlight, centering Emily and Sue’s love for one another that burned bright and true despite being a time that didn’t allow them to be properly together in the way that they wished. Still, we can fantasize about how it was, all while enjoying Emily Dickinson’s incredibly gay poetry.
2. Orphan Black (2013 – 2017)
When I made this list in 2020, to say I was shocked — SHOCKED — that Orphan Black was number one doesn’t even begin to cut it. Sometimes when I’m obsessed with a show, I lose sight of its actual popularity. And I was obsessed with this show. But when I stopped to think about it, it wasn’t really all that surprising that it snuck its way to number one, if only because of the way the TV Team votes are weighted. Because while it wasn’t the only one with a high score as far as my data parameters were concerned, it is one of the few with universal appeal.
Not everyone (on our TV Team or in the general population of queer TV lovers) is into sci-fi/fantasy, but despite being about a woman seeing someone with her face jump onto the train tracks only to discover there are LOTS of people with her face, Orphan Black was genre-bending and made it seem more like secret science than science fiction; it almost convinced you that there really could be human clones running around out there.
It did dip a little into the hyper-surreal, with Kira’s healing abilities and all, but anything that seemed unbelievable as far as lore went was dimmed by Tatiana Maslany’s brilliant performance as an endless number of Leda clones, including but not limited to queer, quirky, brilliant scientist Cosima Niehaus. Her girlfriend, Delphine Cormier, was a charming, bisexual French woman, and together they defied the people who sought to bring them down, the universe trying to keep them apart, and the Bury Your Gays trope. Plus, though not explored particularly deeply in the show, Sarah Manning is bisexual, so that’s amazing. Brilliantly feminist and endlessly brilliant, it warms my heart to its core that this show made its way so high on the list. But this year, with new TV Team members’ votes being applied, it dipped down to a respectable second place. Not bad considering who it stepped down for. Which leads me to our final show…
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003)
It feels right that Buffy the Vampire Slayer sits on top of this list. Not too many shows have been at the top of mind or on the tip of tongues for over 20 years nonstop, but Buffy sure has. Even now, there are still new people coming to the show for the first time because of podcasts, comics, novels and conventions that are about or inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Though imperfect looking back, a lot of the humor, relationships, metaphors, and themes still hold up to this day; and even those that don’t hold up are fun to dissect and talk about. There’s subtext in Buffy and Faith, there are touching coming out stories in Willow, there is a hilarious love/hate relationship with Kennedy; plus a ton of guest stars over the years that are either queer in real life or went on to play queer later. Hell there’s even a whole song that’s an allegory for lesbian sex. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an important touchstone in queer culture, and Willow and Tara will be held up as legends for decades to come.