2015: The Year in Lesbian/Bi TV

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RISING SENIORS

This list is short this year, but these are shows we know for sure will be airing its final episodes in 2016, so we’re preparing to say goodbye.

Lost Girl102715lostgirl27

Technically Lost Girl is over in Canada, but since the second half of the fifth season won’t air on SyFy until 2016, we’re holding this one back. Mostly because I’m in denial and I’m not ready to say goodbye. Over the years, Lost Girl has brought us a slew of queer characters, from bisexual succubus Bo to her lesbian human on-again-off-again lover Lauren to sexually fluid characters like Tamsin the Valkyrie, The Morrigan, and various guest fae. I’m not usually down for love triangles, or pentagons, or any geometric shape involving people fighting for the attention of one person. But on this show it was a little different, Bo having to choose between men and women alike while their pros and cons never had anything to do with their gender.

This was the first show I ever watched where I was suddenly shipping everyone with everyone. I want them all to live together in Bo’s Loft as a polyamorous family. Though, with the number of apocalypses (apocalypsi?) they face, who knows how many of Bo’s love interests will even be alive by show’s end; maybe the End of Days will make her choice for her. Only time will tell.

Person of InterestPerson of Interest

I have a confession: I didn’t watch Person of Interest until a few months ago. You guys, I didn’t know. I didn’t know. It also took me a long time to finish season one; I genuinely didn’t get what all the yelling was about. But then I met Root. And then Shaw. And holy hell were they the most flirtatious, badass, sexy, smart, slightly sociopathic, kinda insane, beautiful assassins I’ve ever seen. They way they LOOK at each other! I’ve never seen anything like it on a procedural drama, especially not between two women. Unlike the Rizzoli and Isles joke-flirting and gay panic, Root shamelessly flirts with Shaw and Shaw looks at her like she’s never felt feelings so intensely in all her life. For a while there it looked like we lost Shaw, but she’ll be back for what is almost definitely the final season, which will be 13 episodes long. I say almost definitely because the creators have said they’re approaching it as if it’s the final season because they assume it will be, but they don’t have 100% confirmation.

Either way, Root and Shaw will be back to make us swoon for at least that long. (Also, extra spoiler alert, at NYCC this year, Sarah Shahi joked about having bruises from filming scenes with Amy Acker that had nothing to do with fighting…wanky.) Theirs will be a loss keenly felt, but maybe The Machine will pull through in the end and save the show. And by The Machine I mean Netflix.  

 

TOP OF THE CLASS

I picked 10 shows that I believe are setting standards, breaking molds, and going above and beyond having a Very Special Gay Episode. They either have a high number of queer women, or well-developed queer women as main characters and haven’t yet totally ruined every single queer woman they’ve ever had on the show.

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With the polarizing addition of Ruby Rose as a new love interest for Piper, and the coupling of Poussey and Soso, just when you thought this show couldn’t get any gayer, it did. Sophia got harassed something awful, which was hard to watch, but she spoke up for herself and shouted things people need to hear—like how guards in women’s prisons that house trans women should have sensitivity training, for one. A large part of her storyline this season was about her son and the general difficulties of parenting from prison. Suzanne moved past her obsession with Piper and found a love of erotic science fiction writing, and through that found a new potential love interest in persistent fan Maureen.

One of the great things about Orange is the New Black being so queer is that everyone is obsessed with it. I wasn’t out when The L Word was on, but I feel like finding out someone liked The L Word was a good way to tell if they were on the spectrum or not. But I have people of all ages and sexualities coming up to me to discuss this show. It’s broken those boundaries down, and even though it’s still afraid of the word “bisexual” for some reason, it displays a wide range of women, in all shapes, colors and sizes, of different backgrounds and sexualities, and how there are so many things that make us all complicated creatures.

So whether you still hold out hope for “Pipex” or if you’re hoping Nicky will come out of max and bond with Alex over being the closest ones to sane in the joint, or if all you care about is Big Boo, there’s sure to be plenty more complex, queer storylines in our future.  

Orphan BlackOrphan Black 310-9

Orphan Black doesn’t have the quantity of queer women that Orange is the New Black does (though, to be fair, OITNB basically has more queer women than OB has characters in total) but what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality. Out scientist clone Cosima is at the core of the story, with meaningful, complicated relationships with both monitor-turned-science-girlfriend Delphine and newcomer Shay. Delphine was shot at the end of the most recent season, but a) no one in sci-fi is dead until you see the body (and sometimes not even then) and b) even if she did die, it wouldn’t qualify as being stuffed in the refrigerator, because she didn’t die to move a plot forward, especially not that of a man. The plot was moving ahead just fine at warp speed, and everything Delphine did in Season 3—everything, the good the bad and the…just kidding nothing done by someone with unicorn hair could be ugly—was done for Cosima and her sestras.

