Top 9 Well-Written Queer Content Recommendations (The Geekiary 9th Anniversary Special)

young royals season 1 review
Wilhelm and Omar in Young Royals Season 1 (Image: Screengrab)

In celebration of The Geekiary’s 9th Anniversary (Yay! We’ve been around for quite a while), I would like to share my top 9 recommendations of well-written queer content you should watch if you haven’t already!

While there’s a ton of queer content available, not every project can be considered well-written in my opinion. One of the things I love about working for The Geekiary is that it has provided me with a platform to call out poor queer representation in media, especially the kind that still expects to be patted on the back while offering nothing of quality in return.

Anyway, with this being a celebratory post, we shall ignore poorly written queer-inclusive content and instead focus on quality. And yes, all of the recommendations below, in no particular order, have happy (or at least, hopeful) endings!

Of course, the list below doesn’t include every show or movie with well-written queer representation. So, feel free to share your suggestions in the comments below!

1. Saved by the Bell

Debuting on the Peacock streaming service on November 25, 2020, Saved by the Bell can be used as an example of how to reboot/continue an old property for a modern audience without losing any of the original’s charm. Created and developed by Sam Bobrick and Tracey Wigfield respectively, the first season of Saved by the Bell didn’t shy away from featuring a racially diverse and queer-inclusive cast. The second season, debuting on November 24, 2021 (read my review here), continued to explore queer themes.

The main queer characters include Lexi (Josie Totah), a transgender popular girl, and Aisha (Alycia Pascual-Peña), who is trying to come to terms with her bisexuality. I really liked how the writers handled Lexi and Aisha’s relationship. It was refreshing to see how the two young women weren’t forced to fight each other to gain the affection of a common love interest. The second season also had Lexi become willing to participate more with the other queer students attending Bayside High.

2. Pose

Premiering back in June of 2018, Pose made television history by featuring a transgender cast of characters to tell an emotional tale revolving around Ballroom culture in 1987. Created and developed by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals, Pose ran for three seasons (a total of 26 episodes), offering people a mainstream show they had never seen before.

There’s a lot to love about Pose as it told a somber story but still managed to give the ensemble hope for a better future. Themes of owning one’s true self, finding a support system, standing up to injustices, and more abound. The series finale aired on June 6, 2021.

3. God’s Own Country

A British romantic drama from 2017, I have nothing but praise for God’s Own Country. Written and directed by Francis Lee, the film stars Josh O’Connor and Alec Secăreanu. The plot involves Johnny (O’Connor) becoming close to a migrant worker named Gheorghe (Secăreanu). As their relationship grows, the two face certain problems due to Johnny’s personal issues with accepting his emotions and growing up as a sheep farmer in Yorkshire.

The entire film is beautifully shot and impressively well-acted. It does have a ton of emotional moments, but in the end, you won’t help but smile as the two leads find their way to each other again.

4. Money Heist

One of the most popular streaming series on Netflix, Money Heist demonstrated that the entire globe’s more than willing to watch a non-English show even if it features queer characters in the main cast. Debuting on Netflix back in December of 2017, the show’s about a group of skilled people coming together to steal from the Royal Mint of Spain. There are a lot of twists and turns involved and not everyone makes it to the end alive.

The queer characters include two gay guys named Mirko and Martin, a transgender woman named Julia, and whatever the heck Berlin’s supposed to be when interacting with Martin. All of the queer characters have significant roles to play in the main story and have their own personal arcs. The series finale was made available to stream on December 3, 2021, bringing the total episode count to 41.

5. The Other Two

Created by Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, The Other Two is a comedy series about two siblings, Brooke and Cary, trying to handle the fame being experienced by their 13-year-old brother Chase. Starring Heléne Yorke, Drew Tarver, Case Walker, Ken Marino, and Molly Shannon. You can read my review of the first season here.

