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The 20 best LGBT+ boxsets you can stream right now

The 20 best LGBT+ boxsets you can stream right now

  • There have never been more LGBT+ characters and storylines on TV than there are today. So we’ve searched Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and more to get you started.
Otis and Eric in Sex Education.

If you would prefer January and February didn’t exist, then curl up on the coach and binge on the best LGBT+ boxsets.

The fight for representation ain’t done yet by a long shot. But there’s never been more LGBT+ storylines and characters available on TV than there are now.

So here’s our quick pick to get you going.

1 Aj and the Queen

RuPaul stars as Ruby Red, ‘a bigger-than-life but down-on-her-luck drag queen’ in this Netflix Original.

She is joined by AJ, a tough-talking 10-year-old stowaway and together they travel the country in a run-down RV. Naturally there are plenty of life lessons on the way.

It’s not all flawless. But there’s glitter, there’s catty jokes and there’s music by Dolly, Cher, and Diana. Most of all, of course, there’s also a lot of Drag Race royalty.

How this all contributes to the rich history of drag road movies is for you to decide.

Cast: RuPaul Charles, Izzy G, Michael-Leon Wooley.

Available on Netflix

2 Schitt’s Creek

When the Rose family’s video rental chain goes bust, they have to move into a motel in the town they bought for its comic name, Schitt’s Creek.

The LGBT+ angle comes courtesy of the Rose family’s adult, pansexual son David. Dan Levy plays the character brilliantly. And it’s refreshing that none of the Schitt’s Creek community ever questions his sexuality.

But the real start of the show is Moira Rose, played by Catherine O’Hara. She has to be one of the funniest characters on TV right now.

The sixth and final series of Schitt’s Creek started screening this month. Meanwhile you can catch up on the rest on Netflix.

Cast: Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Dan Levy, Annie Murphy, Emily Hampshire, Jennifer Robertson, Chris Elliot, Tim Rozon, Sarah Levy, Dustin Milligan, Noah Reid.

Available on Netflix.

3 Grace and Frankie

Very few depictions of the LGBT+ community ever focus on older people. So this six series sitcom is a real pioneer.

The premise is simple. Successful divorce lawyers and business partners Robert and Sol have spent years in love with each other. But they’ve never had the courage to tell their wives.

When the pair do come out and decide to live together it throws retired entrepreneur Grace (Jane Fonda) and hippie artist Frankie (Lily Tomlin) together. The two wives have never had the best relationship but have to unite to cope with their difficulties.

Early on Grace and Frankie was dismissed by some as a clichéd sitcom. But its fanbase grew and now it’s widely applauded for a heartwarming story and the fantastic chemistry between the lead characters.

Cast: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterson.

Available on Netflix.

4 Orange is the New Black

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For a series about women being locked up, Orange is the New Black has somehow managed to be a groundbreaker in female empowerment.

It’s given roles to gay women, trans women, women of color and women over 40 in a way that must have set TV executives’ narrow minds into meltdown.

The series follows Piper (Taylor Schilling) on an unusual story of survival in a women’s prison. And it’s invariably funny, sexy and sometimes heartwarming.

Yes, trivializing the prison experience, particularly given the US context, is troubling. But OINB has nevertheless become a modern classic.

Cast: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Lea DeLaria, Kate Mulgrew, Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba.

Available on Netflix.

5 American Horror Story

Each year, the American Horror Story anthology series brings us a new story, new settings and new characters – invariably to widespread critical acclaim.

So far we’ve been taken to an asylum, a haunted house, a coven of witches, a cult, the impending apocalypse and more. And throughout there has been a willingness to try new LGBT+ characters and stories.

With three more series already guaranteed, American Horror Story is certain to run and run.

Cast: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, James Cromwell, Lady Gaga.

Available on Netflix and FX.

6 RuPaul’s Drag Race

RuPaul’s Drag Race has been such a hit that it almost re-wrote queer slang for a generation.

‘Throwing shade’, ‘Shantay you stay’, ‘backrolls’, ‘spilling the tea’, ‘fierce’, ‘fishy’, ‘slay’ and ‘reading’ – it can sometimes feel like you can barely have a conversation without knowing your Drag Race dictionary. 

