Boob Tube ’08

Grab the remote, and check out this season’s cast of new and recurring queers hitting a small screen near you.

For the second year running, ABC reigns supreme in gay-land among the five major networks. According to the Network Responsibility Index released by Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in July, ABC ranked first for its number of primetime LGBT-inclusive hours. With this season’s return of the super “family”-friendly Brothers and Sisters on September 28 and Ugly Betty on September 25, we won’t be surprised to see ABC raking in the GLAAD Media Award nominations once again.

We may have lost the power bisexual played by Bonnie Sommerville on Cashmere Mafia when it fell into the cancellation vortex, but Grey’s Anatomy can fill the void when it returns for its fifth season on September 25. It was the kiss felt ‘round the world when Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) and Dr. Erica Hahn (Brooke Smith) locked lips during the season finale. More sparks are sure to fly between the ladies in scrubs, and we can’t wait to get caught up on anatomy with Grey’s.

Fox network is stepping up to the LGBT plate with two returning series that include queer characters: Bones and House. On September 3, season four of the dark but humorous Bones comes alive, and will hopefully reveal more about Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), an artist skilled in recreating the faces of the dead, who was revealed to be bisexual last year.

The much anticipated fifth season of House premieres on September 16. This hospital drama that delightfully plays with medical mystery and jargon never fails to lay on a heavy dose of dry humor. Look for the return of Dr. Rena “Thirteen” Hadley (Olivia Wilde), who was outed as bisexual last season after joining the cast as a member of the elite team at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.

Subsription-based LGBT network here!TV,  continues to bring racy, and entertaining programming to the small screen.

Arriving soon from the U.K. is the drama series Sugar Rush, expected to premiere in December. Based on the Julie Burchill novel of the same name, the series follows the life of 15-year-old Kim (Olivia Hallinan), who is doing her best to survive adolescence as part of a family she would rather do without, and crushing on her best friend Maria Sweet (Lenora Crichlow).

Season three of the over-the-top, steamy drama Paradise Falls has been in full swing since April. This queer soap is set in a not-so-quaint Canadian beachside town, where Cate (Meredith McGeachie) is the sexiest lesbian cop around. (McGeachie is most familiar to L Word watchers as Tonya, Dana’s season two stalker/girlfriend.) Things heat up when Cate falls into a hot romance with the outspokenly bisexual Trish (Michelle Latimer), but things get  sticky when Cate’s ex-GF Julie (Kerry Lai Fatt) is added to the mix.

Premiering September 5 is season two of Lesbian Sex and Sexuality, another here!TV original. The documentary series, which delves into sexuality, gender and controversial LGBT issues, is produced and directed by the award-winning filmmaker Katherine Linton. Episodes include themes of “high camp”; lesbian burlesque; queer porn star Loralei Lee; the difference between butch, femme and everything in-between; the stereotype-killing renaissance of the lesbian one-night stand; lesbian escorts; lesbian sex at The Dinah; and tips and advice from sexperts.

The sci-fi drama series Dante’s Cove will be airing reruns of season three throughout the fall. Catch up on any episodes you might have missed, as Michelle (Jill Bennett) finds herself caught in a love triangle with Brit (Michelle Wolff)—the hottest oceanographer-by-day/bartender-by-night on the island—and Elena, played by actor and model Jenny Shimizu, who most recently appeared in the lesbian themed feature Itty Bitty Titty Committee.

Premiering on October 3 is here! with Josh and Sara. The talk show features  interviews and guest appearances and deals with topics of interest to the gay and lesbian community. Josh Rosenzweig and Sara Logue are ready to take their witty repartee with the top talent in the gay community from their already popular podcast to TV. The show will include appearances from Swati, I Heart Brooklyn Girls and Martina Navratilova.

Also premiering on October 3 is another new series, The show’s leading character, Stacy (played by Alexandra Paul of Baywatch fame), is a high-powered South Beach lesbian lawyer who returns home when her estranged sister, Kate, is killed by an unknown assailant.The season unfolds as Stacy takes the investigation into her own hands and uncovers disturbing revelations about a sister that she barely knew. Somewhere along the road, romance blooms for Stacy, but we won’t spoil the surprise by saying which of her good friends will ultimately become her girlfriend!

On August 21 Logo launched, 365gay News ( the first multi-platform, on-air, online news hub geared exclusively toward the LGBT community. 365gay News provides 24/7 news postings, opinion, video blogs and streaming video news. 365gay News, produced by CBS News, will air Thursdays at 7pm EST/PST, as a half-hour magazine-style LGBT news program.

Already airing this fall is Sordid Lives, with a star-studded cast including Golden Girl Rue McClanahan, and Olivia Newton-John as Bitsy Mae Harling, the bisexual lounge singer who was just released from prison. Sordid Lives is set in a small bible-beatin’ Texan town, where not much happens, but anything goes!

