This article was published on February 21st, 2017
2017 is already shaping up to be a fantastic year for queer representation in film, music, and television. From Academy Award nominated flick for best picture Moonlight, to Frank Ocean’s latest record, gay people are in the lime light like never before. TV is currently leading the charge, being the most active medium for lgbt exposure. Here are five programs that are revolutionizing the way we view lgbtq characters and plots on television. It’s LGBT TV!
This is Us. (***BIG SPOILER ALERT***) A breakthrough show on television, This is Us tops our list of shows this season because of the normalization of one of the leading characters, William, who revealed during the season finale that he had had numerous relationships with men. Actor Ron Cephas Jones has played the character as defined by his life experiences and not as the typical flamboyant gay man as seen on many television programs. Audience were shocked when William came out, and for good reason: the writers developed the character without focusing on his sexuality as his main character trait. The result is an honest performance of a normal, joe-shmoe gay guy.
Arrow/The Flash. These two super hero shows have tied because they both feature newly introduced gay characters into the super hero world of their prospective shows. Starting with Mr. Terrific in Arrow, actor Echo Kellum plays an openly gay, African American, married father as the tech-savvy inventor Curtis Holt aka Mr. Terrific. Mr. Terrific’s appearance on the show marks the first time an African-American gay superhero has been seen on television. Not only is leading actor Colton Haynes gay in real-life, but now they have a bonafide gay character to boot who is breaking stereotypes by even being a character on the show. In The Flash, two main characters are gay: homicide detective David Singh and the Pied Piper. Singh was the adopted father of the Flash aka Barry Allen for 10 years, and his partner has been featured in several episodes of the hit show. Meanwhile, the character of the Pied Piper was kicked out of his house by his parents upon coming out as gay. Both programs deal with real life homosexual issues and have done a fantastic job of not making their homosexuality the main feature of their characters.
Riverdale. The timeless world of Archie Andrews and the rest of the Riverdale crew has never been gayer in this first live action television portrayal of the famous comic book character and his friends. Introduced to the Archie comic world in September of 2010, character Kevin Keller, played by actor Casey Cott, is Riverdale’s resident out gay man. We learned of Kevin’s past being an army brat and his struggles of dealing with being gay in middle school. But this past week featured Kevin’s first gay kiss. Riverdale just got a little steamy.
Throwing Shade. Originally a podcast, then a live touring comedy show, THEN a Funny or Die series, Throwing Shade is the brain-child of actress Erin Gibson (Parks and Recreation, Kroll Show) and out gay actor Bryan Safi (Modern Family, Superstore). A pop-culture and political late night show, TV Land picked up the series, which launched in January. Throwing Shade is a hilarious program in which both actors dish out and throw shade at everyone and everything in 2017.
The Real O’Neals. Rounding out the list in last, The Real O’Neals is actually probably the gayest show on this list. With a cast that features Molly Ringwald and TV newcomer/Broadway vet Noah Galvin, and produced by Dan Savage, The Real O’Neals debuted in March of 2016 and was just renewed for another season. Following the lives of the O’Neals, a “normal” Catholic, Midwestern family, The Real O’Neals centers around the life of newly out Kenny O’Neal, played by Galvin. The story lines often evolve around Kenny’s life as an angsty gay teenager. This show featured ABC’s first gay kiss between two young males and constantly has an array of musical numbers. Add to that Molly Ringwald’s hilarious portrayal of matriarch Eileen O’Neal. In the aftermath of Glee, The Real O’Neals is just the campy, yet touchingly funny entertainment we need.
Honorable Mention: Vampire Diaries and Modern Family. Because: duh. Both programs have delivered a lot of queer story lines over the years featuring leading gay characters. And we’re still obsessed.
These five LGBT TV shows are our new favourites for the spring 2017 season. Stay tuned to your tube and check out the top five gayest television programs that are changing tv forever.