Remember when LGBTQ+ characters were the sidekick? The stereotypical white gay who popped up in a recurring capacity for comedic effect? Or if they were the central character, their sexuality would be downplayed and scenes of intimacy would be non-existent? Yeah, we’ll admit: we don’t really miss those days. No shade to some of these characters of course, because a lot of them paved the way for the positive queer representation we see today. As of 2020, representation for the LGBTQ+ community in television has never been better. In fact, a recent report from GLAAD discovered that the amount of queer characters on our screens has increased by over 100 to a new record. It’s impossible to deny the role Netflix has had in this. Over the past few years, the streaming service has built a reputation as one of the most inclusive sources for content, whether it’s originals such as Orange is the New Black, Dear White People or Hollywood, to network classics like American Horror Story, Pose or RuPaul’s Drag Race. Netflix boasts a plethora of entertain(t)ing LGBTQ+ comedies, dramas and thrillers, so we’ve rounded up 46 of the best that you can stream right now.
AJ and the Queen (2020)
Cast: RuPaul, Izzy G., Michael-Leon Wooley, Josh Segarra, Katerina Tannenbaum, Tia Carrere, Matthew Wilkas
In 2020, RuPaul made her Netflix Original debut on AJ and the Queen as Ruby Red, a “bigger-than-life but down-on-her-luck drag queen” who travels across America in a rundown RV from the 90s; accompanied by a wise-cracking 10-year-old orphan called AJ. Each episode, Ruby visits a drag club and performs a killer musical number, where she is joined by some of the most legendary contestants from Drag Race HERstory, such as Bianca Del Rio, Latrice Royale, Katya, Jinks Monsoon and Monique Heart. The Emmy-winner wrote and executive produced the show alongside Michael Patrick King, who is best known for directing, writing and producing iconic HBO comedy Sex and the City, as well as Lisa Kudrow’s lauded satirical drama, The Comeback. Sadly, the show was cancelled after just one season.
American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (2018)
Cast: Darren Criss, Penelope Cruz, Édgar Ramirez, Ricky Martin, Joanna P. Adler, Joe Adler, Annaleigh Ashford
The second season of Ryan Murphy’s anthology drama American Crime Story focuses on the death of legendary gay fashion designer Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramirez), who was murdered by Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) on the steps of his home in 1997. Criss received praise for his performance, winning a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries, or Television Film. Penelope Cruz and Ricky Martin also won rave reviews for channelling Donatella Versace and Gianni’s lover, Antonio D’Amico.
American Horror Story (2011 – present)
Cast: Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts, Lady Gaga, Billy Eichner, Lily Rabe, Taissa Farmiga, Denis O’Hare, Frances Conroy, Kathy Bates, Cheyenne Jackson, Billie Lourd, Adina Porter, Leslie Grossman
Ryan Murphy’s horror anthology series has received universal acclaim since its premiere seven years ago, with particular praise for the performances of Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates, Frances Conroy and Angela Bassett. Each season focuses on a different sub-section of horror, such as an asylum, a haunted house, a coven of witches, a cult and the impending apocalypse. There are numerous LGBTQ+ characters in the series, most notably Paulson’s two lead characters: Lana Winters and Ally Mayfair-Richards. The series has been renewed for three more seasons, meaning American Horror Story will be on our screens until at least 2023.
Black Lightning (2018 – present)
Cast: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III, Damon Gupton, James Remar, Jordan Colloway
Black Lightning follows the title character – Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) – a retired superhero with the ability to harness electricity, who becomes the headmaster at a high school. He returns to fighting crime when a local gang – The One Hundred – threatens citizens in the community. American actress Nafessa Williams plays Pierce’s daughter Anissa, a lesbian medical student and part-time teacher who is able to manipulate her body’s density at will. She made history as the first queer superhero of colour on television. Since its debut, the show has received acclaim for its maturity, and portrayal of race and sexuality, and has been renewed for a fourth season.
