15 TV Shows Featuring LGBT Characters

You should be watching these TV shows this fall!

The summer of 2014 has cooled down, but the fall TV season is just starting to heat up. Bittersweet, ain’t it? At least there’s a silver lining: There are plenty of programs with LGBT characters to tune into. Which returning shows and series premieres should be on your gaydar? Check out this short list of inclusive shows that run the gamut of genres.

1. Orange Is the New Black
The much-buzzed-about Netflix series revolves around Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a bisexual woman sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for transporting drug money for her former girlfriend. It’s a predominantly female atmosphere—no surprise there!—and plenty of other LGBT characters are behind bars, including Carrie ‘Big Boo’ Black (Lea DeLaria) and transgender woman Sophia Burset, played by Laverne Cox, who recently made history as the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy in an acting category.

2. The Walking Dead
There were no LGBT characters among the central group of survivors in AMC’s post-apocalyptic horror drama until season four when Tara Chambler was introduced (although online chatter suggests that fan favorite and original character Daryl Dixon may be gay). However, as is common in the world of The Walking Dead, the romantic relationship between her and former Army Reservist Alisha is shot down—quite literally—before it has a chance to fully bloom. Perhaps Tara will get another stab at love in season five, now that she’s been promoted to main character status.

3. One Big Happy
From executive producer Ellen DeGeneres comes this hopeful comedy about two tired-of-being-lonely-and-single best friends—one a straight guy, the other a gay girl—who decide to have a baby together. This new relationship gets trickier when the straight guy unexpectedly falls in love and marries a straight girl, just when his gay best friend announces she’s pregnant. This NBC comedy is coming soon, but no premiere date is scheduled.

4. The McCarthys
Recently-out Ronny McCarthy is about to accept a teaching job in Rhode Island when his basketball coach father asks him to stay in Boston to be his new assistant. His tight-knit, sports-loving siblings cry foul over the decision, and hilarity is expected to ensue. Early reviews for this freshman series are mixed, but at least we get to watch Laurie Metcalf and Joey McIntyre for a half-hour.

5. Teen Wolf
This small-screen reboot of the iconic 1985 movie—which has no Michael J. Fox or anything in common with its predecessor besides title and a few characters—has been a gay boy’s wet dream since day one, what with all the blatant homoeroticism and gratuitous shirtlessness. But it’s the recurring gay character Danny (and his paramours) that give the MTV series its Castro street cred. Here’s hoping that season five brings even more man-on-wolf lovin’.

6. Undateable
A charming and surprisingly funny midseason replacement, this NBC comedy provides “eye candy” in Chris D’Elia’s Danny Burton, and ample gay jokes from David Fynn’s Brett, the average-Joe bartender. Undateable was renewed for a second season, but no premiere date has been released.

7. The Vampire Diaries
Gay fans of this CW centerpiece were more than eager to sink their teeth into news that a recurring gay character was coming to Mystic Falls toward the end of last season. Tune in October 2 to unravel more of Luke Parker’s mystery when the popular series returns for its sixth season.
8. Scandal
If you can get past Olivia Pope’s annoying, incessant bawling, you might appreciate the ruthless-but-fragile Cyrus Beene, this fictional White House’s first gay Chief of Staff. Brush up on previous seasons online or on demand before the highly anticipated season four launches September 25 on ABC.

9. Sirens
This Americanized version of a British comedy series follows three Chicago EMTs, one of whom is openly gay, as they navigate the daily highs and lows of first responders. Sirens airs on the USA network.

10. Modern Family
LGBT fans of this consistently hilarious and award-winning ABC comedy are finally satisfied that Cam and Mitchell tied the knot, so it’ll be interesting to see how they manage married life, for better or worse.

11. Shameless
In season one of this Showtime dramedy, fire-haired high school student Ian Gallagher is schtupping Kash—the owner of the convenience store where he works—until juvenile delinquent Mickey Milkovich comes along. Ian cools things off with Kash as his relationship with Mickey heats up. Then he starts fucking Lloyd and Maxine and—oh, who cares, the kid’s adorable and the show is awesome.

12. Penny Dreadful
A slew of 19th-century characters populate this British-American thriller-drama on Showtime. There are no full-time LGBT characters in the main cast (yet), but the on-screen alter egos of Reeve Carney and Josh Harnett shared a passionate encounter just four episodes in. Not enough reason to order a subscription, maybe, but enough to YouTube that scene.

13. Downton Abbey
As if there isn’t enough to love about PBS’s breakout original drama series. Much of that is owed to the incredible Maggie Smith’s Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, but there’s also the sexy-but-scheming Thomas Barrow for the gay guys.

14. Parks & Recreation
Openly gay comedian Billy Eichner’s Craig Middlebrooks didn’t get major screen time after he was introduced in season six. But as the NBC mocku-comedy enters its seventh and final season, his penchant for blowing things out of proportion and over-the-top delivery should be put to better use.

15. Red Band Society
There’s not much info on character backgrounds for this upcoming Fox dark dramedy, but cross your fingers that the ensemble cast includes at least one LGBT teen among its patients. If not, at least we have Wilson Cruz’s Kenji Gomez-Rejon, an openly gay nurse. Series premieres September 17.

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