The New Streamers from 2019

The New Streamers from 2019

As 2019 wound to a close, two new high profile streaming services came to light. Both companies had deep pockets which resulted in higher than normal production values.

With the extra money, and the freedom to do more, one might think that these two streamers would have delved deeper into the world of representation. Sadly, they did not. And since we’re all trying to minimize how much we spend, we should all be aware of the queer value for our buck in these streamers right now.

Apple TV+

In 2016, Apple started production on their series. Their initial offering of nine scripted dramas ran the gamut of education for kids to psychological thrillers. But of those nine, only two had significant queer characters:

TitleQueerStatus
DickinsonAll overRenewed
For All MankindOne character, subplotRenewed
GhostwriterNonePending
HelpstersNonePending
The Morning ShowNoneRenewed
SeeExploitation onlyRenewed
Snoopy in SpaceSubtext only
(Peppermint Patty / Marcie)
Pending
ServantNoneSeason 1 ongoing;
Renewed
Truth Be ToldNoneSeason ongoing

I listed See as exploitation, because there’s a character (Queen Kane) who uses sex and masturbation to pray. It’s a ‘divine’ act like the ancient Greeks and Romans would have done, which doesn’t really make it queer. Since Queen Kane uses her servants for assistance, it’s not any sort of relationship either, making it exploitative.

So that means we have two shows with legit queer women who get queer plots, two with kinda-sorta hints, and five with nothing.

Further more, with all those shows only two feature a person of color as the primary lead: Truth be Told has Octavia Spencer as the main character, and Ghostwriter has a diverse set of four leads. Again, See has biracial main characters and a black lead character, but they are not really the primary characters who are expected to carry the show.

The end result? Apple TV+ sacrificed depth for production values. That said, the shows are actually overall quite good.

B

While Apple TV+ only has a 22% queer score, the quality of those two shows is so high it’s a streamer worth paying for. Or use your new Apple device to score a free trial and binge them.

Disney+

It comes as no shock that Disney didn’t go gay. Their throw-away gay moment in The Rise of Skywalker alone should have told us everything we needed to know.

TitleQueerStatus
High School Musical: The Musical: The SeriesBackground charactersSeason 1 ongoing; Renewed
The MandalorianNoneRenewed

Basically it’s what we expected. There are lesbian moms on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, but they’re very much not the main characters. For all the world adores the baby Yoda on The Mandalorian, there’s not a drop of queer to be found on all of Tattoine.

Now it’s very possible that this will change. Disney shuttered their entire Marvel TV division, canceling everything from Jessica Jones to The Runaways, and have shifted to their Marvel Cinematic Universe. This means some upcoming shows will be about the movie characters more than the TV ones. However their movies were pretty straight. They probably won’t even address Loki’s pansexuality and gender fluidity (in the comics, Loki is both a man and a woman … and a horse …).

They are making a TV series based on Love, Simon, and we can only hope Simon gets some more gay friends. There are also the rumours that Disney will make a Dr. Aphra series, about a lesbian archaeologist who worked for the rebels and the Empire during the original trilogy.

However. Right now? Not so great.

D

If you’re getting a streamer for queers only, skip Disney+ for now. Maybe later they’ll get gayer, but right now it’s not good.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.

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