Moreover, it revitalised interest in drag and made American-style drag a dominant force around the world.

But beyond the frocks and the Lip Syncs for Your Life, Drag Race is a place regular(ish) queer people talk about their lives openly in a way most mainstream audiences have never seen.

Cast: RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Ross Matthews, Carson Kressley.

Available on Hulu and Logo.

7 BoJack Horseman

There’s something about former TV stars that make rich comedy – and this critically praised animation is the proof.

BoJack Horseman, a humanoid horse, was the star of the hit television show Horsin’ Around in the 80s and 90s.

Now this humanoid horse is a curmudgeon living in Hollywood and complaining about everything. His unwanted roommate, the naive but kind-hearted Todd (Aaron Paul) came out as asexual at the end of series three and is still the only openly asexual character on TV.

Cast: Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris.

Available on Netflix.

8 Sex Education

Sex Education’s central premise rings true with LGBT+ teens – in fact most teens – around the world. Basically, sex ed in school fails to answer even our fundamental questions.

So step forward Otis (Asa Butterfield). Admittedly he’s having sex problems of his own. But living with his intrusive, sex therapist mother has taught him a thing or two.

So he gets into business with friend Maeve and they offer sex counselling to their classmates, for a small fee.

LGBT+ people immediately warmed to the relationship with Otis’ best friend, gay character Eric (Ncuti Gatwa). But overall, the series gives a refreshingly diverse representation to the LGBT+ community.

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Aimee-Lou Wood, Connor Swindells, Kedar Williams-Sterling, Tanya Reynolds, Patricia Allison.

Available on Netflix.

9 Transparent

From the start Transparent helped put Amazon on the map as an original content producer.

But more importantly, it brought transgender characters and actors into households, often for the first time.

The story revolves around a Los Angeles family after they discover that the person they knew as their father is a trans woman named Maura.

Cast: Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, Gaby Hoffmann, Judith Light, Kathryn Hahn.

Available on Amazon.

10 The L Word

Back in 2004, where lesbian and bi women were even less visible on TV than they are today, The L Word helped an entire generation.

It was revolutionary in starring an ensemble cast of lesbian and bi characters. Living in Los Angeles, California, they date, fall in love, think about having families, hook up, break up. Some stay in the closet, others come out. But together they showed many women a new world.

Cast: Mia Kirshner, Jennifer Beals, Pam Grier, Laurel Holloman, Erin Daniels, Leisha Hailey and Katherine Moennig.

Available on Amazon.

11 Please Like Me

This Australian comedy-drama was written by and stars Josh Thomas as lead character Josh.

When twentysomething Josh’s girlfriend dumps him, he realizes he’s gay. Meanwhile he’s also got family worries as he tries to support his mother who has previously attempted suicide.

With help from his best friend and housemate Tom, Josh supports his mother with her battle with depression while he adjusts to his sexuality.

Thomas won huge praise for his sensitive handling of mental illness and somehow blends comedy and tragedy to make TV gold.

Cast: Josh Thomas, Thomas Ward, Debra Lawrance.

Available on Hulu and Amazon.

12 Batwoman

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TV female superheroes are rare enough. Female superheroes as the central character are even rarer. And lesbian superheroes fronting their own TV series – well, Batwoman is the only one.

Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) aka Batwoman returns to Gotham when a gang targets her father and ex-girlfriend Sophie Moore.

What follows is a lot of fighting for justice in Gotham and a fair amount of breaking down barriers in Arrowverse and beyond.

Cast: Ruby Rose, Camrus Johnson, Rachel Skarsten.

Available on Amazon.

13 Big Mouth

If you remember or are living those awkward teenage years, you need Big Mouth to help you laugh through the pain.

The animation follows a group of seventh graders, including best friends Nick Birch and Andrew Glouberman, as they navigate their way through puberty in New York.

Meanwhile they’ve got over-sexualized monsters acting as angels on their shoulders and driving their hormones. Masturbation, sexual arousal and more are fair game. And Jay, the teenage bi character, has won our hearts.

Cast: Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Jenny Slate, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Jordan Peele.

Available on Netflix.

14 Queer Eye

Netflix seems to be the home of nostalgia. So perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised when they decided to reboot the Bravo series Queer Eye.

