Fall TV loaded with LGBT actors, characters and storylines

Gone are the days of having that one character or one show with an LGBT character to rely on, and that one character or show wasn’t even worth it for much of the lesbian and transgender community, since it was usually a (white) gay male.

But it’s changing ever so slightly, season by season, and now there are many LGBT threads (although too light on the “T” yet again) running through this season’s TV lineup—it just takes some digging to search them all out. There are both new and established shows on this list and it is by no means a definitive list of fall shows with LGBT actors, characters, and storylines, but feel free to send those emails, comments and tweets to us anyway.

So get your phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions ready for the fall LGBTV season and use this guide to find the show for you. This list is in chronological order by season premiere date.

‘Red Band Society’ (Sept. 17 on FOX)

Openly gay actor (“My So Called Life,” “Rent”) and GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz returns to TV in this locally filmed comedy-drama about teenagers who live together as patients in the pediatric ward of a hospital. Cruz plays an openly gay nurse, and the show is headlined by gay fave Octavia Spencer (“The Help”).

‘The Good Wife’ (Sept. 21 on CBS)

“The Good Wife” is coming off of its most critically lauded seasons yet, and now the sixth season of the legal and political drama arrives packed with a consistent LGBT kick. Strong female lead characters Alicia Florrick (played by former “E.R.” star Julianna Margulies) and Diane Lockhart (played by “The Birdcage” actress Christine Baranski) are joined by bisexual private investigator Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) and Alicia’s gay brother Owen (Dallas Roberts). Several LGBT actors are in the cast including bisexual actor Alan Cumming (as Eli Gold) and gay actor Nathan Lane (as Clarke Hayden), with the new addition this season of gay actor David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”).

Modern Family’ (Sept. 24 on ABC)

The Pritchetts and Dunphys are back for season six, featuring as always everyone’s favorite bickering but loving couple Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitch (openly gay actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson), along with their no-nonsense daughter Lily (the wonderful Aubrey Anderson-Emmons).


‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur: Blood vs. Water’ (Sept. 24 on CBS)

A gay Christian couple, Joshua Canfield, 32, and Reed Kelly, 31, are part of the cast this year. They are both Broadway singers and dancers with appearances in “Wicked” and “Spider Man.” Also look for some fun interaction with John Rocker, former Atlanta Braves pitcher, perhaps most well-known for his anti-gay, anti-immigrant rant in Sports Illustrated.

‘The Mysteries of Laura’ (Sept. 24 on NBC)

Debra Messing has starred in shows with gay storylines that were hits (“Will & Grace”) and misses (“Smash”), and she’s back this fall as an NYPD homicide detective who is also a single mother to twin son—that kind of tough underdog role that the LGBT community identifies with.


‘Scandal’ (Sept. 25 on ABC)

The gladiators return for season four of Shonda Rhimes’ campy political thriller. Whether it’s Olivia Pope’s fabulous wardrobe, the plot twists and shockers, the over-the-top melodrama, Jeff Perry as gay White House chief of staff Cyrus Beene, or gay actor Guillermo Diaz as the troubled former B613 agent Huck, there’s enough gay bait in “Scandal” to fill up D.C.’s Potomac River.

‘How To Get Away With Murder’ (Sept. 25 on ABC)

This new entry comes from gay writer, creator, and executive producer Peter Nowalk and stars Viola Davis as a Philadelphia-area law professor who gets involved in a murder plot along with her students. Gay fave Shonda Rhimes is also an executive producer and the character of law student Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee) will be openly gay.

‘Transparent’ (Sept. 26 on Amazon)

Jeffrey Tambor (“Larry Sanders,” “Arrested Development”) stars in this new original series from Amazon about a family patriarch coming out as transgender, and the resulting experiences that the family goes through as a result. It’s loosely based on creator and director Jill Soloway’s experience having a parent come out as trans. Upping the LGBT quotient further, the show co-stars gay fave Judith Light (“Who’s the Boss?”), and one of the children in the show is conflicted about their sexuality. So this pretty much takes the LGBTV prize for the fall season.

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (Sept. 28 on FOX)

The action comedy series starring Andy Samberg is coming off of its Golden Globe win for Best TV Series—Musical or Comedy, and the glue that holds the show together is Andre Braugher’s character Capt. Ray Holt, the precinct’s emotionless but supportive openly gay commanding officer. When the gay community asks for more diversity and depth in how we are portrayed on TV, Holt is exactly what we mean.

‘Mulaney’ (Oct. 5 on FOX)

Comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” writer (and co-creator of the ultimate gay club kid, Stefon) John Mulaney gets a show of his own, and among his co-stars is Elliot Gould (“M.A.S.H.,” “Friends”), who plays his 71-year-old gay neighbor.

‘The Flash’ (Oct. 7 on The CW)

This spinoff of “Arrow” stars Grant Gustin in the superhero title role. You may remember Gustin for his stint as Sebastian, the scheming gay high schooler who tried to steal Blaine from Kurt on “Glee.” The show’s executive producers have also revealed the show will feature not one but two gay characters, plus the show’s co-stars include gay actor Wentworth Miller (“Prison Break”) and Jesse L. Martin, a veteran of both the stage and screen versions of the musical “Rent,” where he played Tom Collins.

‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ (Oct. 8 on FX)

Who knows what’s going to spring from the demented mind of gay series creator Ryan Murphy, fresh off receiving praise for directing HBO’s “The Normal Heart.” We do know the story is set in Florida in the early 1950s as one of the last remaining freak shows struggles to stay in business. Gay faves Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett, and Kathy Bates all return to camp it up, openly gay actor Denis O’Hare returns and keep an eye out for new co-star—and we are not kidding—Patti Labelle.

‘The Walking Dead’ (Oct. 12 on AMC)

Robert Kirkman, writer and producer on the show and creator of the graphic novel on which it’s based, set tongues wagging last month when he hinted that crossbow-wielding heartthrob Daryl Dixon might be gay. However, showrunner Scott Gimple said it wouldn’t be addressed this upcoming season (the show’s fifth), but that a new gay male character will be introduced. Also, the lesbian character of Tara (Alanna Masterson) will return.

‘Marry Me’ (Oct. 14 on NBC)

Tim Meadows (“Saturday Night Live”) and openly gay actor Dan Bucatinsky (“Scandal”) have supporting roles in this new show, playing the gay adoptive dads of the lead character Annie (Casey Wilson from “Happy Endings”).

Constantine (Oct. 24 on NBC)

Gay Atlanta actor (and sometime zombie on “The Walking Dead”) Tony Gowell has an unspecified role lined up for this new show about a magician struggling with his dark past while trying to save the world from a supernatural threat. The title character is bisexual in the comic book on which the show is based, but NBC executives say there are no immediate plans to address his sexuality.

The McCarthys (Oct. 30 on CBS)

Tyler Ritter (son of the late John Ritter) stars as Ronny McCarthy, a 29-year-old gay man whose dad chooses him to be his assistant coach of the high school basketball team, despite his brothers being more athletically inclined. Boy band fans will recognize New Kids on the Block heartthrob Joey McIntyre as one of Ronny’s brothers.

psaunders@thegavoice.com | @patricksaunders