BoJack Horseman (2014 – 2020)
Cast: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, Aaron Paul
Although BoJack Horseman received mixed reviews upon release, it has since been hailed as one of the best animated television shows of all time, particularly for its depiction of mental health, sexuality, addiction, sexism, racism and trauma. The series follows the title character (Will Arnett), a washed-up, depressed actor who tries to get his career back on track with the help of his agent, Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), and his unwanted roommate, the naive yet kind-hearted Todd (Aaron Paul). In the third season finale, Todd came out as asexual, and the show’s handling of the subject matter received widespread acclaim. A recent study discovered that Todd was the only asexual character across all television platforms in 2019.
Bonding (2019 – present)
Cast: Zoe Levin, Brendan Scannell, Micah Stock, Matthew Wilkas
Loosely based on the experience of creator Rightor Doyle, Bonding follows psychiatry student slash dominatrix Tiff (Zoe Levin) who enlists her gay best friend from high school, Peter (Brendan Scannell) to be her assistant. Throughout the course of the series, Peter comes to terms with his sexuality and his newfound venture into sadomasochism, while Tiff attempts her balance her career with her… clients. Season two is expected to premiere later this year.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013 – present)
Cast: Andy Samberg, Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, Chelsea Peretti, Andre Braugher, Dirk Blocker, Joel McKinnon Miller
Police procedural comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows a team of detectives in the fictional 99th Precinct of the New York City Police Department in Brooklyn. The series has received highly positive reviews throughout its run, particularly for its portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) and Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher), winning the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. The eighth season is set to premiere in 2021.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018 – present)
Cast: Kiernan Shipka, Ross Lynch, Lucy Davis, Miranda Otto, Jaz Sinclair, Tati Gabrielle, Adeline Rudolph, Richard Coyle, Chance Perdomo, Darren Mann
Netflix’s gritty reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch stars Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka as the titular spellbinding character, who is forced to juggle her supernatural abilities with her mortal life. There are quite a few queer moments throughout the series, such as the relationship between pansexual warlock Ambrose Spellman (Chance Perdomo) and Luke Chalfont (Darren Mann), Susie Putnam (Lachlan Watson) coming out as trans and of course that steamy orgy scene. Sadly, the series has been cancelled and will return for eight final episodes later this year.
Cast: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jonathan Bailey, Julie Dray, Louise Ford, Damien Molony, Adrian Scarborough, Amit Shah, Lockie Chapman, Susan Wokoma, Kathy Burke
Written, created and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Killing Eve, Fleabag), this short-lived British dramedy follows the lives of six 20-somethings living together as property guards in a disused hospital in exchange for low rent. The series boasts a wonderful same-sex romance between Sam (Jonathan Bailey), the sex-obsessed wild card of the group, and Fred (Amit Shah), a quiet and awkward man struggling with diabetes. Representation for the latter, a South Asian queer man, was met with universal praise.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-2019)
Cast: Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III, Donna Lynne Champlin, Pete Gardner, Vella Lovell, Gabrielle Luiz, David Hull, Scott Michael Foster
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend follows the overachieving Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), a real estate lawyer from Harvard who leaves her job in New York City to win back her ex-boyfriend. The series has received praise since its debut for its portrayal of mental health, female sexuality and parenting, with Bloom receiving a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 2016. One of the most prominent storylines in the series includes Darryl (Pete Gardner) and Josh’s (David Hull) relationship, and the latter’s reluctance to start a family. In later seasons, Rebecca’s close friend Valencia (Gabrielle Luiz) also embarks on a lesbian relationship with a woman called Beth, and it’s one of the most healthiest relationships of the series.
Cast: Colin Ford, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Sophie Simnett, Austin Crute, Cody Kearsley, Jeanté Godlock, Gregory Kasyan, Krysta Rodriguez, Matthew Broderick
The latest addition to Netflix’s burgeoning Originals lineup is a brilliant blend of Mad Max, Zombieland and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (it even stars Matthew Broderick as a cannibalistic headteacher) loosely based on Brian Ralph’s celebrated graphic novel of the same name, with enough pop culture references to warrant several viewings. The show focuses on high schooler Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford) as he searches for his missing girlfriend in the city of Glendale, California. Like many great franchises, it’s the supporting cast that really make the world pop, especially Wesley Fists (Austin Crute), a bad-ass, sword-wielding hero; but what makes Wesley truly great is that he’s gay. It challenges the old stereotypes that being queer means being weak or a victim. Despite receiving positive reviews, the series was cancelled after just one season.
