A Gay Girl’s Guide To Fall 2015 TV

by riese with help from heather

As the leaves change and time slips through our fingertips like sand through the hourglass, a brand new season of television is upon us. Reflecting the overall trend of pretty much everybody being gay, there are quite a few lesbian and bisexual females hitting up your television screens this fall and this is a special safe space in which to celebrate that blessed reality, and then go home and pray quietly to ourselves that they won’t be murdered or relegated to the background.

We’ve been delaying this fall preview in anticipation of the release of GLAAD’s “Where We Are On TV” Report (which usually has a few more reveals regarding which shows will have LGBTQ characters), but we just couldn’t wait another minute since so many of these shows start so soon! You can look forward to another post when GLAAD does release the report.

Grantland has called this season “the worst fall season in modern television history” and The Washington Post says this fall’s docket seems to fit neatly into their prediction that we’d reached the “silver age” of television, with “plenty of quality writing, acting and heightened production values, but how much of it is really, truly, can’t-miss TV?” Still, LGBT women are turning up in significant numbers and we’re seeing a lot of women front and center in new and returning shows.

Asterisks indicate an LGBTQ female character exists on this show.

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Monday

*Faking It Season 2B (MTV) – August 31st, 9:30 PM

faking-it

Faking It Season 2B is, in fact, already upon us, and Amy remains a maybe-lesbian, Karma is a maybe-bisexual, Shane is definitely gay, Reagan is definitely a lesbian, Lauren is intersex and Shane’s boyfriend is also gay. I will be recapping the whole blessed season.

*Gotham Season Two (Fox) – September 21st, 8PM

barbara

Gotham Executive Producer John Stephens told AfterEllen that “Barbara will be part of a love triangle that includes a new female villain,” and AE’s bet is on Tabitha/Tigress, played by Jessica Lucas. Heather, however, told John Stephens (via yelling at her laptop) that she will invest exactly zero more minutes into this show because they capitulated to entitled straight white fanboy outrage over the fact that Renee Montoya was a viable romantic rival to The Great Fanboy Mary Sue, Jim Gordon, and wrote her off the show without ceremony or explanation. Yes, the first canonically queer women in a live-action version of either Marvel or DC’s universes, a beloved lesbian Latina character, was trashed, and the women who preferred her over Jim, Miss Barbara Kean, was turned into a depraved bisexual psychopath. Heather gives it zero out of five stars, would not recommend.

Supergirl (CBS) – October 26th, 8 PM

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Ideally, this show will erase from our minds all memory of Melissa Benoist playing Marley on Glee — she’s headlining this DC Comics-inspired program, which’ll also feature Laura Benanti as her birth mother and feature Dean Cain (who I remember fondly from Lois & Clark) in a guest spot as her foster father. Out lesbian writer Ali Adler (The New Normal, Glee) is on the writing team. Heather caught a screening of the pilot at the Paley Center and can confirm that this show is full of unapologetic girl power (kind of awesomely aimed at teenage gals!). It’s campy in the style of Lois & Clark (with a special guest appearance by actual Clark), and Benoist plays Kara Danvers with a swoony kickass charm. Like all the best superhero stories, you’ll easily be able to make the connection with hiding superpowers and being in the closet as a gay human.

*Jane The Virgin Season Two (The CW) – October 12th, 9 PM

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Jane the Virgin was one of the most delightful (and surprisingly feminist) shows to land on TV last year. It features so many well-round Latina characters — including the matriarchal wonder of a household that includes Jane, her mom, and her abuela — and three queer women. There’s Luisa, the OBGYN who accidentally artificially inseminated Jane with her (Luisa’s) brother’s sperm. There’s Rose, Luisa’s former stepmother who also was her lover; she killed Luisa’s father, buried him in cement, and kidnapped Jane’s baby because in addition to being bisexual, she’s also a criminal mastermind. And there’s Juicy Jordan, Luisa’s current girlfriend who also is an Ultimate Fighting Champion in MMA. (Did I mention this show is a telenova?)

