Storytelling is a very important thing. It is a responsibility. It is through stories that the world gets to know about various things — from the depths of human emotions to the issues that plague society. Hence, it becomes an even more important task to tell the stories of the minority sectors of society. Keep them at the center of a story and show the world a glimpse of what their real lives can be like. This is why diversity is important, not just in the hiring of actors but also in the sketching of the characters. Netflix has been one of the great platforms to give space and exposure to LGBTQ+ stories, some of which have taken the world by storm.
30. Teenage Bounty Hunters (2020)
‘Teenage Bounty Hunters,’ a hit Netflix series created by Kathleen Jordan, is a blend of comedy, drama, and action. Set in Atlanta, the show revolves around twin sisters Sterling (Maddie Phillips) and Blair Wesley (Anjelica Bette Fellini), who balance their high school life with an unexpected part-time job: capturing criminals as bounty hunters. The duo teams up with experienced bounty hunter Bowser Jenkins (Kadeem Hardison) to navigate the thrilling world of fugitive recovery. As the sisters juggle teenage dilemmas with their unconventional profession, the series explores their journey of self-discovery, relationships, and the complexities of growing up, all while delivering witty humor and unexpected plot twists. You can watch the series here.
29. Kissing Game (2020)
‘Kissing Game,’ created by Esmir Filho, is a Brazilian teen drama series that combines elements of thriller and coming-of-age genres. Set in a rural town, the show follows a group of high school students who become entangled in a mysterious and deadly virus transmitted through kissing. As the virus spreads, panic and paranoia grip the community, testing friendships and revealing hidden secrets. Filho’s creation deftly combines elements of suspense with the complexities of youth, making “Kissing Game” a thrilling exploration of adolescent life amidst an enigmatic pandemic. You may watch the show here.
28. Smiley (2022)
‘Smiley’ is a Spanish romantic comedy TV series, adapted from Guillem Clua’s play of identical title, featuring the talented duo of Carlos Cuevas and Miki Esparbé. The vibrant backdrop of Barcelona sets the stage for an endearing narrative, charting the passionate journey of two individuals: Álex, a bartender, and Bruno, an architect, whose serendipitous encounter is sparked by a misplaced voicemail, weaving a captivating tale of love and destiny. Feel free to check out the series here.
27. Gameboys (2020-2023)
‘Gameboys,’ aka ‘Gameboys Level-Up Edition,’ created by Ivan Andrew Payawal, is a groundbreaking Filipino BL (Boys’ Love) web series that has captivated audiences worldwide. This romantic drama centers on Cairo Lazaro (played by Elijah Canlas) and Gavreel Alarcon (portrayed by Kokoy de Santos), two young men who form an unexpected connection through online gaming during the COVID-19 lockdown. Their virtual encounters lead to a profound and complex relationship, exploring themes of love, friendship, and self-discovery. You can check out the show here.
26. The House of Flowers (2018-2020)
‘The House of Flowers,’ created by Manolo Caro, is a captivating Mexican dark comedy-drama series on Netflix, widely acclaimed for its unique blend of humor, drama, and intricate storytelling. This genre-defying show revolves around the dysfunctional de la Mora family, who runs a prestigious flower shop while dealing with dark secrets, scandals, and complex relationships. The stellar cast includes renowned actors such as Cecilia Suárez, Aislinn Derbez, and Darío Yazbek Bernal. You can watch ‘The House of Flowers’ here.
25. High Seas (2019-2020)
‘High Seas,’ created by Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira, is a thrilling Spanish period drama series on Netflix. Set in the 1940s, the show unfolds aboard a luxurious transatlantic ship traveling from Spain to Brazil. The series expertly blends mystery, suspense, and romance. With a stellar cast including Ivana Baquero, Jon Kortajarena, and Alejandra Onieva, the plot thickens as passengers and crew members become embroiled in a web of murder, secrets, and intrigue. You may stream the show here.