Dear White People (2017 – present)
Cast: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton, Antoinette Robertson, John Patrick Amedori, Marque Richardson, Ashley Blaine Featherson, Giancarlo Esposito
Based on the 2014 film of the same name, Dear White People tells the story of several black college students at Winchester University, an Ivy League institution, and often touches upon issues surrounding modern American race relations. DeRon Horton’s character, Lionel Higgins, is coming to terms with his sexuality and often struggles with being a black man in the queer community, as well as a queer man in the black community. The fourth and final season will premiere later this year.
Eastsiders (2012 – 2019)
Cast: Van Hansis, Kit Williamson, John Halbach, Constance Wu, Matthew McKelligon, Stephen Guarino, Brianna Brown, Willam
Set in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, Eastsiders follows on-and-off couple Thom (Van Hansis) and Cal (Kit Williamson) as they struggle to come to terms with their infidelity and substance abuse. The series also stars legendary RuPaul’s Drag Race star Willam as Douglas/Gomorrah Ray, a drag queen and door lady who falls in love with Stephen Guarino’s character Quincy. Hustlers and Crazy Rich Asians actress Constance Wu co-stars as Kathy, Cal’s best friend. The show has received numerous accolades, including a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Digital Daytime Drama Series for Willam – the first time a drag queen has been nominated for an Emmy in an acting category.
Elite (2018 – present)
Cast: María Pedraza, Itzan Escamilla, Miguel Bernardeau, Mina El Hammani, Miguel Herrán, Jaime Lorente, Álvaro Rico, Arón Piper, Omar Ayuso
Spanish teen drama Elite follows three working class friends Samuel (Itzan Escamilla), Nadia (Mina El Hammani) and Christian (Miguel Herrán), who are sent to an elite boarding school after their previous school was destroyed. Since its debut, Omar (Omar Ayuso) and Ander’s (Arón Piper) relationship has received a positive reaction online and have even received their own adorable couple name: Omander. In 2018, Netflix had the best response to homophobic viewers who condemned their love, posting hundreds of rainbow emojis and the comeback: “Sorry couldn’t read your comment while surrounded by all these beautiful rainbows.” Netflix has renewed the series for a fourth and fifth season.
Glee (2009 – 2015)
Cast: Lea Michele, Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Darren Criss, Harry Shum Jr, Chord Overstreet, Jacob Artist, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Heather Morris, Jenna Ushkowitz, Corey Monteith
Ryan Murphy’s musical teen drama focuses on several students in the fictitious William McKinley High School glee club, as they navigate issues such as sexuality, race, gender identity, bulimia, pregnancy and school violence. In the first season, Kurt (Chris Colfer) struggles with his sexuality and his feelings for Finn (Corey Monteith) and in later years, becomes romantically involved with Blaine (Darren Criss). They were later named “one of the most beloved TV couples of the millennium”. The late Naya Rivera also received widespread praise for her portrayal as Santana, a popular, hard-as-nails cheerleader at McKinley who embarks on a friends-with-benefits-esque relationship with fellow cheerleader, Brittany (Heather Morris). Glee was nominated for 19 Emmy Awards throughout its run.
Grace and Frankie (2015 – present)
Cast: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterson, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker
Hollywood icons Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star as two unlikely friends who bond after their husbands leave them… for each other. It’s received glowing reviews since the premiere, and the cast – especially Fonda and Tomlin – have been lauded for their performances, receiving multiple nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. We see so much representation for LGBTQ+ youth on our TV screens, so Grace and Frankie is a breath of fresh air. Last year, the series was renewed for a seventh and final season consisting of 16 episodes, making it the longest-running Netflix production in history.
Cast: Patti LuPone, David Corenswet, Darren Criss, Jeremy Pope, Laura Harrier, Samara Weaving, Jake Picking, Holland Taylor, Dylan McDermott, Maude Apatow
The seven-episode limited series, which Ryan Murphy (gasp!) co-created with Ian Brennan (Glee, Scream Queens, The Politician), follows a group of young aspiring actors and filmmakers as they try to catch their big break in a post-World War II world. Each character offers their own glimpse into Hollywood’s Golden Age, while the series itself highlights the racism, sexism, homophobia and decades-old power dynamics that are still prevalent in the entertainment industry today. While the show may have garnered a mixed response from critics, it’s received plenty of praise from viewers who loved getting the chance to see a more diverse depiction of Hollywood where everyone (who deserves it) gets a happy ending.