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW) – October 12th

crazy-ex

Comedienne Rachel Bloom is behind this unexpected and wacky musical comedy that sees her character, Rebecca, flushing all her meds down the toilet and leaving her career as a lawyer in New York for suburban Covina, California to chase down a boy she fell in love with at summer camp ten years earlier. With a concept that terrible, it has to be fantastic, right?


Tuesday

*Grandfathered (Fox) – September 29th, 8 PM

The lesbian is on the far right

The lesbian is on the far right

This John Stamos sitcom is, um, a John Stamos sitcom — but, early reviews have been largely positive, and the show’s creator, Danny Chun, did time writing for The Office and The Simpsons. Paget Brewster (Emily Prentiss on Criminal Minds) plays Stamos’ ex and MORE IMPORTANTLY, Kelly Jenrette plays his lesbian assistant, Annelise. How much John Stamos can we endure in order to relish in the beauty of a black lesbian character in a primetime sitcom? Find out this season, on FOX.

*Scream Queens (Fox)  – September 22nd, 8pm

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The latest Ryan Murphy/ Brad Falchuk / Ian Brennan project is full of blood, guts and Murphy’s own brand of camp. The cast, headed up by Emma Roberts playing sorority girl Chanel Oberlin, also includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Abigail Breslin, Niecy Nash and Lea Michelle. It’s a “killer comedy” about a serial killer, disguised in a devil outfit, who begins terrorizing campus during sorority rush. Sam, played by Asian-American actress Jeanna Han, appears to be our token queer, with a style “inspired by Sam Ronson.” On Afterellen, Trish Bendix noted that although Sam will appear in the pilot, “it doesn’t sound like she’ll survive much longer than that.” So, you do have an out, queer women of the world! You don’t have a moral obligation to watch! Tavi Gevinson will guest star.

The Muppets (ABC) – September 22nd, 8pm

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The Muppets are returning to prime time, this time doing a fake reality-show style situation that is sure to tickle your nostalgia bones and also your funny bones and probably sell a lot of merchandise. I don’t know guys I just love the muppets. I know they’re not gay but you know, some of them basically are.

*Fresh Off The Boat Season Two (ABC) – September 22nd, 8:30 pm

FOTB

Sonya Eddy is playing Deb, the bartender at The Denim Turtle, because it turns out that Jessica’s first trip to the Denim Turtle was not her last — it’s her new favorite bar, and thus, Deb is her new best friend.

*The People’s Couch Season Four (Bravo) – October 6th, 10 PM

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JULIE AND BRANDY JULIE AND BRANDY JULIE AND BRANDY no for real I know it sounds stupid to watch people watch television, but this show is genuinely hilarious, and it will do a little something to fill the gaping hole in your heart where In Your Box Office used to live.

Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris (NBC) – September 15th, 10pm

best-time-ever

This is a variety show hosted by a gay man, which could be relevant to your interests! Of the premiere, Vulture said, “I’ve seen a lot of next-day complaints that Best Time Ever was awkwardly staged and performed and disappointing and so on. I didn’t see that last night. What I saw was a series of physically and musically and otherwise gifted people doing amazing things with no safety net to speak of, save the rather brief pauses afforded by the prerecorded clips. I don’t think I’ve used a pogo stick since I was a kid, and I damn sure can’t do a backflip from one, as Harris did. Live, people. Live.” They were filming this situation across the street from Heather’s favorite bar recently and there was a crane and everyone sipped on overpriced cocktails and discussed the fact that he should have teamed with Maya Rudolph for this.

The Mindy Project (Hulu), September 15th

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Hulu picked up this show (one of my favorites!) last year when it was dumped from network television. Lesbian comedienne Fortune Feimster will play Jody’s sister, Collette Kimball, a nurse with “big energy.” No word on whether or not her character is gay but like, come onnnnnn….. 


