Gays love lists, and gays love gay stuff too, especially on TV, so it’s only natural that I’d want to rank the best LGBTQ+ shows of 2023. The problem this year though is that there’s almost too much queer stuff to choose from. How do I find time to watch it all, let alone cut the best-of-the-best down to a manageable number?
With The Gay Agenda™ infiltrating more TV shows than ever, there are a lot of potential contenders vying for attention. So, to make this process a bit easier on myself, I focused on shows where queerness was as central to the story as high-end gays are to The White Lotus. Or failing that, the shows that brought Gay Twitter the best memes.
Without further ado, here are the 24 best, must-see LGBTQ+ shows of 2023, plus And Just Like That…
25. And Just Like That… Season 2
The definition of so bad it’s good, everyone’s favorite Peloton ad found its footing in season two with still ridiculous, yet slightly less ridiculous storylines that gave us more meme fodder than we could have ever hoped for. And who could forget Kim Cattrall’s cameo, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that she really doesn’t “want to be in a situation for even an hour” where she’s not enjoying herself.
24. Tore, Season 1
Grief and a sunflower penis go hand-in-hand in William Spetz’s extremely underrated Netflix dramedy that came out of Sweden earlier this year. The show also features drag, gay hookups, and a dog named Cher in case you need three more reasons to add Tore to your watchlist.
23. Riverdale, Season 7
Any show that ends with a quad relationship is an instant gay classic in my book. And then there’s #Choni, the world’s greatest ship since the Titanic set sail on April 10, 1912. Except, their love stayed afloat, even through all the apocalyptic, super-powered, time travel, messy musical mayhem their relationship was put through. “Epic highs and lows” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
The boys were getting close on the set of Riverdale
22. The Gilded Age, Season 2
More tension is wrung from one bowl of soup in this show than every episode of The Sopranos combined, and thankfully, it’s a lot gayer too. May The Gilded Age never end.
Morgan Shepard can take us to the opera any time.
21. Schmigadoon! Season 2
Watching Jane Krakowski flip and trapeze her way through that musical number in Schmigadoon! season 2 is gayer, and somehow even more satisfying, than actual gay sex. My throat still hurts from screaming “Emmy!!” at Jane every time she appeared on screen.
20. The Other Two, Season 3
The Other Two’s final season didn’t quite match the dizzying heights of what came before it, and those final episodes were also marred by some strangely ironic behind-the-scenes controversy, yet any show that has a whole episode about transporting an armpit pic across America will always hold a special place in my heart.
19. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Season 4
HSMTMTS was already gayer than the rest of Disney’s output combined, and yet the fourth season somehow ended up even gayer still, which made its cancellation that much sadder for us Wildcats. Still, at least we’re all in this together.
18. XO, Kitty, Season 1
XO, Kitty is perhaps the most accurate representation of bisexuality ever depicted on screen, which is to say that Kitty’s coming out story is extremely chaotic and unexpected in the best way possible. To all the streamers I’ve loved before: please keep this one going for at least five seasons, regardless of whether Netflix ends up canceling it or not.
17. Harley Quinn, Season 4
Harley Quinn is the rare comic book show that gives fans exactly what they want in still totally unexpected ways. Case in point: Nightwing’s butt, which became an entire plot point this season. The biggest draw though is the beautiful yet chaotic relationship between Harley and Poison Ivy that’s got us head-over-heels still for these demented sapphic icons.
16. Yellowjackets, Season 2
A show about female soccer players who literally devour each other was always going to be a bit gay, but Yellowjackets didn’t have to be this gay. Not that we’re complaining, although it’s fair to say that season two didn’t quite match season one. Still, queers ate these new episodes up anyway thanks to the unhinged delight of watching Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Juliette Lewis, and Christina Ricci mother us all with help from new additions including queer icons like Nicole Maines and John Cameron Mitchell.
15. Dead Ringers
Rachel Weisz hasn’t met a gay role she’s said no to, so it’s no wonder that Dead Ringers, a show where she gets to play not one, but two queer women, appealed so much. *Quiet voice now* – Did you also kind of prefer it to David Cronenberg’s original film? Twinsies!