The fab five are Antoni Porowski (food and wine), Tan France (fashion), Karamo Brown (culture and lifestyle), Bobby Berk (design) and Jonathan Van Ness (grooming).

Together they make over – or ‘make better’ – people far and wide. And it works because it’s not judgmental but charming, endearing, earnest and sometimes tear-inducing.

15 QI 

Not many panel shows actually make you smarter. And even fewer have followed a gay male anchor (Stephen Fry) with a lesbian one (Sandi Toksvig).

Each series tackles a letter of the alphabet and so now, 17 years in, we’ve reached Q and more bizarre, counter-intuitive facts than you ever imagined.

So if you’ve ever been told that dolphins can’t smell, that nobody knows how many bones there are in a human body or that the Earth has more than one moon, it just means the person you’re talking to watches QI.

Under current host Sandi Toksvig, QI has worked on its gender balance with more female comics invited on. Meanwhile she champions LGBT+ (and Danish!) content as the panelists share their passion and fascination for the wonderful, weird world we share.

Cast: Sandi Toksvig, Alan Davis.

Available on Netflix and BBC.

16 Dr Who

Doctor Who has offered a very British look at sci-fi since 1963. But, few people know that during the wilderness years, with no series made from 1990 to 2004, queer fans were champions of the show.

In fact, at one point an LGBT+ Who club got permission to make their own episode.

So it’s no surprise that it was revived by a gay writer Russel T Davies, the creator of Queer As Folk, in 2005.

Since then, the series has regularly had LGBT+ characters and storylines, often in groundbreaking scenarios. After all, The Doctor is the ultimate social justice hero.

Cast: David Tennant, Matt Smith, Jodie Whitaker, Peter Capaldi, John Barrowman, Catherine Tate, Billie Piper.

Available on Netflix (12 reboot series).

17 She-Ra and the Princess of Power

Talking of childhood nostalgia, She-Ra has also found a new home on Netflix, produced by Dreamworks Animation.

The story follows Adora, an orphan raised by the Horde. One day, after getting lost in the woods, Adora finds a magic sword that transforms her into the Princess of Power, She-Ra.

After realizing the suffering that the Horde has inflicted, Adora joins the Resistance in the fight against the Horde. She builds the Princess Alliance, a group of other magical girls, to help.

In a world with too few LGBT+ stories for kids, the new She-Ra comes to the rescue. First off we have Scorpia (Lauren Ash) falling for Catra (AJ Michalka), the Force Captain of the Evil Horde. And add to that, black teen character Bow has two dads.

If you’ve ever wondered what an all-female writer’s room may come up with, She-Ra provides the answer.

Cast: Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, AJ Michalka, Marcus Scribner, Reshma Shetty, Lorraine Toussaint, Lauren Ash.

Available on Netflix.

18 L Word Generation Q

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It’s back. The L Word Generation Q brings back original cast members alongside a new group of LGBT+ characters. Together they experience love, heartbreak, sex, setbacks and plenty of other drama in Los Angeles.

While Generation Q hasn’t generated the same fan base as the original series yet, it has plenty of charm and style to please new and old fans.

Cast: Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, Katherine Moennig.

Available on Showtime.

19 Star Trek: Discovery

It has taken since 1966 and all the even-number films everyone thought were rubbish. But finally we’ve had Star Trek’s first same-sex kiss.

Lt Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) were the ones to go where no man had gone before.

And now we’ve broken through that barrier, Discovery looks set on a course to bring new representation to the Star Trek universe, with a third season ordered.

Cast: Soneque Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Jason Isaacs, Wilson Cruz, Anson Moun.

Available on Netflix.

20 Queer as Folk

It’s two decades since the original Queer as Folk – and it’s a tale of two separate shows.

The UK original only had two series following the lives of young gay men in Manchester, northwest England. It introduced an unknowing public to rimming and changed the conversation about LGBT+ life in Britain along the way.

The US version, meanwhile, came a year later, was based in Pittsburgh and continued to break ground for five seasons.

Both are very different, but remain classics. 

Cast (UK): Aidan Gillen, Craig Kelly, Charlie Hunnam.
Cast (US): Michelle Clunie, Robert Gant, Thea Gill.

Available on Amazon (UK series) and Hulu (US series).