Wednesday

*Arrow Season Four (The CW), October 7th, 8pm

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Arrow. Arrow, Arrow, Arrow. Well, on the one hand, Arrow completely stuffed their leading bisexual character, Sara “Canary” Lance, in the refrigerator very early on in the season last year. Very unacceptable. One thousand points from Slytherin. On the other hand, Arrow brought Nyssa Al Ghul, Sara’s ex-girlfriend, back for a whole lot of the back half of the season and let her kick asses and mourn her beloved out loud. She’ll be back this season. Oh, she’ll be back. Now, on a third hand, Sara Lance (or some incarnation of her) is going to star on CW’s latest Arrow spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow, which lands in January. No word yet on whether or not she’ll be queer, but considering the huge fan backlash over her death, it seems very likely.

*Empire Season Two (Fox), September 23rd, 9pm

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Bisexual hip-hop artist Tiana Brown has been upgraded to a series regular for season two and there’ll be a new lesbian character, Forbes list billionairess Mimi Whitman, played by Marisa Tomei. Mimi is described as “a demanding venture capitalist who becomes involved in Lyon family drama” and a “lover of hip-hop music, social trends, high-end fashion and beautiful women.” Our mortal enemy Ilene Chaiken told AfterEllen that Mimi is “a fabulous character. We’ve having loads of fun with her. But she also plays an important role in the soap, in the treachery, in the Cookie vs. Lucious and in the fate of Empire.” Everybody cross your fingers that Cookie and Mimi are gonna hook up please.

*Rosewood (Fox), September 23rd, 8pm

rosewood

The story of a private pathologist teaming up with a cop to solve crimes will feature two lesbian characters: Gabrielle Dennis will play Pippy, Rosewood’s sister and the practice’s “toxicology queen” and Tara Milly Izikoff will play her fiancé, DNA specialist Anna Konkle. Our main worry, of course, is that being a lesbian is the number one way to get yourself killed in Emily Fields’ Rosewood.

Criminal Minds Season 11 (CBS), September 20th, 9pm

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Your favorite guilty pleasure that sometimes scars you psychologically is back AND finally a woman of color has been added to the cast! Aisha Tyler will be playing Dr. Tara Lewis, a forensic psychologist with an alternative lifestyle haircut. Out actress Kristen Vangsness will also be returning as my best friend Penelope Garcia.

*American Horror Story: Hotel (FX), October 7th, 1opm

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Ryan Murphy’s ambitious project returns for a new season with a new story — including Angela Basset‘s Ramona Royale, the ex-girlfriend of Lady Gaga‘s character, Elizabeth. Ramona will see herself in a love triangle with Elizabeth and two male characters. Lily Rabe will play lesbian serial killer Aileen Wurnos. Bisexual actress Sarah Paulson is also returning for another season of this extremely twisted show.

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Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. 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 2753 articles for us.

55 Comments

  1. THANK YOU FOR THIS.

    The AV Club recently did something similar, except each time they’d list the strengths and weaknesses of a particular show, I would just think “Okay, but get to the important part – is there a queer woman on it?!”

  2. Thanks for the excellent round-up!

    One comment: given Ryan Murphy’s track record with lesbian characters and fans alike, one might well feel morally obligated to NOT watch “Scream Queens”.

    Just sayin’…..

  3. The possibility of 4 QUEER WOMEN ON GREY’S ANATOMY!!

    The possibility of COOKIE LYON BISEXUAL!!!!!

    Marissa Tomei playing Bette Porter.

    The return of bisexual “you gotta girl on the side, well so do I” Tiana.

    A reoccurring lesbian character on Fresh Off the Boat.

    I could do this list forever. Everything (except that which is made by Ryan Murphy) sounds so good!

    Aaaaaaand….. MUPPPETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Can’t wait. Can’t wait. Can’t wait.

  4. I’m really excited about Scream Queens despite my utter disdain for Emma Roberts. There’s enough other great folks in it (I mean JAMIE LEE CURTIS for crap’s sake! For a horror junkie like me it doesn’t get any better) and I don’t have the broken heart at Ryan Murphy since I never watched Glee and never have a clue what anyone’s talking about. I do watch American Horror Story and its best season had a lesbian protagonist who just happened to be the most interesting and compelling character the series has ever had AND she was the final girl, so I haven’t been hurt yet on how he represents queer women (in fact quite the opposite). So I imagine I’ll be disappointed very, very soon, and finally know what everyone means. Yay?

