12 Pretty Good Lesbian Shows We’re Pretty Sure You Haven’t Seen Yet

There’s so much great sapphic television across many genres right now that sometimes things slip through the cracks. I’m the kind of person who’s somehow always obsessing over a show approximately three dykes have seen. And I don’t say that to BRAG about my UNIQUE tastes; this is my personal struggle, my cross to bear, my lesbian curse. So when one of my coworkers had the idea to “do a list of underrated lesbian television shows,” it did not surprise me when she followed it up with “I think Kayla watched a lot of these.” It was true. I had. In fact, many of them I’d written about on this very website. Now, we went with an intentionally presumptive headline here, and I’m sure as you’re reading this you might think: Hey, I have seen this! How dare you assume otherwise! And that’s neat. Maybe you can treat this as a game. You get a point for every show you have seen. Or treat it like a challenge and try to watch them all in a certain timeframe. They’re all certainly worth it!

All of the series below have only had two seasons at the most, and in many cases they’ve deserved more! Also, in putting together this list, some of the shows that were originally going to be on it had to be removed because they aren’t available to stream anywhere, including Zoe Lister-Jones’ Slip even though it was nominated for several Independent Spirit Awards. Unfortunately, the reality is that any of the shows below could disappear any time, and while I don’t mean to get into the weeds of just how fucked up the television industry is right now, all of this is to say: WATCH THEM NOW!!!!!!


Class of ’07

One season
Stream now.

Class of 07 promo picture

This eight-episode apocalypse comedy has some striking similarities to Yellowjackets (mainly, cannibalism) even though it’s tonally and structurally completely different. It starts with a ten-year reunion at an all-girls Catholic private school and quickly goes south when a massive Biblical-level flood leads them to be stranded and disconnected from the outside world — if the outside world even exists anymore. Old high school drama suddenly has new teeth and stakes to it as they reckon with survival. I wrote in my review: “Class of ’07 feels a bit like a mashup between Pen15 (absurdist comedy and adult actors embodying teenage behaviors), Yellowjackets (apocalypse vibes, a dual timeline, and yes cannibalism), and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (finding humor in strange places and characters reckoning with their painful pasts).”


Creamerie

Two seasons
Stream now.

Alex is in the middle in the overalls and flannel shirt, obviously

I must confess that I myself haven’t had the pleasure of watching this show yet! I will fix that ASAP, but for now, here’s what my coworker Riese has to say about it:

Creamerie isn’t the first piece of media to grapple with the possibility of a female-dominated dystopia in recent years, but it’s unique in its tone and sense of humor. It smashes together multiple styles — indie comedy focused on misanthropic friends always getting in their own way (e.g., Casual, You’re the Worst, Difficult People), wellness-industry skewering satire (e.g., Nine Perfect Strangers, Welcome to Eden) and, of course, that dystopia thing. Set in New Zealand, Creamerie focuses on three best friends (played by Ally Xue, JJ Fong and Perlina Lau, who also serve as creative producers) living on a dairy farm in a world where everyone with a Y chromosome was wiped out by a virus, sperm has become “white gold,” and everyone is under control of Wellness, a white-robed matriarchy with secretly sinister operations. Xue is Alex, a gutsy lesbian who is an outspoken critic of the organization and wants to take it all down. Creamerie is everything we talk about wanting in a TV show — it’s created by and starring a team of women of color, it’s funny and smart, it’s been widely critically acclaimed, there’s a lesbian makeout scene almost immediately and it has interesting things to say about gender and power and family. We haven’t talked about Creamerie enough around here, and for that I can do nothing but tell you to watch it now.


Dare Me

One season
Stream now.

I won’t go so far as to say this entire list is built around me, once again, plugging the woefully underrated series Dare Me, but the regrets I have about not originally recapping the series when it was on run deep. Set in the high-stakes, bone-crunching world of competitive high school cheerleading, the series is based on a novel by thriller queen Megan Abbott and follows best friends Addy (Herizen Guardiola) and Beth (Marlo Kelly) who either want to merge, destroy each other, or kiss — maybe all three. Willa Fitzgerald also gives a standout performance as their intense, controlling, emotionally abusive head coach Colette. There’s a throughline murder mystery plot (again, it’s based on a thriller novel). But the most compelling parts of Dare Me sit inside its gruesome and grotesque portrayal of girlhood and the dangers that lurk in suburban life for young girls. I’ve been obsessed with it since 2019, and I won’t rest until a critical mass of lesbians watch it to the point where they collectively demand I write retroactive recaps five years after the fact HINT HINT.


