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12 powerful, uplifting and hilarious LGBT-inclusive shows to binge on Showtime

Jonny Yates July 16, 2021
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Queer as Folk. (Showtime)

From The L Word and Queer as Folk to late night series and powerful documentaries, Showtime is packed with brilliant LGBT-inclusive content.

When deciding to sign up to a new streaming service one of the main attractions for LGBT+ people is the representation of the community in its content.

Showtime – which comes with a 30-day free trial and then costs $10.99 per month – has a number of LGBT+ favourites and new gems to discover.

This includes classic series like Queer as Folk and The L Word (as well as its reboot, The L Word: Generation Q), alongside new shows such as Work in Progress and documentaries following the stories of trans people.

Here, we’ve rounded up of some of the amazing LGBT+ focused and queer friendly content on Showtime.

This article contains affiliate links, PinkNews may earn revenue if you click through and purchase products through the links.

The L Word

The L Word on Showtime
The entire boxset of the original The L Word is available to stream on Showtime. (YouTube)

All six seasons of the original The L Word are available to stream on Showtime. The groundbreaking series, which premiered in 2004, marked the first American television show to feature an ensemble cast depicting lesbian and lesbian women.

It follows Mia Kirshner, Jennifer Beals, Pam Grier, Laurel Holloman, Erin Daniels, Leisha Hailey and Katherine Moennig who struggle with romance and careers in Los Angeles. It ran until 2009 for a total of 70 episodes before being revived with…

The L Word: Generation Q

The sequel series sees several actors return to the show alongside a new ensemble of diverse characters.

This includes two new trans characters who’ve been received much better than the heavily criticised Max from the original series. Both are played by trans actors – Leo Sheng, as professor Micah Lee, and Brian Michael Smith, who plays Bette’s campaign manager, Pierce Williams.

The first season aired in late 2019, while the long-awaited second season will premiere on Showtime on 8 August, with 10 episodes set to be released weekly.

Work in Progress

Comedy series Work in Progress is created by and stars Abby McEnany, a self-identified “fat, queer dyke” who lives with depression and OCD and enters into a transformative relationship during a time of crisis.

The cast also features SNL’s Julia Sweeney who plays a fictionalised version of herself and trans actor Theo Germaine who plays a 22-year-old barista that starts a relationship with Abby.

The first season aired in 2019 to critical acclaim and it will return to Showtime for a second season start 22 August, with 10 episodes in total.

Queer as Folk

Queer as Folk. (Showtime)

Another groundbreaking series from the early 00s is the US adaption of Queer as Folk.

The show premiered in 2000 and marked the first hour-long drama on American television to portray the lives of gay men and women. In total it ran for five seasons with more than 80 episodes that are all available to stream as part of a Showtime subscription.

It follows the lives of a group of friends living on Liberty Avenue in contemporary Pittsburgh, PA who deal with love affairs, ambitions, careers and friendships as well as addressing health and political issues that affect the community, which was groundbreaking at the time.

Ziwe

ZIWE on Showtime
ZIWE is the hilarious variety series from the comedian and Internet sensation. (YouTube)

You may have seen or heard of Ziwe during lockdown as her tweets and Instagram lives went viral on the regular. Well, now she’s the star of her own late-night talk show on Showtime.

The variety series is a mix of musical numbers, interviews and sketches that challenge America’s discomfort with race, politics and other cultural issues. Her guests have included LGBT+ figures such as Bowen Yang, Patti Harrison, Julio Torres and Phoebe Bridgers as well as Stacey Abrams, Gloria Steinem and a group of Karens – which had some hilarious results.

The first season is now available to stream on Showtime and a second season has been announced, with a release date to be confirmed.

The Chi

Created by Lena Waithe, The Chi is a coming-of-age drama series set in Chicago’s South Side. It centres on four characters: Emmett, Brandon, Ronnie and Kevin, who become linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption.

There are three seasons available to stream in full on Showtime, with a fourth season currently airing. It features an LGBT+ character: Nina, played by Tyla Abercrumbie, who is Kevin’s mother.

Billions

Billions on Showtime
Asia Kate Dillon’s role on Billions is the first non-binary main character on North American television. (Showtime)

Billions broke new ground as the first American TV series to feature a non-binary main character.

Played by non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon, Taylor is a talented financial analyst who has been a key part of the show – a complex drama about power politics in the world of New York high finance – since season two.

They star alongside Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis and Maggie Siff in the series.

Five seasons of the Billions are available to stream on Showtime, with the second half of season five expected to air in 2022 after production was halted due to the pandemic. A sixth season is also in the works.

Shameless

Shameless on Showtime
All of 11 seasons of Shameless are available to stream on Showtime which is notable for Ian and Mickey’s relationship. (YouTube)

Another adaption of a British classic is Shameless, which ran for 10 years and recently aired its last episode in April 2021.

The series features an ensemble cast who play friends, family and neighbours in the south side of Chicago. There’s plenty of episodes to get stuck into, with 134 in total.

It’s particularly notable for the relationship between Ian Gallagher and Mickey Milkovich – we won’t give away any spoilers as to what happens in the end between these two.

The series is now available to stream on Showtime.

Desus and Mero

Desus and Mero on Showtime
Late-night comedy series Desus and Mero regularly features LGBT+ guests including Janelle Monáe. (YouTube)

Desus Nice and The Kid Mero host this late-night series which features megastar guests, comedy and freestyle commentary on current events, pop culture and politics.

There are three seasons available to stream on Showtime with plenty of LGBT+ guests including Pete Buttigieg, Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper and Janelle Monáe.

Couples Therapy

Couples Therapy on Showtime
Documentary series Couples Therapy brings viewers into the authentic experience of weekly therapy with four couples. (Showtime)

Documentary series Couples Therapy unlocks a hidden world: other people’s relationships. The series brings viewers into the authentic and visceral experience of weekly therapy with different couples. This includes LGBT+ couples Lauren and Sarah in season one and Matthew Gianni in season two.

World-class therapist Dr. Orna Guralnik deftly guides the couples through the minefield of honest confrontation with each other and with themselves, revealing the real-life struggles — and extraordinary breakthroughs — typically hidden behind closed doors.

The series is now available to stream on Showtime.

XY Chelsea

XY Chelsea tells the historic story of whistle-blower Chelsea Manning, whose 35-year sentence in an all-male maximum security prison was commuted by President Obama in 2017.

Shot over two years and featuring exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes verité with Manning, the film picks up on the momentous day in May when she left prison and follows her through her journey of discovery, while also examining her place in the conversation on national security and the fight of the transgender community for rights and visibility.

The documentary is now available to stream on Showtime.

Beyond the Opposite Sex

A second powerful Showtime documentary following the lives of trans people is Beyond the Opposite of Sex. It follows the stories of Rene and Jamie, 13 years after their gender-affirming surgery. The two subjects let viewers back into their very changed worlds and find that their surgeries were only the beginning.

The documentary is now available to stream on Showtime.

Related topics: LGBT TV, queer as folk, the L word

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