Winter TCA 2020

Winter TCA 2020

It’s time again for the Television Critics Association winter extravaganza!

A holdover from the time when we didn’t have the internet, the TCA holds a Press Tour for everyone to come out and press the flesh with TV moguls and get the skinny on what’s new. It’s a whole week of crazy.

TL;DR

I need to be real here, this is a long post and there’s a lot of stuff. If you just want to know what to add to your DVR for the queers, here are your lists.

And a great reminder here, is that Batwoman got a second season, as did The L Word: Generation Q, and Work in Progress.

On Now

  • 9-1-1: Lone Star (FOX) – One of the firefighters is a trans man who transitioned on the job in Chicago (and is now in Texas).
  • Deputy (FOX) – Bex Taylor-Klaus is a lesbian sheriff’s deputy. This is already airing.
  • Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC) – Alex Newell sings on this fantasy drama about a woman who can hear your inner songs.

Coming Soon

  • Clean Slate (Peacock) -This drama by Norman Lear is about a Dad who does not expect the son who left 17 years ago to return as a proud trans woman (played by Laverne Cox).
  • Council of Dads (NBC) – The dad dies, his friends fill in, one of the kids is trans.
  • Dispatches from Elsewhere (AMC) – Eve Lindley plays the love interest, who is a trans woman (source Deadline).
  • Hightown (Starz) – This is the formerly-know-as ‘P-Town’ drama, and the lead was originally billed as a lesbian. Yes, this has been on the plans for a couple years.
  • Indebted (NBC) – Boomers move in with their Millenial son due to rising health care costs. The sister is a lesbian.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem (Freeform) – Warrior witches, and there are lesbians.
  • One Day at a Time (PopTV) – Just remember to add it to your DVR before March 24th! Also you’re not insane, the song is gone.
  • Snowpiercer (TNT) – There were lesbians in the trailer so Y(train)MMV. Supposedly airs May 31.
  • Tommy (CBS) – Edie Falco stars as a New Yorker lesbian who is LA’s first female chief of police. The show starts in February.
  • Twenties (BET) – Lena Waithe’s story about a queer black girl and her friends. Starts in March.
  • The Watch (BBCAmerica) – Pratchett’s Discworld comes to life, complete with a non-binary forensics expert.

Honourable Mentions

Honourable mentions you should check out because they’ll probably be good for queers.

  • Everything’s Gonna Be Okay (Freeform) – It has ancillary lesbians and the main character is a gay man.
  • Katy Keene (The CW) – This Riverdale spinoff should have at least one queer, but I’m not 100% sure it’s going to be a qualifying one for this site.
  • Vagrant Queen (SyFy) – The comic this is based on is super queer.

ABC

In their executive session, Karey Burke talked about the current status of their existing shows. Stumptown, Emergence, and Mixed-ish are the most popular shows on ABC, picking up 200-300% bumps on digital. That’s awesome (I love Emergence even if there’s no queer rep … yet … I can hope).

As for perennials like Grey’s Anatomy, expect it to stick around until Ellen Pompeo wants to quit. And there will be more Station 19 crossovers. Modern Family and How to Get Away with Murder are finishing up, too.

As for the new shows they talked about …

ShowQueer?Summary
ThirtySomething(Else)ProbablyA sequel has been ordered to pilot. I was too young for the original and now I’m too old for the followup. This will be about the kids from the original, who are now in their thirties. Excuse me while I have an old.
The BridesUnknownThe brides of Dracula. Who is a character on the show, but it’s more about the women. It’s a ‘sexy contemporary reimagining’ show, with horror elements.
The Baker and the BeautyUnknownA US version of the Israeli romantic comedy where a blue-collar baker strikes up a relationship with an international superstar.
For LifeUnknownA man wrongly convicted of a crime becomes a lawyer in order to fight for himself, as well as others. This is based on a true story.

AcornTV

A Brit based channel, you can pick them up on Amazon, among other places. They’ll be airing the Miss Fisher Murder Mystery movie. This is a movie, it was released in theatres, so we won’t be covering it, but we’ll still watch it.

ShowQueer?Summary
Dead StillUnknownA renowned ‘memorial photographer’ investigates the murders of his recently deceased subjects.
Deadwater FellUnknownA four-part mystery set in Scotland, starring David Tennant and Cush Jumbo.

Amazon

Yep, Amazon gets one this year! And they dumped a lot in one go. The Lord of the Rings series is still going ahead, too, as is Wheel of Time.

