Thanks to returning favourites such as 9-1-1: Lone Star, Euphoria and the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise, as well as new shows like Heartstopper, Queer as Folk and the reimagining of A League of Their Own, 2022 was undeniably one of the best (and most authentic) on record for LGBTQIA+ characters and narratives. Because queers can’t have nice things, however, several championed dramas with L’s, G’s, B’s, T’s and Q’s have been unceremoniously axed over the past year to pandemonium online. Fan pages… are shutting down. Change.org petitions… are being drafted. Viewers… are outside Netflix headquarters with pitchforks. If, like us, you can’t keep up with the small-screen’s current LGBTQIA+ purge, then read ahead. Warning: may make thee full of rage.
Cast: Emily Beecham, Aneurin Barnard, Andreas Pietschmann, Miguel Bernardeau, José Pimentão, Isabella Wei, Gabby Wong, Yann Gael, Mathilde Olliver, Jonas Bloquet, Rosalie Craig, Maciej Musial, Clara Rosager, Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen, Maria Erwolter, Alexandre Willaume, Tino Mewes, Isaak Dentler, Fflyn Edwards, Anton Lesser
Released in November 2022 to acclaim, 1899 secured the runner-up position on Netflix’s Weekly Top 10 list with almost 80 million hours viewed in just four days. Despite the aforementioned success, series creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar confirmed via social media that 1899 has been cancelled. The German duo, who previously collaborated with Netflix on Dark, one of the most lauded dramas of the 21st century, wrote on Instagram: “We would have loved to finish this incredible journey with a 2nd and 3rd season as we did with Dark. But sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned. That’s life. We know this will disappoint millions of fans out there.” Set in 1899, the series follows a group of immigrants aboard a steamship named Kerberos to start new lives in New York City, where they’re faced with a series of kooky and inexplicable events.
Cast: Ruby Rose, Javicia Leslie, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Elizabeth Anweis, Dougray Scott, Victoria Cartagena, Robin Givens, Nick Creegan
Following the controversial departure of Ruby Rose as the crime-fighting cousin of Batman slash Bruce Wayne, Javicia Leslie memorably made history as the first-ever Black – and bisexual – iteration of Batwoman. Although all three seasons of the action drama received highly positive reviews from critics, particularly for its authentic LGBTQIA+ representation, The CW cancelled the series – during Lesbian Visibility Week, we should add! – to enormous backlash from viewers. Caroline Dries, showrunner, revealed the news on social media, saying she was “bummed, but full of gratitude”.
Dead End: Paranormal Park (2022)
Cast: Zach Barack, Kody Kavitha, Alex Brightman, Emily Osment, Clinton Leupp, Kenny Tran, Kathreen Khavari, Tucker Chandler
In a statement posted to social media, creator Hamish Steele confirmed that Netflix “don’t want” to move forward with Dead End: Paranormal Park, which aired two seasons last year. Steele said he’s “held onto this news for a while now”, hoping that he could “reverse” the streamer’s decision: “But sadly, I don’t think that’s possible right now.” He continued to say that he ‘believes’ the story will reach a satisfying conclusion “some day, somehow”. In the meantime, he’s working on a third and final DeadEndia book “which I hope offers some closure”. The series was lauded for its inclusion of a trans male lead character, Barney Guttman (Zach Barack), and for featuring multiple supporting queer characters including Norma Khan (Kody Kavitha), Logan “Logs” Nguyen (Kenny Tran) and Badyah “Deathslide” Hassan (Kathreen Khavari). See how fans reacted to the cancellation here.
Fate: The Winx Saga (2021-2022)
Cast: Abigail Cowen, Hannah van der Westhuysen, Precious Mustapha, Eliot Salt, Elisha Applebaum, Danny Griffin, Sadie Soverall, Freddie Thorp, Eva Birthistle, Robert James-Collier, Eve Best, Lesley Sharp, Theo Graham, Jacob Dudman, Ken Duken, Brandon Grace, Éanna Hardwicke, Paulina Chávez
The second season of Fate: The Winx Saga hit the top spot in 76 countries in its first two days of release, yet Netflix “decided not to move forward” with a third season. Make! It! Make! Sense! Brian Young, showrunner, called their decision “especially tough” because of the show’s dedicated fanbase. “It’s a heartbreaking silver lining, but a silver lining all the same. I’m so proud of everyone who worked on the show, and so happy we got to tell the stories we did,” he wrote. “Our cast and crew put in a ton of hard work creating this world and these characters. I’m grateful for each and every one of them, and for all of you for watching. It’s been an amazing four years. Hopefully we’ll see each other again in the future.” While the show received mixed reviews, viewers praised the LGBTQIA+ representation.
