Five Feminist and/or Lesbian/Queer Titles to Add to Your Netflix Queue

Netflix is like the gift that keeps on giving; a Mobius strip of endless programming. It’s hard to tell exactly how many programs are on Netflix, but certainly, worldwide the number is above 13,000 movies, TV shows, and documentaries. Most viewers will never see even a fraction of the catalog. Netflix uses algorithms to determine what content to show and recommend on each user’s homepage so that viewers don’t have to scroll through all 13,000 programs every time they want to watch something. While these algorithms, which are based on viewer metadata, are generally pretty accurate—Netflix estimates that 75% of what viewers watch were recommended by the algorithms—it means that viewers don’t know what they’re not seeing. As a result, some things that might otherwise be of interest fall between the cracks. 

The following are shows/movies on Netflix that might not have ended up in your recommended list but may be of interest:

Dark Matter15

Syfy, formerly the Sci-Fi Channel, has historically had some outstanding programming, from the Battlestar Galactica reboot to Wynonna Earp and even Xena: Warrior Princess reruns, which it aired in the early 2000s. From 1999 to 2003, Syfy aired a fantastic sci-fi show called Farscape (now on Netflix), which was about a group of alien criminals on board a living space ship whose pilot was a Jim Henson animatronic puppet (but not a muppet. Key difference). In every episode, the crew rattled around the universe facing a new challenge and learning to get along together. Some of the episodes were over the top campy, but for the most part, the show was sincere and serious, with the heart of the show being the relationship between John Crichton and Aeryn Sun, my heterosexual OTP.

Enter Dark Matter. Intentional or not, the show is in many ways a modernized re-imagining of Farscape, and it maintains many of the same elements. In Dark Matter, a group of people wakes up on a ship with their memories erased. They quickly find out that they’re a band of bad guy mercenaries, and they spend each episode confronting a new challenge, learning to get along, and figuring out that they might not be as bad as the rest of the universe thinks they are. The casting is fantastic…and includes queer fan favorite Zoie Palmer, formerly Dr. Lauren on Lost Girl, as the ship’s android (the pilot equivalent).

If you watched all five seasons of Lost Girl, you might experience cognitive dissonance seeing Palmer play a relatively emotionless robot who nevertheless always looks slightly surprised. If you have no preconceived notions about Palmer, you will absolutely love her acting in this show. She nails the artificial stiffness of the robot while also conveying very, very subtle flashes of emotion that, as The Android, herself admits, run counter to her programming. Palmer’s best episode is episode seven (so far only Season One is on Netflix). In the episode, the crew discovers an Aussie-accented “entertainment” android (played by Ruby Rose, although Rose doesn’t exactly nail the robot part of being an android), and The Android feels jealous.

Trying to keep the crew’s interest in her, The Android quickly cycles through British, Scottish, German, Jamaican, and Australian accents, and when that fails we see her sadly zip her uniform top back up again, too. It’s slightly heartbreaking, but you’ll be too busy laughing after hearing Palmer say about choosing accents, with a completely straight face, “Don’t worry about it, mon. Yuh dun havtah decide rite dis second. Dere’s ova twooooo dozon.”    

At 13 episodes, Dark Matter is a perfect and addictive binge watch. Although there’s no queer content so far, Syfy shows very often throw in some sexual fluidity, particularly with female characters, so maybe in a future season, the show will get a queer female character. 

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Another Syfy show on Netflix with a queer cast member is Continuum, which aired for three full seasons and an abbreviated fourth. The show, which is about time travel, terrorists, and gadgets from the future brought to the present (oh yeah, and evil corporations, also the main theme of Dark Matter—apparently Syfy thinks the future will be run by corporations), won’t be for everyone. But Luvia Petersen is in the cast as the bad guys’ pocket ninja Jasmine Garza, who is shown to be bisexual on the show. When the shooting starts, she’s normally the one holding the gun.  

Warrior Womentumblr_m9fb74NPe21rxgqbco6_400

I love documentaries, history, and Xena: Warrior Princess, so it was like the universe answered a wish I didn’t even know I’d made when Warrior Women, a short documentary series originally aired on the Discovery Channel in 2003, showed up on my home page. The docuseries consists of five one-hour episodes hosted by Lucy Lawless (oddly, this doesn’t appear in Lawless’ IMDB biography…) about Joan of Arc, Irish pirate Grace O’Malley, Apache warrior Lozen, Chinese revolutionary Wang Cong’er and Celtic queen Boudica. In her signature low growl, Lawless narrates the lives and exploits of these remarkable women. The series is at times low budget and verges on corny, but the information is interesting and…Lucy Lawless.

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