Screening Room

Posers, princesses, criminals and techies: Queerty’s pics for the best TV of the year

‘Tis the season for binging, and we don’t just mean the food. With the holidays giving everyone a bit of extra free time to do the stream & chill thing, we can’t help but mull over the TV shows that had us ravenous for more this year.

With networks, cable, streaming services and web series creating more content than ever before, picking just 10 ain’t easy. Still, these titles stood out before the others thanks to great performances and splendid writing…not to mention diverse, queer-affirming casts.

So, get settled. These shows will make you plant yourself on the couch until the new year.

1. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Not since the reboot of Battlestar Galactica has a nostalgic property of the 70s-80s had this much impact. Leave it to out-gay wunderkind Noelle Stevenson to give a show originally aimed at selling toys wit and gravitas enough to be one of the most inspiring—and most fun—shows on TV.

2. Wild Wild Country

Netflix’s sprawling limited series about a sex-positive cult had us riveted from the beginning. As the show recounts how the cult formed its own metropolis in rural Oregon to the scandals and psychopaths that eventually destroyed it, Wild Wild Country paints an unforgettable tale of fanaticism, betrayal and total lunacy.

4. The Bisexual

Desree Akhavan, the writer/creator/star of The Bisexual has something to say. Ok, she has a lot to say about sexuality, gender relationships and dating in the modern era. Whether we agree or not is beside the point: rarely has a comedy like this made us think about so much.

5. The Staircase

The Netflix revival of the epic docuseries finally finishes out the story of Michael Peterson, a bisexual author accused of murdering his wife. Did he kill her to conceal his same-sex affairs? Or did the courts railroad him because of his open marriage? The Staircase finally comes close to a definitive answer, though don’t expect the did he/didn’t he arguments to stop anytime soon thanks to this riveting show.

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6. Will & Grace

Oh, how can we resist the revival of the classic gayfest sitcom? We can’t, seriously. We could spend time with these characters until the end of time…rather like spending time with old friends.

7. Star Trek: Discovery

The 23rd century finally caught up to the 21st century with this latest, action-packed installment of the seminal sci-fi franchise. Anthony Rapp makes engineer Paul Saments into a fine addition as the first out-gay character on the show. His work, coupled with that of an impressive cast that includes Soniqua Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Doug Jones, and Jason Issacs, has us chomping at the bit for more. We also can’t get enough of the sci-fi adventures of exploration and, well, the discovery that Star Trek does so well.

8. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Joan Rivers is spinning in her grave, not because The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel insults her, but because the Amazon comedy offers her the best part she’ll never get to play. Rachel Brosnahan becomes a star with her turn in the title role. Furthermore, that Alex Borstien has been relegated to MadTV sketches and Family Guy voice-over work (until now) is our loss. Borstien’s makes the butch out-lesbian Suzie into one of the most memorable TV characters to come along in years.

9. Pose

Ryan Murphy strikes again, this time, with the most pro-transgender show in history. Pose doesn’t just expose the mainstream audience to a vital piece of queer history, it also makes stars of its mostly-trans cast, lead by MJ Rodriguez and Indya Moore. The show also gave us a huge crush on actor Billy Porter…and we’re totally fine with that.

10. American Crime Story: Versace

Speaking of Ryan Murphy, and speaking of crazy crushes, we still have the hots for Darren Criss, thanks to his layered portrayal of psycho killer Andrew Cunanan. Versace plays like an opera from its opening scenes: a tragedy of a brilliant designer taken too soon, his boyfriend who had no legal protections for his relationship and a charming, intelligent young man who could have been so much more had he not turned to violence.

Special Award for Best Use of Queens: RuPaul’s Drag Race

The drama. The dresses. The guest stars. The songs. How can we not have an undying soft spot for the best reality show on TV? Drag Race still manages to combine everything that makes the genre fun into one program: creativity, performance, competition and good humor. Besides, any show that makes a drag queen into one of the biggest TV personalities in the world is OK by us.

Honorable Mention: Sense8: The Finale, Supergirl, Dancing Queens, Bonding, American Horror Story: Apocalypse, Where the Bears Are, Glow, The Chi, Killing Eve, The Handmaid’s Tale