First Kill (2022)
Cast: Sarah Catherine Hook, Imani Lewis, Elizabeth Mitchell, Aubin Wise, Gracie Dzienny, Dominic Goodman, Phillip Mullings Jr., Jason R. Moore
Based on Victoria Schwab’s short story of the same name, First Kill follows Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook), a teenage bloodsucker who is forced to make her first kill in order to join her powerful family of “legacy” vampires. She swiftly sets her sights, romantically, on Calliope (Imani Lewis), who just so happens to be a descendant of a long line of vampire hunters. Scandalous! Despite its meh critical response, the supernatural romance garnered a passionate following – especially amongst queer women – and was watched globally for over 30 million hours in its first three days on Netflix. Sounds like a success, huh? Two months after the first season premiered, however, the streamer announced that it had been axed.
Gentleman Jack (2019-2022)
Cast: Suranne Jones, Sophie Rundle, Joe Armstrong, Amelia Bullmore, Rosie Cavaliero, Gemma Whelan, Gemma Jones, Timothy West, Tom Lewis
In July 2022, HBO announced that Sally Wainwright’s period drama Gentleman Jack has not been renewed for a third season, in spite of its ardent fanbase and overwhelmingly positive reviews. (Noticing a pattern here, aren’t we?) “We are incredibly grateful to Sally, to the impeccable Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle,” HBO said in a statement, “and to the entire cast and crew for bringing Anne and Ann’s story to life.” The series, based on the diaries of LGBTQIA+ icon Anne Lister, follows the historical figure (Jones) and her romantic relationship with Ann Walker (Rundle).
Cast: Miss Benny, Kim Cattrall, Zane Phillips, Jade Payton, Michael Hsu Rosen, Ayesha Harris, Graham Parkhurst, Damian Terriquez, Diana-Maria Riva, Kaleb Horn, Lisa Gilroy, Mark Deklin, Nicole Power, Ricardo Chavira
On 15 November, Netflix announced that Glamorous, Shadow and Bone, Agent Elvis, Farzar and Captain Fall will not be returning for new seasons. The decision was reportedly made in the wake of the WGA and SAG-Afrtra strikes, with sources at Variety claiming it stemmed “from various reasons including performance and impact from the strike — as the industry evaluates production schedules, scheduling shifts, etc.” Glamorous follows Miss Benny’s character Marco Mejia – “a young gender non-conforming queer man” – who is recruited by the legendary “supermodel of the world” Madolyn Addison (Cattrall) for a job at her cosmetics company of the same name. The ensemble cast also includes Zane Phillips, Jade Payton, Michael Hsu Rosen, Ayesha Harris, Graham Parkhurst, Damian Terriquez, Diana-Maria Riva, Kaleb Horn, Lisa Gilroy, Mark Deklin, Nicole Power and Ricardo Chavira. While the series received a mixed response from critics upon release, it was lauded for its unabashed queer representation – with many comparing it to Ugly Betty.
