David Ferguson of Irish Comic News fills us in on some classic LGBTQ+ shows added to Star you probably always meant to watch.
Disney just added their Star network to Disney Plus which added a whole bunch of new and old series for people to binge. Of note to me was the Love, Simon spin-off, Love, Victor which I have wanted to check out since it was announced. It becoming part of the Star lineup got me wondering what other notable series, from a LGBTQ+ standpoint, had Disney added. I came out with this (non-exhaustive) list:
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2002, seven seasons)
This classic series follows Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the latest in the long line of Vampire Slayers, as she battles vampires, demons and the forces of darkness, all while trying to deal with teenage life. She is aided by her Watcher Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) and two friends she meets in school: Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Xander (Nicholas Brendon).
The show came to be labelled “the most gay show on Network TV” despite initially (seemingly) having no gay characters at the time. Season four saw the show’s first actual gay story as Willow begins to explore magic more deeply and joins a Wicca group. Here she meets Tara (Amber Benson) who she falls in love with. The show was continued in comic book form with season eight starting in 2007.
Brothers And Sisters (2006 – 2011, five seasons)
A notable LGBTQ+ addition to the Star catalogue follows the lives of the wealthy Walker family after the death of the patriarch and founder of the family business. This includes his wife Nora (Sally Field) and his children, Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) and Tommy (Balthazar Getty), both married executives at the family businees, Kitty (Calista Flockhart), a conservative activist, Kevin (Matthew Rhys), a gay lawyer, and youngest sibling Justin (Dave Annable), who has recently returned from the Afghan War with a substance abuse problem.
Kevin was a rare character on TV at the time the show aired as he was out to both his family and at his workplace. Kisses between men had also been rare on network TV in the US. TV Guide named one of his relationships as one of the best couples on TV ever. (I’m trying to be vague to avoid plot spoilers).
The Fosters (2013 – 2018, five seasons)
The Fosters centres on a lesbian couple, Stef Adams Foster (Teri Polo) and Lena Elizabeth Adams Foster (Sherri Saum), who are raising a family of adopted and foster children. Where this show really stood out is when the writers started to confront the orientation of the youngest Foster, 13 year-old Jude (Hayden Byerly). Jude becomes friends with a boy called Conor (Gavin MacIntosh), who he becomes attracted to. The show deals with their relationships and sexuality, exploring the romantic lives of tweens in a way that is rarely done on TV shows, much less for ones that concern same-sex attraction.
Desperate Housewives (2004 – 2012, eight seasons)
If you haven’t caught this one yet, you should. The show follows the lives of four housewives, Susan Mayer (Terri Hatcher), Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman), Bree Van de Kamp (Marcia Cross) and Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longora), as well as the lives of their families and neighbours on Wisteria Lane. This includes Bree’s son Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom), who became one of the few LGBTQ characters on TV who were comfortable with their sexuality.
Episodes deal with Bree’s difficulty in coming to terms with Andrew’s sexuality, including wanting him to attend Christian counselling. He refuses, stating that “I am not confused. I know exactly who I am.”
Ugly Betty (2006 -2010, four seasons)
The series revolves around Betty Suarez (America Ferrera), who – despite her lack of style – lands a job at a prestigious fashion magazine: MODE. One of her co-workers is Marc St Cloud (Michael Urie), the personal assistant of Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams), the creative editor at MODE. The show is very coy about Marc’s sexuality at first but there is no denying his performance.
The show also includes Betty’s nephew, Justin (Mark Indelicato) who comes out over the course of the series.
Glee (2009 -2018, six seasons)
Glee centres on a high school show choir in the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) takes over the glee club after former teacher Sandy Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky) is fired for inappropriate contact with a male student. With a rag-tag group of misfit teenagers, Will attempts to restore the glee club to its former glory.
The show includes queer characters Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) and trans character Unique Adams (Alex Newell). The show deals with homophobia, gay bashing, gender identity, transitioning and gay marriage, but still manages to entertain throughout.
Modern Family (2009 – 2020, 11 seasons)
This show looks at a family living in the Los Angeles area, who are interrelated through Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) and his children, daughter Claire (Julie Bowne) and son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). Mitchell is gay and is in long term relationship with Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) when the show starts and the couple eventually marry and adopt a daughter.
I enjoyed their portrayal as there was no issue with their sexuality and family issues mainly arose due to personality differences.
Love, Victor (2020 – )
Inspired by and set in the same world as the 2016 film, Love, Simon, the series focuses on a new student at Creekwood High School, Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino). It follows his journey of self-discovery: facing challenges at home and struggles with his sexuality. He reaches out to Simon when things become too difficult to deal with.
There are just two episodes of the LGBTQ+ show on Star at the time of writing. I’m assuming that Disney plan to add the other eight episodes weekly. The show has already been renewed for a second season.
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