How to Get Away with Murder (2014 – 2020)
Cast: Viola Davis, Billy Brown, Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Katie Findlay, Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry, Karla Souza, Charlie Webber, Liza Weil, Conrad Ricamora
Academy Award winner Viola Davis stars as Annalise Keating, a law professor who becomes entangled in a murder plot with five of her students – one of which is playboy Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), who embarks on a relationship with computer programmer Oliver Hampton (Conrad Ricamora). The two are – without question – the main power couple of the series, and one of their storylines (we won’t spoil it) revolves around a pretty heavy topic, one that’s not often addressed in a show this mainstream. The series came to an end with its sixth season earlier this year.
I Am Not Okay With This (2020)
Cast: Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Sofia Bryant, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Aidan Wojtak-Hissong, Richard Ellis
Based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel of the same name, I Am Not Okay With This focuses on a teenager called Sydney – played by IT star Sophia Lillis – who struggles to come to terms with her sexuality and newfound superpowers. It consists of seven 20-30 minute episodes and can be binged watched in an entire afternoon – and trust us, you will. Although the coming-of-drama was “quietly picked up for a second season,” it was cancelled at Netflix “due to circumstances created by COVID.”
Jessica Jones (2015 – 2019)
Cast: Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Wil Traval, Erin Moriarty, Carrie Anne-Moss, Eka Darville, David Tennant, Janet McTeer
Netflix’s second in a series of shows set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jessica Jones follows the titular character (played so brilliantly by Krysten Ritter), a former superhero with her own detective agency. The first season was universally acclaimed by critics for its approach to sexuality, and depiction of darker topics such as rape, assault and PTSD. The Matrix’s very own Carrie Anne-Moss stars as Jeri Hogarth, Jessica’s lesbian attorney and ally. The series’ last season also features Marvel Studios’ first major trans character.
Modern Family (2009 – 2020)
Cast: Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Jeremy Maguire
Mockumentary sitcom Modern Family follows the lives of Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) and his extended family, all of whom live in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson have received universal acclaim for their portrayal as gay couple Cameron Tucker and Mitchell Pritchett, both receiving Primetime Emmy Awards. It was on the air for over 11 years, spanning 250 episodes, making it ABC’s longest-running sitcom in history.
Next in Fashion (2020)
Cast: Tan France, Alexa Chung
Netflix’s new style series Next In Fashion sees 18 talented designers compete across 10 episodes for a huge cash prize of $250,000 and the opportunity to debut their own collection on Net-a-Porter. It’s hosted by Queer Eye’s resident style guru Tan France and British presenter, model and designer Alexa Chung, who bring plenty of fun to the high drama of the workroom. Get ready to binge your way through 10 episodes of workroom drama and stunning runway looks on a whole other scale.
Orange is the New Black (2013 – 2019)
Cast: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, Samira Wiley, Danielle Brooks, Jackie Cruz, Selenis Leyva, Dascha Polanco, Nick Sandow, Yael Stone
Orange is the New Black has been Netflix’s most watched original series since its debut. The critically-acclaimed drama follows several characters in a woman’s prison and is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name. Lead character Piper (Taylor Schilling) and Alex’s (Laura Prepon) relationship is at the forefront of several storylines, and the show has many other supporting queer characters, most notably Laverne Cox’s portrayal of trans inmate Sophia Bursett. Her performance resulted in the actress being nominated for an Emmy, making her the first transgender person to be nominated for such an award.
One Day at a Time (2017 – present)
Cast: Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, Todd Grinnell, Stephen Tobolowsky
One Day at a Time follows the story of Cuban-American mother and former Army veteran who suffers from PTSD, and her relationship with her family. This year, the show was cancelled by Netflix which subsequently caused a massive uproar from fans on social media. It became known for tackling issues such as homophobia, racism and depression, topics that aren’t usually dealt with in the sitcom genre. Following the show’s controversial cancellation, Pop revived the series – making One Day at a Time the first original series cancelled by Netflix to be revived on another network.
