Are you all caught up on Orange Is the New Black? Wondering what to binge watch next? Luckily for you, Netflix offers a wide variety of shows to choose from that feature central LGBTQ+ characters. We’ve narrowed down which shows should be at the top of your watch list this summer.
1. The L Word
The L Word has central characters of many different sexualities and identities, primarily lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters. More than a decade after its original release in 2004, it’s still just as riveting!
The show stars Jennifer Beals as Bette Porter, an Ivy-League educated woman of both Caucasian and African-American descent. Bette engages in promiscuous relationships throughout the series, though we find out that she was not always as confident about her sexuality.
“Though I’ve only recently really started to jump into it, I’ve found the character of Bette to be an idol,” says Rebecca*, a collegiette at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. “I seriously love her personality and relate to her way of thinking so much. … I’m not that far into the series, but I’m excited to see what unfolds as I get more into it. I definitely recommend it as a summer must-watch for people searching for those lesbian themes.”
2. The Office
Though The Office doesn’t revolve heavily around its gay character, Oscar Martinez, played by Oscar Nunez, that’s what we like about it! He’s portrayed as a normal man going through his daily life, just like other characters in the series. Of course, he has quirks, but who doesn’t?
Shira Kipnees, a senior at Franklin & Marshall College, says she really enjoys who Oscar is as a character.
“One of the things I appreciate about Oscar and the show is that while he is gay, it is not his defining feature,” she says. “Rather, he’s often the voice of reason on the show, and a lot of times has to act like the adult. There are a lot of subplots involving his homosexuality, but it is treated as normal and respected.”
The Office began its run on March 24, 2005, and ended on May 16, 2013, but still has a legion of loyal fans. Will you be next to join them?
Glee just wrapped its fifth season on FOX and will continue into its sixth sometime in 2015. With countless hours of musical numbers to watch and sing along to, there are also important same-sex relationships to obsess over. We especially love catching up with Santana and Brittany, played by Naya Rivera and Heather Morris, who are on-again-off-again lovers and best friends in the series.
Another fave same-sex couple is Kurt and Blaine, played by Chris Colfer and Darren Criss. We’ll definitely keep shipping both couples, despite Santana’s consistent coldhearted ways. Brittany seems to bring out the best in her, and that’s worth watching!
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Although Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a fantasy series, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers was a totally relatable, girl-power heroine. Buffy also featured one of the first on-air lesbian kisses during season five in an episode called “The Body.”
This kiss was between Buffy’s best friend, Willow Rosenberg (played by Alyson Hannigan), and Tara Maclay (played by Amber Benson). And no need to worry about it being a one-off for ratings: Buffy’s team of producers built these characters’ relationship with precision as they gradually fell in love.
“I didn’t know that Buffy had a lesbian relationship until I started my Netflix account about a year ago when I began college,” says Sarah*, a student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. “I watched the whole series in just a few weeks. I liked Alyson so much as Willow that I started watching How I Met Your Mother. I think she supports the lesbian community, and I want to show my support as a fan and give back to her in that way.”
5. Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars is currently in its fifth season and has new episodes airing on Tuesday nights on ABC Family. If you’re not caught up with the series, it might be a good idea to re-watch old episodes on Netflix! There are too many layers to this show to just jump right in: Death, dating, fashion, drama, oh my!
In the series, Shay Mitchell plays Emily Fields. At the beginning of the series, Emily is dating a guy, but she comes out as a lesbian later when she begins dating her neighbor, Maya. We won’t spoil too much, but let’s just say that Maya wasn’t her last love.
Collegiettes are giving the series two thumbs up!
“I think PLL is great!” says Samantha LaFrance, a collegiette at George Washington University. “Emily is relatable, and her relationships with women are treated like the straight relationships on the show.”
Whether you catch up on old episodes of Pretty Little Liars or watch an old classic like The L Word, your Netflix account is your passport to a summer full of inspirational characters and gripping story lines. Happy viewing, collegiettes!
*Names have been changed.