With the new fall TV season kicking off later this month, there’s a little of everything out there.
But what about the LGBT content? While we don’t have a full-on gay-centric series this season like last season’s “The McCarthys” or “One Big Happy,” it may be a sign of the times that a number of new series feature LGBT talent, characters and story lines without them existing primarily around sexuality. Instead, as in life, they are just built into the world like anyone else.
I've done some of the hard work for you and sampled the latest new offerings to see where the gays are in fall TV. (Don't worry, I'll check out the returning shows next week!) Let's take a look…
“Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris“: The fabulous NPH has hosted every award show under the stars and also recently wrapped a successful long run on CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother” so who better to revive the show, right? The new NBC series, based on the long-running U.K. series, “Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” has the out actor/singer/magician front and center playing games with contestants, pulling pranks with unsuspecting folks and welcoming a celebrity or two along the way. Since the show is live, there hasn’t been an episode to preview yet (the trailer you’ve been seeing is taken from when NPH guest-hosted the U.K. show), but it looks like a good dose of fun and NPH has never been afraid to slide in a gay joke or two. (NBC, Tuesday, September 15, 10 pm)
“Grandfathered“: Sure, some people are excited about “Fuller House,” but since the whole TGIF craze was something I was never a fan of, I’m glad John Stamos is headlining this new FOX sitcom instead (don’t worry, he is set to appear on the Netflix reboot). In “Grandfathered,” the actor plays Jimmy Martino, a 50-year-old confirmed bachelor who finds out he actually has a son…and granddaughter. While a lot of the humor comes from how Jimmy adapts to this change in his set-in-his-ways life, there’s a heart to the show that should help set it above a lot of other one-joke sitcoms. Plus, Jimmy’s assistant Annelise (Kelly Jenrette) just happens to be a lesbian. Based on the pilot, we don’t find out too much about her, but let’s hope the writers will give her an interesting story and love life along the way. (Fox, Tuesday, September 29, 8 pm)
“Quantico“: You may have already heard that if you crossed “How To Get Away with Murder” with the FBI, you’d get this new ABC offering, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The drama follows a group of cadets entering the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia, but at the core is newbie Alex Parrish (international film star Priyanka Chopra), who gets more than she bargained for when joining the group. In fact, like any good soapy drama, everyone seems to have secrets including cadet Simon Asher (Tate Ellington), who you’ll see go out of his way in the pilot to create a convincing gay backstory for his character. Is Simon really gay? Why is he staging cute Facebook photos with another man who the viewer knows is not his boyfriend? And will the addition of another gay character (played by “The Flash” alum Rick Cosnett) in episode two propel things further? This drama was also created by Joshua Safran, who was showrunner on “Gossip Girl” and the second season of “Smash,” so expect lots of drama as well as a good dose of soapy fun. (ABC, Sunday, September 27, 10 pm)
“Rosewood“: Also over at FOX, Morris Chestnut plays Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr., a private pathologist living in Miami who ends up helping the cops solve crimes. On the surface the show seems like just another crime procedural, but Chestnut has big time charisma and with Lorraine Toussaint playing his mother, the talent bar is raised even more. Also in the mix with both Rosewood’s family and the crime-solving is his sister, Pippa (Gabrielle Dennis) who is a whiz at toxicology and is also engaged to co-worker Tara (Anna Konkle), who is a DNA specialist. Having seen the pilot, “Rosewood” is a perfect example of a mainstream show easily weaving gay characters and relationships into the fabric of the story. And it may be making the best statement on the gay community by not making one at all. (Fox, Wednesday, September 23, 8 pm)
“Scream Queens“: There’s something deliciously fun about this college-based horror series where a serial killer in a devil costume has a good old time reducing the student body and faculty one by one. Viewers should know that this series, created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, is played for laughs but the stakes are very real as you’ll see with the body count in the first hour alone. And while the LGBT level in the initial hour is only one of the sorority pledges (played by Jeanna Han), who has very little to do outside of a few lines, that will bump up in the second hour in a fun, hilarious (and spoilery) twist. Plus, Jamie Lee Curtis chews the scenery as the Dean of Students and other big names appear like Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele and many more. It’s definitely worth checking out. (Fox, Tuesday, September 22, 8 pm)
Next week I’ll look at the LGBT-ness in our returning Fall TV show.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.