ShowQueer?Summary
CitadelUnknownA spy series by the Russo Bros.
Cortes and Montezuma ProjectUnknownThe show based upon the conquest of Hernan Cortes, who led a rebellious expedition to the heart of King Montezuma.
Last DaysUnknownA gripping sci-fi thriller where the world’s governments have secretly created a controversial plan to selectively colonize Mars in the wake of a dying Earth and the rise of AI. The series will follow one woman’s journey to explore the truth about where she came from, at the risk of losing everything she knows.
Small AxeUnknownA 6-part mini series made with BBC-One
Jack ReacherUnlikelyAnother spy series…This is the one that were Tom Cruise movies.
The PowerUnknownThe series is based on Naomi Alderman’s novel of the same name. Suddenly, and without warning, all teenage girls in the world develop the power to electrocute people at will. It’s hereditary, it’s inbuilt, and it can’t be taken away from them. Coming alive to the thrill of pure power: the ability to hurt or even kill by releasing electrical jolts from their fingertips, they rapidly learn they can awaken the Power in older women. Soon enough nearly every woman in the world can do it. And then everything is different.
Untitled Tracy Oliver ProjectUnknownA single-camera comedy following the lives of four black women – friends from their college days at NYU – as they navigate sex, relationships and chasing their dreams.
Daisy Jones & The SixUnknownBased on a novel of the same name, about a band who vanished at their peak. What really happened?
ThemUnknownEP Lena Waithe – the first season of the horror series will center on the first Black family to move into an all-white neighborhood in the 1950s.
The Underground RailroadUnlikelyCora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape.
HuntersUnlikelyAl Pacino leads Nazi Hunters.

AMC

ShowQueer?Summary
The Walking Dead: World BeyondUnknownYes, another spinoff of The Walking Dead.
SoulmateLikelyIt’s described as being like Black Mirror, but love.
Dispatches from ElsewhereYesFour ordinary people feel there’s something missing in their lives, but can’t quite put their finger on what it is, are brought together by chance – or perhaps it’s by design – when they stumble onto a puzzle hiding just behind the veil of everyday life.

Apple TV+

Apple will also be producing a docuseries called “Visible: Out in Television,” by Wanda Sykes and Wilson Cruz. It will investigate the importance of TV as a medium that has shaped the American conscience, and how the LGBTQ movement influenced what we watch on TV.

ShowQueer?Summary
Little AmericaUnknownAn anthology series about immigrants.
Home Before DarkUnknownA young girl moves from Brooklyn to the small lakeside town her father left behind. While there, her dogged pursuit of the truth leads her to unearth a cold case that everyone in town, including her own father, tried hard to bury.
Central ParkUnknownAn animated series about a family of caretakers, who live and work in Central Park, end up saving the park, and basically the world.
Mythic QuestUnknownA video game development studio explores the intricacies of the human condition through hilarious and innovative ways.
Defending JacobUnlikelyBased on the book of the same name, the plot is a detective realizes his 14 year old son might be a murderer.

BBCAmerica

ShowQueer?Summary
The WatchYesBased on the Terry Pratchet Discworld series, this is a genre-busting series that follows a group of misfit cops as they rise up from decades of helplessness to save their corrupt city from catastrophe. It’s described as “uniquely anarchic and thrillingly entertaining.” Jo Eaton-Kent is Constable Cheery, the ingenious non-binary forensics expert, ostracized by their kin and finding a new home and identity. 

BET

Lumped in with the ViacomCBS group is this gem:

ShowQueer?Summary
TwentiesYesBy Lena Waithe, so you know this is going to be good, it’s based on a web series she made before. It follows a queer black girl, Hattie, and two of her straight female friends and examines friendship, finding love and messing everything up as they pursue their dreams.

BritBox

I’m waiting for Bletchley Circle: San Francisco to return for season two (which they are finishing up now).

ShowQueer?Summary
Mrs. Brown’s BoysUnlikelyThis is a very Brit thing, but it’s a man in dress, playing a woman.
A ConfessionUnknownMartin Freeman as Det. Superintendent Steve Fulcher, investigating a girl’s disappearance. Based on a true story.

CBS

There was a panel about Evil, a show by the Kings who made The Good Wife/The Good Fight. The show is still creepy evil and spooky to watch. Also it’s taught me that according to TV standards & practices, it’s okay to show a drowning baby on primetime, but maybe no so many guns. I’m still confused.