Everything Now

One season
Stream now.

group of teenage friends atop each other

There are so many great ensemble teen dramedies featuring queer characters available to stream right now! So for fans of Heartbreak High and Sex Education, check out the underrated Everything Now, centered largely on protagonist Mia (Sophie Wilde) and her thorny path toward eating disorder recovery. I was struck by the show’s realism in its characters having morbid senses of humor about their own trauma as well as how messy the characters are, which felt specific to their teenagehood. As I wrote in my review: “I’m most interested in Everything Now’s unflinching determination to portray all its characters fucking up, over and over. Mia, in particular, is no idealized victim. You ache for her throughout the series, are rooting for her. But there are also times when she frustrates, disappoints, hurts.” Main character Mia is queer, but so are so many other characters!


In My Skin

Two seasons
Stream now.

Once again, this is one I missed the boat on! So here’s what Drew Burnett Gregory has to say:

The first season of this two-season Welsh series showed promise — the second is one of the best seasons of queer television ever. Following teenager Bethan as she navigates her sexuality and her mother’s mental illness, In My Skin is an emotional and grounded coming-of-age tale. Because it’s based on show creator Kayleigh Llewellyn’s life it avoids the trappings often found in stories of class struggle and mental illness. There’s no poverty porn here; just a complicated and often very funny story of a young lesbian with big dreams. If you’re a fan of shows like Trinkets, Normal People, and Better Things you must check out this brief and remarkable 10-episode show.


Leopard Skin

One season
Stream now.

Leopard Skin actors outside walking towards camera

Of all the shows on this list, this one is easily the most bananas. Its genre would technically be “heist thriller,” but that doesn’t even begin to cover the wild right that is Leopard Skin. It’s a difficult show to summarize, but it centers on documentarian Alba (Carla Gugino), whose husband lefter her for cocktail waitress Batty (Gaite Jansen), who killed the husband and who Alba is now blackmailing as a result. One day, their rather strange arrangement is interrupted by a group of criminals whose diamond heist just went sideways, and they become hostages. This series is for fans of asking wait, what’s happening? and cold meds-induced fever dreams. The humor has a Killing Eve vibe to it. As I wrote in my review: “The show feels a bit as if David Lynch were to try his hand at a softcore Cinemax production.”


Pure

One season
Stream now.

Charly Clive as Marnie in HBO Max's new series "Pure." Marnie is in the background as she longs for two women, both blurry to the camera, in the foreground

Through its protagonist Marnie (Charly Clive), who experiences X-rated intrusive thoughts that make her think there’s something seriously wrong with her, British comedy Pure delivers a striking portrayal of OCD. “Marnie’s mix of chaos and charm never grates because actor Charly Clive lends her an authenticity that’s impossible not to love,” Drew Burnett Gregory writes in her deeply personal and nuanced review of the one-season series. There are a few entries on this list that I’d consider “mental health comedies” (Everything Now, Such Brave Girls, This Way Up), and this one stands out in its candor, complexity, and acerbic humor.


Such Brave Girls

One season
Stream now.

two skeptical girls in their early 20s in "Such Brave Girls"

Another one of this list’s “mental health comedies,” Such Brave Girls is a riotous, disgusting, in-your-face comedy about a dysfunctional family (two sisters and a single mom, all of them varying degrees of delulu) trying and often failing to get their shit together. It’s discomfort comedy at its finest. Real life sisters Kat Sadler and Lizzie Davidson play fictional sisters Josie and Billie in the six-episode run, Josie having recently wrapped up a stint in a psychiatric ward at series’ beginning. “The three women wouldn’t know an appropriate boundary if it punched them in the face,” I write in my review. “The script, penned by Sadler, is beyond acidic; it’s like guzzling gasoline.” It’s for fans of You’re the Worst and Bad Sisters.