The Politician (2019 – present)
Cast: Ben Platt, Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zoey Deutch, Lucy Boynton, David Corenswet, Julia Schlaepfer, Laura Dreyfuss, Theo Germaine, Rahne Jones, Bette Midler, Judith Light
Ryan Murphy’s satirical comedy follows Ben Platt’s character Payton Hobart, a wealthy student from California who is determined to become the President of the United States. First, he has to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all: Saint Sebastian High School. It’s stylish, it’s camp, and it features the most iconic quote of 2019 courtesy of Jessica Lange: “I don’t understand why calling that gay man a butt-munch was such a scandal. That’s what gays do: munch butts and celebrate Halloween.” In a recent interview, Murphy said he would like to “do three seasons total” and have the third season pick up a few years after the season two finale, to have “Ben Platt get a little bit older for his final race.”
Pose (2018 – present)
Cast: Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Billy Porter, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Hailee Sahar, Angel Bismark Curiel, Dyllon Burnside, Jeremy McClain and Jason A. Rodriguez.
Created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Stephen Canals, Pose focuses on the queer African-American and Latino communities of the ballroom scene in 1980s New York City, and features the largest amount of trans actors in regular roles of any scripted television series in history. Since the series premiered in 2018, it has received universal acclaim from fans and critics. Last year, Billy Porter – who plays Pray Tell, the show’s resident emcee in the Ball scene – made history by becoming the first openly gay black actor to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Due to complicated from COVID-19, the third season won’t premiere until next year.
Queer Eye (2018 – present)
Cast: Karamo Brown, Tan France, Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness
The reboot of Bravo’s iconic series, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, follows a new Fab Five: Antoni Porowski, food and wine expert; Tan France, fashion expert; Karamo Brown, culture expert; Bobby Berk, design expert; and Jonathan Van Ness, grooming expert. The series follows the stars as they travel around the United States and transform the lives of people – straight and LGBTQ+ – who are in dire need of lifestyle makeovers. There’s been five seasons so far – with a sixth on the way – and one special miniseries set in Japan.
Ratched (2020 – present)
Cast: Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis, Sharon Stone, Jon Jon Briones, Finn Wittrock, Charlie Carver, Alice Englert, Amanda Plummer, Corey Stoll, Sophie Okonedo, Vincent D’Onofrio, Harriet Sansom Harris, Brandon Flynn, Hunter Parish
A prequel to classic movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ratched stars American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson as the infamous nurse and heartless title character who uses her authority to torture her patients. The thriller is set in 1947 and follows Mildred as she arrives in Northern Carolina to seek employment at a leading psychiatric hospital where new and unsettling experiments have begun on the human mind, where she presents herself as the perfect image of what a dedicated nurse should be. Michael Douglas, who served as producer on the original film, returns as executive producer alongside Aleen Keshishian, Margaret Riley and Jacob Epstein of Lighthouse Management & Media. Writer and creator, Evan Romansky, co-executive produces with Paulson. Although Ratched has received polarizing reviews, it became a massive hit for Netflix, debuting in the number one spot in over 50 countries. It has received a two-season order, so expect the sophomore season to debut sometime next year.
Riverdale (2017 – present)
Cast: KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Marisol Nichols, Madelaine Petsch, Ashleigh Murray, Luke Perry, Casey Cott, Skeet Ulrich, Charles Melton, Vanessa Morgan
Riverdale, which is based on characters from the iconic Archie Comics, is known for providing plenty of adorable couples for viewers to obsess over, but none gets us more excited than Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) and Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan). Known affectionately as Choni, the two women got together towards the end of the show’s second season when Toni helped Cheryl come to terms with her bisexuality and later saved her from a gay conversion ‘therapy’ camp. Throughout its run, the teen drama has received highly positive reviews for its portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters, with its depiction of a gay romance in its first season, and the coming out of a major character in the second.
RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009 – present), RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars (2012 – present), RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race (2020) and RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked (2010 – present)
Cast: RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, Merle Ginsberg, Ross Matthews, Carson Kressley
RuPaul’s Drag Race documents RuPaul’s search for America’s Next Drag Superstar – think America’s Next Top Model meets drag queens. The show has spawned 12 seasons to date, as well as five editions of All Stars (the first three seasons are unfortunately not available on Netflix), and has launched the careers of several sickening drag performers such as Bianca Del Rio, Adore Delano, Courtney Act, Jinkx Monsoon, Bob the Drag Queen, Trixie Mattel, Katya and Shangela. Although it’s often said that “drag will never be mainstream”, the series became the first to win Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Host and Outstanding Reality Competition in the same year.