24. Heartstopper (2022-)
‘Heartstopper’ is a charming British coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama series streaming on Netflix, penned and conceptualized by Alice Oseman, drawing inspiration from her webcomic and graphic novel bearing the same name. At its core, the series revolves around Charlie Spring (Joe Locke), a gay high school student whose heart finds its match in the form of his classmate Nick Nelson (Kit Connor), their budding romance unfolding within the confines of their classroom. The narrative extends to the intricate lives of their close-knit group of friends, including Tao Xu (William Gao), Elle Argent (Yasmin Finney), Isaac Henderson (Tobie Donovan), Tara Jones (Corinna Brown), and Darcy Olsson (Kizzy Edgell), adding depth and diversity to the tapestry of relationships explored in the show. You may watch ‘Heartstopper’ here.
23. Never Have I Ever (2020-2023)
‘Never Have I Ever,’ created by Mindy Kaling, is a coming-of-age dramedy series that strikes a perfect balance between humor and heart. The show follows the trials and tribulations of Devi Vishwakumar, portrayed by the talented Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, as she navigates high school, friendships, and family in the wake of her father’s passing. Set in a diverse Los Angeles neighborhood, the series explores Devi’s journey of self-discovery, blending elements of her Indian heritage with typical American teenage experiences. You can stream the series here.
22. Grand Army (2020)
‘Grand Army,’ created by Katie Cappiello, is a drama series that fervently addresses themes of LGBTQ sexuality. Set in a Brooklyn high school, the show spans a diverse ensemble cast, including Odessa A’zion, Amalia Yoo, and Maliq Johnson, as it unfolds the tumultuous lives of contemporary teenagers navigating issues of identity, race, and sexuality. Amidst the multifaceted plotlines, the series delves into LGBTQ experiences with depth and authenticity, highlighting the challenges and triumphs of queer characters. As they grapple with self-discovery and societal expectations, ‘Grand Army’ offers a poignant and impactful portrayal of LGBTQ sexuality within the framework of modern youth culture. You may watch it here.
21. Everything Now (2023-)
Netflix’s drama ‘Everything Now’ is poised to captivate both younger and older audiences with its sensuous, nostalgic portrayal of teenage life. From inaugural romances to experimentation with substances and wild house parties, the series delves into the hedonistic aspects of adolescence. Centered around Mia (portrayed by the charismatic Sophie Wilde), a sixth-form student returning to school following an eating disorder recovery, the show explores her quest to reclaim missed social milestones through a daring ‘Bucket List’ of indulgent experiences.
Beyond its portrayal of the profound impact of disordered eating on individuals and their relationships, ‘Everything Now’ skillfully navigates the terrain of sexuality. Across its eight episodes, the series subtly traverses various facets of the sexuality spectrum, allowing characters’ stories to convey their sexual identities seamlessly. Mia, the protagonist, identifies as bisexual, contributing to the rich tapestry of sexual diversity within the narrative. You can watch the series here.
20. Feel Good (2020 – 2021)
Starring Mae Martin, Charlotte Ritchie, Lisa Kudrow, and Adrian Lukis, ‘Feel Good’ is a semi-autobiographical romantic-comedy show written by Mae Martin and Joe Hampson. The show centers upon the life of Mae Martin, a comedian who has been struggling with addiction for quite some time. Although she has done well in fighting back and getting her life in order, things take a surprising turn when she meets George. The duo soon starts dating, but Mae realizes that her life is again spiraling out of control as she watches helplessly. You may watch the show here.
19. Special (2019 – 2021)
Featuring talented actors like Ryan O’Connell, Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel, and Marla Mindelle, ‘Special’ is a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama streaming television series based on O’Connell’s memoir ‘I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves.’ The series revolves around Ryan, a young man who struggles with cerebral palsy following an accident, after which his entire life essentially comes to a halt. Tired of being just a victim of an unfortunate incident, Rays decides that he needs to do something about his present circumstances, so he begins to chase things in life that he truly desires. While things don’t go his way initially, he finally finds peace in the fact that he is trying. Feel free to check out the series here.
