The Best TV Shows of 2022 With LGBTQ Women and Non-Binary Characters

It’s difficult to summon any general or specific description of the LGBTQ+ television landscape in 2022 without feeling a nagging anxiety similar to one you might feel describing your bright future with a girl who might not even like you back — because if we learned anything about LGBTQ+ inclusive programming this year, it’s that we can’t really count on any of it to last. Of the 28 shows on this list, nine were cancelled and four have yet to be renewed. One of those cancelled shows, Minx, was renewed for a second season and already in production when HBO Max changed their minds, axed it, and announced its intention to remove its first season from the streaming service altogether. Only 11 titles on this list — 40% of the total — have been definitively renewed for additional seasons. (That said, we’re obviously more likely to vote hard for a show we’ll never have a chance to vote for again, so these lists do favor expired properties.)

That aside, it was another promising year for queer representation, including two of the year’s most notable LGBTQ+-focused shows that are both, in a way, period pieces, although set in two very different periods — A League of Their Own and High School. While we bid a sad farewell to Genera+ion, we got two new (and renewed) mostly-queer teen ensemble shows — Heartbreak High and Heartstopper. I’m always especially drawn to shows that don’t just show queer characters, but queer community, and 2022 delivered a second season of Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo’s Sort Of (which miraculously received its third season renewal), Peacock’s Queer as Folk reboot and of course, The L Word Generation Q. It was also a great year for “shows we were watching anyhow introducing sapphic storylines,” like The Only Murders in the Building, Search Party, Acapulco and White Lotus.

Last year the number of non-binary characters on television effectively quadrupled overnight, and that rapid increase continued in 2022 with new non-binary characters introduced on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Queer as Folk, Heartbreak High, One of Us is Lying, The Sandman, Never Have I Ever, Quantum Leap, Chucky, Supernatural Academy, Our Flag Means Death and TLWGQ. Trans men, however, continue to be underrepresented onscreen, although we got a few new characters this year on Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, Dead End: Paranormal Park and Tom Swift as well as seeing Elliot Page’s character on The Umbrella Academy come out as a trans man.

The overall number of queer women and/or trans characters on TV in 2022 is similar to what we saw in 2021.

But amongst all of the shows that dared to tell our stories, whomst amongst them was the best? Well, today I’ll present to you what our team decided upon, using a scientific private voting process involving the ten members of the Autostraddle TV Team: me (Riese Bernard), Heather Hogan, Carmen Phillips, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Natalie Duggins, Valerie Anne, Drew Burnett , Shelli Nicole, A.Tony Jerome and Nic.


28. Gentleman Jack

HBO // Season Two
Cancelled 

Last Year: Didn’t air

Anne and Anne in Gentleman Jack

Photograph by Aimee Spinks/HBO

“Gentleman Jack’s success is due to showrunner Sally Wainwright’s complete refusal to flatten the portrayal of real life Anne Lister. Anne’s bravery, living louder and prouder than any known lesbian in history during the 1800s, is the stuff of legend. And it should be! But Anne Lister was also a complicated woman who was very invested in upholding the systems of power the working class were revolting against during her lifetime. Her relationship with her wife, Ann Walker, was no less layered. She loved her very much, but she also loved the opportunities that Ann’s wealth brought with her. They bickered. They stomped out on each other. And they also kept falling back into each other’s arms because something about their connection just wouldn’t let either of them quit. Gentleman Jack got all that right, and it was a joy to behold.” — Heather Hogan


27. Dead To Me

Netflix // Season Three
Cancelled

Last Year: Didn’t air

Judy and Michelle sharing a fun date at the bar

© 2022 Netflix, Inc

Dead to Me came to a poignant close this year, thus ending the story of Judy and Jen, a queer woman and her straight best friend. Brilliantly acted by Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate, it was a delight to watch these two characters go from unlikely friends to platonic life partners. They went through hell, but they went through it together. This show was as funny as it was emotional; especially in this last season, I feel like I teared up as often as I laughed out loud. And it was a special delight to watch Judy get flustered by, flirt with, date, break up with, and make up with Natalie Morales’ Michelle along the way.” — Valerie Anne


26. White Lotus

HBO // Season Two
Renewed for Season 3

Last Year: Didn’t have queer women characters

Valentina at the desk, smiling

Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO

“The more-or-less settled-upon belief that Season Two of Mike White’s delectably weird whodunit is better than the first is correct, but especially so for our own selfish purposes: while Season One’s vaguely lesbian mean teens failed to deliver anything less vague, Season Two’s resort manager, the alternately meddling and anxious Valentina, was an actual lesbian who eventually had actual lesbian sex. We were tuning in, anyhow: for bisexual queen Aubrey Plaza as the skeptical and standoffish wife of a newly rich tech millionaire Harper (who did report having partaken in a threesome during her halcyon days) but also for a delicious mystery set amid a perpetually unsatisfied group of wealthy couples and families vacationing against a gorgeous Sicilian sky. White Lotus was appointment television, as fun to watch as it was to dissect between episodes, on TikTok and group chats and Reddit, where we trusted the story’s intentional choices were leading us towards a cliff-scaling twist. Sumptuous and satirical and always a whole lot of fun, White Lotus is rich in all the ways.” — Riese


