AfterEllen.com’s Fall 2008 TV Preview

What follows is a breakdown of programs including lesbian/bi characters or cast members, as well as shows of particular interest to lesbian/bi viewers. It is ordered according to network — beginning with the broadcast channels — and premiere date. Although any lesbian/bi characters or story lines are described, there are no major spoilers. (All times Eastern.)

ABC

Often jokingly referred to as "Gay-B-C," ABC certainly features more LGBT-inclusive scripted shows than any other network, but lesbian/bi characters are still outnumbered more than three to one by gay men. That said, ABC is also the only network to include two female main characters in a relationship with each other.

Lesbian/Bi Characters, Story Lines and Actors

Ugly Betty
Premiere: Sept. 25, 8 p.m.

Despite being one of the most gay-inclusive and ethnically diverse shows on television, Ugly Betty does not have a lesbian/bisexual character, unless you count the lesbian-acting inmate, Yoga (Lorraine Toussaint), who escaped from prison with Claire Mead (Judith Light) last season. This season, however, Lindsay Lohan — who has been in a widely photographed relationship with out DJ Samantha Ronson — will reprise her role as one of Betty’s high school classmates.

America Ferrera (left) and Lindsay Lohan

Photo credit:

ABC/Karen Neal

Grey’s Anatomy
Premiere: Sept. 25, 9 p.m.

Last season on the top-rated medical drama, the relationship between Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) and Erica Hahn (Brooke Smith), which had previously been platonic, began to take the turn toward romance.

Brooke Smith (left) and Sara Ramirez

Photo credit:

ABC/Bob D’Amico

In the season finale, the two kissed passionately, setting off a storm of speculation about whether or not their relationship would continue into the new season, the series’ fifth. In July, series creator Shonda Rhimes confirmed that Callie and Erica’s relationship will indeed develop further this fall. "We have a really interesting, wonderful, funny way of laying out the story of Callie and Erica that I’m pretty excited about," she said, "that I feel like is not necessarily your typical — if there can be a typical — your typical way of dealing with the story line."

She assured AfterEllen.com that the two women will not fall into the trap of the lesbian pregnancy story line, but was tight-lipped about any further plot developments.

Other ABC Shows of Interest

Life on Mars
Premiere: Oct. 9, 10 p.m.

ABC’s sole new scripted drama is a remake of the BBC series of the same name, about Det. Sam Tyler — a man living in present-day new York — who suddenly finds himself back in 1973. Uncertain of how he got there and feeling like an outcast, Sam befriends Annie Norris, one of the few women in the NYPD in 1973. Annie will be played by Gretchen Mol, who played Grace in Puccini for Beginners. Executive producer Josh Appelbaum said that in contrast to the British version of Annie, "Our Annie is going to be a little stronger, a little more connected to like the women’s lib movement, a little more outspoken."

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