Exploring Best Lesbian Shows for All Audiences

In a media landscape teeming with narratives that often cater to the majority, the visibility of underrepresented communities is a vital step towards a truly inclusive society. Lesbian representation, in particular, serves not only as a means for those within the LGBTQ+ community to see their stories reflected on screen but also as an education tool and empathy bridge for a wider audience.

From the groundbreaking ‘The L Word’ to the critically acclaimed ‘Killing Eve’, lesbian relationships have found a place in various genres, appealing to audiences beyond stereotypes and labels. Here, I invite you to a curated list of TV shows featuring captivating lesbian narratives—stories that are just as human, relatable, and diverse as the viewers who consume them.

‘The L Word’ (2004-2009): Redefining Lesbian Narratives

The series that revolutionized lesbian visibility, ‘The L Word’, provided audiences with an in-depth exploration of the lives, loves, and challenges faced by a group of friends in Los Angeles. From its portrayal of complex relationships to addressing issues of sexual health, ‘The L Word’ set a new standard for inclusivity and depth in LGBTQ+ media representation that echoes to this day.

‘Sugar Rush’ (2005-2006): The Irreverent Coming-of-Age Story

A British gem that depicts the humorous and awkward stages of young love, ‘Sugar Rush’ is a refreshing take on coming-of-age where sexual identity is not a source of angst but rather, part of a character’s fully realized identity. The charming blend of humor and heart in this series is irresistible and a must-watch for fans of love stories with a dash of hilarity.

‘Lip Service’ (2010-2012): Love and Life in Glasgow

Bringing a distinctly Scottish flavor to the screen, ‘Lip Service’ dives into the turbulent waters of love, friendship, and personal growth. With stunning visuals set against the backdrop of Glasgow, this series interweaves the lives of its characters with authenticity, presenting the complexities of queer relationships in a way that resonates across cultural boundaries.

‘Orange is the New Black’ (2013-2019): Building Empathy Through Incarcerated Lives

While set against the claustrophobic backdrop of a women’s prison, ‘Orange is the New Black’ is an expansive narrative that affirms its characters’ identities and personal growth. The show skillfully blurs the lines between right and wrong, showcasing the human capacity for change and the many facets of love, regardless of where we find ourselves in life.

‘Wynonna Earp’ (2016-2021): Far More Than Just a Western

A supernatural Western with a delightful lesbian romance at its core, ‘Wynonna Earp’ compels with its fearless storytelling and charismatic characters. The love between WayHaught stands tall as a beacon of warmth amidst the eerie world of revenants and witchcraft, capturing the hearts of fans across the spectrum.

‘Gentleman Jack’ (2019-2022): A Period Drama with Modern Relevance

‘Gentleman Jack’ is a carefully crafted period drama that peers through time, shedding light on true historical figures whose stories deserve to be told. The relationship of Anne Lister and Ann Walker, set in the repressive social mores of the early 19th century, is both a testament to the endurance of love and a celebration of authenticity.

‘One Mississippi’ (2015-2017): A Northeastern Portrait of Loss and Self-Discovery

In ‘One Mississippi’, Tig Notaro crafts a deeply personal story that navigates the waters of grief and identity with wry humor. The series’ intimate storytelling draws viewers into the complexities of life, showcasing the unapologetic love and truth that can arise from even the darkest of circumstances.

‘The Bisexual’ (2018): Navigating Love and Desire in London

Desiree Akhavan’s ‘The Bisexual’ offers a refreshing and candid examination of identity and modern dating. Through its protagonist’s experiences, the series unpacks the stereotypes and expectations that come with being a bisexual person in a world that often attempts to compartmentalize human relationships.

‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ (2020-2022): A Fresh Perspective on Military Might and Magic

In a reimagined America where witches are the frontline fighters, ‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ takes audiences on a surreal yet familiar journey of power, love, and loyalty. The romance between Raelle and Scylla adds emotional depth to the spellbinding world the series constructs, making it a favorite among fans of queer representation in fantasy.

‘Feel Good’ (2020-2021): The Complexities of Connection

Mae Martin’s semi-autobiographical series, ‘Feel Good’, offers a raw and honest reflection on addiction, love, and personal growth. The narrative’s candid approach to difficult subjects is a poignant reminder of the diverse experiences within the LGBTQ+ community, capturing the essence of the human condition.

‘Killing Eve’ (2018-2022): An Unforgettable Dance of Assassins

‘Killing Eve’ is a masterclass in tension, obsession, and the blurred lines between hero and villain. Amidst the cat-and-mouse game between MI-6 agent Eve and the enigmatic assassin Villanelle, the series serves audiences one of the most captivating and complex relationships on television, transcending the usual paradigms of love and desire.

‘Pose’ (2018-2021): Celebrating Life and Defiance

‘Pose’ is not just a television series; it’s a love letter to the resilience and joy found within the LGBTQ+ community during the height of the AIDS crisis. With its vibrant portrayal of New York City’s ball culture, the show showcases love, friendship, and the unyielding spirit of a community that refused to be invisible.

‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ (2020): A Gothic Romance that Transcends Time

In this chilling retelling of Henry James’ classic tale, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, a forbidden love between two women spans centuries and defies death itself. Amidst the eerie setting of Bly Manor, audiences are treated to a haunting yet heartwarming story of love, loss, and the power of connection that knows no bounds.

‘One Day at a Time’ (2017-2020): A Modern Take on Family and Identity

A reimagining of the classic sitcom, ‘One Day at a Time’ follows the lives of a Cuban American family as they navigate modern day struggles with humor and heart. With a strong emphasis on representation and tackling important issues within the LGBTQ+ community, this series serves as a reminder that family is not just defined by blood, but also by love and acceptance.

‘Call Me By Your Name’ (2017): A Coming-of-Age Tale of Love and Discovery

Based on the novel of the same name, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ tells the story of a summer romance between two young men in 1980s Italy. Through its stunning visuals and powerful performances, the film explores themes of self-discovery, first love, and the bittersweet nature of young love that lingers long after it’s gone.

The Future of Lesbian Storytelling on TV

The plethora of lesbian narratives on television today is nothing short of a triumph, reflecting the diverse experiences of the LGBTQ+ community and creating bridges of understanding among viewers. These shows are not just entertainment; they are a form of activism, a declaration of visibility, and a celebration of love in its myriad forms.

For those seeking to either see themselves represented or to broaden their horizons, the power of these stories cannot be overstated. They are, after all, stories of love, humanity, and resilience—stories that speak to all of us.

Charlie Craggs
Charlie Craggs

Charlie Craggs is a British transgender activist and author. She topped the 2016 “New radicals” list in the Observer and was also included in the Rainbow List of the 101 most influential LGBTI people in the UK for The Independent.

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