25. Stranger Things

Netflix // Season Four
Renewed for Season 5

Last Year: Didn’t air

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Amybeth McNulty as Vickie and Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Tina Rowden/Netflix © 2022

Tina Rowden/Netflix © 2022

Stranger Things Part One: Season Four premiered earlier this year and was, unsurprisingly, broke the record for most views of an English-language premiere on Netflix. Our resident gays, Robin Buckley and Will Byers, are back to battle some terrifying evils and hopefully not get their hearts broken along the way. And, well, at least one of them succeeds. I’ve been extremely surprised that between the two, Robin has gotten more support from her best friend than Will. You remember Will? Who, you know, in season 2, came back to find his friends were like, “Man, you gotta stop acting like a kid.” as if he didn’t lose his childhood to being stuck in another dimension that was trying to kill him?

Yeah, that one. His story doesn’t get any better, it gets even more devastating, as he tries to confess his love (not overtly, but in a way that we all can understand as viewers) to one of his best friends. He’s met with about 10% of the support that Robin got from Steve and the consistent placing him literally in between Mike and Eleven to show what he’ll never have is lowkey brutal. But the shining light that is Robin Buckley, who Alex Masse beautifully explains is the autistic lesbian we are all waiting for, gives us at least one hopeful gay story. Our girl stutters through the overwhelming crush, broken heart, gets the girl in the end stage and it is wonderful to see her, very straight guy friend, support her wholeheartedly along the way. This is also where I’m gonna say that Robin and Nancy should be together, so you should watch so you can get on this shipping train with me.” — A.Tony Jerome


24. Derry Girls

Netflix // Season Three (Final Season)

Last Year: Didn’t air

cast of Derry Girls in the kitchen

Derry Girls is just one of those shows. A moment in time about a moment in time that sticks with you forever. Creator and showrunner Lisa McGee pulled off one of the trickiest pieces of TV magic making the show about her own upbringing during the Troubles in Northern Ireland: She grounded the series firmly in late 90s, while sprinkling in a modern sensibility. It was Clare Devlin who embodied that last thing the most, our wee lesbian who came out in Catholic high school and even got a date and kiss with a girl in the show’s final season. Derry Girls never shied away from the hard stuff — political turmoil, religious persecution, loss and grief — but it also never stopped delivering the kind of jokes that make audiences all over the world belly laugh together.” — Heather Hogan


23. The Sex Lives of College Girls

HBO Max // Season Two
Renewed for Season 3

Last Year: Didn’t rank

The girls on campus laughing

Photo: Isabella Vosmikova

“Last season on The Sex Lives of College Girls, when a heartbroken Leighton Murray came out to her suitemate, Kimberly, she laments, “I don’t want to be like this. Kimberly, it’s terrifying. I don’t want my whole life to change.” But Kimberly’s there — the world’s greatest ally with her Pride balloon bouquet — and coming out’s just a little less terrifying. Then Leighton tells Bela and Whitney, the other members of this unwittingly chosen family, and the fear recedes. After that, whatever fear remains gets lost in the sheets of whatever queer or questioning girl Leighton beds during her post-coming out hoe phase.

But the resistance to changing her life? The resistance to being anyone other than the person she’s always seen herself as? That persists for Leighton throughout TSLOCG‘s second season. Her arc is the second season highlight.” — Natalie


22. First Kill

Netflix // Season One
Cancelled

First Kill. (L to R) Imani Lewis as Calliope, Sarah Catherine Hook as Juliette in episode 105 of First Kill. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2022

Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2022

First Kill had us in a chokehold from the second it was announced. Based on V.E. Schwab’s short story, the supernatural teen drama follows16-year-old vampire Juliette Fairmont, who needs to make her first kill to enter into vampire adulthood. She’s struggling with the whole murder thing when she meets and falls for Calliope Burns, who hails from a family of monster hunters. It’s lesbian Romeo and Juliet, but sexier and bloodier. Plus, First Kill gives us two very Mommi mommies to supplementally enjoy. Unfortunately, First Kill was the first show Netflix axed in its 2022 LGBTQ Bloodbath.” — Heather Hogan


21. Search Party

HBO Max // Season Five (Final Season)

Last Year: #22

Everybody running on the beach in bright colored outfits

Photograph by Jon Pack/ HBO Max

“Queer is a genre as well as an adjective. Sure, there are TV shows that are queer because they have a queer character or several, but not all of those shows have a queer sensibility. There is queer TV and then there is Queer TV. Search Party is Queer TV. Its first season could be dismissed as Girls with mystery elements, but anyone who had seen show creators Charles Rogers and Sarah-Violet Bliss’ acerbic feature Fort Tilden knew they were getting at something deeper. Each season that depth and specificity has been clarified, especially when the show moved from TBS to HBO Max. This final season was not only its gayest — at least in the traditional sense — it also was the rare chance to see an audacious work of Queer Art end on its own terms. Search Party is one of the great success stories of the 2010s streaming boom. What started as an easy-to-love pitch evolved into a show where Susan Sarandon is Cole Escola’s grandmother and a literal zombie apocalypse breaks out. Conversations about representation have grown stale — this is the kind of singular work we should be fighting to see.” — Drew Burnett Gregory


