CABLE TELEVISION – SCRIPTED
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Premiere: Oct. 10, 8 p.m. ET
The eighth season of the Canadian teen drama includes bisexual character Paige Michalchuk (Lauren Collins), whose relationship with Alex Nunez (Deanna Casaluce) ended controversially in Season 7. In an interview with AfterEllen.com in April 2008, Collins said: "There’s a really great story line coming up for Paige. Definitely worth it to keep watching! She may be in for more than she can handle."
True Blood (HBO)
Premiere: Sept. 7, 9 p.m.
Based on the novel series Southern Vampire by Charlaine Harris and executive produced by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under), HBO’s newest series is sexy, slick and dripping with gay subtext. It is set in a world in which vampires have "come out of the coffin" because of the invention of a synthetic blood (True Blood) that perfectly mimics human blood. Vampires now have their own civil rights-type activists and are demanding the passage of a vampire rights’ bill.
The story is told from the perspective of small-town Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), who is telepathic and fascinated by vampires. She meets the seductive, 173-year-old Bill Compton and is quickly drawn to him. In later episodes during this first season, a possibly lesbian/bisexual recurring character emerges, but her story line is not yet clear. The series’ bold sexuality, however, suggests that lesbianism wouldn’t be out of the ordinary.
South of Nowhere (The N)
Premiere: Oct. 3
The show that led to Spashley and its legion of fans will reportedly return for its final eight episodes — known as Season 3B — on Oct. 3 in the United States, although the episodes have already aired in France. (No major spoilers for Season 3B follow, but AfterEllen.com will offer further analysis of the groundbreaking series once it has aired in the U.S.)
When we last saw Spencer and Ashley in Episode 3.8, "Gay Pride," Spencer (Gabrielle Christian) had attended a Gay Pride parade with her parents, including mom Paula Carlin (Maeve Quinlan), who had a lot of difficulty accepting her daughter’s sexual orientation. The mother-daughter reconciliation was made even sweeter by the fact that Ashley (Mandy Musgrave) accompanied Paula to Pride, leading Spencer to later show up at Ashley’s door wearing nothing but a raincoat.
Episode 3.9 picks up the morning after, with Spencer dealing with the aftermath of her late-night visit with both Ashley and her mother.
Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World (Logo)
Premiere: Nov. 11, 10 p.m.
Season 2 of Logo’s (AfterEllen.com’s parent company) animated comedy series features the vocal talents of Jill Bennett (3Way, Dante’s Cove) in the fourth episode, "Death of a Lesbian Bed." She voices General B. Traytus and the Lead Singer of the Lesbohemians.
CABLE TELEVISION – UNSCRIPTED
The Cho Show (VH1)
Premiere: Aug. 21, 11 p.m.
Billed as a "reality sitcom," The Cho Show follows queer comedian Margaret Cho through seven half-hour episodes along with her parents, her assistant and her gays.
Tabatha’s Salon Takeover (Bravo)
Premiere: Aug. 21, 10 p.m.
In this eight-episode reality series, openly lesbian hairdresser and businesswoman Tabatha Coffey ( Shear Genius ) makes over troubled salons.
Lesbian Sex and Sexuality (here!)
Premiere: Sept. 5
The second season of here! TV’s documentary series from Katherine Linton continues to delve into the sexual life of lesbians, starting off with episodes about roller derby, burlesque, S/M and lesbian fashion. Interviews with Kate Clinton, Guinevere Turner, Michelle Wolff and others provide celebrity commentary on intimate subjects, but the best part of this series continues to be its focus on ordinary lesbians who celebrate queer sexuality on their own.
The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC)
Premiere: Sept. 8, 9 p.m.
Out political commentator Rachel Maddow, who has been a frequent fixture on MSNBC this year, will launch her own one-hour prime-time news program next month.
According to the press release, "The Rachel Maddow Show will feature Maddow’s take on the biggest stories of the day, political and otherwise, including lively debate with guests from all sides of the issues, in-depth analysis and stories no other shows in cable news will cover."