ShowQueer?Summary
ClariceUnknownA little quid pro quo and this has been ordered to pilot. It’s probably unrelated to the Hannibal series from a few years ago. That one had queers so …
TommyYesEdie Falco is a New York cop who becomes LA’s first female chief of police. It’s politics and cops in one. And Edie’s character? A lesbian. Katrina Lenk will play someone who comes into Tommy’s life and becomes a “romantic partner” — not my choice of words there.
FBI: Most WantedUnknownSpinoff of the queer-less FBI. Expect crossovers ala Dick Wolf style.

CBS All Access

Meanwhile everything on CBS AllAccess is doing well and getting renewed. This includes Picard, and no you’re not crazy, season one starts tomorrow. Meanwhile, The Good Fight will be back, sans Maya, which makes it the first ‘Show We Love’ to lose that designation. Sorry, folks.

ShowQueer?Summary
InterrogationUnknownA crime story told in a non-linear episodic structure that allows viewers to try and solve the case in any order they choose. They say to watch the pilot and then binge the rest in any order you want.
PicardUnknownThe return of Jean-Luc Picard, the dog’s name is Number One and the series will touch on class, marginalization and disenfranchisement. Trekkies, rejoice!

The CW

First up, everything on the CW got renewed on January 7th, and Katy Keene (which will have at least one queer) got an additional 13 episodes. So we get more Batwoman! Of course this also means they’ve got nothing new, because the only open slot is Arrow, and they already have Arrow Jr in the wings.

ShowQueer?Summary
Walker: Texas RangerProbablyJared Paledecki will start in the reboot of the Chuck Norris has been ordered to series.
Superman & LoisProbablyThe spinoff I’ve been calling “Mom, Dad, and Superbaby” is ordered to series. Given the events of Crisis, I guess it’s ‘and super babies’ now.

Epik TV

ShowQueer?Summary
BelgraviaUnknownWhen the Trenchards accept an invitation to the now legendary ball hosted by the Duchess of Richmond on the fateful eve of the Battle of Waterloo, it sets in motion a series of events that will have consequences for decades to come as secrets unravel behind the porticoed doors of London’s grandest neighborhoods.

Facebook Watch

Yes, Facebook has a streaming channel. Had. Has. They canceled a lot of their scripted works, but at the same time have a new season for the anthology show they made with Blumhouse TV. It looks like they’re ‘transitioning to unscripted fare.’ Read: Facebook is going to make more reality TV.

ShowQueer?Summary
Sacred Lies: The Singing BonesUnknownThe story is from a Grimm Brothers tale, Elsie searches for the family she never knew after being abandoned as a child.

Freeform

ShowQueer?Summary
Motherland: Fort SalemYesWarrior witches in America. It’s a dystopian story and there are lesbian witches. It’s fun.
Everything’s Gonna Be OkayYes (but)The main character is a gay man, and he has some lesbian friends, but it’s not a whole lot.
Last SummerUnknownAn unconventional thriller that takes place over three summers–’93, ’94, ’95–in a small Texas town when a beautiful and popular teen, Kate, goes missing and, seemingly unrelated, a girl, Jeanette, goes from being a sweet and awkward outlier to the most popular girl in town and, by ’95, the most despised person in America.

Fox

ShowQueer?Summary
9-1-1: Lone StarYes!We already know that this show will have queer because Brian Michael Smith is in it as a main character! While this is a spinoff of 9-1-1, there are no crossovers planned at this time.
Filthy RichUnlikelyKim Catrell stars as a Southern Christian TV network star. This show will have singing and dancing. There’s no news on queers for this at all.
OutmatchedNone YetDumb parents have genius kids. It’s like Malcom in the Middle meets Young Sheldon and sounds like a pretty straight forward ‘laugh at the smart kids’ show.
neXtUnknownThere’s an A.I. that has gone rogue and kills people. One of the characters is a ‘reformed’ neo-nazi/white nationalist and Eliza (the A.I.) actively goes after him.

FX

They started out by saying American Horror Story was renewed for three most seasons. Good luck, Tracy, at least Sarah Paulson will be back. Also FX will be on Hulu for all Hulu subscribers soon. Rejoice for another way to watch Pose.