20. Better Things

FX // Season Five (Final Season)

Last Year: Didn’t air

Better Things - “The World is Mean Right Now” Episode 5 (Airs Monday, March 21st) — Pictured: Mikey Madison as Max, Pamela Adlon as Sam Fox, Hannah Riley as Frankie, Olivia Edwards as Duke. CR:

Suzanne Tenner/FX

“I hate to start a blurb about one of the most comforting comedies of the last decade by bringing up the bigotry toward trans youth that has swept the country in recent years. But when so many New York Times op-eds are fixated on a moral panic, it’s important to have a counter-example. Pamela Adlon’s Sam Fox was that counter-example. Her middle child, Frankie, never lands on a gender or a sexual orientation during the run of the show. They don’t have to. The love and support Sam provides is unconditional. That doesn’t mean she does everything right but she tries and that trying is everything. She lets her kid explore, she lets her kid be whoever they are in that moment. She respects her kid’s identity.

And then respects her kid’s identity again when it changes. This is just one aspect of Better Things but it’s indicative of the show’s overall approach to family and community. It’s corny to say that any work of art has a core message of love but when I say that about this show, I mean it in a way that goes beyond platitudes. It’s love of cooking, love of travel, love of work, love of friends, love of children, love of parents, love when loving feels impossible, loving when you don’t understand, loving when you’re tired, loving when you’re angry, loving even when you’re hating too. In the series finale, Sam’s youngest tells her, “I like the way you live your life.” Ultimately, that’s what this intimate, little show managed to accomplish: a guide to a loving life.” — Drew Burnett Gregory


19. Bad Sisters

Apple+ TV // Limited Series

all the Bad Sisters sitting around the table

“This series is a MASTERPIECE in television and I say that proudly and firmly. There are five sisters, including one eyed le$bian with an amazing home Bibi, and four of them hate the fifth sisters husband perfectly known as ‘The Prick.’ Throughout the series every episode helps to unravel exactly why each sister has an issue with him — and also shows their attempts at murdering him. I know we each have a family member we just cannot stand, but this series shows what could happen if you decide you can’t take them to the point where they need to be gone. It’s funny, witty, wildly well-written, and the surprises that happen ACTUALLY surprised me and that finale — PHEW!!!!! I’m also going to go ahead and say that this series has one of the best opening credits I’ve seen in a minute.” — Shelli Nicole


18. Reboot

Hulu // Season One
Not yet renewed or cancelled

Reboot -- “Growing Pains” - 103 -- As Bree and Reed struggle to get through an intimate scene on camera, Hannah and Gordon each hire their own writers, causing paralysis in the writers room. Meanwhile Clay tries to end an awkward relationship at work before it blows up in his face. Azmina (Kimia Behpoornia), Hannah (Rachel Bloom), Janae (Korama Danquah), and Benny (Dan Leahy), shown. (Photo by: Michael Desmond/Hulu)

Photo by: Michael Desmond/Hulu

“There were so many ways for Reboot to go wrong. A real TV show about a rebooted fictional TV show about a classic fictional TV show. It’s too many moving parts to even wrap your head around. But by the time Reboot hit its stride in the middle of its eight-episode first season, all the myriad pieces were working together seamlessly. Is it a coincidence that the middle of the season is also when the series revealed that Hannah, Timberly, and Bree are all queer? (Lesbian, pansexual, and “a sexual fluid,” to be precise.) I think not! Reboot was a million jokes a minute, and it was also full of heart. As a bonus: Hannah joins the way too short list of Jewish lesbian characters.” — Heather Hogan


17. Minx

HBO Max // Season One
Cancelled

Bambi and the photographer at a fancy Los Angeles party

Photograph by Katrina Marcinowski / HBO Max

“Picture it, it’s 1970’s Cali and the porn industry (and polyester suits) are booming like mad. Joyce, a writer and feminist, wants to start a magazine, its been a dream of hers forever. She then ends up meeting Doug who helps her start a magazine — but it ends up being the first porno mag for women! It’s got hot guys, their cute butts, and incredible articles and all their photo spreads tell a story. It ends up being queer too when her older sister has a bit of a lesbian awakening of her own. But nudity and gayness aside, its a very dope show. It shows a side of the this era and the sexuality of it all from a women’s perspective (that isn’t Gloria Steinem), and its not trying to hit us too hard on the head with the point of it all. I’d also like to mention Idara Victor and Oscar Montoya who steal pretty much every scene they are in!” — Shelli Nicole


16. The Owl House

Disney Channel // Season Three 
Cancelled

Last Year: Didn’t Rank

owl house feature image, characters embracing under a rainbow flag

“What else can I say about The Owl House that I haven’t already squealed in raptures this year? I think I’ve covered it all! So let me just reiterate that I think Dana Terrace’s Disney Channel black sheep is doing LGBTQ+ representation as well — and better, in most cases — than any “grown-up” show on TV. It’s not just the quantity of gay and trans characters, though there are many. It’s the fact that their internal lives are so rich and on display; their adventures are so full of life and wonder; their relationships are so layered and lovely. Season three also went all in on exploring the deep connections and complicated dynamics in found families vs. natal families. Luz is maybe the only bisexual character I’ve ever seen who has found a true home with both.” — Heather Hogan


