Alright, fellow couch potatoes. The fall TV season is upon us.
While cable and streaming services keep us entertained with new content all year round, we purists know the biggest TV crop is still harvested in the fall. As the world crumbles around us, quality fall TV and the escapism it provides is needed more than ever.
And nothing makes us feel warmer and safer than the growing abundance of LGBTQ characters filling up our screens. Here we round up a few titles showcasing the more notable newbies, including some returning sideline characters we hope to see soaking up the spotlight this season on fall TV.
1. Will & Grace
What made the first iteration of Will & Grace monumental (and, yeah, occasionally bordering on absurd) was the parade of high-profile guest stars marching through every episode, each clamoring to be a part of the sitcom once it became the smashing success that it was for NBC. That immensely large list ranges from Matt Damon, Demi Moore, Elton John, Madonna, Cher, Britney Spears and literally everyone else you could possibly imagine.
Will & Grace 2.0, thankfully having returned for Season 2 on Oct. 4, affords an opportunity to icons who didn’t make the cut the first time around, plus members of the new class of queer culture like Matt Bomer, Adam Rippon, Brian Jordan Alvarez and Chelsea Handler, whose star first began to rise after Will & Grace 1.0 took its not-so-final bow.
In Season 2 Handler will portray one of fall TV’s most anticipated LGBTQ characters — Donna Zimmer, a power lesbian who happens to be a client of Grace’s. Wackiness will ensue when she starts dating Grace’s bitter sister, Janet, played by the hilarious Mary McCormack, making a very welcomed return.
Legendary and forward-thinking gay producer Greg Berlanti has done amazing things with The CW, and the partnership is not slowing down any time soon. With a bevy of comic book-themed programs filling up more than half the week’s roster, the character development and queer representation in these titles is like none other.
We’re so excited for Season 4 of Supergirl, which premiered last week, and not just because we anticipate the canon relationship between Supergirl and Brainiac to develop on-screen. Truly exciting is the fact that the series will introduce TV’s very first trans superhero!
Trans actress Nicole Maines will play Nia Nal, who will later also be known as “Dreamer.” Nia Nal is a reimagined version of the comic book character Nura Nal / Dream Girl, a member of the Legion of Superheroes — the very same squad that brought us Brainiac.
3. Black Lightning
Another of Berlanti’s superhero shows on The CW — but residing in it’s own universe — is the outstanding Black Lightning. Season 1 spent time developing the show’s family-centric foundation and the origin story of each electric member of the Pierce family, including television’s first strong and gorgeous lesbian superhero of color, Anissa Pierce, who kicks major ass under the moniker of Thunder.
In Season 2, currently two episodes in, Thunder is getting a thunder buddy. We briefly met Grace Choi in Season 1 when she hosted a cosplay party that encouraged Anissa to suit up for the first time. As can be expected, Grace Choi has her own rich canon backstory that will surely develop deliciously throughout the season. In the comics, Grace is an Asian-American hero who is later revealed to be half-Amazon. She possesses superhuman strength, durability, speed, stamina and incredible healing powers. She’s muscular, feminine and bisexual. She had a traumatic upbringing, which included surviving a human trafficking ring.
When Black Lightning rejected Thunder’s desire to follow in his footsteps, Grace was there for her to lean on. This will be good.
It seems criminal not to make mention of one more Berlanti-produced show, The CW’s runaway hit Riverdale. The Season 3 return of this comic noir sexy drama, having premiered Oct. 10, has Archie (K.J. Apa) in jail, and the gang is trying to set him free.
We already love its LGBTQ characters — namely Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) and the recently introduced bisexual Toni Topaz. We cheered when she began to romance the resident mean girl, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch).
Now we fully ship Kevin and Moose Mason (Cody Kearsley), whose curiosity may finally get the best of him now that his girlfriend (or beard?) Midge is no longer in the picture.
5. Grey’s Anatomy
Season 15 (!) is upon us, and you may be asking yourself, “How does Grey’s stay fresh and exciting for so long?” Sex, drama and rotating doors certainly help. With new doctors joining the staff, old doctors leaving and then surprisingly returning years later, there’s always new character development to soak up over a nice bottle of wine.
Especially whenever there’s a new class of surgical interns. Let’s not forget, Meredith Grey and Alex Karev, two of the original cast members still starring on the show, first began as interns themselves.
Last season we met Taryn Helm (Jaicy Elliot, in her first TV role), one of Grey Sloan Memorial’s quirkier new surgical interns. Her ringtone is a quacking duck, she’s stuck with the nickname “Hellmouth,” and she’s got a fierce crush on Dr. Meredith Grey. We love her, and we hope to see her find some attainable romance this season, perhaps with a new surgical intern.
6. American Horror Story: Apocalypse
Last but not least is the latest devilish treat from gay Santa himself, Ryan Murphy, always packed with LGBTQ characters. His latest gift to us fall TV watchers has been in the form of the next chapter of American Horror Story, a new tale that is brilliantly mashing up the first season, “Murder House,” and the third season, “Coven.”
Murphy is shaking things up among the witches and has introduced us to the Hawthorne School for Warlocks with a crew of professors who are waiting for a chosen one to arrive, which gives us eerie Harry Potter vibes.
These professors — including Billy Porter, B.D. Wong and Cheyenne Jackson — are gay AF. We’re gay gasping for the witchy sass that is bound to unfold.