ShowQueer?Summary
DevsUnknownLily, a young software engineer, investigates the super secretive development division of her employer, a premiere tech company in Silicon Valley, which she believes is behind the death of her boyfriend. This is a limited series (i.e. mini series) that will air on FX on Hulu.
Mrs. AmericaUnknownThe story of the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), including the backlash led by conservative Phyllis Schlafly. The mini-series will debut with three episodes on FX on Hulu, with new episodes airing weekly thereafter.
YProbably (if it gets made)Still in production is Y, an adaptation of Y: The Last Man Standing, which absolutely has lesbians in the comic. But it’s been shuffled around a lot and no one can say for sure if this will get made or not.
BreedersUnlikelyJust based on the title alone, you can get the idea what this show is about. Heterosexual parents who fail at everything are the crux of this comedy.
DaveUnknownNo, not the movie about the guy who looked like the lousy president. This one is a about a guy who wants to be a rapper. Which will be part of the show. Kevin Hart is an EP on this one.

HBO

You may have heard about Confederate, a show about what if the Confederacy won the Civil War, made by the guys who did Game of Thrones. That show got a lot of negative press and has since been shelved.

ShowQueer?Summary
Avenue 5UnknownThis comedy is about a cruise ship in outer space, with Hugh Laurie.
The OutsiderUnlikelyThis has already aired two episodes. It’s a Stephen King quasi-supernatural true crime thriller.
The Plot Against AmericaUnknownBased on Philip Roth’s alternative-history novel about the rise of antisemitism and fascism in 1940 America.
The UndoingUnknownA couple whose lives get overturned by shocking events. This is a murder mystery/thriller.
I Know This Much is TrueUnknownBased on the novel of the same name, Mark Ruffalo plays twins.

HBOMax

Yes, their weird streaming channel. Big notes here, first of all it won’t have everything HBO (or DC). Second, Cinemax is going to stop making original dramas. Third, Audience Network is going away.

ShowQueer?Summary
Love LifeUnknownAnna Kendrick as woman trying to find true love.
Raised by WolvesUnknownYes, that one.
The Flight AttendantUnknownThe terrifying story of a flight attendant who wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man and no idea what happened.
Tokyo ViceUnlikelyBased on a true story, American journalist Jake Adelstein travels to Tokyo to report on corruption within the Vice squad.
AmericanahUnlikelyBased on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel, “Americanah” tells the story of Ifemelu (Nyong’o), a young, beautiful, self-assured woman raised in Nigeria, who as a teenager falls in love with her classmate Obinze.
Green LanternProbablyIt’s by Berlanti, who does all the other DC supers on the CW.
House of the DragonLikelyA spin-off of Game of Thrones, due in 2022.

Hulu

ShowQueer?Summary
MadagascarUnlikelyBased on the movie.
TrollsUnlikely… Based on the movie.
The GreatUnknownThe comedy chronicles the genre-bending, anti-historical ride through 18th Century Russia and follows the wildly comedic rise of Catherine the Nothing to Catherine the Great.
Solar OppositesUnknownThe adult animated series centers around a family of aliens from a better world who must take refuge in middle America. They disagree on whether Earth is awful or awesome.
Crossing SwordsUnknownA goodhearted peasant lands a coveted squire position at the royal castle. His dream job quickly turns into a nightmare when he learns his beloved kingdom is run by a hornet’s nest of horny monarchs, crooks and charlatans. Even worse, Patrick’s valor made him the black sheep in his family, and now his criminal siblings have returned to make his life hell.
Normal PeopleUnlikelyAn adaptation of the bestselling novel by Sally Rooney tracks the tender but complicated relationship of Marianne and Connell from the end of their school days in small-town west of Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College.
Little Fires EverywhereUnknownBased on the novel of the same name, it’s about the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.
High FidelityUnknownA record store owner in the rapidly gentrified neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn revisits past relationships through music and pop culture, while trying to get over her one true love.
The TestamentsLikelyHulu bought the rights to the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, set 15 years later.
Untitled ComedyUnlikelyAn untitled comedy staring Steven Martin and Martin Short.
HelstromUnknownA horror TV show set one of the Marvel universes, but we don’t know if it’s the TV universe (like Runaways) or the movie one.

NBC

New Amsterdam got picked up for three seasons, which is nearly unheard of. Manifest is finally coming back, but the first six episodes have no queers, so the heir to Lost is going to be losing me pretty fast. Days of our Lives is getting at least one more season.