15. Heartbreak High

Netflix // Season One
Renewed for Season 2

Cast of heartbreak high posing in a school office

ELISE LOCKWOOD/NETFLIX

“In addition to having varied and nuanced queer storytelling in its first season, Heartbreak High was one of the best depictions of a significant friendship breakup on television this year. The series managed to explore so many interpersonal and systemic social issues — from dating while autistic to policy brutality against Aboriginal peoples to bisexual awakenings to slut shaming to comprehensive sex education to class and mental health — but without ever feeling corny or moralizing about any of these things. Instead, it did so with humor and ample room for mess. The cast is charming and has great chemistry, and the love triangles are great teen drama fodder.” — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya


14. Paper Girls

Prime Video // Season One
Cancelled

4 teen girls sit on a curb and stare into the camera

Paper Girls is another show on this list that is gone too soon! I might get in trouble for saying it, but the Amazon adaptation of the best-selling graphic novels is everything I wanted Stranger Things to be. KJ’s arc, in particular, captivated us all — and I could just tell the series was gearing up for more! I think a lot about what Young Me would think if she met Now Me, and Paper Girls let me live out the fantasy of my closeted, insecure teenage self coming face to face with my happy, whole, loud and proud adult self. There’s so much to be said about healing your inner queer child. I wish Paper Girls had been given a real chance to share that story.” — Heather Hogan


13. Harley Quinn

HBO Max // Season Three
Renewed for Season 4

Last Year: Didn’t Air

Harvley and Ivy having dinner at a fancy restaurant

Photograph by Courtesy of HBO Max

“In its three seasons, Harley Quinn has never stopped surprising me. The way it called Joker on his abuse of Harley and let her murder him dead in the first season. The way it slow-burned Harley and Ivy from best friends to accidental lovers to girlfriends in the second season. And then, the way it let both characters, and their relationship, face challenges and grow stronger and better together in the third. Season three was as irreverent as ever — maybe more so, with Bruce Wayne’s plans to reclaim his childhood by making his very dead parents into zombies — but it was also shockingly soft in all the right ways.” — Heather Hogan


12. Heartstopper

Netflix // Season One
Renewed for Season 2

heartstopper cast drinking milkshakes

“Based on the beloved graphic novel of the same name, Heartstopper comes as close to capturing the feeling of a first gay crush as any TV show I’ve ever seen. The relationships are so sweet. The music is so queer and poppy. And there are just so many LGBTQ teens to root for. The standout for us was Yasmin Finney’s Elle, a trans girl who transfers from an all-boys school and finds herself fully accepted and loved into Heartstopper’s friend group. Heartstopper doesn’t exist to challenge straight viewers, but it does exist to comfort queer ones. And that’s more than we can say for every other show that’s been compared to Glee over the years!” — Heather Hogan


11. The L Word: Generation Q

Showtime // Season Three
Not yet renewed or cancelled

(L-R): Rosanny Zayas as Sophie and Leisha Hailey as Alice in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q, "Quiz Show". Photo Credit: Troy Harvey/SHOWTIME.

Troy Harvey/SHOWTIME.

“Season three is easily the strongest of Generation Q’s run. With the exception of Tibette’s dramatic reunion, the stories have dialed back the nostalgia a little bit and instead invested more time and energy in the new characters and relationships. Finally, it doesn’t feel like so much of a shadow of the show’s legacy looms over it and more like the series stands on its own. This is especially seen in this season’s Halloween episode, a playful and silly but ultimately grounded and layered episode that does bring back the past in the form of a guest appearance by Daniel Sea as Max but also plays by its own rules rather than the original’s. Shane even apologizes for the past. Generation Q also continues to be one of the only shows on television that shows the sex lives of queer women over 40 and 50, and for that alone, it still stands out in the queer television landscape.” — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya


10. Station Eleven

HBO Max // Limited Series

alex and kristen after a performance in "Station Eleven" in their weird costumes

Photograph by Ian Watson/HBO Max

“When we talk about comfort shows we’re usually referring to a gay children’s cartoon or a queer ensemble with sexual chaos. We are not usually talking about an apocalyptic drama that is at times so unpleasant that after finishing the fourth episode while recovering from Covid, I needed to stop watching for several weeks. And yet, by its heartfelt conclusion that is exactly what Station Eleven became. It is an ambitious, layered story about a doomsday quicker than our own and the bisexual theatre kid who survives and grows up to be Mackenzie Davis. It’s also a tribute to the power of art amid our most trying times. Davis leads a remarkable cast with Himesh Patel and Danielle Deadwyler giving two of the best performances on TV this year. When times are tough, escapism is nice, but meaningful art that shows reality and then shows hope is even better. Station Eleven shows that in its story — it shows that in its very existence.” — Drew Burnett Gregory


9. Queer as Folk

Peacock // Season One
Cancelled

QUEER AS FOLK -- Episode 104 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jesse James Keitel as Ruthie, CG as Shar -- (Photo by: Alyssa Moran/Peacock)

