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31 Must-See Fall TV Shows for LGBT Viewers

fall tv

There's a lot of TV. Here are the programs The Advocate's editors are most looking forward to.

There have never been so many programs to choose from on television, which now offers more options than ever for LGBT viewers. To help navigate this landscape, The Advocate's editors prepared a list of shows that we are excited to see. They may be rich in LGBT characters, have a compelling story that deals with intersectional issues, or perhaps just appeal to the queer sensibility. Happy viewing!

Finding Prince Charming

Lance Bass hosts Logo's landmark dating show, Finding Prince Charming, in which gay men compete for the affections of bachelor Robert Sepulveda Jr. The show has generated some controversy due to the revelation that Sepulveda used to work as an escort. Fem-phobia and HIV will also be addressed in the season, which Bass hopes will generate much-needed conversations about the issues faced by members of the LGBT community. And hopefully, some people will find love in the process. Premiered September 8 on Logo. -- Daniel Reynolds

One Mississippi

In One Mississippi, out comedian Tig Notaro takes viewers to her hometown, where she grapples with the loss of her mother and her own struggles with cancer. Premiered September 9 on Amazon. -- Yezmin Villarreal

Scream Queens

What fresh hell is this? After a season involving deaths in a sorority house, Scream Queens relocates its cast to a new setting: a hospital. The clique of cool girls known as the "Chanels" put on their scrubs for season 2 of the Fox horror directed by Ryan Murphy. There's a new murder mystery to solve as well as a lineup of bizarre medical cases. The cast includes returnees Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Abigail Breslin, Lea Michele, Keke Palmer, Niecy Nash. and Glen Powell, plus new stars like John Stamos, Cecily Strong, Colton Haynes, James Earl, and Taylor Lautner. Premieres September 20 on Fox. -- D.R.

Luke Cage

The preview for this Jessica Jones spin-off is devoid of anything LGBT, but we're still thrilled by a superhero show with an African-American lead. Luke Cage (played by the talented Mike Colter) is a reluctant superhero fighting for the future of historic Harlem. We hear it's a slow burn but, like Jessica Jones, worth it. Premieres September 20 on Netflix. -- Neal Broverman

This Is Us

The trailer for This Is Us, a new NBC drama, set records when it was dropped on Facebook video. To date, it has over 60 million views. It's easy to see why. The series, which stars Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, and Sterling K. Brown, shows a lot of heart and soul as it follows a diverse group of people who were born on the same day and the surprising connections they have to one another. Premieres September 20 on NBC. -- D.R.


Empire returns this fall for its third season, which includes some exciting new guest stars. Mariah Carey, Taye Diggs, and Phylicia Rashad will all appear on the popular Fox musical, which follows the members of the Lyon family in their machinations for hip-hop fame, money, and power. Of course, it's fan favorites like Cookie, the spirited matriach, and her gay son, Jamal, who will keep LGBT viewers coming back for more. Premieres September 21 on Fox. -- D.R.

Modern Family

There are those who say the show's not as funny as it once was, but the diverse members of the titular clan still provide some intelligent comedy. The new season will find Mitch and Cam dealing with the sometimes-peculiar inhabitants of their rental unit, while their daughter, Lily, negotiates the bumpy road of tweenhood -- how the years have flown! The other Modern Family kids are growing up too: Claire and Phil's daughter Haley is now an entrepreneur, while her sister, Alex, is in college at Cal Tech. Their brother, Luke, is a high school senior and checking out colleges, as is Manny, Jay and Gloria's son. Martin Short and Nathan Fillion are slated as guest stars this season. Premieres September 21 on ABC. -- Trudy Ring


Transparent has become a critical hit since its release in February 2014, when the world first met the transgender head of the Pfefferman family, Maura. The award-winning Amazon show created by Jill Soloway promises to be "its funniest and most soulful yet" in its third season, declared The Hollywood Reporter. That's a tall order, considering that its breathtaking first two seasons -- in their exploration of family, history, and identity -- produced some of the best television in recent memory. Don't miss it. Premieres September 23 on Amazon. -- D.R.

