Although Fox — particularly its cable news network — is often accused of being conservative and anti-gay, this year the broadcast network is more LGBT-inclusive than ever before. The 2008 fall lineup includes two prime-time dramas with bisexual regular characters, and its new sitcom Do Not Disturb includes a gay male character. In addition, out actor Cherry Jones will star as the president in 24, which begins with a two-hour movie in November, and in early 2009 Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse will bring more lesbian-inclusive programming to the network.
Lesbian/Bi Characters, Story Lines and Actors
Premiere: Sept. 3, 8 p.m.
Based on Kathy Reichs’ best-selling series of crime novels about forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), Bones has performed reliably since its premiere in 2005. Last season, facial reconstruction artist Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) was revealed to be bisexual when a private investigator mentioned "a girl named Roxy, whose heart you broke in second-year art school." At Comic-Con in July, Conlin said that "Angela may have a relationship this season [with] someone by the name of Roxy."
Over the course of the second season, Angela developed a relationship with Jack Hodgins, an entomologist. Their wedding was postponed because Angela was still married to a man in Fiji who refused to grant her a divorce. In the two-hour Season 4 premiere, Angela’s ex-husband arrives and still refuses to sign the divorce papers. His appearance is the catalyst for an important development in her life that may affect her potential relationship with the mysterious Roxy.
Premiere: Sept. 16, 8 p.m.
This drama, about a cantankerous yet brilliant Dr. Gregory House, has been a ratings success for Fox since it premiered in 2004. Last season, Dr. Remy Hadley, aka Thirteen (Olivia Wilde), came out as bisexual. In July, Wilde told AfterEllen.com that she wasn’t sure if her character’s personal life would be a part of the show: "It’s not a soapy show, it’s not about our personal lives, but it is something that pisses off House. He likes things to be in black and white, and the idea that she could be sort of ambiguous and like men and women really irks him. It doesn’t fit into the way he thinks."
This season, the series’ fifth, picks up shortly after the revelation that Thirteen suffers from Huntington’s disease, which is ultimately fatal. In the season premiere, House cracks another bisexual joke, confirming yet again Thirteen’s sexual orientation. The episode deals thoughtfully with the Thirteen’s diagnosis, incorporating it into a case involving feminism and differing expectations for women in powerful careers. Whether or not Thirteen’s bisexuality will ever be confirmed with an on-screen relationship rather than House’s tiresome jokes is unknown.
Premiere: Nov. 23, 8 p.m.
This two-hour prequel to the seventh season of the series, which begins in early 2009, is set in real time just like every other 24 episode. It also stars Cherry Jones as Allison Taylor, who is preparing for her inauguration as the first female president of the United States. Jones is in both 24: Exile and "Day 7" of the series, which is set four years after the end of Season 6.
The cast of 24
Other Fox Shows of Interest
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Premiere: Sept. 8, 8 p.m.
The second season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, starring Lena Headey (Imagine Me & You) and Summer Glau (Firefly), will include several new characters, including a love interest for John Connor named Riley (Leven Rambin) and a new villain played by Shirley Manson of Garbage.
Left to right: Lena Headey, Summar Glau, Shirley Manson
According to Terminator‘s executive producer, Josh Friedman, the theme of the second season is "evolution." The series’ producers have also attempted to make the show less serialized than the first season, in order to attract new viewers. Look for our new interview with Lena Headey on Sept. 8.
Premiere: Sept. 9, 9 p.m.
This new science fiction drama from J. J. Abrams (Lost) also begins with a plane flight gone wrong, but this time the plane lands in Boston with all of its passengers dead. FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham and her partner, Special Agent John Scott, are called in to investigate. The series follows in the footsteps of The X-Files, and Agent Dunham is played by Australian actor Anna Torv, who played lesbian character Alex in the BBC series Mistresses.
Premiere: Sept. 28, 8 p.m.
This season marks the 20th for this long-running animated series. Over the course of two decades, The Simpsons has included a smattering of gay story lines, including a 2005 episode in which Marge’s sister, Patty Bouvier, came out as a lesbian. This season’s guest-star voices include Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Shohreh Aghdashloo (24).