    Also super-psyched for Fresh Off the Boat and returning to the Denim Turtle. I binge-viewed that show over the summer and that was one of the most delightful episodes.

  5. Heather yes! That’s exactly how I feel about AKA Jessica Jones! I love Jessica Jones and I love Krysten Ritter and I think this show could be really really great and I’m hoping and praying so much that the queer ladies last for more than one season!

  6. Ehh, there’s not a lot here I’m hugely excited for. Lots of bit parts and maybes. The spring/summer season has lesbian and bi characters who are integral to and dominate their shows in leading roles, Orphan Black, OITNB, PLL, Person Of Interest, and few of these shows compare to that.

    The show I’m most excited for is Jessica Jones as well. Netflix quality and kickass lady heroes! Grey’s was pretty much ruined for me when they made Arizona a cheater, but I’ll give it a look this season to see if enough time has passed to enjoy it again.

  7. I am most excited about Downton Abbey, not gonna lie. I think it’s a show popular with queer ladies, right? We have a small army of queer ladies who watch together while drinking tea and eating Victoria sponge anyway. And I can tell you we are all very excited.

    It should be on the list, maybe?

  8. So excited for the return of Thursday Shonday. It’s Wall to wall Shonda Rhimes at the CSD household.
    PS: I miss Dr Hahn too. We’ll always have the “glasses” scene *sigh*

    Besides that I will be watching:

    Monday: super girl, jane the virgin

    Tuesday: fresh off the boat, the people’s couch

    Wednesday: empire

  9. Home Fires promo pic looks like a classic lesbian version of Where’s Wally.
    Of the possibles I think Teresa is
    A, lass on bike
    B, lass in wellies assuming the outdoorsy rule applies in the majority of cases or
    C, Agent Carter looky likey in brown skirt suit.

    I plump for C as she looks bossy and I have a weakness for bossy.

  10. America has their own version of Gogglebox!! (Gogglebox is the UK ‘The Nations Couch’ or whatever you’ve called it.) I love love love it, but have a habit of ringing my mum while its on (‘Caitlin, seriously, i wont speak to you when Gogglebox is on.’) Any other Brits want to croon over Leon and June with me. <3 Although, now I think about it they don't have any queer women that i know of. But the regional accents make me feel all safe and warm.

  11. No offense but this is so pale

    And, why, why doesn’t anyone ever cast two queer black people together? Why do they have to date a white person every time? It’s really invalidating, as if our queer is only considered possible if we date white. Black people are not inherently heterosexual. It’s possible to be gay and still date another brown person. There are a lot of us. We are capable of loving each other and we do it all the time. It’s time to show it.

    I won’t be watching any of these tbh

    • It’s actually legitimately bonkers. Somebody did an actual analysis of this — I can’t remember where I read it, though — and on television, interracial relationships are infinitely more popular amongst same-sex couples than opposite-sex couples. It’s like so weird for the white male powers-that-be to imagine two girls together that without one of them also being white their entire head explodes.

      • Reminds of that idea homosexuality is the white man’s sickness or a Western sickness.

        Still it’s a bit amusing there’s any inter-racial couple is over-represented in some category. I say this a someone who’s been a part of an interracial couple and had experiences of people thinking totes not a couple. Why would we be? No body like us they could think of.

        • Right, it’s a weird idea to discuss in the context of ‘over-representation’ — because on the one hand, it’s actually awesome that so many white women are in relationships with women of color on television. but what’s not awesome is that it happens at the expense of two women of color of the same race ever actually dating each other.

          • Yep.

            I remember the first time I went to a Pride thing at club and there was this femme Glamazon dancing and doing that slow dancing hugging with sweet little kisses thing with her petite butch [email protected] partner who in a 40’s style sort of outfit that I wanted to steal.
            There just was so much representation across the board that night with no fighting just everybody grooving.
            It made me wonder why isn’t there anything like their life being represented or am I just missing it.

            But no, apparently not with what you’re saying.

