5 Binge-Worthy Queer TV Shows You've Been Missing

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Saturday June 5, 2021
Originally published on June 4, 2021

Max Jenkins, left, and Ryan O'Connell in a scene from Netflix's 'Special.'
Max Jenkins, left, and Ryan O'Connell in a scene from Netflix's 'Special.'  (Source:Courtesy of Netflix)

With more TV shows being made than ever before, there's an increasing number of programs that depict the various experiences of the LGBTQ community on the small screen. Both traditional networks and streaming companies have more queer shows now than in years past, ranging from the beloved Emmy-nominated drama "Pose"; Russell T Davies' AIDS drama set in '80s London, "It's a Sin," and Hulu's spinoff series "Love, Victor."

These are some of the most popular LGBTQ series today, but with the recent TV boom, there are even more small programs out there to discover.

Though some LGBTQ series have found mainstream popularity, there are quite a few shows that may have flown under your queer radar. With that, discover five new LGBTQ-centric series to watch this Pride Month in our roundup, below.

Seasons: 2
Where to watch: Apple TV+

Hailee Steinfeld stars as the titular, Massachusetts-born poet but "Dickinson" takes a lot of liberty with Emily Dickinson's story, especially when it comes to her sexuality. In its first season, Emily found herself in a love triangle between her brother Austin (Adrian Enscoe) and his bride (and Emily's BFF) Sue (Ella Hunt), who shares similar (albeit more confused) feelings. In the second season, relationships get even more complicated when Austin and Sue tie the knot, leaving Emily feeling on the outs. Though "Dickinson" has more in common with Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" than a typical biopic, it's an engaging show that celebrates queerness — it even inspired Hunt to come out as queer in real life.

Seasons: 1
Where to watch: HBO Max

It might be easy to write off the new teen dramedy "Genera+ion" following the daring impression HBO's "Euphoria" left since it aired in 2019. Though both shows share many similarities — a focus on young teens discovering themselves while navigating family, friends, school as well as sex and drugs — HBO Max's new show doubles down on identity and sexuality. Think "Degrassi" but somehow even queerer. Almost every single character in the show is queer or exploring their sexuality. Created by out filmmaker Daniel Barnz ("Cake") and his daughter, Zelda Barnz, the young cast of "Genera+ion" is talented and charming, but its lead character, Justice Smith, is quite excellent as the cocky and sensitive Chester. Additionally, Martha Plimpton, who plays a slightly conservative and overbearing mother upset that her son is bisexual, also knocks it out of the park on "Genera+ion," stealing every scene she's in. "Genera+ion" might not have reinvented the wheel but these 30-minute episodes are a good time.

Seasons: 1
Where to watch: HBO Max

Jean Smart is winning 2021 with her excellent performance in HBO's murder mystery "Mare of Easttown" and HBO Max's new comedy, "Hacks," where she leads the show as legendary comedian Deborah Vance, who first made a name for herself as a sitcom wife/mom before becoming a groundbreaking comedienne. After a long-running Las Vegas residency, Deborah finds her standup routine is getting stale and 25-year-old comedian Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder) is forced to help her punch up her jokes and work on new material. The two women come from completely different worlds — Deborah is part Joan Rivers with a dash of Roseanne Barr, Ava a queer Gen Zer still figuring herself out after nearly being canceled for making a bad joke about a closeted Republican. From the creators and writers of "Broad City," Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello, and Jen Statsky, "Hacks" also fills out its supporting cast with gay characters, including Marcus (Carl Clemons-Hopkins), Deborah's COO, and her assistant Damien (Mark Indelicato).

Seasons: 2
Where to watch: Netflix

You'll never see another show like "Special." Created, written, and starring Ryan O'Connell, this comedy is a semi-autobiographical story of his life as a young gay man navigating life with cerebral palsy. Those looking for a quick binge can start with Season 1 as the eight episodes are just 15-minutes each. Season 2 has eight traditional 30-minute episodes and an informative Season 1 recap for viewers who want to start with the newest season. Season 2 is also the last chapter for "Special" and O'Connell's specific millennial sense of humor — who is coming up with jokes about Sky Ferreira's years-long absence from music? — will surely be missed. Nevertheless, "Special" offers a unique perspective on the queer experience, with touching episodes on intimacy, fetishization, relationships with moms, and much more. O'Connell talked more about the show with EDGE, click here to check out the interview.

Seasons: 2
Where to watch: HBO Max

Should RuPaul be worried? "Legendary" might be the best queer reality show since "Drag Race" debuted over a decade ago. This competition series explores the world of contemporary ballroom culture by following several LGBTQ houses. Each week, they face off in a fierce dancing battled judged by a panel including "Good Place" star Jameela Jamil, stylist and "America's Next Top Model" judge Law Roach, trans activist and ballroom icon Leiomy Maldonado, and Grammy-winning musician Megan Thee Stallion. Hosted by the charming Dashaun Wesley, "Legendary" is a slick and pulsating reality show that gives a platform to a number of incredibly talented LGBTQ people.