The Flash

The Flash regularly seems to include out actors -- whether it's Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold or Andy Mientus as Pied Piper. And the Pied Piper was a gay villain on the show. Then there's Barry Allen's boss, the police chief, getting married to his boyfriend, and it was sort of no big deal that the chief was gay in the first place. The point is that executive producer Greg Berlanti, who is gay, always delivers. But add to that the suspense that producers let it slip that one character on the CW slate of superhero shows is going to come out during the fall season. Who will it be? And will the character be on The Flash,Arrow, Supergirl, or DC's Legends of Tomorrow? No one knows. Premieres October 4 on the CW. -- Lucas Grindley


It's good to be out producer-creator Greg Berlanti. The impresario of superheroes on the small screen currently boasts Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow among his slate of successful, if not easy on the eyes, TV series. Arrow (that's the Green Arrow for anyone who's not sure) features the badass Nyssa Al Ghul, heir to the evil League of Assassins and a lesbian who's never quite recovered from losing her beloved Sara Lance. Last season, adorable gay tech geek Curtis (Echo Kellum) stepped in to assist Team Arrow from time to time, but Curtis is going full-tilt superhero in season 5 when he becomes Mr. Terrific. Premieres October 5 on the CW. -- Tracy E. Gilchrist


A newer addition to the Greg Berlanti superhero TV universe, Supergirl hasan out cocreator and showrunner in Ali Adler (The New Normal, Glee). For its second season, the series, starring Glee's Melissa Benoist in the titular role and Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant, Kara's imperious boss at CatCo Worldwide Media, makes a move from CBS to The CW, home to Berlanti's Arrow and The Flash. While Supergirl's first season featured a few distinctly feminist ideals, the series was begging for a queer character beyond Cat's curious obsession with Supergirl. Enter Floriana Lima as Maggie Sawyer, an out lesbian on the National City police force who takes a particular interest in cases involving aliens. Premieres October 10 on the CW. -- T.E.G.

American Housewife

Mike & Molly star Katy Mixon stars in this lost-in-the'burbs tale as a 30-something mother of two living in Westport, Conn., one of the nation's wealthiest enclaves. The snooty women are all size 0, while Mixon is maybe a 10 (horror!). We're hoping this show takes a fresh look at the foibles of rich straight,white folks and doesn't just traffic in stereotypes -- at least there's an African-American lesbian character (played by Broadway actress Carly Hughes) who befriends the protagonist. Premieres October 11 on ABC. -- N.B.

Fresh Off the Boat

Luckily, the first show in decades about an Asian-American family is one of quality. We're even more thrilled that Fresh Off the Boat regularly features gay characters, including a recurring role played by Rex Lee. As the show returns for its third season, Rex's character, Oscar Chow, appears to be MIA. There is a trip to Taiwan this season, though. Taipei Pride, anyone? Premieres October 11 on ABC. -- N.B.

The Real O'Neals

If you missed The Real O'Neals in its first season, now is the time to give it a second look. One reason? The show's star, Noah Galvin, shattered Hollywood's glass closet earlier this year in a controversial interview, in which he criticized closeted actors with indelicate language as well as the homophobic system that perpetuates this culture. Another? The ABC series, inspired by the early years of gay activist Dan Savage growing up in a Catholic family in Chicago, has drawn the ire of conservative groups for depicting a gay teen, which is Galvin's character. Premieres October 11 on ABC. -- D.R.

American Horror Story

No one really knows what is going to happen in season 6 of American Horror Story. There have been numerous mysterious teasers featuring numerous creepy creatures, including spiders, swamp monsters, and possessed dolls. What we do know is that Lady Gaga, who will star in the season, has released a new single, "Perfect Illusion," in advance of the FX show's premiere, which happens tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern. Feast on that for now, Little Monsters, until the new season debuts and all is revealed. Premieres September 14 on FX. -- D.R.


Joining the rush to create highbrow entertainment, USA has created a promising new series, Eyewitness, that puts gay lives front and center. Inspired by a Norwegian crime drama, the series begins when two male teens meet in the woods for a tryst and instead witness a bloody murder. Multiple secrets and lives are on the line in this much-anticipated drama, which is directed by Twilight's Catherine Hardwicke and stars Julianne Nicholson, Tyler Young, and James Paxton. Premieres October 16 on USA. -- D.R.

Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live had a casting shake-up this year. The long-running NBC sketch-comedy show appointed out gay man Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider as the new head writers. As Kelly has vowed to incorporate gay characters in his productions, this could mark a new era of pro-LGBT comedy for SNL (the show has a great out performer in Kate McKinnon). Vanity Fair noted that their ascendance -- as well as the recent firing of cast members Jay Pharoah, Taran Killam, and Jon Rudnitsky -- marks "a huge step away from toxic bro humor" that detracted from some of its recent seasons. We're staying tuned to find out. Premieres October 16 on NBC. -- D.R.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Let's do "The Time Warp" again, this time with Laverne Cox stepping into Dr. Frank-N-Furter's corset and heels! The 1975 cult film that became a midnight viewing sensation and a safe space for many a budding queer kid back in the day gets a reboot on Fox. Cox will lead the cast in the role made infamous by Tim Curry (who will play the narrator in this version) while Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice and Ryan McCartan (Disney channel's Liv and Maddie) step in as virginal couple Janet and Brad, who happen upon Dr. Frank-N-Furter's wonderful freak show of a house. Broadway darling Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots and Masters of Sex on Showtime) plays the sexually fluid Columbia, while Penny Dreadful's Reeve Carney plays the butler Riff Raff. Adam Lambert helps lend to the show's overall queer sensibility as Eddie the delivery boy (Meat Loaf in the original). Premieres October 20 on Fox. -- T.E.G.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

How do you make a series about a successful attorney who upends her life in Manhattan to obsessively follow her aimless ex-summer camp crush back to his native West Covina, Calif., riotously entertaining? Add full-on original musical production numbers, that's how! Series creator and star Rachel Bloom surprisingly but not undeservedly won the Golden Globe for lead actress in a comedy this year for the breakout series in which she plays the aggressively solipsistic but lovable Rachel Bunch. Sure, the title is a pejorative for women who obsess about lost loves, but the series is sneakily feminist and progressive. Partway through the show's first season Rachel's good-ol'-boy boss Darryl Whitefeather (Pete Gardner) came out as "bothsexual" in a glorious production number. What's even better is that Darryl doesn't just come out, but he gets a boyfriend in the form of hunky White Josh. Expect Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to just get quirkier and queerer over time. Premieres October 21 on the CW. -- T.E.G.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

The beloved comedy-drama, which star Lauren Graham has called "sneakily feminist," returns as a series of four 90-minute movies on Netflix, one for each season of the year. The show never had an obviously LGBT character; creator Amy Sherman-Palladino recently said no, the mysterious Michel Gerard isn't necessarily gay, while she origially envisioned Sookie St. James as a lesbian, but network execs wouldn't go for it. Nonetheless, we loved the show for its feminism, its warmth, and its wit. Now we'll see Rory Gilmore navigate her career in the fast-changing world of journalism, hope for some resolution in her and mom Lorelai's love lives, and welcome back the many quirky denizens of Stars Hollow, while mourning the passing of Lorelai's father, Richard Gilmore (Edward Herrmann, who played Richard, died in 2014). Premieres November 25 on Netflix. -- T.R.

Hairspray Live

Good morning, Baltimore! The John Waters movie turned Broadway musical turned musical film now gets the live treatment on NBC, with Harvey Fierstein writing the adaptation and reprising his Tony-winning role as Edna Turnblad. The starry cast in this tale of rock and roll, teenage love, and civil rights in the 1960s also features Ariana Grande, Kristin Chenoweth, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Rosie O'Donnell, Sean Hayes, and Derek Hough, with newcomer Maddie Baillio appearing as Tracy Turnblad. The gay talent behind the scenes includes producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, composer Marc Shaiman, lyricist Scott Wittman, and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Premieres December 7 on NBC. -- T.R.

Mary + Jane

Following the departures of terrific original programming like Awkward and Faking It, MTV was in need of a boost, and it got it with Mary + Jane, a comedy about two young women in L.A.'s Silver Lake neighborhood who make a living by kick-starting a medical marijuana delivery service -- think Broad City meets Weeds. Out comic and burlesque performer Scout Durwood plays the sexually fluid Jordan while Jessica Rothe plays Paige, the more buttoned-down of the duo. Expect lots of jabs at L.A. lifestyle and many marijuana-induced fantasies, some of which will have Paige thinking about women. Premiered September 5 on MTV. -- T.E.G.

