Television’s second Golden Age continues in 2016 as more platforms have given more chances for dynamic content addressing a variety of issues not seen before on the small screen. Here’s a lucky 13 picks with standout LGBT content and characters this season.
“The Real O’Neals” Dan Savage came up with the idea (and has an executive producer credit) for this new sitcom about a close-knit Catholic family whose personal lives are thrown into (comedic) turmoil after the revelation of several family secrets, chiefly 16-year-old Kenny’s (Noah Galvin) being gay. The openly gay Galvin is a standout. (Premiered March 2 on ABC)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” The race continues in Season 8 of Logo’s hit show. You know the drill: 12 drag queens compete for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar,” along with a year’s supply of cosmetics and $100,000. Keep an eye out for Savannah native Dax ExclamationPoint who provides the Georgia pride this time around. (Premiered March 7 on Logo)
“Bride & Prejudice” This new FYI reality series focuses on three couples—one straight, one interfaith and one gay—who navigate planning for a wedding with loved ones that don’t approve of their unions. Gay couple Lou and Chris met while working as flight attendants (of course) but Chris’ father remains uncomfortable about his son’s sexuality. (Premiered March 15 on FYI)
“Dancing With The Stars” Season 22 (!) of the ABC hit is upon us, and to fill the LGBT quotient we have deaf model and actor Nyle DiMarco. He came out as sexually fluid last fall on Twitter, linking to an article on the term in the process. Other contestants this year include Mischa Barton (“The O.C.,” Kim Fields (“Facts of Life”) and Geraldo Rivera. (Premiered March 21 on ABC)
“Empire” The wait is over. The back half of Season 2 is here for openly gay co-creator Lee Daniels’ soapy drama. Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson star but gay actor Jussie Smollett has quickly risen up the ranks and gained a nation of fans as the openly gay middle son Jamal, who had a controversial hookup last season with a woman played by Alicia Keys. (Returned after four-month hiatus March 30 on FOX)
“Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul” Can’t get enough RuPaul? You know Logo can’t, because the famous Ru has another show on tap for the network, this time a celebrity-filled trivia show where celebs help contestants answer pop culture questions to win cash and prizes. Amber Rose, Carson Kressley and Cheyenne Jackson were among those featured in the show’s teaser. (Premieres April 11 on Logo)
Emmy-nominated actress Tatiana Maslany returns in the lead role of the buzzy sci-fi thriller’s third season. The key characters in the show happen to be queer and the show has been celebrated by LGBT fans for representing a spectrum of gender and sexuality not seen in many other television shows.
(Premieres April 14 on BBC America)
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
“Pinooot Nooooiiiiiirrrrrr!” Georgia native and openly gay actor Tituss Burgess burst onto the scene last year as the flamboyantly gay aspiring Broadway performer Titus Andromedon. Season 2 of co-creator Tina Fey’s show will surely continue the madness as he and Kimmy (Elle Kemper) navigate life in New York City following Kimmy’s release from a doomsday cult.
(Premieres April 15 on Netflix)
“Game of Thrones”
SPOILER ALERT for those not caught up through Season 5 of “Game of Thrones.” Last season saw Loras Tyrell imprisoned for being gay. Will someone be able to arrange for his release? And look out for more LGBT content from the hit HBO show, as the creators have never shied away from it in the past.
(Premieres April 24 on HBO)
The inclusion of bisexual character Dorian Gray (yes, the same character from gay writer and poet Oscar Wilde’s celebrated novel) helps “Penny Dreadful” land on this list. The show’s writers give actor Reeve Carney lots to do, and lots to do it with, in this show that’s now entering its third season.
(Premieres May 1 on Showtime)
“Grace and Frankie”
Everyone’s favorite frenemies are back for Season 2 of the Netflix fave, with Jane Fonda and lesbian actress/comedian Lily Tomlin playing the odd couple brought closer together after their husbands (played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) leave the women for each other. We can’t wait for this one.
(Premieres May 6 on Netflix)
“So You Think You Can Dance”
Producers of SYTYCD are switching things up with the LGBT fave this year, revamping the format as “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation.” Young dancers between the ages of 8 and 13 will be paired with SYTYCD all-stars who will mentor them throughout the competition. It worked for “Master Chef,” so why not this?
(Premieres May 30 on FOX)
First Lana Wachowski came out as transgender several years ago. And just this month, her sister Lilly did the same. The co-creators of “The Matrix” return for the sophomore season of Netflix’s sci-fi drama series, which explores themes of identity, sexuality, gender and more. People are still talking about last year’s sex scene between a gay man, a transgender lesbian, and two straight men.
(Premieres June 5 on Netflix)