QUEER AS FOLK — Episode 104 — Pictured: (l-r) Jesse James Keitel as Ruthie, CG as Shar — (Photo by: Alyssa Moran/Peacock)

“I’m not sure how the swiftly cancelled Queer as Folk reboot will ultimately be remembered — but to me, I saw nothing but promise, a dynamic cast and a team that was willing to take risks and eager to break representational ground. Like another noted reboot of a beloved Showtime program about queer people, it faced a tough audience of those who loved the original and also those who hated it. Unlike the deeply white, cis and able-bodied original characters (mostly played by straight actors), all of the new QAF’s main characters were people of color or trans or disabled or all of the above. The original series’ token not-gay-guys were a white lesbian couple named Mel and Lindsay, and the reboot delivered us Char, a non-binary Black masculine-presenting person and their partner, Ruthie, a trans woman who’d grown up with the series’ star, gay party boy Brodie. Queer as Folk gave us groundbreaking and incredibly hot sex, a Craft-inspired drag show, a sex party catered towards people with disabilities and a joyful portrait of chosen family coming together in the face of shared trauma. There really is nothing that defines queer community quite like it’s historical dedication to Throwing Parties When We’re Sad.” — Riese


8. High School

Prime Video/Freevee // Season One 
Not yet renewed or cancelled

Tegan and Sara songwrite together in High School

“Clea DuVall and Laura Kittrell’s adaptation of Tegan and Sara’s teenage memoir makes for great TV, in large part because pop music’s favorite lesbian twins were so open when they wrote the book. The series has a glorious 90s sensibility. The flannel! The hair! The Doc Martens! The Nirvana of it all! And a Canadian one too. But there’s also something universal about the story of these two gay kids figuring out who they are in relation to their sexuality, their friendships, their dreams, and each other. Newcomer twins Railey and Seazynn Gilliland made an admirable leap from TikTok to TV, winning the hearts of longtime fans and even viewers who only knew Tegan and Sara from that Lego Movie song.” — Heather Hogan


7. Sort Of

HBO Max // Season Two
Renewed for Season 3

Last Year: #18

7even and Sabi standing in a gay bar

Photograph by Courtesy of HBO Max

“Towards the end of Sort Of‘s first season, Sabi (Bilal Baig) had, seemingly, found their footing. Their mother was coming to understand them, to acknowledge Sabi’s need to be themselves as she affirmed her own need. They’d enmeshed themselves in the lives of the Bauer family, becoming a trusted confidante for Paul, a comforting presence for his two children. But slowly, the foundation beneath Sabi’s feet shifts. Their father returns from Dubai. Bessy awakens from her coma. Relationships grow far more complicated and a refuge ceases to exist. It all sounds like too much but in its second season, Sort Of builds on the self-discovery from the first season and assures Sabi that they’re strong enough to handle whatever comes next.” — Natalie


6. Reservation Dogs

FX // Season Two 
Renewed for Season 3
Last Year: #14

cast of Reservation Dogs sitting on a roof

“I often say I like to read books that are not only queer in content but also queer in form. Reservation Dogs is one of the first television shows I’ve seen that this also applies to. This show feels queer in its DNA, in its refusal to adhere to strict structure or be defined by a single genre. You can tell there are multiple queer folks in the writers room, and sometimes it’s those behind-the-scenes presences that matter even more than surface-level on-screen representation. In its second season Reservation Dogs continued to push the boundaries of conventional televisual storytelling. The cast excels all the way down to minor characters, and the strong sense of place makes for immersive, memorable worldbuilding. It’s also a show that rewards rewatches, so detailed throughout.” — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya


5. A Black Lady Sketch Show

HBO // Season Three 
Renewed for Season 4
Last Year: #2

girl in overalls pretending to be a baby standing next to a woman in a teal romper who is her mom

HBO

“I feel as if, at least at Autostraddle, A Black Lady Sketch Show has been claimed as queer culture for years. It felt refreshing, right from the top, to have such a smart, unabashedly Black, show also emphasize the point that all Black women — queer Black women, trans Black women — are funny as hell. But I’d argue that it wasn’t until this season when ABLSS really hit its exemplary, chaotic, peak. It’s no coincidence that their funniest season is also their gayest. Sweetly, casually gay, with queer characters as a part of a painted portrait of over-the-top caricatures where their sexuality was not the point or the punchline, but also as main characters in sketches where the jokes only landed if you knewto be in on them. Ashley Nicole Black trying to come out to her parents, only to be outshined by a spider terrifying everyone over the dinner table. Raven Symoné as a stud needing a bathroom. Wanda Sykes delivering stand up. Michaela Jaé Rodriguez as the self-centered clerk of a beauty supply store in a fantasy episode of The Purge. We were everywhere, and everywhere was a perfect place to be.” — Carmen Phillips


4. P-Valley

Starz // Season Two
Renewed for Season 3

Last Year: Didn’t air

P-Valley cast

“I may never have the words for P-Valley. Even now, my overwhelming feeling is stunned that we were lucky enough to witness it all? In P-Valley’s first season, Katori Hall wrote a Black queer nonbinary character in Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan), owner of the Pynk strip club, that was breathtaking in its fullness. And yes, Uncle Clifford’s relationship with Lil Murda (J. Alphonse Nicholson) — a gay closeted rapper who’s head over heels in love with her, no matter how many walls Clifford puts up for what she believes is for both of their safety — has always been important. But it was the second season, and the exploration of Lil Murda on his own terms, and his relationship with a previous ex who was so much more, Big Teak, that broke me. I have never seen queer Black men taken with such care, such tenderness. John Clarence Stewart’s performance as Big Teak, in any other just world, would be an Emmy. And then there’s Mercedes (Brandee Evans), who, in trying to create a life for herself away from the club, finds self-discovery in Farrah. And there’s Farrah, after being repressed in her marriage for years, opening anew for Mercedes.