18. Wynonna Earp (2016 – 2021)
Talk about badass sidekicks, and the name of Waverly Earp comes to mind. She is the lead character, Wynonna’s half-sister, and an expert on the history of their family name. She is an expert at almost anything! The show follows the story of the Earp sisters, primarily Wynonna, as they try to let what’s dead be dead. Embracing their legacy as the savior of the world from supernatural dangers, the Earp sisters unite with a black-ops division of the government to fulfill their duties. Waverly and Nicole, the deputy sheriff of the town, hit off with sizzling chemistry in their first encounter and eventually become a couple that the whole fandom had been shipping. You can check out the show here.
17. The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
The 2nd entry in ‘The Haunting’ series, ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ is a slow-burn horror that gradually develops through a disturbing atmosphere and unsettling circumstances. However, as one of the characters points out in the final episode, the series is ultimately a love story. American governess Danielle “Dani” Clayton (Victoria Pedretti) arrives at the Bly Manor to look after the recently orphaned niece and nephew of Lord Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas). There, she meets the property’s gardener Jaime (Amelia Eve), with whose help she finally frees herself from her tragic past.
The romance between Dani and Jamie adds an important level of complexity to the series. Showrunner Mike Flanagan (‘Gerald’s Game’) used Henry James’ 1898 classic novella ‘The Turn of the Screw’ as the blueprint and then wrote a screenplay that not only modernizes the original story but also improves it in certain aspects. You can watch ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ here.
16. Dear White People (2017–2021)
Series creator Justin Simien developed ‘Dear White People’ from his own 2014 film of the same name. Proudly controversial and self-conscious, the show deals with issues like racism, classism, gender identity, and sexuality with an unconventional flamboyance. ‘Dear White People’ is a pioneering work in terms of the representation of the black LGBTQ+ community. As it demonstrates the wide spectrum of black queerness, it directly contradicts the stereotype that Hollywood has helped develop on the subject. You may stream it here.
15. Elite (2018 –)
Despite the obvious oversaturation of Netflix teen dramas, the Spanish series ‘Elite’ has managed to stand out with its bold approach to portraying sexuality and willingness to show the other side of what is conventional. The series has a big ensemble cast. It initially concentrates on three teenagers from blue-collar families, Samuel (Itzan Escamilla), Nadia (Mina El Hammani), and Christian (Miguel Herrán), and their experience after they start attending a prestigious boarding school. One of the show’s most popular romances is between Omar (Omar Ayuso) and Ander (Arón Piper). The two characters embark on an incredible journey together that eventually leads to complete acceptance of their sexuality. You may watch ‘Elite’ here.
14. Trinkets (2019-2020)
The web adaptation of the 2013 namesake novel by Kirsten Smith, ‘Trinkets’ is about three vastly different young girls, Elodie (Brianna Hildebrand), Moe (Mackenzie Lenton), and Tabitha (Quintessa Swindell), who have one thing in common: they are all kleptomaniacs. They become acquainted at a Shoplifters Anonymous meeting and subsequently agree to maintain an amount of secrecy around their friendship. Among the main three characters, Elodie is queer. Her relationship with a singer named Sabine (Katrina Cunningham) is a major plot point in the series.
While ‘Trinkets’ is not one of the top-rated teen dramas that Netflix has released in recent years, it is still a well-made, relatively short-lived show with a compelling storyline and complex characters. It deals with a variety of social issues without being too preachy. ‘Trinkets’ is helped by the absence of any major star in its cast, as all three protagonists get separate chances to shine. Hildebrand is the most well-known member of that cast. She portrayed Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the ‘Deadpool’ films. You can stream the series here.
13. Grace and Frankie (2015-2022)
Set in San Diego, ‘Grace and Frankie’ tells the story of two women who are quite different from each other. Grace (Jane Fonda) is a cosmetics baron who has clawed her way to the very top of her industry. She is pragmatic, possesses an arid sense of humor, and can be extremely ruthless. On the other hand, Frankie (Lily Tomlin) is an artist with a humble and kind personality. These two women get the shock of their lives when their husbands, Robert (Martin Sheen) and Sol (Sam Waterston), announce that they have fallen in love with each other. As their erstwhile spouses find happiness together, Grace and Frankie discover that they have no choice but to live with one another. As the series progresses and their friendship deepens, Grace and Frankie start to relearn all the joys of life. You may watch the show here.
12. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-2019)
The collaboration between comedy legends Tina Fey and Robert Carlock previously produced a gem like ‘30 Rock’, a satirical sitcom about the inner workings of network television. That unique brand of humor almost seamlessly found its way into their next project, the Netflix sitcom ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.’ It tells the story of Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), who was taken from her family when she was in the 8th grade by the leader of a doomsday cult, Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm), and kept in an underground bunker for 15 years with three other women. When they are ultimately freed, Kimmy decides to make New York City her home.
Her roommate, Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess), is egotistical and delightfully over-the-top. A struggling actor, Titus ran away from his home on his wedding day to his childhood friend Vonda Jeanne Brooks (Pernell Walker). After arriving in New York, he officially came out of the closet and embraced who he truly is. ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ deftly balances the comedy with deeper, dramatic moments, much of which can be considered as the upshot of Burgess’ remarkable performance. You can watch the series here.
11. Ratched (2020)
Created by Evan Romansky and Ryan Murphy, ‘Ratched’ provides the backstory to one of the most iconic villains of world cinema, Nurse Ratched. Ken Kesey created the character for his 1962 novel ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’ In 1975, Czech-American filmmaker Miloš Forman adapted the book for a film of the same name, in which Louise Fletcher delivered an Oscar-winning performance as Nurse Mildred Ratched. Murphy and Romansky set their version in the late 1940s and developed a psychological thriller drama series that is as different as it could have been from the source material. Like a typical Ryan Murphy fare, it’s filled to the brim with shock-inducing scenes, self-awareness, and utter insanity.
The love story between Ratched (Sarah Paulson) and Gwendolyn Briggs (Cynthia Nixon), the press secretary to the governor of California, is placed at the heart of the series. The audience is well aware of what the future likely holds for these characters, and part of the show’s tragedy derives directly from that. ‘Ratched’ doesn’t necessarily address the issues that the contemporary members of the LGBTQ+ community were facing. Instead, it builds a near-utopian world around its protagonist and her love interest and offers them a temporary happy ending at the end of season 1. You may watch the show here.
10. House of Cards (2013 – 2018)
Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ started on a very good note. It was even one of its most popular shows. But then, the Kevin Spacey scandal emerged, and things soon went downhill for the show as well. If you can separate it from its controversies, ‘House of Cards’ is still a very enjoyable show. It is mostly about politics and minorly takes a detour in other directions. The show was bold about a lot of things, one of which included Frank Underwood’s characterization as a bisexual man. Since the story didn’t build much on that prospect, this show might not be so ideal. Still, it is only one of the handfuls that place an LGBTQ+ character in the lead role. Feel free to check out the series here.
9. Super Drags (2018)
‘Super Drags’ is a Brazilian adult-animated comedy that follows the story of three drag queens who are superheroes, out in the world with only one mission — protecting LGBT people. The main villain is an evil queen who hatches all sorts of malignant plans to push the superheroes to accept defeat. But through each other’s help and support, the Super Drags always manage to defeat her. The show uses its fantastic setting to poke at society’s attitude towards the LGBT community and how people have to channel the superhero within them to handle the mistreatment that society throws at them every day. You can check out the show here.
8. Gypsy (2017)
‘Gypsy’ stars Naomi Watts as a psychiatrist named Jean Holloway. She is married and has a child, but she wants to break free from the mundane cycle her life has been caught up in and wants to do something exciting. Her patients become the source of great stories for her, and she decides to take her job one step further. She begins to indulge herself in their lives under an alias. Her life becomes a bit too exciting when she falls for one of her patients’ ex-girlfriends. You can watch ‘Gypsy’ here.