Exes and Ohs will be back in early 2009 for a second season. Writer/producer/actor Michelle Paradise, who plays the lead character, Jennifer, shares more laughs and heartaches in her search for Ms. Right. In the process, Paradise continues to lend us some whimsical advice on lesbian dating. Sharing the spotlight with Paradise are costars Megan Cavanagh (Chris), a favorite from A League of Their Own, and Heather Matarazzo (Crutch) from Welcome to the Dollhouse and L Word fame.

Fresh off its first season, Gimme Sugar will rerun, so fans can revisit the reality show  chronicling a clique of hot young scenesters and their efforts to establish their own Los Angeles club night.

Catch a second wave with the cast of Curl Girls when Logo re-airs the first-ever lesbian reality series. Dive in for another glimpse of real-life surfer dykes Gingi, Michele, Melissa, Erin, Vanessa and Jessica as they maneuver their boards and lives through the busy Southern California waters of Manhattan Beach.

Go behind bars with the women of the U.K.’s  Bad Girls with episodes from season five airing Thursdays this fall. The show, which premiered in 1999 on the British ITV network, depicts the lives and loves of female inmates (many of whom are lesbians). Despite what you might expect, the somewhat campy drama is not packed with cat fights (though there are a few); romance and scandal go hand-in-hand in the female prison wing, and the lines between inmate and warden are all too often blurred.

Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In All Of The World
returns in November for a second season of West Lahunga Beach “stop-motion” animation. Rick and Steve have been “LTR-ing” it for seven animated years, and it’s starting to show. Speaking of starting to show, their friend Kirsten and her man-hating-wife Dana are expecting. The first season’s huge success proves that West Lahunga Beach is the funniest and “gayest of gay ghettoes.”

It just ended, but we had to give Dee Adames props; the out lesbian won $100,000 and our hearts on the second season of Shear Genius. Meanwhile, season one contestant Tabatha Coffey strikes back with her own show, Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, which premiered on Bravo last month. A no-fuss, straight-to-the-point stylist, Tabatha plans to take over reality TV by storming into the most desperate of NYC and LA hair salons, and restyling them one by one into the perfect salon establishment.

Also rerunning on Bravo this fall is Top Chef Chicago, which featured not one, but three lesbian contestants as they braised, butchered and baked themselves into a frenzy. None of them took the title, but we’re still pretty darn proud.

Hold back the tears—it’s not quite time to say goodbye to the L Word. Season six is scheduled to premiere in early 2009. Not much has been revealed about the plot, but we do know is that Elizabeth Berkley will be joining the cast for the final season.  We’re so excited! (Get the Saved By The Bell reference?) Berkley, best known for her starring role (and steamy if not stellar performance) in the 1995 film Showgirls, will play Bette’s college sweetheart.

In addition to the L Word going into syndication on Logo earlier this summer, die-hard fans can continue their love affair with a new spin-off after the series concludes.  Information on the pilot is not out as yet, but Showtime has confirmed that Leisha Hailey will be starring!

On season five of Weeds (currently in progress), Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) has packed up her family and relocated to a seaside town on the San Diego/Mexico border, living in her late husband’s childhood home. Joining the Botwins is their former neighbor Isabel Hodes (Allie Grant), the middle-schooler who shocked her mother by coming out as a lesbian in season one.

Premiering September 10 is the latest of MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenges: The Island. This challenge could prove to be the steamiest one yet, when 20 former cast-members are dropped on an island off the coast of Panama. The challenge: to survive long enough to be one of the final four to share in $300,000 worth of buried treasure. But something sexier than buried treasure could lay in the future for former Road Ruler Rachel (Road Rules: Campus Crawl) and former Real Worlder Jenn (Real World: Denver), when the two compete for the first time (but apparently that’s not all they’re doing!).

This fall will mark the 17th season of the documentary series In the Life. For nearly two decades, In the Life has tackled LGBT topics of real-life importance, such as the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion and the coming out of Ellen DeGeneres. This season features Alison Bechdel, creator of the comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For”; the role domestic violence plays in the queer community; and the lesbian Antarctic explores Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen.

Rachel Maddow, host of The Rachel Maddow Show on Air America Radio and current panelist on MSNBC’s Race for the White House with David Gregory, is poised to make history. Maddow brings her own show to MSNBC, taking over Dan Abrams’s 9pm slot as of September 8. She is not only the only female on MSNBC to host her own political/commentary news show, but Maddow is also the first out lesbian to host a show of this genre on American television. As a Rhodes Scholar with a doctorate in political science, Maddow’s delivery of content has long appealed to a wide audience, and will now have the opportunity to reach an exponentially broader one.

What Do You Think?