Screenshot: Hunter Schafer and Zendaya / Euphoria / Neon
Are you craving some bingeable TV shows with good LGBT+ representation? Are you struggling to know where to start or which show is right for you? Look no further, as I have compiled a list of my favourite queer shows that are available for consumption in New Zealand right now, and there’s one for everyone. Well, I mean, there’s only five, so that could be an overstatement, but there’s likely one for quite a few people. Heaps, even.
Queer Eye (Netflix)
Let’s start with the obvious. If you haven’t watched Queer Eye yet, I have some questions: How? Where have you been? Are you quite all right? I’m telling you, nothing feels more like a warm hug than watching the fab five remodel someone else’s life - teaching them how to moisturise, getting to the roots of their trauma by climbing a rock wall, renovating their house and giving them a lesson on how to make guacamole. The Queer Eye remake is so much more than a makeover show. It’s a show about breaking down barriers, changing perspectives and creating unity - across cultures, ethnicities, sexualities and political identities. It’s about deconstructing the idea of what it means to be masculine, but not judging anyone for not being evolved enough to understand. Queer Eye is pure, wholesome, tear-inducing joy and I want to be hooked up to it on an IV drip, please and thank you. Queer Eye’s fourth season was just released on Netflix - go forth, enjoy.
Euphoria is a piece of cinematographic excellence so beautiful that sometimes I realise my mouth has been hanging open for two minutes straight. The show examines the terrifying lives of Generation Z - the kids who grew up on Instagram and Snapchat, in the world of nudes and sugar daddies. I should be clear: Euphoria is definitely not for the faint of heart. The show features extremely intense depictions of the most uncomfortable things you can imagine - from drug abuse to sexual abuse and then back to drug abuse. But it’s more than just a 2019 reimagining of Skins. Euphoria depicts the lives of a generation who grew up in a world where the definitions and restrictions surrounding sexuality and gender have slowly started to loosen. The central romantic love of the show is between two teenage girls, one of whom is trans (and is played by a real life trans actress! Yay!). And on the show, that’s seen as pretty much normal - because it is. No matter how fucked up everything else in their lives gets, at least these kids are accepting and loving of each other regardless of gender and sexuality. (For the most part. There are some downright evil characters on the show too, don’t get me wrong). Euphoria episodes are released weekly on Neon.
You Me Her (Netflix)
You Me Her is the under-the-radar show that’s quietly revolutionising the traditional rom-com. Using all the classic tropes and cliches, You Me Her flips it all on its head by depicting a romance between a run of the mill, heterosexual married couple and a college girl named Izzy. Focusing on a polyamorous (or “polymonogamous”) relationship between one man and two bisexual women, who all love each other equally, You Me Her is the queer show to watch if you want laughs and warm fuzzies. Although Jack, Emma and Izzy face all the problems any other couple faces times three, the stakes are never too high. The worst that could happen is that they break up for a bit, and then eventually find their way back to each other. Because this is a rom-com after all. Season 4 of You Me Her is now streaming on Netflix.
Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Orange is the New Black was a game-changer when it first came out. In many ways, it was the show that put Netflix on the map. Never before had I seen so many women of so many ethnicities and identities in one show. But even more than that, I don’t think anyone had ever seen so many queer women and queer relationships between women on one show. You’ve got Piper, the neurotic, bisexual protagonist and her borderline sociopathic lesbian girlfriend Alex. There was the iconic Poussey who found love with Soso. There’s almost too many LGBT characters to count - Suzanne, Nicky, Big Boo and Sophia (played by Laverne Cox), and at least a dozen more. On any other show, just one or two of those characters would have been considered groundbreaking, but Orange is the New Black had them all and then some. Orange is the New Black’s seventh and final season was just released on Netflix. And even though I haven’t watched the show in a few seasons, I will be checking in to pay my respects to that diverse group of queer women who changed the game for me.
The Bold Type (Neon)
The Bold Type is kind of like the Gossip Girl of LGBT shows, in that it’s fun and aspirational and all the characters have really nice hair and 10/10 outfits. But it also gives us a badass new bisexual hero in Kat Edison, the social media manager at popular women’s magazine Scarlet. Kat’s sexual awakening, and consequent experiences loving women and being sexual with women are some of the show’s most prominent storylines - and by far the ones that resonate the most. And although the show is lighthearted and fun, it doesn’t shy away from political issues - including sexual assault, abortion, and the many challenges that Kat faces as a queer woman of colour in the public eye. You can find all three seasons of The Bold Type on Neon.Support Villainesse