Looking for Awesome Queer TV to Stream?

by Frank J. Avella

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday May 3, 2022

Netflix's "Elite"
Netflix's "Elite"  

If a viewing binge is in your future, you will need some binge-worthy goodies to dive into. Thankfully, a handful of streaming services are providing some queer-empowering, gay-centric stories with LGBTQ people in authentic situations and/or in hilariously comedic (but not disrespectful) ones.

Isn't that refreshing? Some are brand new; some are in their final seasons — all are inclusive and telling challenging and remarkably varied LGBTQ+ tales. It's a rare embarrassment of riches available right now (and coming soon). And the "Queer as Folk" reboot is just around the corner as well, via Peacock!

Here are some highlights:

'Heartstopper'

Necessary is the perfect way of describing the truly landmark Netflix series "Heartstopper," from the U.K. It's as if someone took HBO's "Euphoria" and dipped it in rainbow sprinkles, but that doesn't even do it justice. The series is created and written by the brilliantly subversive Alice Oseman. Her secret ingredient is to treat her characters in the most authentic manner possible, eschewing all notions of expected scripted TV tropes. Ergo, the romance between teens Charlie and Nick (amazing newcomers Joe Locke and Kit Connor) are not bound by the annoying cliches we have become accustomed to. Instead, we get something truly astonishing — something this generation should cherish having — a real gay teen love story without apology. Oh, and Oscar-winner Olivia Colman adds to the heartstopping dramedy in a key role. I cannot imagine there won't be a Season Two. There needs to be.

"Heartstopper" season one is currently streaming on Netflix.

'Young Royals'

Another show focused on gay teens, "Young Royals" from Sweden, tackles duty vs. personal growth as well as the class system. Sweden's Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) is shipped off to boarding school and finds he is more interested in non-rez student, Simon (Omar Rudberg) than his bombastic bully of a cousin August (Malte Gårdinger). A romance between the boys ensues, but complications tear them apart. This is gayboy soap opera at its sudsiest, and creators Lisa Ambjörn, Lars Beckung and Camilla Holter know when to pour in the drama bubbles. Ryding is a truly charming presence. The series has been renewed for a much-anticipated second season.

"Young Royals" season one is currently streaming on Netflix.

'Sex Education'

Arguably the jewel in Netflix's queer representation crown, "Sex Education," created by Laurie Nunn, does not get enough credit for how well-crafted, well-written, and caring it is when it comes to attention to stories of teen sexual identity and orientation. For three wicked and fascinating seasons this show has been a true tonic to how teens are usually portrayed in comedies. Of course, it is Brit made. In Season Three the queer characters (and they are many) include Eric (Ncuti Gatwa, amazing) of Nigerian heritage and super out, who is dating his bisexual bully Adam (Connor Swindells), much to the dismay of his ex, Rahim (Sami Outalbali); but complications arise. Meanwhile, Ola (Patricia Allison) has a lesbian awakening with alien-authoress Lily (Tanya Reynolds). And Dua Saleh and Robyn Holdaway became the series' first non-binary cast members playing non-binary characters, shaking things up in an already fascistically fucked-up school situation. A fourth season has been ordered.

"Sex Education" season 3 is currently streaming on Netflix.

'The Other Two'

While the first season of the HBO Max comedy "The Other Two," created by Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, was cute at best, Season Two has raised the gay stakes significantly, including allowing actor wannabe Cary (Drew Tarver) to have a boyfriend, Jess (the fab Gideon Glick), so we are privy to all their craziness — although, sadly, not for that long —adding to the other familial insanity. Tuc Watkins and Noah Galvin appear in an outstanding episode two as a Daddy and his "son." The show has been renewed for a third season.

"The Other Two" season 2 is currently streaming on HBO Max.

'Grace and Frankie'

Grace (Jane Fonda) can't seem to live without Frankie (Lily Tomlin), who would be lost without Grace. They're totally in a queer relationship, even if those words are never spoken, unless we're discussing their gay husbands, Sol (Sam Waterston) and Robert (Martin Sheen), who are dealing with their own crises, including memory loss in the seventh and final season of the longest-running Netflix comedy, "Grace and Frankie." Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris created a series that has boldly confronted subject matter that was previously off-limits when it came to comedies, like sex after seventy. The show has never shied away from gay material, but at the heart of the work is the enduring love that Grace and Frankie share. Perhaps, they could have gone that one step further, but we all know that icons Jane and Lily, oops, I mean Grace and Frankie, deeply love one another in a way that transcends labels.

"Grace and Frankie" season seven is on Netflix

'Elite'

Now in its fifth and gayest season yet, "Elite," the Spanish thriller that is a sharp critique on class, isn't afraid to dive right into depicting queer relationships (Ander and Omar, anyone?). This season, Iván (André Lamoglia) arrives at Las Encinas and bonds with another newcomer, Patrick (Manu Ríos). Iván, who says he's straight, finds himself attracted to Patrick, and they actually shower together. "Elite," created by Carlos Montero and Dario Madrona, is the type of series that is rather fearless in exploring the burgeoning sexual attraction of young adults. It's the second most popular Spanish language series on Netflix, and has been renewed for a sixth season.

"Elite" season 5 is currently streaming on Netflix.

'Hacks'

Last year the legendary Jean Smart justly won about every award out there for her sharp turn as the down-but-never-out comedy diva Deborah Vance in "Hacks," created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky. Making quite the impression as well was the wonderful Hannah Einbinder as her sparring writer, Ava, an out bisexual. In addition, Deborah's COO, Marcus (Carl Clemons-Hopkins, who is non-binary), is an out and proud gay man on the series, and hunky Johnny Sibilly plays a local water department worker who meets up with Marcus. Whatever Season Two has in store, we are all excited to binge.

"Hacks" season two premieres on HBO Max on May 12, 2022.

'Love, Victor'

Hulu's popular spin-off to the film "Love, Simon," created by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, begins its third and final season on June 15, 2022. While the characters at Creekwood High are fairly-safely drawn, there is still excitement left in the lives of Latinx Victor (Michael Cimino), his troubled but beautiful beau Benji (George Sear), and, especially, newcomer Rahim (Anthony Keyvan), who happens to be gay and Muslim. How will the choices these teens make affect their futures?

"Love, Victor" season 3 will begin streaming on Hulu and Disney+ on June 15, 2022

And one Network shout out to the enduring...

'Grey's Anatomy'

This Shonda Rhimes' juggernaut continues to break ground for LGBTQ representation. In the past we've seen proud and daring queer relationships explored on the medical drama that premiered in 2005. Season 18 cast E.R. Fightmaster as the first non-binary regular, and instantly involved the character in a bit of a messy, but sweet, love affair with Dr. Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone). The show has been renewed for a 19th season.

"Grey's Anatomy" streams on the ABC app.

Frank J. Avella is a film journalist and is thrilled to be writing for EDGE. He also contributes to Awards Daily and is the GALECA East Coast Rep and a Member of the New York Film Critics Online. Frank is a recipient of the International Writers Residency in Assisi, Italy, a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, and a NJ State Arts Council Fellowship. His short film, FIG JAM, has shown in Festivals worldwide (figjamfilm.com) and won awards. His screenplays (CONSENT, LURED, SCREW THE COW) have also won numerous awards in 16 countries. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. https://filmfreeway.com/FrankAvella https://muckrack.com/fjaklute