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17 Winter TV Shows LGBT Viewers Can't Miss

17 Winter TV Shows LGBT Viewers Can't Miss


From new hit series to the return of old favorites, these 17 shows are must-see TV for LGBT viewers this winter.


Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox

Fox's Empire, a musical drama about the head of a hip-hop label and his family, had record-breaking ratings for its premiere last week. Which is great news for the LGBT community. Created by out filmmaker Lee Daniels, the series centers on a gay character, Jamal (Jussie Smollett), a musically talented young man who sets out to prove his worth to his father, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), the antigay CEO of Empire Entertainment. Empire shines a spotlight on modern homophobia as has never been seen before on network television. One of the most emotional moments from the pilot was a childhood flashback in which Jamal is shoved into a trash can by his father after Jamal wears his mother's heels in front of company. It's moments like these that will keep LGBT viewers coming back each week to root for the gay character. And that's not to mention the fierce portrayal of his mother and advocate, Cookie, by actress Taraji P. Henson, as well as musical performances set to new songs composed by Timbaland. -- Daniel Reynolds


Agent Carter
Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC

With its heroine decked out in vintage suits and pin curls, ABC's plucky Agent Carter is the kind of kick-ass female-led tie-in to the Marvel cinematic universe fans have been demanding since Scarlett Johansson first appeared as Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) in Iron Man 2. Set in the post-World War II 1940s -- an era when women were second-class citizens -- the seven-part miniseries picks up shortly after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger and follows the adventures of agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) as she dodges bullets and chauvinistic coworkers on a secret mission to clear the name of her friend -- and Iron Man's father -- Howard Stark, who has been accused of treason. -- Jase Peeples


Looking, Season 2
Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO

The action revs up in the second season of Looking, HBO's thoughtful look at urban gay men seeking something more than Grindr and Tinder. Our three main guys were all a bit lost in the first episode, with Agustin aimless and reliant on intoxicants, Dom navigating a new and not-easy relationship with a closed-off older man, and protagonist Patrick balls-deep in a hot affair with his partnered boss. Keep an eye out for newcomer Daniel Franzese (Mean Girls), playing a hirsute romantic interest for Agustin, a bigger presence from gal pal Doris, and more background on Kevin, Patrick's sexy and slightly swarmy superior. Kevin, played by Russell Tovey, is a delight to watch (and not just because of that body). Any fan of the show knows that Patrick has another man in his life, the tough but sensitive Richie (Raul Castillo), who returns in episode 2, much to our delight. -- Neal Broverman

Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC

As one popular musical comedy that begins with the letter G takes a bow from the TV world, another one rises to take its place. Based on (and lampooning) fairy tales and films like The Princess Bride,Galavant stars Joshua Sasse as the titular knight in shining armor, who must fight to free his one true love from the clutches of a sinister ruler. Confronted with the prospect of money and power, however, his love, Madalena (Mallory Jansen), turns out to not be as true as he thought. She ditches Galavant for King Richard (Timothy Omundson), an act that plunges the hero into a spiral of depression. All of this backstory is wonderfully told through lyrics within the first few minutes of the ABC show. The songs, which continue to tell Galavant's tale throughout his quest to win back his damsel, were composed by Dan Fogelman with collaboration from Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, a trio who previously collaborated on Disney's Tangled. It's a funny, fantastical ride, and one that is sure to be enjoyed by any Disney-loving viewer. -- Daniel Reynolds

Tv004Girls, Season 4
Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO

The awkward-yet-entertaining Elijah-Hanna dynamic continues in season 4 of Girls, even though all anyone is talking about now is Allison Williams and that jarring first scene of the season. (Here's a gif that you can't un-see.) Outspotted a deleted scene that would have been the perfect example the judgment-ridden repartee between Elijah (Andrew Rannells) and Hannah (Lena Dunham). It's exactly the sort of thing you just can't stop watching no matter how many people tell you they hate it. -- Lucas Grindley

ArcherArcher, Season 6
Thursdays at 10 p.m. on FX

The sixth season of Archer kicked off last week and began a new chapter for the show's band of bickering secret spies. Now freelancers for the CIA after spending last season as coke dealers on the run, the gang adjusts to new life developments such as the birth of Lana (Aisha Tyler) and Archer's (H. Jon Benjamin) daughter A.J., bisexual human resources director Pam's (Amber Nash) post-addiction weight gain, and new sassy one-liners from the group's gay bionic agent Ray Gillette (Adam Reed), as the usual high-octane high jinks ensue. -- Jase Peeples