Cast: Aml Ameen, Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Tuppence Middleton, Max Riemelt, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Brian J. Smith, Freema Agyeman, Terrence Mann, Anupam Kher, Naveen Andrews, Daryl Hannah, Toby Onwumere
Sense8 tells the story of eight unique individuals born on the same day who can connect with one another’s thoughts and actions, as they embark on a journey together to find out why they can do what they do. It’s mind-boggling at times, but it’s also one of the most diverse and queer-friendly TV shows ever made. The series is also known for its explicit sex scenes and no-holds-barred orgies, which regularly bring the whole cast together for some intense on-screen love-making. The series was cancelled after just two seasons, sparking uproar from fans online. The backlash led to the streaming service commissioning a two and a half hour series finale, which aired in June 2018.
Sex Education (2019 – present)
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Aimee-Lou Wood, Connor Swindells, Kedar Williams-Sterling, Tanya Reynolds, Patricia Allison
Netflix original coming-of-age dramedy Sex Education follows a sexually awkward teenager (Asa Butterfield) living with his sex therapist mother, and his friendship with gay character Eric (Ncuti Gatwa). It received high acclaim from fans and critics for the cast’s performances, for tackling sensitive subjects and its diverse representation of the LGBTQ+ community. The streaming service later announced that the series received over 40 million streams within its first month of release, becoming one of Netflix’s most successful shows in history. Sex Education will return for a third season next year.
Schitt’s Creek (2015 – 2020)
Cast: Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Dan Levy, Annie Murphy, Emily Hampshire, Jennifer Robertson, Chris Elliot, Tim Rozon, Sarah Levy, Dustin Milligan, Noah Reid
The criminally underrated Schitt’s Creek stars Emmy Award winner Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Dan Levy, and Annie Murphy as the Rose family, wealthy socialites who lose their fortune and have to take refuge in a town they bought as a joke, Schitt’s Creek. The series is one of the funniest comedies currently on television and features a pansexual character in David, played ever so brilliantly by Dan Levy. He embarks on relationships with both men and women, and it’s never presented as an issue, it’s simply accepted by every character. All six seasons are available to view now on Netflix UK.
Shadowhunters (2016 – 2019)
Cast: Katherine McNamara, Dominic Sherwood, Alberto Rosende, Matthew Daddario, Emeraude Toubia, Isaiah Mustafa, Harry Shum Jr., Alisha Wainwright, Alan van Sprang, Maxim Roy
The second adaptation of the novel series, following the 2013 film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the series follows Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara), who finds out on her 18th birthday that she comes from a long line of Shadowhunters, human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons. While the show received mixed reviews throughout its run, the relationship between Alec (Matthew Daddario) and Magnus (Harry Shum Jr.) has become one of the most championed TV relationships in recent memory, spawning thousands of (mostly erotic) fan fiction across Tumblr. The show was cancelled in 2018, breaking the hearts of millions of fans who ‘ship’ the couple, which has been described as one of the most natural and realistic LGBTQ+ romances on air.
Special (2019 – present)
Cast: Ryan O’Connell, Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel, Marla Mindelle, Augustus Prew, Patrick Fabian
Special is a brand new eight-part comedy based on series creator and star Ryan O’Connell’s part-memoir, part-manifesto I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves. The Jim Parsons-produced series premiered on Netflix last year and follows a gay man living with mild cerebral palsy who decides to rewrite his identity as an accident victim and finally go after the life he wants. In December, Special was renewed for a second season.
Star Trek: Discovery (2017 – present)
Cast: Soneque Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Jason Isaacs, Wilson Cruz, Anson Moun
Star Trek: Discovery made headlines last year by boldly going where no men (on the show) have gone before, by featuring the franchise’s first ever gay couple. Lt. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) locked lips on the USS Discovery during the mid-season finale, becoming the first ever gay kiss in the Star Trek universe. The series – which stars Sonequa Martin-Green in the lead role – is set 10 years before we see Captain Kirk and Spock embark on their adventures on the USS Enterprise. Season three will premiere in October on CBS.