Gossip Girl (2021-2023)
Cast: Jordan Alexander, Whitney Peak, Tavi Gevinson, Eli Brown, Thomas Doherty, Emily Alyn Lind, Evan Mock, Johnathan Fernandez, Adam Chanler-Berat, Zión Moreno, Savannah Lee Smith, Jason Gotay, Todd Almond, Laura Benanti, Grace Duah, Megan Ferguson
News of Gossip Girl’s cancellation coincided with the airing of season two’s penultimate episode, I Am Gossip. Josh Safran, showrunner, revealed that he’s “looking for another home” for the LGBTQIA+ inclusive series, “but in this climate, that might prove an uphill battle, and so if this is the end, at least we went out on the highest of highs.” According to THR, season two “was designed with some finality”. Although the Gossip Girl revival was met with a mixed response, the salacious teen drama succeeded expectations when it became the streamer’s most-watched original series in its debut weekend. It did receive praise, however, for its racial diversity and more authentic representation of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself (2022)
Cast: Jay Lycurgo, Nadia Parkes, Emilien Vekemans, Isobel Jesper Jones, Karen Connell, Paul Ready, David Gyasi, Kerry Kox, Fehinti Balogun, Misia Butler, Liz White, Róisín Murphy, Tim Plester
Based on Sally Green’s novel, Half Bad: The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself follows the titular 16-year-old bastard Nathan Byrn (Jay Lycurgo), the illegitimate son of the world’s most dangerous witch whose birthright lands him smack dab in the middle of an ancient war within the witch community. The fantasy drama received acclaim upon release, with praise aimed at the chemistry between stars Jay Lycurgo and Emilien Vekemans. Netflix, however, aren’t moving forward with a second season. “Half Bad is a show we are incredibly proud of, which gained stellar reviews, along with a fiercely loyal global fanbase,” production company Imaginarium wrote on Twitter. “While we are disappointed not to continue the story, we have loved working with such a talented cast and crew on bringing our beloved show to life.”
The L Word: Generation Q (2019-2023)
Cast: Jennifer Beals, Kate Moennig, Leisha Hailey, Arienne Mandi, Sepideh Moafi, Leo Sheng, Jacqueline Toboni, Rosanny Zayas, Jordan Hull, Jamie Clayton
After three beloved seasons, The L Word: Generation Q was axed by Showtime. Set 10 years after the events of the original L Word, the series saw the return of beloved fan-favourites such as Jennifer Beals as Bette Porter-Kennard, Kate Moennig as Shane McCutcheon and Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszecki. However, Deadline has reported that the franchise could continue with a reboot of the original series, which is tentatively titled The L Word: New York. Ilene Chaiken, co-creator, writer and executive producer of the two aforementioned series, is believed to be involved in some capacity.
Cast: Danielle Rose Russell, Aria Shahghasemi, Kaylee Bryant, Jenny Boyd, Quincy Fouse, Peyton Alex Smith, Matt Davis, Chris Lee, Ben Levin, Leo Howard, Omono Okojie, Zane Phillips
In May 2022, it was confirmed that Legacies had been cancelled alongside other favourites on The CW such as Roswell, New Mexico, Charmed and Batwoman. The third series in The Vampire Diaries Universe, the fantasy drama follows various supernatural beings at the Salvator School for the Young and Gifted, where they learn to control their abilities and, of course, thwart various forces of darkness. The decision didn’t go down well with the series’ loyal viewers, who celebrated the new romance between Ben Levin’s werewolf anti-hero Jed and Zane Phillips’ demigod Ben, which made history as the first major queer male relationship in the long-running universe.
Love, Victor (2020-2022)
Cast: Michael Cimino, Rachel Hilson, Anthony Turpel, Bebe Wood, Mason Gooding, George Sear, Anthony Keyvan, Isabella Fernandez, Mateo Fernandez, James Martinez, Ana Ortiz, Ava Capri
Set in the same universe as the history-making film Love, Simon, the Disney Plus spin-off focuses on a new student at Creekwood High School, Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino), who, like Simon, is on a journey of self-discovery. While the series was confirmed to return for a third season in July 2021, it was announced as part of Hulu’s TCA presentation that it would also serve as the dramedy’s final instalment. Unsurprisingly, viewers mourned Love, Victor on social media, with one fan saying the cancellation is their “villain origin story,” while another expressed that the series “deserves so much more than three seasons” especially when it was “actually starting to get popular”.