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Tv005Glee, Final Season
Fridays at 9 p.m. on Fox

If you're one of the fans who faithfully watched every episode of Glee's past five seasons, we commend your patience and tolerance for schmaltz. We gave up halfway through last season, but, just like the original cast members, we're pledging to return to the halls of McKinley High for one last hurrah (which thankfully only has 13 episodes). Last Friday's season 6 premiere featured the campy drama we've come to love from Glee, including a positively meta rendition of "Let It Go" by Rachel Berry, as she finds herself back in Lima, Ohio, after a spectacularly failed attempt at sitcom stardom. And our inside sources tell us the final season will explore LGB -- and especially T -- themes in greater depths than previous seasons, hopefully ending the queerest show on television on a high note. -- Sunnivie Brydum

Tv006House of Cards, Season 3
Premieres February 27 on Netflix

Kevin Spacey just won a Golden Globe for his performance in the last season on Netflix. And if you thought he was a terror (who you love to root for) as House majority whip in the first season and then as vice president in the next, one can only imagine the absolutely wickedly vengeful things Francis Underwood will accomplish now as president of the United States. Oh, by the way, in this alternate universe, the bisexual Underwood may secretly be our first LGBT president. Hail to the chief! -- Lucas Grindley

Tv007Game of Thrones, Season 5
Premieres April 12 on HBO

At first glance, HBO's Game of Thrones doesn't scream "must-see show" for LGBT audiences. Its fantasy world, inspired by medieval times and filled with knights, dragons, and feuding rulers, seems better suited to viewings in gamers' man caves than in any queer salon. But a popular Funny or Die series, Gay of Thrones, has proved the haters wrong. Each week, hairstylist Jonathan Van Ness recapped the excitement, intrigue, and gossip from a given episode, showing that medieval drama is fun for all audiences, regardless of sexual orientation. Moreover, the show frequently includes sex scenes, and quite a few of these are between handsome men who identify as gay or bisexual. So whether viewers are rooting for Daenerys Targaryen, the Lannisters, the Starks, or a wildling king to sit upon the Iron Throne, or just want to gaze at eye candy in armor, Game of Thrones is a show that is not to be missed. -- Daniel Reynolds

Tv009Pretty Little Liars, Season 5
Tuesdays 8 p.m. on ABC Family

The fictional town of Rosewood, Pa., is home to Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily, the most fashion-forward, sassy teens ever take to five seasons to graduate high school. If you're unfamiliar with those four characters, you're obviously not one of the many adults obsessed with ABC Family's soapy thriller Pretty Little Liars, about a clique of girls hounded by a tech-savvy, murderous blackmailer and extortionist known merely as "A."

However, it's never too late to discover the queer and campy wonders of Rosewood. The series boasts the sweetest, fiercest lesbian character Emily (Shay Mitchell), who's had more beautiful love interests than any of the other Liars combined. For those with a sense of nostalgia for the '80s and '90s, the wonderful actresses Laura Leighton, Nia Peeples, and Holly Marie Combs play three of the Liars' moms.

If that's not enough to get you to binge the first several seasons on Netflix, then toss in the fact that the show's several out gay and lesbian creators and writers are film history buffs who hide Easter eggs in nearly every episode. PLL has paid homage to any number of Hitchcock films, Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up, Peter Jackson's sapphic murder tale Heavenly Creatures, and Otto Preminger's noir classic Laura, to name a few.

Oh, and one more thing ... if you're thinking PLL just stars a bunch of teen girls running from a killer, the series also employs some of the hottest young actors on TV. -- Tracy E. Gilchrist

Tv010The Fosters, Season 2
Premieres January 19 on ABC Family

ABC Family's little show with the big heart, The Fosters, heads into its winter premiere next week, and one thing's for sure -- the series, about a mixed-race family headed by lesbian moms, is already part of the cultural zeitgeist. It's one of those shows at the forefront of a new kind of television in which LGBT representation is seamlessly folded into a larger narrative. Even among pioneering series like Grey's Anatomy, Glee, Pretty Little Liars, and Orange Is the New Black, The Fosters stands out in terms of its realistic, grounded LGBT characters.

