From Pose to Queer as Folk, Here Are Best LGBTQ+ Shows of All Time

Ready to add another TV series to your binge-watching list? Check out several of the best LGBTQ+ shows ever created, including Pose, Queer as Folk and Euphoria.

By Corinne Heller Jun 11, 2023 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Billy Porter Praises "Pose" for Portraying LGBT Families

Ready to binge-watch something special this Pride Month?

We're taking a look at the greatest shows, past and present, that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

Some, like the U.K.'s Queer as Folk, starring a younger Charlie Hunnam, sparked global franchises, were adapted into a successful Showtime dramedy and later, a Peacock reboot. The L Word, the first series to feature an ensemble cast of lesbian and bisexual female characters, even spurred their own reality show. And the FX series Pose made television history by including the largest cast of transgender actors to play series regulars.

And then there are the fan-favorite TV couples, like Shameless' Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher) and Zendaya and Hunter Schafer's Rue and Jules in Euphoria.

While the latter couple's romance isn't always a fairy tale, the Spider-Man: No Way Home actress loves the authenticity at the heart of their story.

"What I've always appreciated about Euphoria," Zendaya told Out in 2022, "is they just allow the characters to be in love and figure that out as they go and make mistakes."

The Evolution of LGBTQ+ Representation in Film

She continued, "And they're flawed and there's nuance and there's depth to who they are and they love each other and they hurt each other, without emphasizing or overemphasizing anything for any political reason or statement. It just allows them to just exist and to love each other in whatever complicated form that takes."

Those shows—and so many more like The Last of Us and Buffy the Vampire Slayer—are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to incredible LGBTQ+ content available for our viewing pleasure. Check out the full list below:

1. Euphoria

Rue (Zendaya) and Jules' (Hunter Schafer) friendship and relationship temporarily shines a warm light amid the dark angst and turmoil of the critically acclaimed HBO series.

2. Queer as Folk

In 1999, before he played Jax on Sons of AnarchyCharlie Hunnam starred on the hit U.K. show Queer as Folk, which focused on three gay men living in Manchester. The program was later adapted into a U.S. series on Showtime and the 2022 reboot on Peacock.

3. The Last of Us

Season one of the hit HBO series showcased not one but two LGBTQ+ love stories that blossomed amid the zombie apocalypse. In addition to the heartbreaking romance between Bill (Murray Bartlett) and Frank (Nick Offerman) in the fan-favorite third episode, the series also shows flashbacks to Ellie's (Bella Ramsey) ill-fated relationship with best friend Riley, played by Storm Reid.

4. Schitt’s Creek

The relationship between Dan Levy's character, David, and Noah Reid's, his business partner-turned-husband Patrick, on the nine-time Emmy-winning sitcom captured fans' hearts, one "Simply the Best" performance at a time.

5. RuPaul’s Drag Race

The fan-favorite drag competition series, which aired its 15th season in early 2023, has captured the hearts of people all around the world, prompting spinoffs in nine countries.

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The tragic romance between Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) on the cult '90s series Buffy the Vampire Slayer stole fans' hearts—and then promptly broke them.

7. Black Mirror

The dystopian series' Emmy-winning fourth episode of season three, "San Junipero," depicted the heartwarming budding romance between shy Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and adventurous Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw in a simulated utopian reality where the deceased can live and the elderly can visit. 

8. Orange Is the New Black

The seven-season comedy, which concluded in 2019, depicted inmates in a women's prison and their many friendships and relationships that went on behind bars. The show has won four Emmys and two GLAAD Media Awards and as an early Netflix original series.

9. Shameless

The relationship between Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher), which transformed from secret lovers to spouses, led to many of the most heartwarming moments on the Showtime series Shameless, another show adapted from a British version and which ended its 11-season run in 2021.

10. Pose

The FX series, which originally aired between 2018 and 2021, focuses on New York City's LGBTQ+ drag ball culture. The show won four Emmys, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Billy Porter, who played HIV-positive ballroom emcee Pray Tell.

11. Queer Eye

Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Brown and Tan France make up the fab five of the hit Netflix reality show, a reboot of the mid-aughts Bravo series, which has won 10 Emmys.

12. The L Word

The original Showtime series, starring Flashdance's Jennifer Beals, was the first to feature an ensemble cast of lesbian and bisexual female characters. It inspired the creation of the '10s reality show The Real L Word as well as the sequel series The L Word: Generation Q, which ended in March 2023 after three seasons.

13. Love, Victor

The Love, Simon sequel's main star Michael Cimino has received many messages of gratitude from fans over the course of the show's three-season run.

"The ones that mean the most to me are the ones that say, 'This show has changed my life because it inspired me to come out,'" he told E! News in June 2022 just before the finale. "Or, 'I watched the show with my family and it changed my mom's perspective about things.' That's my whole goal."

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