One of Us Is Lying (2021-2022)
Cast: Annalisa Cochrane, Chibuikem Uche, Marianly Tejada, Cooper van Grootel, Barrett Carnahan, Jessica McLeod, Mark McKenna, Melissa Collazo, Sara Thompson, Alimi Ballard
Despite that huge cliffhanger in season two, the students of Bayview High won’t be back for a third season of One of Us Is Lying. After the cancellation was made public in January, showrunner Erica Saleh took to Twitter to express her gratitude for the series and its fans. “Making two seasons of One of Us is Lying was a joy and honour,” she wrote. “I’m disappointed that our story won’t continue on Peacock, but I feel so lucky to have spent the past years alongside the best writers, cast, and crew I know, and so grateful to our fans for all the love and support.” The whodunnit Peacock series follows the mystery surrounding the death of Simon Kelleher (Mark McKenna), the creator of an online gossip group. Featuring two leading LGBTQIA+ characters in Cooper Clay (Chibuikem Uche) and Janae Matthews (Jessica McLeod), the series was praised for its LGBTQIA+ inclusion.
Cast: Sean Hayes, Wanda Sykes, Patti Harrison, Matt Rogers, David Harbour, Laurie Metcalf, Gary Cole, Fortune Feimster, Gabe Liedman, Alie Liebegott, Stephanie Beatriz
Created by stand-up comedian and writer Gabe Liedman, Q-Force stars Sean Hayes as Agent Maryweather, a gay spy who is relocated and stationed in West Hollywood after being discriminated against by his agency. The series was met with harsh reviews from critics for conforming to queer stereotypes, only managing a 23% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite this, the series was praised by viewers for its LGBTQIA+ inclusion. On a recent episode of the Attitudes! podcast, Matt Rogers confirmed that Q-Force has been cancelled. “The people who loved it, really loved it. The good news is that it will always be on Netflix,” he said. “It did not get a second season but, I feel like the fact is that it is out there, and… it’s really close to my heart.”
Queer as Folk (2022)
Cast: Ryan O’Connell, Jesse James Keitel, Candace Grace, Johnny Sibilly, Devin Way, Fin Argus, Kim Cattrall, Benito Skinner, Ed Bedgley Jr., Nyle DiMarco, Juliette Lewis
A reimagining of Russell T Davies’ groundbreaking British drama of the same name, Queer as Folk follows a group of friends whose lives are transformed after a tragic nightclub shooting. The series was celebrated for its more authentic depiction of the LGBTQIA+ community, and for boasting queer talent in-front and behind the camera, although the aforementioned storyline was met with polarised reactions. Three months after its premiere, Peacock cancelled the series. “We know how much it’s meant to the fans, and while we’re heartbroken we won’t get to make more episodes, we wanna thank everyone for watching and falling in love with Brodie, Mingus, Ruthie, Noah, Shar, Julian, Daddius, Bussey, Marvin, Judy and Brenda,” said creator Stephen Dunn. “We’re so grateful for the chance to honor our community and are so proud of this show.”
Cast: Carlos Cuevas, Miki Esparbê, Pepón Nieto, Meritxell Calvo, Giannina Fruttero, Eduardo Lloveras, Ruth Llopis, Cedrick Mugisha, Carles Sanjaime, Ramon Pujol
According to Smiley’s creator, the Spanish rom-com will not return for a second season. Based on creator Guillem Clua’s play of the same name, the eight-episode series is set in Barcelona and follows the love story between Alex (Carlos Cuevas), a bartender, and Bruno (Miki Esparbê), an architect. The official synopsis reads: “Two men and their friends in Barcelona navigate hesitations, hangups and missed connections as they search for the true love they’ve been missing.” Smiley received praise from fans and critics for Cuevas and Esparbé’s chemistry and the lack of queer trauma elements, receiving a nomination for Outstanding Spanish-Language Scripted Television Series at the 2023 GLAAD Media Awards. In an interview on Aquí Catalunya on SER Catalunya, Clua revealed that Netflix will not be moving ahead with a second season. Translated to English, he said: “I can already tell you that there won’t be a second season of Smiley, but there will be other things that I can’t say right now.”
Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Tuc Watkins, Tisha Campbell, Marcia Gay Harden, Emersen Brooks, Brooks Ashmanskas
Created by Darren Star (Sex and the City, Emily in Paris), Uncoupled follows New York real estate agent Michael Lawson (Neil Patrick Harris) as a newly single gay man navigating the dating scene for the first time in 17 years after being dumped by his long-term partner Colin (Tuc Watkins). Despite glowing reviews and multiple cliffhangers in the season one finale, Netflix has pulled the plug. In an additional report from Deadline, a source told the publication that the show’s producers – MTV Entertainment Studios – attempted to shop the series around to other networks before the cancellation was announced. Here’s hoping it finds a new home elsewhere.
Vampire Academy (2022)
Cast: Sisi Stringer, Daniela Nieves, Kieron Moore, André Dae Kim, Anita-Joy Uwajeh, Mia McKenna-Bruce, Jonetta Kaiser, Andrew Liner, Rhian Blundell, J. August Richards
Peacock’s decision to cancel Vampire Academy stemmed from the show not finding the “requisite audience to justify further seasons.” Following its cancellation, which made headlines in January, the show’s cast and crew expressed their disappointment on social media. Showrunner Julie Plec tweeted: “I, too, am grump. This is a romantic, exciting, addictive show with a breakout cast, a passionate fan base and legions of story left to tell. Business is business, and streamers have to find what works for them, but if you’re a network with a need for a vampire show, we’re avail[able].” Jonetta Kaiser, who played non-royal Moroi vampire Sonya Karp, said: “The thing is, if you’re an actor, you know that although this is such an exciting time to be part of the industry because of all the countless streaming services… it’s also scary because most shows now get the boot after just one season.” Based on the Richelle Mead book series, Vampire Academy follows the adventures of various bloodsuckers at the prestigious St Vladimir’s Academy.
Warrior Nun (2020-2022)
Cast: Alba Baptista, Toya Turner, Lorena Andrea, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Tristán Ulloa, Thekla Reuten, Sylvia De Fanti, William Miller
Queer viewers tuned in for two seasons for the ‘will they, won’t they?’ romance between Ava (Alba Baptista) and Sister Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young) in Netflix’s fantasy drama Warrior Nun. After two seasons, the streamer cancelled the series. In a statement on Twitter, showrunner Simon Barry said: “I’ve just found out that Netflix will not be renewing #WarriorNun – my sincere appreciation to all the fans who worked so hard to bring awareness to this series and for the love you showed me, the cast and the whole production team. It was a privilege to be a part of this.” The cancellation came as a massive blow to viewers. However, after various fan-led campaigns, including a high profile change.org petition, it was announced in June 2022 that Warrior Nun had been saved, with Barry confirming that it will make an “epic” return. On 15 August, executive producer Dean English revealed that three feature films have been commissioned to continue the titular character’s story.
The Wilds (2020-2022)
Cast: Sophia Ali, Shannon Berry, Jenna Clause, Reign Edwards, Mia Healey, Helena Howard, Erana James, Sarah Pidgeon, David Sullivan, Troy Winbush, Rachel Griffiths
Nominated for Outstanding Drama Series at the GLAAD Media Awards, Prime Video’s queer survival series was lauded for its LGBTQIA+ characters and narratives. Three months after season two dropped on the streamer, Deadline confirmed that Prime will not be moving forward with a third. Following the news, a fan started a Change.org petition that has, as of writing, over 21,000 signatures and counting. Amy B. Harris, The Wilds’ showrunner, said she was “kinda speechless” at the response.
Work in Progress (2019-2022)
Cast: Abby McEnany, Karin Anglin, Celeste Pechous, Julia Sweeney, Theo Germaine
Work in Progress stars Abby McEnany as a self-fictionalised version of herself, a self-described “fat, queer dyke” who unexpectedly enters a transformative new relationship. The dark comedy was commended for its depiction of queerness, depression and anxiety. In January, showrunner Lilly Wachowski confirmed its cancellation. “Right before the thanksgiving holiday, I got the extremely disappointing news from the execs at Showtime that Work in Progress was not going to be picked up for a third season,” she tweeted. “It was a major bummer.” The Matrix director continued to say that shows such as Work in Progress “get trotted out to illustrate how networks and studios are soooo committed to diversity,” but are axed before they can “establish a viewership”. “It is a bit of a vicious cycle,” she added. “At what point does the ‘commitment and championing of diversity’ end?”