While much of the story revolves around various teen drama created by and for the Foster teens, moms Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) remain at the heart and soul of the tearjerking dramedy from executive producer Jennifer Lopez. Each episode is an emotional roller coaster from the first strains of Kari Kimmel's theme song "Where You Belong" to the closing credits. You'll laugh, you'll cry (trust me, you'll cry if you're not a cyborg), and you'll be ultimately moved by the honest, thoughtful portrayal of LGBT people. -- Tracy E. Gilchrist

Tv008RuPaul's Drag Race, Season 7
Premieres early 2015 on Logo

Proclaimed the "Best. Season. Ever," by its producers at the World of Wonder holiday party, RuPaul's Drag Race has some big heels to fill for its seventh season. Hosted by one of the world's most famous drag performers, RuPaulCharles, the Logo TV reality competition has become a must-see sporting event at gay bars across the globe since its launch in 2009. Featuring the charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent of drag competitors from across the United States, the show has introduced some of the most memorable gay and transgender performers in reality TV history, including trans model Carmen Carrera, as well as drag queens Bianca Del Rio, Sharon Needles, Raja Gemini, Chad Michaels, Shangela, and Willam Belli. Set to debut this spring, RuPaul's Drag Race will feature the talents of a new round of wonderfully named performers: Ginger Minj, Jaidynn Diore Fierce, Jasmine Masters, Kandy Ho, Katya, Kennedy Davenport, Max, Miss Fame, Mrs. Kasha Davis, Pearl, Sasha Belle, Tempest DuJour, Trixie Mattel, and Violet Chachki. -- Daniel Reynolds

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Tv012Broad City,Season 2
Premieres January 14 on Comedy Central

Last year, Broad City took me by surprise, and I loved every single moment of it. In fact, I forced other people to watch the show, thereby allowing myself to watch some episodes twice or even three times! Abbi and Ilana's relationship is kooky, supportive, and embarrassingly intimate, in the most wonderful way possible. -- Michelle Garcia


Sirens, Season 2
Premieres January 27 on USA

For fans of Denis Leary's dark comedy Rescue Me,Sirens feels like a solidly funny yet lighter follow-up. The series follows three EMTs in Chicago who are cute, dumb, and hilarious. This season, Brian learns the ins and outs, so to speak, of dating Voodoo, an asexual woman and fellow EMT. And then there's Kevin Daniels's Hank, who is gay and owns it with pride and funny lines. -- Michelle Garcia

Tv016Downton Abbey, Season 5
Sundays 9 p.m. on PBS

On Downton Abbey, the times they are a-changin' -- Lady Mary's using birth control as she explores premarital sex with a suitor -- but some old-fashioned attitudes remain: The devious underbutler Thomas Barrow feels he has to rid himself of his homosexuality, and he's seeking out a "cure." "He falls for the quackery that this can be cured," creator Julian Fellowes said in an interview with ITV, which airs the show in the U.K. Robert James-Collier, who plays Thomas, added that the character "wants to be able to love, so he embarks on quite a dark and serious journey rooted in his sexuality to try and change how he is. ... I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of men like Thomas did do this, because what was the alternative? There wasn't one." -- Trudy Ring

Premieres March 17 on the CW

My new favorite TV character is Liv (played perfectly by Rose McIver, who you may know as Vivian from Masters of Sex). She's a medical student turned zombie turned coroner's assistant and overall one badass ZILF in CW's awesome new show iZombie, from writer and executive producer Rob Thomas (of Veronica Mars fame). In fact, this show can aptly be called an evolution of Veronica Mars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, mixing a form of detective work with witty millennial bons mots, interesting mythic creatures, and, if true to the DC comic from which it's derived, a truly fascinating gay character. -- Diane Anderson-Minshall

Tv011Orphan Black, Season 3
Premieres April 15 on BBC America

If you've been paying attention during the most recent TV awards season, you may recall hearing shrieks of indignation over the omission of Tatiana Maslany in the Best Actress in a Drama categories, and with great reason! The 29-year-old native of Canada plays more than half a dozen clones in BBC America's sci-fi thriller Orphan Black. She's so deft at imbuing each of them with learned personality traits that it's easy to forget it's one person playing the tough British bad girl Sarah, the quirky Ukranian with questionable morals Helena, the uptight housewife Allison, or the adorable lesbian nerd scientist Cosima (who's had an equally fetching, brilliant girlfriend for two seasons).

If Maslany's tour de force is not enough to tune in to this twisty thriller with as much action as there are clones, then Jordan Gavaris's Felix, Sarah's sassy gay foster brother, should do the trick. He's handsome, sardonically funny, sexually confident, and a total badass who'll go to battle for Sarah at the drop of a condom wrapper. -- Tracy E. Gilchrist

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