Once upon a time, queer female representation was so bad, so cheese-sarnie-in-the-summer-sun rotten that just a handful of gay, bi and otherwise not-heterosexual ladies graced our TV screens.
But gone are the days where re-watching The L Word on Netflix is the only time we’ll see women-loving-women in the media as now, it seems like every show has a female/female relationship looking to find a place in our hearts.
As a result, the problem isn’t the quantity of queer women on TV, it’s the quality. Now that we have a choice, we have to ask ourselves which shows are worth our valuable viewership.
It would be impossible for you to watch every pilot of every show to figure that out, so to make life a whole lot easier for you, here’s a list of five TV shows which feature queer women that you need to pay attention to.
1. How to Get Away With Murder
A few weeks ago, Viola Davis made history becoming the first black woman ever to win the lead actress Emmy. Indeed, her incredible turn as no-nonsense lawyer Annalise Keating was already reason enough to watch How to Get Away With Murder but in the season two premiere of the show, Annalise’s old college friend Eve showed up.
Annalise and Eve aren’t a couple of regular, platonic gal pals, however, as they dated but Annalise left Eve for (Annalise’s now murdered husband) Sam.
Unfortunately, Eve did head off back to New York at the end of episode two but with Eve and Annalise having rekindled their feelings (Eve says she’s still in love with Annalise, Annalise calls Eve the most beautiful thing that’s ever happened to her), there’s a lot of room for this relationship to grow.
With so few bisexual women in the media (and bisexual women of colour especially) Annalise is a brilliant rarity so if you haven’t started watching HTGAWM already, you should get on that right now.
2. Person Of Interest
Looking at Person Of Interest‘s description – a show about a tech whiz, a former soldier and their pals as they try to protect people from the world’s dangers as well as the government’s snooping – it sounds like an unlikely candidate for fantastic queer representation but you’d be surprised.
The show’s two supporting women, Samantha “Root” Groves and Sameen Shaw are part of the core group of ‘good guys’ who aim to protect the world and though the two characters are incredibly sarcastic and spend most of their time shooting bad guys’ kneecaps, they still find plenty of time to flirt.
In Person of Interest‘s fourth season (the one that most recently aired), their flirting finally came to a head when Shaw (played by former L Word cast member Sarah Shahi) kisses Root right before she risks her life to save Root and co. and gets shot in the process.
Although Root spends the remainder of the season pining over Shaw/trying to find Shaw/talking about how much she misses Shaw, Shaw’s not dead and the two will be reunited in season five of the show.
3. Jane The Virgin
Earlier this year, Jane The Virgin made a splash as its lead actress Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for her role as Jane, a virgin who becomes pregnant after a doctor accidentally artificially inseminates her when she goes in for a routine check-up. Based on a telenovela, this show is anything but easy to follow, nor is it overly serious, but it is a lot of fun to watch.
As for the queer content in Jane The Virgin, the doctor who inseminates Jane is a lesbian named Luisa. While there’s enough drama in Luisa’s life stemming from the fact that the sperm she inseminated Jane with belongs to her (as in Luisa’s) brother, on top of that Luisa has also been having an affair with Rose, who just happens to be the woman that her father is married to!
After a good many plot twists later, Luisa ends up with an MMA fighter named Juicy Jordan and thankfully, Rose, Luisa, and Juicy will all be returning when Jane The Virgin season two premieres on October 12.
Empire is another fine example of a TV show. The show is all about the Lyon family (Lucious, his three sons Jamal, Andre and Hakeem and their just-out-of-jail mother, Cookie) and their record label and the trials and tribulations of both running the label and keeping their home, love and family lives in tact.
In addition to being a majority black show, Jamal is also gay. That was a big deal in season one (which features Jamal’s coming out) but in season two, there’s something for queer ladies as well.
Marisa Tomei is on board as lesbian billionaire Mimi Whiteman and in the season premiere we saw Mimi flirt with Cookie but ultimately Mimi went home with (Lucious’ ex) Anika.
It’s unclear whether or not that flirtation between Mimi and Cookie will come to anything, or whether Anika and Mimi will get a part two as Mimi is only set to be in a few more episodes, but with The L Word co-creator Ilene Chaiken being Empire‘s showrunner, you know that there’s going to be some must-watch queer content here.
Another award winner in this post is Transparent, the Amazon-only TV show that debuted on Amazon Instant Video last year. At this year’s Emmys, not only did the show take home two awards, but during her acceptance speech, its creator Jill Soloway stated that “we don’t have a trans tipping point, we have a trans civil rights problem”.
Indeed, the show which builds upon Soloway’s own experiences with her ‘Moppa’ stars Jeffrey Tambor as a trans woman who comes out to her three adult children – children who have only ever known her as their father.
Transparent is a must watch for Maura, as her story follows how she finds a place for herself in the trans community and how those around her handle her gender identity, but her daughter Sarah’s bisexuality is also a draw. Sarah is married to a man and they have children together, but she cheats on him, and eventually leaves him for her ex-girlfriend.
Admittedly, Sarah and her siblings aren’t the most loveable bunch (they’re self-centred and selfish at best, and amusingly useless at best) but with just 10 episodes of the show having aired so far, it’s a fabulous dramedy and it won’t take you long to catch up before Transparent season two airs in December.