The best Black queer story told last year on television was P-Valley. The best and most realistic story about Blackness in the pandemic was P-Valley. And if there’s one show you missed and should watch, it’s absolutely down in the valley where the girls get naked. Don’t forget your bands, because ’round here we pay sex workers for their work.” — Carmen Phillips


3. Hacks

HBO Max // Season Two
Renewed for Season 3

Last Year: #5

Hacks' team toasting at a night party

Photograph by Karen Ballard/HBO Max

I always worry about a sophomore slump when it comes to shows whose first seasons blow me away, and I certainly had my fears about Hacks managing to pull off its strange magic a second time in a row. But it not only matched its first season’s singular sense of humor but pushed things even further. It’s discomfort comedy at its finest. Hannah Einbinder and Jean Smart are the best dysfunctional duo on television. Season two is such an unflinching look at failure, especially late-in-career failure. Deborah Vance is floundering, but she also refuses to quit. You’re never too old to bomb.

For artists — with the exception of very few — you’re always hustling, no matter how much success you’ve amassed. It’s always fun to watch when Deborah and Ava when they’re in their element, but it’s even more interesting to see when they fuck up — not only in their personal lives but also in their careers. And their relationship to each other remains one of my favorite dynamics, full of venom and admiration all at once. They’re obsessed with each other on a toxic level, and it makes all their conflicts so explosive. And the lesbian cruise episode is hall of fame status.” — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya


2. Batwoman

The CW // Season Three
Cancelled

Last Year: #16

Three women including Batwoman looking over a man who I think is dead or sleeping maybe, he is on a bed

Colin Bentley/THE CW/ © 2022 The CW Network, LLC

“Ryan Wilder was the moment. And should, in fact, still be the moment. Her turn as Batwoman was the reason superheroes were created in the first place. She stepped into the cape and cowl in the middle of a real-life, revolutionary uprising for Black lives. She was played by endlessly charismatic bisexual star Javicia Leslie. She became one of the only Black queer women on TV who got to have a relationship with another Black queer woman on TV. She was surrounded by a supporting cast full of POC, including Victoria Cartagena, who finally got to play the Renee Montoya she deserved (after an infuriating half-season on Fox’s Gotham). In addition to all that, Ryan Wilder’s Batwoman was just fun. And badass. And hilarious. It was important TV, and it was good TV. We’re still mourning the loss.” – Heather Hogan


1. A League of Their Own

Prime Video // Season One
Not yet renewed or cancelled

a league of their own: baseball players in the locker room listening to their coach

Anne Marie Fox/Prime Video
Copyright: © Amazon Content Services LLC

“It’s safe to say that A League of Their Own blew us away. You’ve seen how it dominated all our year-end lists — because it dominated our hearts! There were so many gay characters to love, and all of them brought something fresh and powerful and vulnerable to the table. From Max and Carson’s journeys to self-acceptance and dream-chasing, to Jo’s journey to stardom, to Jess and Lupe’s brotherhood, to Greta Gill’s femme power, to Sarge’s secret sapphic leanings. We all binged the whole season, and then turned around and binged it again. A League of Their Own honored the beloved film, and it set itself completely apart. We will be devastated if Amazon doesn’t renew it for a second season.” — Heather Hogan


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Riese

Riese is the 40-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3003 articles for us.

The TV Team

The Autostraddle TV Team is made up of Riese Bernard, Carmen Phillips, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Valerie Anne, Natalie, Drew Burnett Gregory, Shelli Nicole, Nic, A. Tony Jerome, and Heather Hogan. Follow them on Twitter!

The TV has written 221 articles for us.

42 Comments

  1. I love A League of Their Own, High School, Hacks, Derry Girls, Stranger Things, and The Sex Lives of College Girls. I like Reboot and Harley Quinn a lot. However, for me, Warrior Nun is better than a ton of the stuff on this list. It’s (main!) canon queer relationship was planned from day one, and the couple was the emotional core of season two. The show is also just good, with beautiful cinematography, wonderful characters, excellent fight scenes (including some single-shots!) that are more exciting to me than anything Marvel is doing, and an interesting plot that explores faith and science and power and control. Even though it’s been cancelled, I still recommend it to people as its ending was satisfying/conclusive enough.

  2. Justice 4 Will!!! If he doesn’t ride off into the sunset with a boyfriend (even a secret one I will take!) I will riot!!