Red Oaks

The first season of Amazon's Red Oaks (from executive producer Stephen Soderbergh) registered barely a blip on the collective radar of '80s aficionados. But now that Netflix's Stranger Things has everyone affectionately recalling that decade, here's hoping the period comedy about a college kid navigating social mores while working as a tennis pro at a New Jersey country club during the summer between semesters gets the attention it deserves. A clear homage to films of the era including Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Caddyshack, Red Oaks stars Craig Roberts as David, the young tennis pro, while Jennifer Grey (of Dirty Dancing fame) plays his mom who hints at being bisexual in season 1, but who's expected to explore it more fully as her marriage to David's dad (Richard Kind) ends in season 2. The series boasts a couple of well-loved and respected out women behind the scenes. Writer Karey Dornetto (Community, Portlandia) and director Nisha Ganatra (Transparent, Chutney Popcorn) have worked on the series. Premieres November 11 on Amazon. -- T.E.G.

How to Get Away with Murder

Law school isn't easy. Neither is murder. The students of professor-attorney Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) had to juggle both throughout the first two seasons of ABC's How to Get Away With Murder, which ended with surprising revelations about Keating's past tragedies. Who will die next? And will the murderers be brought to justice? And most important, will Connor (Jack Falahee) and Oliver (Conrad Ricamora) stay a couple? Premieres September 22 on ABC. -- D.R.


Sex and the City creator Darren Star is behind this deeply funny series that also has a whole lot of heart -- and plenty of queer sensibility. Broadway diva Sutton Foster stars as Liza, a 40-year-old divorcee who passes for 26 to rejoin the world of publishing, which she left to raise her now-grown daughter. Debi Mazar plays her best friend and Brooklyn roomie Maggie, a lesbian who has no trouble doling out bons mots and landing the ladies, including hooking up with the sexually fluid millennial Lauren (Molly Bernard), a publicist who's part of Liza's younger circle of friends. Miriam Shor (GCB, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) stars as Liza's Anna Wintour-esque boss while Hilary Duff plays Liza's best work friend and confidante and sexually fluid actor Nico Tortorella is Liza's young, hunky love interest. -- T.E.G.

Masters of Sex

Since its inception, this forward-thinking series about William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) pioneering studies about the science of sex has featured queer characters front and center. While Masters of Sex has always offered strong writing and pitch-perfect performances from its cast, including Caitlin FitzGerald as Masters's oft-suffering wife, one of the most compelling reasons to watch the series has been Broadway darling Annaleigh Ashford's portrayal of Betty, a lesbian and former sex worker who was Masters's first subject, and who becomes an integral force in keeping Masters and Johnson's research on target. Despite having to remain generally closeted in the era, Betty's been given a mostly happy storyline with girlfriend Helen (Sarah Silverman). Last season their story revolved around how they might become mothers, and this season is set to investigate the challenges faced by lesbian moms of the time. Premiered September 11 on Showtime. -- T.E.G.

The Amazon Pilots

Amazon Video puts the power in the hands of the people by releasing pilots for potential series. This year's batch includes a new series adapted from a feminist novel by out showrunner Jill Soloway, I Love Dick, which stars Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn. There's also The Tick and Jean-Claude Van Johnson, which stars Jean-Claude Van Damme. This is where Transparent got its start, so make sure to vote for your favorite! -- D.R.

The Voice

The singing contest juggernaut shows no signs of slowing, and we're loving this season's (the 11th!) crop of judges: old reliables Blake Shelton and Adam Levine as well as fabulous femmes Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus. We're big fans of the genderqueer, pansexual Cyrus here, and we're hoping she doesn't temper her "Happy Hippie" side for this very mainstream show. Viva la tongue! Premieres September 19 on NBC. -- N.B.


Insecure follows the story of two black women BFFs living in Los Angeles and their everyday experiences. It's from the creator and writer of the popular web series Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae, who brings a fresh perspective and sense of humor missing from network television. Premieres October 9 on HBO. -- Y.V.


Season 2 of the Emmy-nominated docuseries Gaycation takes viewers to India, Ukraine, and Georgia. In a special debut, Ellen Page and her best friend, Ian Daniel, traveled to Orlando soon after the tragic shooting at Pulse to meet with local activists, survivors, and friends and family of the shooting victims. Premiered September 7 on Vice. -- Y.V.


Produced by Whoopi Goldberg, Strut is a new series about a transgender modeling agency and the models who are following their dreams in the fashion world, no matter the obstacles. Watch Laith De La Cruz, Dominique Jackson, Isis King, Ren Spriggs, and Arisce Wanzer strut their way to fame. Premieres September 20 on Oxygen. -- D.R.

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