            Kju I’m sorry the tv world is stupid and treats you like you don’t exist outside the scope of a white person, it’s ridiculous and shitty.
            Things should change, everyone should start calling for it.

        • i mean, as far as i know (and i haven’t seen EVERY show ever, but i’ve seen a lot of them):

          white women w/ women of color:
          Bette & Tina – The L Word
          Tiana & India – Empire
          Emily & Paige – PLL
          Emily & Sara – PLL
          Emily & Samara – PLL
          Santana & Brittany – Glee
          Amanita & Nomi – Sense8
          Willow & Kennedy – Buffy
          Tara & Pippy – Rosewood
          Rose & Luisa – Jane the Virgin
          Amy & Reagan – Faking It
          Ramona & Elizabeth – AHS: Hotel
          Callie & Arizona – Grey’s Anatomy
          Jean & Deborah – The Mindy Project
          Carolyn & Alice – Under the Dome
          Alex & Paige – Degrassi
          Kalinda & Donna – The Good Wife
          Kalinda & Sophia – The Good Wife
          Kalinda & Lana – The Good Wife
          Kay & Hailey – Marry Me
          Jack & Imogen – Degrassi
          Lena & Stef – The Fosters
          Suzanne & Maureen – Orange is the New Black
          Poussey & Franziska – Orange is the New Black
          Renee Montoya & Barbara Kean – Gotham
          Shana & Jenna – PLL
          Root & Shaw – Person of Interest
          Tara & Naomi – True Blood
          Tara & Pam – True Blood
          Kate & Caroline – Last Tango in Halifax
          Alice & Tasha – The L Word
          Shane & Carmen – The L Word
          Jenny & Carmen – The L Word
          Papi & Gabby – The L Word
          Bette & Jodi – The L Word
          Nyssa & Sara – Arrow
          Tess & Fin – Lip Service
          Julie & Nikki – The Returned
          Sugar & Kim – Sugar Rush

          black lesbian couples:
          Kima & Cheryl – The Wire
          Sophia & Crystal – OITNB (kinda, their romantic relationship seems to be over by the time the show starts)
          Bette & Candace – The L Word (kinda, it was a fling)

          latina couples:
          Camilla & Jocelyn – East Los High
          Santana & Dani – Glee
          Emily & Lucy – The Bridge
          Natalie & Hillary – Switched at Birth

          interracial couples where both women are of color
          Emily & Maya – PLL
          Poussey & Soso – OITNB (alluded to)
          Emily & Talia – PLL

          • Dayum.
            So that couple I saw, unless one of them was [email protected] and we’re just counting her as [email protected], their grouping as an interracial couple of colour’s TV representation is that of about 2.5 to what ever number that is over 12 (possibly 20) of white partnered interracial queer lady relationship.

            Get meta with those lists and think about how many queer women of colour exist in the world that aren’t being represented
            Brick meet brain.

          • Omg, seeing this laid out reminds me how much I used to internalized my queerness only being validated when I’m dating a white girl. To be attractive I had to have white women find me attractive. Practicing a double standard where a white girl can be mediocre but other women of color (especially Black women) had to be near perfection because for me to participate in predominantly white queer spaces, I had to be operating at a near perfection level.

            Narrow Queer representation like that added to that mess into my budding queer baby gay days, now I’m different, grown and it is important that all relationships are represented. To see representation of two WOC dating and loving each other is radical and essential for me in decolonizing my queerness.

            In the famous words of Kevin G, “Not to hurt your feelings but I only date women of color.” It’s liberating and my practice of self-love.

  12. A.K.A. Jessica Jones and Supergirl are on my list, but it seems I will have to wait to 2016 for my main shows: Person of Interest, The 100 and The X-Files revival.

    Gillian Anderson and Lucy Lawless are kind of a religion for me, I can watch any crap they’re on (for example Hannibal), I don’t care what the show is about.

    By the way, about Lucy Lawless, not a line about Ash vs. Evil Dead? That show is out on October 31. It doesn’t seem to have any queer content, but come on, it’s Lucy Lawless, the possibility is always there when she’s around.

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