The FostersFosters 31014

Though this show kicks up the dramatics every year, Stef and Lena remain at the heart of this show, navigating their own marriage while wrangling their brood. This season featured guest lesbians in the form of the principal who fell a little in love with Lena and their friend who tried to date said principal. And I know we’re only supposed to talk about women in this post but JUDICORN. Jude and his boyfriend Conner are just too cute to not mention here. *Head in hands.*

Grey’s AnatomyABC's "Grey's Anatomy" - Season Eleven

Callie and Arizona called it quits, but they’re working on their friendship while playing the field. Callie dated a crazyperson that Arizona also dated named Heather, Arizona dragged the Chief (okay, I know he’s not chief anymore but that’s what I call him OKAY?!) to a lesbian bar to be her wingman, and most recently, Callie started dating who she would later find out was one of the doctors who treated Derek on the day he died. While technically if anyone had listened to her, she would have been the one to save him, she blames herself for his death, and when she transfers to Mercy West Seattle Grace Grey Sloan Memorial for the Tragically Inclined, so does everyone else.

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It might be the most polarizing show ever to grace our community, but one thing that is the honest truth is that it’s telling a story no one else is currently telling. This year had Amy and Karma fighting, making up, and even kind of fake dating again, all while Amy claims to be totally over Karma (but who are we kidding, she’s head over heels). Amy’s ex Reagan is now long gone, and Lauren continues to learn how to handle people who have no idea what being intersex means while being the tiniest tyrant in all the land.

Transparent2Transparent2.4

The show that centers around trans* woman Maura as she comes out to her family. This season is even more queer than last, with longtime couple Sarah and Tammy being joined by Ali and Syd and even Maura and Shelley. I don’t want to get as explicitly spoilery as I have for some other shows because the series just dropped a few weeks ago, and with entire seasons of internet shows being released at the same time, the line between acceptable and unacceptable spoilers is blurry to me. At any rate, Transparent keeps winning awards, so it must be doing something right.

Jane the VirginJTV205

I was late to the Jane the Virgin game, but oh am I here now. This year, Luisa and Rose are still part of the mix, but we’ve also welcomed Juicy Jordan now and then. Before the winter break, Luisa admits to still keeping in touch with Rose, meaning the two of them might have more playtime in 2016 (fingers crossed!).

Wentworth

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I normally wouldn’t put a “foreign exchange student” of AfterEllen Academy in the Top 10 percent of this year’s class, but you guys, it’s a damn crime that this show isn’t aired in the US. I wish there was an Australian version of BBC America, because the world needs Franky Doyle. Especially this season! I didn’t think anything could replace Franky/Erica in my heart…but then along came Bridget. She was everything Franky needed and more. I thought for sure Franky was doomed to die behind bars, but not only did she get EXACTLY what she wanted, but it looks like she might even be back next season! The first two seasons of this Aussie version of Orange is the New Black (but darker—WAY darker) are on Netflix, and hopefully, this season will be there soon.

Pretty Little LiarsTROIAN BELLISARIO, LUCY HALE, ASHLEY BENSON, SHAY MITCHELL

I…don’t know where to begin. While Emily Fields, lesbian woman of color, continues to be at the forefront of this show alongside her friends, the queer representation on this show went from most! best! ever! to “Uhh, is anyone driving this thing?” in no time flat. Ignoring Emily’s inexplicable attraction to wet blanket (or more like wet towel I guess) Sara Harvey, and the complete lack of Paige or Jenna or anyone they may or may not be dating these days, Pretty Little Liars messed up with Cece Drake. They messed up bad. They wrote Charlotte Drake to be Jason DiLaurentis’s twin who was hidden away in an insane asylum at a young age because they thought she was going to kill Ali but really she was just trying to help parent, being so young and already knowing grown-ups don’t take responsibility for anything in Rosewood.

In Radley Sanitarium is where Charlotte came out, and when she was able to sneak away, she introduced herself to her unwitting siblings as Cece. All this would be all well and good if Cece hadn’t then seduced her brother and tortured her sister. In 2015, the number of trans* women murdered is at an all-time high. This is partially because of misconceptions that trans* people are predators, manipulative, or mentally unstable—basically, all the things Cece Drake proved to be. Not to mention, knowing the Liars’ tormenter was a trans* woman the writers still had lines like, “Him. Her. It. Bitch.” It was a huge issue that was surprising coming from a show that had been so queer positive in the past.

I think, like Glee, Pretty Little Liars helped shape what today’s television looked like. I think it was insanely important. I think it’s like it opened this big door for media but then was slower going through it than its peers it showed the way to. I think it needs to take a look at its choices and make better ones.

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I normally would have saved a long-loved show like Pretty Little Liars for last, but I wanted instead to contrast the difference between Cece Drake and Sense8′s trans* character, Nomi. Nomi being trans* wasn’t super relevant to the story at hand. She was a trans* lesbian whose mother misgendered her far too often, but mostly she was a sensate who had to work with her girlfriend, Amanita (a queer woman of color at that!), to solve the mystery of the sensates. Also, Nomi is played by real life trans* woman, Jamie Clayton, aka my 2015 #1 Favorite New Crush.  

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