    Or honestly, yeah, I’ll also just take one of his friends being nice to him

  3. Warrior Nun had a way better written and way more important queer love story than a lot of shows on this list and you guys continuing to short change it is going to look very silly in a few years when it’s fandom remains active and strong while many of these shows are completely forgotten.

  4. Warrior Nun is also a great watch. Season 1 got off to a bumpy start but it picked up by the end. Season 2 was pretty great. Yes it was cancelled but S2 ends on an okay point where the story is wrapped up and it gives a hint on what would have happened. Also the huge Twitter response ain’t nothing. Still hoping that it gets picked up for S3 somewhere.

    Also since it’s bound to come up … there was criticism about it being ableist in S1. Which is fair. I’m disabled myself. I have different feelings on S1. We all have different feelings and opinions especially when it comes to topics close to us. I still think it’s a great fantasy show with an outstanding queer main character and romance. So I’d put it on this list.

    • I think Warrior Nun being ignored by the AS team is strange at this point. I would have thought that the passion of the fanbase was noteworthy enough to have more than a few mentions… nit to mention how fun the show itself is! Also the fandom is so active and full of really great art and fanfiction. Maybe because the viewers of the show demographically are younger, the AS team doesn’t feel as much overlap with their audience? And from the article I saw when S2 first came out, it seems like WN and AS started off on the wrong foot and never recovered… either way, I’ve been kind of disappointed by the lack of WN here :’(

      Anyway, I love my ninja nun show, its different and weird, and I still love you guys, AS team!

    • Honestly I still don’t understand the view that Warrior Nun as a show was ableist in S1. The show certainly had an awful, ableist character (Sister Frances) who had made a very young, extremely vulnerable Ava feel worthless, and feel like a burden, because of her disability; but the show never for a second made me think I was supposed to agree with Sister Frances about Ava. On the contrary, it was obvious from the first episode that Sister Frances was evil — and we learned pretty quickly that in addition to having been emotionally abusive to Ava, Sister Frances had actually murdered only-God-knows-how-many young people entrusted to her “care” at the orphanage. So I’m genuinely baffled: how does the show having had an ableist, sociopathic VILLAIN — whose vile views the show absolutely did not endorse — make the show itself ableist? Particularly where Ava was assured by a non-villainous character that her worth as a person did NOT depend on her being abled? (“It wouldn’t matter if you were quadriplegic, festooned with boils, or a talking head in a bag. You would still have us.”)

      • I agree. I disagree with the criticism and I was frustrated with AS for their aversion to it but then I realized … like whatever. It’s a tv show. I hope it gets saved and it looks like people on Twitter are trying hard to make that happen. I’m just gone to post my comments and do a small part so maybe people will get a good rec. I’ve certainly gotten some good recommendations from comments.

    • Love you for including P-Valley but Uncle Clifford uses she/her pronouns. Please update! <3

      “And yes, Uncle Clifford’s relationship with Lil Murda (J. Alphonse Nicholson) — a gay closeted rapper who’s head over heels in love with him, no matter how many walls Clifford puts up for what he believes is for both of their safety — has always been important.”

  5. Disappointed not to see Warrior Nun on this list. Especially considering the current #SaveWarriorNun movement where increased visibility for such a meaningful portrayal of a queer relationship and self-discovery arcs might make all the difference in the world.

  6. Not everyone is going to like your fave, WN folks. This is reminiscent of Time Circle (Circle of Time?) from last year. A subjectively boring show that lots of people seemed to love enough to bombard the comments section here at AS. I get it, I once had a pretty serious Otalia fixation (were y’all born yet?) that made me a very intense little fan.

    Anyway, thanks for the end-of-the-year lists, AS. A few shows I need to check out.

    • I’m 40 years old and I’ve watched a ton of TV in my life. I don’t think Warrior Nun is the best show ever in existence, but I do think it’s a good show with the kind of rep we still don’t get that often (main characters in the main relationship of the show, which was the emotional core of the second season). It’s odd to me that it was barely covered here considering how large the fandom is and how prominent the couple was (when shows with the tiniest bit of side queer character rep are talked about more often), but I don’t think it’s an Autostraddle conspiracy against the show or anything — I assume most of the writers either didn’t watch the show or didn’t love it.

      I don’t think there’s any need to condescend to the people who mention it in the comments, though. I often collect more recs from the comment sections of articles about movies/TV shows/books here, so I appreciate it when people talk about their personal faves.

      • Autostraddle doesn’t cover a lot of queer content. It’s a small site, and besides, haven’t we grown out of the ‘we must support every gay thing for its representation’? It’s not a moral position to like WN. It’s not an immoral position to not like WN.

        • Don’t put words in my mouth, please. I didn’t say that anyone is required to support the show or that they are somehow immoral if they don’t like it. I said I found it odd that it wasn’t covered here more considering how much noise the fandom has been making since its release. All of the big publications (Deadline, Forbes, TVLine, The Independent, Paste, Variety, Collider, Tom’s Guide, Cosmopolitan and so on) have done articles about the show, often multiple, because they bring in clicks. It trended on Twitter and Tumblr for ages (and even the renewal campaign has racked up more than two million tweets in just a week). I know Autostraddle is seeking more activity and engagement, so it’s odd when shows that make a big splash in the WLW community are barely mentioned here. That’s all.