Tales of the City (2019 – present)
Cast: Laura Linney, Ellen Page, Paul Gross, Murray Bartlett, Barbara Garrick, Charlie Barnett
Netflix’s 10-episode revival of the iconic queer series follows Mary Ann (Linney) as she returns home to San Francisco, where she’s reunited with her daughter and ex-husband Brian 20 years after leaving them for her career. Recurring cast members include Bob the Drag Queen (RuPaul’s Drag Race) as burlesque club manager Ida Best; Jen Richards (Her Story) as a young Anna Madrigal; and Daniela Vega (A Fantastic Woman) as trans woman Ysela, who plays a pivotal role in Anna’s life.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (2020)
Cast: Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin, Jeff Lowe, Bhagavan Antle, John Finlay, Rick Kirkham, John Reinke, Saft Saffery, Howard Baskin, Travis Maldonado, Dillon Passage, Tim Stark
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness chronicles the life of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, and his disturbing feuds with fellow “big cat” conservationists such as Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin. The show is… wild. There’s a murder plot, a Nxivm-esque sex cult, political campaigns, a hell of a lot of country music and an emphasis on animal rights. Exotic also leaves the fashion world shaking with his various groundbreaking ensembles. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic forcing people to quarantine inside their homes, the true crime documentary has become one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed Netflix series of all time.
Trinkets (2019 – 2020)
Cast: Brianna Hildebrand, Kiana Madeira, Quintessa Swindell, Brandon Butler, Odiseas Georgiadis, Larry Sullivan, Dana Green
Inspired by the teen novel of the same name, Netflix’s new dramedy Trinkets centres on three teenage girls from the same school who become best friends after bonding over their shoplifting habit. Deadpool star Brianna Hildebrand (Megasonic Teenage Warhead) is gay and it’s not a big deal, which makes her character so remarkable. No one gives a crap, it’s not a major part of her storyline, and she’s accepted by her friends, family and her peers.
The Umbrella Academy (2019 – present)
Cast: Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Mary J. Blige, Kate Walsh, Cameron Britton, John Magaro
The fantasy drama – which premiered in 2019 – is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, which was created by My Chemical Romance star Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, and follows a dysfunctional family of superpowered beings who unite after their father’s mysterious death. Upon release, the series received praise from fans and critics for the cast’s performances and visual effects. The second season was met with further acclaim for exploring topics such as racism, sexism and homophobia. It’s one of Netflix’s more popular series, so we’re expecting a third season.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015 – 2019)
Cast: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane, Jane Krakowski, Sarah Chase, Lauren Adams, Sol Miranda
Netflix’s critically-acclaimed sitcom follows Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), an enthusiastic 29-year-old trying to adjust to life in NYC after being kept in a bunker for 15 years by a deranged doomsday cult leader. Kimmy’s bff, the melodramatic and self-absorbed Titus Andromedon, is the breakout star of the show and has garnered Tituss Burgess four consecutive Primtime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor.
What / If (2019 – present)
Cast: Jane Levy, Blake Jenner, Renee Zellweger, Keith Powers, Samantha Marie Ware, Juan Castano, Dave Annable, Saamer Usmani, Daniella Pineda, John Clarence Stewart, Louis Herthum, Derek Smith
Academy Award-winning actress Renee Zellweger stars as Anne Montgomery, a vindictive and duplicitous businesswoman who explores mortality and temptation by meddling in the lives of various strangers. John Clarence Stewart and Juan Castano star as gay couple Lionel and Marcos, while Derek Smith plays a go-go dancer who they’ve been intimate with. It may have received mostly negative reviews from critics, but whatever, it’s addictive.
You Me Her (2016 – present)
Cast: Rachel Blanchard, Greg Poehler, Priscilla Faia, Melanie Papalia, Jarod Joseph
When married couple Jack (Greg Poehler) and Emma Trakarsky (Rachel Blanchard) realise they need to amp up their sex life, they invite 25-year-old college student and part-time escort Izzy Silva (Priscilla Faira) into their marriage to form a thruple. The series follows the three as they navigate various social norms and prejudices and their own feelings of insecurity. The fifth season will be its last.