14. Sex Education, Season 4
With just four seasons, Sex Education shook the small screen harder than these horny misfits shook the bed. And the floor. And the bathroom stall. And just about anywhere else they could get their dirty little hands on each other. We couldn’t be more proud yet also devastated, because the end of this show means that school’s finally out for good and our favorite miscreants are now all grown up.
13. RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 15
Between Sasha Colby’s win and Anetra walking that f*cking duck close behind, season 15 felt more like All Stars than the actual All Stars season that aired this year. Our money’s on a bunch of these queens returning for a future All Stars sooner rather than later. You can trust us when we say that, because guacamole is expensive and we need all the money we can get come Taco Tuesday.
12. Our Flag Means Death, Season 2
Pirates are gay for more reasons than I could ever get into here, yet even I was surprised by just how much gayer — and even better — season two of Our Flag Means Death was compared to the first. I’ve honestly never loved sea men more.
11. Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials
Between Yasmin Finney’s casting and the Doctor’s talk of being gender-fluid, the return of showrunner Russell T Davies feels like it was specifically designed to freak out troll Twitter accounts with 4 numbers in their name and about the same number of followers. But beyond that, it must be said Doctor Who hasn’t been this good — or this queer — in a very long time, maybe ever, so we cannot wait to see what Ncuti Gatwa has in store for us.
10. The Fall of the House of Usher
The only thing scarier to gays than getting stuck walking behind a straight person on the sidewalk is Mike Flanagan’s deliciously queer brand of horror. I’m thankful then that his final show for Netflix is his queerest yet, featuring a whole host of horny, mean LGBTQ+ characters who all die hideously inventive and brilliant deaths. Bonus points for cementing Carla Gugino’s status as Mother in all things spooky and horror.
9. Dragula, Season 5
Just as it looked like Dragula was becoming a tad too polished, season five increased the filth and horror thanks largely to a new feisty cast whose talents were surpassed only by their constant need to dunk on Jay Kay.
8. The Owl House, Season 3
The Owl House has been a gay old hoot from day one, so it was a painful shock to the system when Disney canceled the show last year, allowing the creators just one shortened season to wrap things up. But against the odds, those last three feature-length episodes, two of which aired in 2023, did their utmost to queer things up to the max. The result was perhaps the gayest cartoon ever made, which celebrated LGBTQ+ representation more proudly than anything else ever seen on kid’s TV. There are a lot of reasons to resent Disney, and this show’s cancellation ranks pretty high.
7. Doom Patrol, Season 4
Saying goodbye to TV’s weirdest, queerest superhero team was never going to be easy, but I shed enough tears in that final episode to sustain Gag City’s water supply for at least one year minimum. There’ll never be another comic book adaptation quite like it.
6. Somebody Somewhere, Season 2
Somebody Somewhere would somehow win all the Emmys if this world was a just one. But even if that doesn’t pan out, we’ll always have Bridget Everett’s gorgeous, moving, and hilarious series that dares to ask the question: “What if the Midwest, but gay?”
5. What We Do In The Shadows, Season 5
“Gay is in. Gay is hot. I want some gay. Gay it’s gonna be.” Truer words have never been spoken and therein lies the enduring appeal of What We Do In The Shadows, five seasons in.
4. Drag Race Philippines, Season 2
When a new Supreme rises, the old one fades away. And so it goes with Drag Race España, which fell from grace this year just as the Philippines cemented itself as the international spinoff to beat. Katkat captivated and Bernie burned her way into our hearts, but looking back, it’s M1ss Jade So and her #DollShenanigans that propelled this season to legendary status.
3. Fellow Travelers
History is anything but dry in Fellow Travelers, a queer tour through the past where Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey pump and hump their way through decades of longing and gay seduction. Come for the… well, cum, and stay for the prestige look back at half a century of queer struggles.
2. The Last of Us Season 1
The horror that fungoid zombies bring is nothing compared to the gay torment we endured watching first Bill and Frank, and then Ellie and Riley lose each other in quick succession. Putting us through all that is the definition of a hate crime, yet we’re willing to forgive The Last of Us because these episodes were just so goddamn beautiful. And no, we’re not just talking about Pedro “Daddy” Pascal.
1. Heartstopper, Season 2
You either think Heartstopper is too cute and unrealistic or your emergency contacts are Nick Nelson and Charlie Spring. There’s no in-between. And if you’ve somehow wound up in the first (incorrect) camp, then there’s just no hope for you.♦
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