      • Don’t listen to the WN haters on this site. It’s a great show! Anyone who argues it’s not perfect isn’t doing that in good faith, because of course it’s not perfect but also nobody claimed it is. There’s no perfect show (even though this site is adamant in proclaiming BW was).

  7. I initially threaded this comment but decided to put it here on its own instead since WN keeps coming up — on this post but also on every EOY post we’ve published.

    Autostraddle gave as much coverage to Warrior Nun as it has to most of the shows we cover — standalone write-ups for seasons one and two! There are 6 shows on this list that we didn’t give even *one* standalone review to, let alone one for each season, simply bc we didn’t have anybody with the time and interest in writing about those shows, even though as you can see many of us clearly loved those shows! There are at least 30 shows with queer women characters that were not written about at all on our website this year, not in a Boobs on Your Tube recap or in a standalone. We’re really doing our best, I swear, but at the end of the year there’s always a list of shows we wanted to give standalone space to but couldn’t find a writer to do it. But Warrior Nun did get that standalone space this year!

    What’s written about depends mostly on what our writers are into and who of those into-it writers have time to write about it and something to say about it. It’s not part of any kind of agenda! Warrior Nun was on the airtable that our writers voted for TV shows on, and it didn’t win. There are lots of shows I loved that I think deserved to be on this list that didn’t win, too! But I can’t force my co-workers to watch or like the same things i do.

    And honestly like… be mad at Netflix! They could’ve paid to advertise Warrior Nun on this site, they could’ve done sponcon to enable more coverage… and they didn’t, because they never do. And cancellations are unfortunately another thing we *very clearly* have no control over.

  8. Goofily pleased to see so many of my favorites for the year on here. I totally understand the limits of staffing and space, but I selfishly hope someone writes more in the future about S2 of Sort Of. Himani’s write-up of S1 was great, and I thought the show really flourished and deepened this season. And then the end of the season hit like a gut punch (still fresh after watching it this week) so I’m crossing my fingers in the hope that some additional reactions/analysis may be forthcoming at some point. 💜

    • Station 11 is devastating and profoundly hopeful all at once, it’s really something special (and I actually thought the show was better than the book, which I read ages ago and thought was excellent, and it’s rare I prefer the dramatization to a novel!)

      Definitely want to catch P Valley — Carmen, you convinced me!

  9. Dang, I miss Ryan Wilder and the rest of the Bat Fam. Batwoman deserved better. Also, I was late to the Better Things party (just binged it over the past few weeks), but what an absolute light of a show. <3

  10. 28 shows, why not 30?
    Also, another best of 2022 list that doesn’t include Warrior Nun – what a joke. And to anyone saying it isn’t “good” or doesn’t deserve to be on this list, WN actually is included in many best of lists and by non-queer entertainment sites at that.
    If anyone had told me a show with a wlw main couple gets more recognition and praise by Forbes and NYtimes and practically anyone else than from a queer sapphic website I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are…

  11. If I never see anything written about Batwoman ever again after this, it’ll be still too late, lol. The show was trash, it was rightfully cancelled, the actors’ talent was wasted. I’m glad they can move on, hope we’ll see Javicia and Meagan in queer roles again soon.

  12. Every year there’s one fandom that shows up on these lists insisting that their cancelled show is the most special show ever and it’s a MORAL FAILING of Autostraddle for not loving it as much as they do. “Autostraddle’s going to become irrelevant.” “Autostraddle’s going to go under because Forbes or whatever does lesbian coverage better.” “THIS fandom will last FOREVER.” Then next year, that fandom’s gone, Autostraddle is still here, and there’s some new self-righteous fandom insisting that Autostraddle sucks and THEIR cancelled show is the most special show ever. Ad infinitum. I actually thought about watching Warrior Nun but you fans have turned me off of it completely. 

  13. I don’t think anyone is going on a AS witch-hunt re: the seemingly “notable” absence of Warrior Nun from the list. I’m just saying I’m surprised it’s not on here considering it’s a really good show, and there’s a main character WLW relationship featured. Maybe the AS team didn’t watch it? That’s fine. But, maybe there’s a gap there if that is the case, since a lot of us clearly did and adored it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  14. I’m happy that some of y’all found a show that’s meaningful and exciting to you, but…wow.

    Autostraddle accepts pitches, so maybe channel that annoyance and frustration??

    Just a thought.

    Y’all got it though…

  15. Seriously, Legends of Tomorrow didn’t make the lost? So much better than many shows in this list and it has one if the healthiest wlw pairings I’ve ever seen. With the addition of making Spooner Ace, it also featured 5/10 main characters as queer.

    It feels like the queer community had slept on Legends, which is sad because it is portrays queerness in such healthy ways.

  16. “I think a lot about what Young Me would think if she met Now Me, and Paper Girls let me live out the fantasy of my closeted, insecure teenage self coming face to face with my happy, whole, loud and proud adult self. There’s so much to be said about healing your inner queer child. I wish Paper Girls had been given a real chance to share that story.” — Heather Hogan

    This is how I felt precisely, and I’m glad I wasn’t alone <3 <3 <3

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