The show’s second season debuted on August 26, 2021, and had Brooke and Cary handle their mother’s newfound fame as a daytime talk show host. The show’s not afraid to call out a lot of problematic stuff that happens in Hollywood (including certain actors who like to queerbait for attention, and even taking a jab at mega religious institutions that have a hold on Hollywood). The way this show tackles pop culture references is hilarious!

6. 9-1-1: Lone Star

While I have certain issues with the narrative choices taken by 9-1-1: Lone Star, I won’t deny that it’s played an important role in improving queer representation in mainstream media. Premiering in January of 2019, and attracting millions of live-viewers per episode, the main cast includes two gay characters, TK and Carlos (the couple being called Tarlos), and a transgender man named Paul.

For those interested, I film reaction and review videos for the Tarlos scenes over at The Geekiary’s YouTube channel.

 

Created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Tim Minear, the series is currently airing its third season (which will consist of 18 episodes). From developing the romantic relationship between TK and Carlos to what Paul has to go through as a transgender man, there’s a lot of queer-inclusive stuff in the show’s storytelling.

7. The Long Call

Promoted as the first-ever crime mystery series on British TV featuring an openly gay married male character, I really enjoyed watching the 4-episode long first season of The Long Call. You can read my review here.

Based on the novel by author Ann Cleeves, the first season of The Long Call dealt with detective  Matthew Venn (Ben Aldridge) coming back to his hometown in Devon and being embroiled in a murder mystery that’s connected to the highly conservative (and homophobic) community he grew up in. 

I really enjoyed the slow pacing of the narrative as Matthew and his professional partner Jenn Rafferty (Pearl Mackie) try to figure out who’s responsible for the murder and how deep the entire thing goes. The queer narrative involves Matthew’s troubled relationship with his religious mother who isn’t willing to accept her son being married to another man.

8. Twenties

From Lena Waithe, Twenties a comedy/drama series about a lesbian character Hattie (Jonica T. Gibbs) and her two straight friends Marie (Christina Elmore) and Nia (Gabrielle Graham) trying to make it big in Hollywood in their own way. The show premiered on BET on March 4, 2020. You can read my coverage of Twenties here.

Along with exploring Hattie’s journey as an openly proud lesbian wanting to become a writer in Hollywood and dealing with a bunch of relationship stuff, the narrative also continued to develop Chuck’s storyline involving coming to terms with being a bisexual Black man. I really liked how the creative team handled Chuck’s engagement to Marie and what Chuck’s queer sexuality meant for both their futures.

The season two finale aired on December 15, 2021, and I hope it comes back for a third season!

9. Young Royals

When it comes to shows about young queer characters, Young Royals is just wow! Created by Lisa Ambjörn, Lars Beckung, and Camilla Holter, the show debuted on Netflix on July 1, 2021. The plot is about young Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (Edvin Ryding) attending the elite boarding school Hillerska and falling in love with a fellow student named Simon Eriksson (Omar Rudberg). Yes, there’s queer angst and drama, but everything is delivered in an impressively well-written manner. 

The show has been renewed for a second season and I can’t wait to watch it! You can read my review of the six-episode-long first season here.

Honorable Mention – Hot Haus

While displaying queer representation through fictional stories is important when it comes to impacting society, we can’t ignore the work displayed via stories about real-life queer people. So, as an honorable mention, I would like you all to check out Hot Haus.

From Topher Cusumano, Hot Haus is a reality competition series about a group of sex workers (falling on different points of the queer spectrum) competing to be crowned the next Queer Sex Icon and win $10,000 in the process. The show’s hosted by the iconic reality TV star Tiffany Pollard with the judges being trans activist Nicky Monet, rapper CupcakKe, and adult entertainer Matthew Camp.

The show’s incredibly sex-positive with a focus on building and maintaining a sense of queer community. While the series has its comedic and fun moments, it doesn’t shy away from talking about serious matters involving beauty standards, consent, the taboo associated with sex work, and a lot more. 

The show premiered on OUTtv on January 27, 2022.

Have you watched all of the things I mentioned in this list? What well-written queer rep content would you recommend?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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