7. Everything Sucks! (2018)
If the title of this show is the tagline of your life’s story, then you should head over to the comedy section of Netflix. Some great sitcoms make your day, and ‘Everything Sucks!’ is one of them. Boring is a small town in Oregon, and this is where the story of this show is set. At the center of it are two social outcasts who try to do something radical — making a film about the school. This becomes the premise for further struggles in love and personal lives. One of the boys falls in love with the principal’s daughter, Kate. She is a great character because, through her, we see someone exploring their sexuality and checking out all options, making sure they know who they are before settling on anything. You may stream the series here.
6. Sense8 (2015 – 2018)
‘Sense8’ follows the story of a group of people who discover that they are mentally and emotionally linked to each other. Through this connection, they can share all that they know. However, they don’t know the reason behind this ability. The show is praised for using all of its main characters to add some diversity to its cast. By setting them in different parts of the world, it uses their storylines to highlight the problems in different sections and communities of the world. One of the eight “sensates,” as they grow to call themselves, is Nomi Marks. Nomi is a transgender person who is a hacktivist living in San Francisco. She is shown as a strong and determined character and will easily become your favorite of all. You may watch ‘Sense8’ here.
5. Eastsiders (2012 -)
Set in Los Angeles, ‘Eastsiders’ follows the story of a gay couple who tries to set right the dynamics of their relationship. Cal and Thom have been together for four years, but it becomes difficult to keep it running when Cal discovers that Thom has been cheating on him with someone else. Furious and heartbroken, he decides not to break up with Thom because he loves him too much for that, but agrees with himself that payback is in order. Thus, a series of infidel affairs and the unhampered use of drugs leads them down a very difficult path. Apart from them, Kathy, Cal’s best friend, also comes to the limelight from time to time. You can stream the series here.
4. Sex Education (2019-2023)
‘Sex Education’ is a romantic comedy that premiered this year on Netflix and became a popular watch. While most of its focus lies on the sex lives of teenagers, there is the representation of the LGBTQ+ community that it handles very well, brutally well. Otis’s best friend, Eric, is portrayed as a black gay teen coming from a religious family. Throughout the whole season, Eric goes through a very difficult time and struggles with accepting his identity. His character goes through a major developmental arc, and, glad to say that the season ends on a very high note for him. Eric is a great character, perhaps even the best in the show, and everyone can learn a thing or two from him, no matter what their sexuality. You may watch ‘Sex Education’ here.
3. Queer Eye (2018 – )
Everyone needs a break from life every now and then. A makeover is a great way to implement something new, stir things up a bit, and keep it exciting. However, most people don’t get the time to channel that side of themselves and end up leading morose lives. The Fab Five were brought back for this very reason: to help people change their lives. In every episode, a person is nominated. This person could need help with anything to prepare themselves for a first date or need a confidence boost for their upcoming interviews. When the Fab Five are done with you, you’ll not be the same person again. You can watch the series here.
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2. One Day at a Time (2017-2019)
One of Netflix’s most acclaimed and popular comedies, which was surprisingly canceled this year, ‘One Day at a Time’ follows the day-to-day struggles of a Cuban-American family. At the center of the story is Penelope. A war veteran, she works as a nurse and tries to raise her children with the help of her mother after separating from her husband. While there are a lot of themes that this show assimilates into its storyline, one of the most prominent ones is homosexuality. Elena is Penelope’s teenage daughter, who discovers that she is a lesbian. It is through her story that the struggles of LGBTQ+ people in getting acceptance from society are shown. You may watch the show here.
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1. Orange Is the New Black (2013 – 2019)
Based on the memoirs of Piper Kerman, ‘Orange Is the New Black’ is one of the most acclaimed shows on Netflix. The series will end its run this year, so it’ll be great for you to finish all the seasons before the final one premieres. The lead of this story is Piper Chapman, a woman who is convicted for the smuggling of drugs, something she had done almost ten years ago. Removed from her life of peace and tranquility with her family and fiancée, Piper is sent to a minimum-security prison where she reflects on her life decisions while developing new relationships with other inmates. Feel free to check out the series here.
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