Being an LGBTQ+ TV series enthusiast has become a war between getting too attached to a show with positive queer representation and then getting tired of having it canceled yet again. Although every single streaming platform is guilty of this, Netflix has particularly excelled at sabotaging queer shows, especially lesbian ones.
What’s even sadder is that most of us know what to expect every time we’re handed any decent series that sheds positive light on queerness. Queer people have always been marginalized and sexualized, with lesbians in particular getting sold as a mere product for straight men. Although it’s improved over the years, the bare minimum queer community’s handed, is still not enough.
Fans are forced to come out of their pocket to save their favorite show, which often acts as a safe haven for many queer folks out there. Here are 15 best LGBTQ+ TV shows that got canceled way too soon for no apparent reason.
15 The Society
Created by Christopher Keyser, The Society is a mystery teen drama about a group of teenagers, who are forced to learn how to run their own communities after their whole town disappears. Although the show got scheduled for a second season at first, it quickly got canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. What’s more, per Screen Rant, the production became way too expensive because of health and safety reasons. It’s interesting to note that most of Netflix shows that suffered this fate were, in fact, queer. The Society gave a queer and deaf character a place to shine, but now all we’re left with is pining after our canceled show in silence.
What was the next show to get canceled because of the pandemic, you ask? You guessed right. Yet another queer, female-empowering masterpiece called GLOW, starring Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin in leading roles. The comedy-drama follows the 1980s syndicated women’s professional wrestling circuit Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. It portrayed these women as soulmates who both hate and love each other, but also showing the wrestling as an escape from the role society expected them to play as women. GLOW was Brie’s favorite job ever, and she still hopes to film a wrap-up movie.
13 One Day at a Time
Based on the 1975 series of the same title, One Day at a Time is a re-imagined version of the original, but with a Latino family at its center. It focuses on a Cuban-American family and deals with important topics such as PTSD, immigration, sexism, homophobia, gender identity, and many more. The series was canceled after three seasons, and although Sony Pictures TV picked it up to revive it, our hopes were for nothing as they ended the series for good without any new episodes.
The fact that Netflix didn’t really bother to even advertise their show about a gay man with cerebral palsy was big enough of a hint that they probably wouldn’t renew it for further seasons. The semi-autobiographical comedy-drama Special offered an uplifting and self-accepting image of living with a disability. The lack of promotion about the second season releasing — there was virtually no advertising for it — shows you just how much Netflix cares about diversity.
11 The Get Down
We feel like this needs to be said repeatedly: watching a TV show shouldn’t be a game or competition between the network and the viewers, wherein the viewers win and get a new season. It certainly feels that way with every queer TV series, and The Get Down was no exception. The five-episode musical drama about rise of hip-hop and disco music through the eyes of a group of teenagers was canceled after the first season. Many fans have been praying for Netflix’s downfall ever since the show’s cancelation for no apparent reason.
10 Warrior Nun
One of the most recent Netflix cancelations is the fantasy drama Warrior Nun, which was canceled after two seasons. The series is led by a character named Ava Silva, who discovers she has supernatural powers and thus joins an ancient order of warrior nuns. Basing the chances of a show’s renewal on how many people binge-watch it is not the best strategy for media literacy. It’s no wonder, then, the cancelation resulted in a surge of fan protests, with over 100,000 signing a petition to renew it. Fans took their fight to both Times Square and outside Netflix’s headquarters, and they’re not giving up anytime soon, as more international fans have joined in.
Starring Neil Patrick Harris in the leading role, Uncoupled tells the story of a gay man who tries navigating the dating scene after he his 17-year-long relationship ends abruptly. Despite getting featured in Netflix’s Top 10, the series joined other queer TV shows in the long list of canceled shows. Thankfully, the show got picked up by Showtime for a second season (via Forbes).
An adult-animated comedy series about a group of undervalued queer super-spies? Watching Q-Force, you get middle-aged women as cool spies, a super-competent bisexual woman, a happily married lesbian, and trans woman as a super-hacker. Starring Sean Hayes, Matt Rogers, Wanda Sykes, and others, Q-Force was one-of-a-kind that held more depth than its trailer initially illustrated.
7 The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself
Based on Sally Green’s YA Half Bad novels, The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself is a British fantasy series about Nathan Byrne, who discovers his true identity as the son of a powerful witch Magnus. Despite being a magically brutal and queer adventure and having a complex slow burn poly relationship that grows naturally over time and is never over-sexualized, the series was canceled after one season, only after two months of its premiere.
6 Fate: The Winx Saga
Based on the animated series Winx Club, Fate: The Winx Saga is a teen drama TV series about a fairy with fire powers, who enrolls at a magical boarding school and meets her new fairy friends. The show was watched by 57 million subscribers in the first 28 days of its release, and even that wasn’t enough to get a third season renewal. It appears as if Netflix doesn’t care about growing dedicated fandoms and will only greenlight series that are watched by a half-billion viewers in its first month.
5 Dead End: Paranormal Park
Based on the graphic novel series DeadEndia, Dead End: Paranormal Park is an animated fantasy horror comedy following newest employees at a Dollywood-esque park. It shows a found-family consisted of a gay Jewish trans lad, an autistic lass with anxiety , a possessed talking pug, and a thousand-year-old demon. The series reached its own dead end after two seasons.
Following group of European emigrants traveling from Southampton to start new lives in New York, 1899 is a multilingual series that got officially canceled after one season only. Seeing the concept of multiple languages being spoken without understanding each other, yet trying, was something new and unique that we haven’t seen as much. Of course, watching a queer Netflix show is like reading your favorite book and getting it yanked from your hands during the best part.
3 I’m Not Okay With This
I’m Not Okay With This reunited the IT stars in a coming-of-age Black comedy about a bisexual girl who realizes she has telekinetic powers. Due to apparent COVID-19-related reasons, the show got canceled after one season. Bland heterosexual shows with cliché storylines get renewed million times, but original LGBTQ+ series has to suffer through the “bury your gays” concept, even though it shouldn’t have place in our 21st Century society anymore.
2 First Kill
Another TV show’s cancelation that spiked a huge fan campaign and protests is the supernatural teen series First Kill. Described as an update of Twilight for current times and a spiritual successor of The Vampire Diaries, the show depicts a vampire and a vampire hunter as they fall in love. Per usual, the series was canceled after its first season. Showrunner Victoria Schwab blamed poor marketing as the reason for its cancelation.
Perhaps the biggest heartbreak that Netflix’s ever caused, and can definitely be described as the start of the “bury your gays” trend, was the sudden cancelation of the science-fiction excellence that was Sense8. The series follows eight people from across the world who are mentally and emotionally linked. It explores issues of gender, sexuality, racism, politics and others. Netflix left the series with a cliffhanger and only after fans’ outrage, petitions and protests did the streamer greenlight closure in the form of one two-hour-long episode.