The Horror of Dolores Roach

One season
Stream now.

Two women with curly hair, a brunette white woman and a Latina, tenderly hold each other and share a forehead kiss against a dark wall.

Who knew we were going to have two cannibalism shows on this list? JK, I knew. For starters, I made the list. But also, Yellowjackets is basically 60% of my personality. Mordant comedy The Horror of Dolores Roach is inspired by iconic cannibalism tale Sweeney Todd and stars Justina Machado as a bisexual woman returning home to Washington Heights after a prison sentence. Here’s what Autostraddle Editor-in-Chief Carmen Phillips had to say about it:

If someone told me “we’re going to barely adapt Sweeney Todd and set it in a story about the prison industrial complex, recidivism, and gentrification, all centered on a Puerto Rican woman in Washington Heights” — I would’ve bet a lot of money on that… not working. I wouldn’t have seen the surprisingly apt parallels between 19th century London and 21st century New York, and I would’ve expected the racial and cultural differences to be handled clunkily at best. But no! Not at all! It felt seamless to me? I was stunned by how elegantly everything came together.


The Lake

Two seasons
Stream now.

the cast of The Lake in a canoe on a lake

A woefully underrated comedy that’s subtly about the complexities of queer chosen family, The Lake follows Justin (Jordan Gavaris), a gay man reconnecting with his biological daughter Billie (Madison Shamoun) who he had with his best friend when they were teens before entering her into an open adoption. Set against the backdrop of a picturesque lakeside community in Canada, the series brings small-town drama a la Schitt’s Creek to its delightful tableau of family-based comedy. Julia Stiles is fantastic in it as Justin’s ruthless sister-in-law Maisy-May. There’s an entire episode in season two quite literally built around Tegan and Sara. I wrote in my review: “Even at its zaniest, The Lake feels very grounded in the world the writers have constructed in rich detail over the past two seasons. It’s at its finest when plunging into the depths of familial conflict but also care.”


This Way Up

Two seasons
Stream now.

the cast of This Way Up in winter gear

This entry on the list has the least amount of on-screen queer content, but it’s still an underrated show with a solid queer supblot. The British comedy stars Aisling Bea as Áine, an Irish woman returning to London to restart her life after rehab. The queer storyline comes by way of her sister, who realizes she’s bisexual and starts dating a woman she works with. For fans of Fleabag or any of the other “mental health comedies” on this very list!


Wreck

One season (with a second on the way)
Stream now.

Vivian and Jamie in Wreck, covered in blood

With a second season hitting the UK this week (and hopefully hitting the US soon?!), there’s no better time to plunge into Wreck, the queer slasher-comedy set on a cruise ship that won my heart last year. Gay boy Jamie (Oscar Kennedy) gets a job on the cruise ship in order to covertly investigate the mysterious disappearance of his sister Pippa. He quickly bonds with crewmate Vivian (Thaddea Graham), who came to the ship after being rejected by her homophobic parents. It isn’t often we get to see a depiction of a friendship between a lesbian and a gay boy on television, which is absurd, because that’s a dynamic that exists often in real life! In addition to its portrayal of queer friendship, Wreck delivers a masterful (and super fucked up) twist. Watch it if you dare!

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 814 articles for us.

7 Comments

  1. 1) I looked up the cast to “This Way Up”, and I’m pretty sure that I know who the sister’s LI is.
    2) I would add “The Imperfects” to this list. Rhianna Jagpal is such a delight as Abbi Singh. The straight laced intellectual who isn’t a prude.

  2. I’m glad to see Pure is available to stream! Last time I tried to watch it (based on Autostraddle recs but delayed from when they were written) I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’m looking forward to watching it.

    The ones I’ve seen in this list (Everything Now and The Lake) I quite enjoyed. 😊

  3. Not sent this mentioned anywhere, but there’s a really sweet sapphic love story micro-drama (six ten -minute episodes) set in small town Scotland on BBC called Float. It’s really good and the format is super interesting!

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