Welcome to your weekend streaming recommendations, a.k.a. the Weekend Watch, a handy guide to the queerest film and TV content that’s just a click away!
As we gear up for another exciting Pride Month, Queerty is feeling nostalgic. And frustrated, considering how many queer-friendly television shows have been canceled or are still seeking a network to launch a second season.
So the time has come to reach to the back of the closet and pull out some thankfully streamable blasts from the past: queer “one-hit wonder” TV seasons that outrageously didn’t get a second chance to find their groove. Amid the streaming era’s ongoing strife, as Hollywood talent is making the case for more recognition, let’s recognize the real underdogs.
Plus, hey, it’s a long holiday weekend, so you’ve got even more time to veg out and binge some great, gay TV.
Read on for your one-hit wonder TV streaming suggestions, and discover some lost-but-not-forgotten programming perfect for ushering in your weekend.
The New Normal
There was already a show airing on network TV that was normalizing LGBTQ+ parents—ABC’s Modern Family—when Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler dared to do the same on NBC. And although it didn’t make it to season two, The New Normal deserves credit for centering three-dimensional gay characters in lead rather than supporting roles. Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells made a charming couple, while a scene-stealing NeNe Leakes proved she was more than just a reality star.
Progress comes in fits and starts, and while some would argue this is an overly optimistic viewpoint, queer representation on the small screen has improved since 2012. That’s thanks to Will & Grace and Modern Family, yes, but let’s not forget efforts like The New Normal for making gay parents navigating surrogacy, well, normal.
Buyable on Amazon Prime Video (first episode available for free) and Apple TV.
The Get Down
Full disclosure: we could make an entire list of queer-friendly TV canceled too soon by Netflix specifically. It shall be interesting to see how such a loudly inclusive streaming company broadcasts its queer programming this Pride, given the number of LGBTQ+ shows they’ve given the ax.
In 2016, The Get Down ended up being one of the first. Ask any TV connoisseur, queer or otherwise, and they’ll name it as one of TV’s most ambitious series gone too soon. Baz Luhrmann’s (Moulin Rouge!, Elvis) foray onto the small screen, co-created with Stephen Adly Guirgis and produced by Nas and Grandmaster Flash, brought to vivid life the rise of late 1970s disco, R&B, and eventually hip-hop.
A two-part first season put stars Justice Smith and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II on the map, and starred Jaden Smith as an artist discovering both the South Bronx’s world of gay DJs and his own queerness. Indeed, what makes The Get Down binge-worthy is its refusal to shy away from how sexuality and gender expression shaped a movement that influences music to this day.
Now streaming exclusively on Netflix.
Speaking of Justice Smith, he deserves more than the dubious distinction of anchoring multiple one-season-only TV shows. [The former] HBO Max’s fearless examination of Gen Z, Genera+ion, featured the talented Smith as a queer high schooler among many, an ensemble that gave Euphoria a run for its money.
Angsty and freewheeling and altogether gorgeous, this 2021 drama is all the more remarkable in the TV landscape when you learn its origins: writer-director Daniel Barnz co-created the show with his bisexual daughter Zelda, and his husband Ben is among its executive producers. These days we don’t, sadly, have enough other queer-led projects like this one.
Now streaming on Tubi.
Actor Justice Smith introduced the world to his bf and found a whole new fan base
In a June Instagram post, Smith revealed that he is queer and dating fellow actor, Nicholas Ashe.
The Bastard Son And The Devil Himself
In Netflix’s one-and-done TV canon, Q-Force makes the case for more queer-forward animated comedies and First Kill satisfies sapphic vampire fantasies. But the binge-iest binge we want to recommend is Joe Barton’s The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself, last year’s unabashedly queer horror show that failed to earn another greenlight despite a rapturous reception.
Infused with equal parts gory magic and bisexual chaos, it’s the story of the illegitimate son (Jay Lycurgo) of a powerful blood witch discovering his own deadly powers. The series’ action is riveting and its effects are dazzling—which, come to think of it, may explain why the powers that be decided it was too expensive to continue.
But of all the shows on this list, The Bastard Son seems most likely to receive a continuation or revival down the line. Hit play and you’ll see why.
Now streaming exclusively on Netflix.
My So-Called Life
Since it tops every “best one-season TV shows” list, we’d be remiss if we left out seminal classic My So-Called Life from your streaming recommendations. How did a critically acclaimed series that made young Claire Danes a Golden Globe winner get canceled anyway?
Creator Winnie Holzman’s immersive depiction of an American high school, My So-Called Life proved realistic and relatable—in 1994 when it first aired, and even now. A believably teenaged ensemble cast, including Jared Leto and Bess Armstrong, embodies the existential confusion of getting by as a not-quite-adult.
There’s something for everyone who’s survived high school in My So-Called Life, and thanks to Wilson Cruz’s Rickie Vasquez, that’s true for queer audiences too. Closeted, androgynous, and a complex and fully realized character, Rickie made history as the first gay teen regular on primetime.
Now streaming on Hulu.
Wilson Cruz is living his best “island boy” life with a week’s worth of hot & sweaty shirtless pics
It’s only early May, but Wilson Cruz’s hot boy summer is in full effect.
Do your little turn on the catwalk and jam along to another kind of one-hit wonder. Right Said Fred, the English pop band featuring brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass, set the charts afire in 1991 with their most well-known single, “I’m Too Sexy.” Watch the quintessentially ’90s-queer video below whenever you need to celebrate the skin you’re in—prepping for Pride activities perhaps?
And you can decide for yourself but we think it’s undeniable: they really are too sexy for their shirts.