ShowQueer?Summary
Council of DadsYesPremiering March 10th, it’s the one about the dad who dies and three of his best friends fill in. If you like Million Little Things and This is Us, you’ll like this one. (NBC)
IndebtedYesI already gave a quick review on this, but it’s a mid-range comedy about Boomers moving in with their Millennial kids because of health care costs. (NBC)
DebrisUnknownJust ordered to pilot, two agents from two different continents, and with two different mindsets, must work together to investigate when wreckage from a destroyed alien spacecraft has mysterious effects on humankind. It sounds like The Tunnel meets Lost.
Young RockUnlikelyAn 11-ep, single camera sitcom about … the Rock! As a young man. I guess ‘The Pebble’ isn’t as catchy as a title, but you can smell what this show is cooking later this year.

OWN

ShowQueer?Summary
Cherish the DayUnknownAn anthology series from Ava DuVernay that chronicles the romance of one couple – from the extraordinary to the everyday – with each episode spanning one day.

Paramount

ShowQueer?Summary
CoyoteUnlikelyA retired border agent is hired by a cartel.
Mayor of KingstownUnknownA “gritty drama” about a Michigan family at the center of several prisons and the law.
68 WhiskeyUnknownBy Ron Howard, it’s a comedy/drama about medical units in Afghanistan. Think of it like M*A*S*H or “Catch 22.”

PeacockTV

NBC’s finally in the streaming game. Peacock will a free, ad-supported service, but the premium version of the service (with double the programming) is free-with-ads to cable subscribers. Non-Cable people pay $5 to get in, and for everyone pays $5 for no-ads.

ShowQueer?Summary
The Adventure ZoneUnknownBased on the McElroy Family’s wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons podcast and No. 1 New York Times best-selling graphic novel series, The Adventure Zone is a side-splitting and heart-filled fantasy animated comedy series that follows an unlikely, poorly equipped trio and their beleaguered Dungeon Master as they reluctantly embark on a quest to save their world.
Clean SlateYesOld-school car wash owner, Henry (George Wallace), is thrilled that his estranged child is returning to Alabama after 17 years. However, Henry has a lot of soul searching to do when the child he thought was a son returns as the determined, proud, trans woman, Desiree (Laverne Cox).
ExpectingProbablyEllie, a fiercely independent but perpetually single music manager, has always wanted a family but never found a man worthy of the role of “father.” That is, until her 39th birthday, when she decides to ask her gay best friend and co-worker, Jonathan, if he’ll be her sperm donor. When Jonathan surprises himself by saying “yes,” it sets off a chain of events that turn Ellie and Jonathan’s personal and professional lives upside down as they try to turn their “chosen family” into a biological family.
Division OneLikelyAn underdog women’s collegiate soccer team gets a new female coach — a former professional soccer player who’s fallen from grace — and must decide whether or not they’re going to take the risk of trying to be great.
MacGruberUnlikelyA series based on the movie which is based on an SNL sketch.
Battlestar GalacticaUnknownAnother reboot. Kind of. It may be a spin-off?

PopTV

Everyone screamed about One Day at a Time. Well, maybe just me? Schitt’s Creek is ending, which is very sad. Flack will be back soon, though, and there’s more!

ShowQueer?Summary
One Day at a TimeYesLook, it’s new to Pop, so it’s new here. My most favourite sitcom is back on March 24th. So there you go.
Best IntentionsUnknownThis is about a teenager, his awkward single father who is the guidance counselor at his high school, and the all-too-smart women of their fumbling affections.
Mother MaryMaybeAn Immaculate Conception comedy has been ordered to pilot. What would happen in today’s world if the most irresponsible and lazy human on Earth was impregnated by immaculate conception?

Showtime

There are a lot of documentary films from Showtime that we won’t be covering. Of what we do cover, Shameless is getting a final 11th season (which will air this summer!), The L Word: Generation Q gets season 2, as does Work in Progress. As for Shameless, the 11th and final season airs this summer.

ShowQueer?Summary
Penny Dreadful: City of AngelsMaybeA spin-off of Penny Dreadful that takes place in LA in 1938.
The Good Lord BirdUnlikelyBased on the novel of the same name, it’s about a slave who unites with John Brown in Brown’s abolitionist mission.
Black MondayUnlikelyAn American comedy television series based in the 1980s and  follows the employees of second-tier Wall Street trading firm The Jammer Group in the year leading up to “Black Monday”, the day when international stock markets crashed in 1987. 

Starz

Vida season three will have a love interest for Eddy, so I’m excited about that!

ShowQueer?Summary
Power Book II: GhostUnknownA sequel to Power with Mary K Blige.
HightownYESGary Lennon’s show about a woman trying to get sober and then she gets involved in a murder investigation. Jackie Quinones (Monica Raymund), a hard-partying lesbian in Provincetown, Massachusetts, aka P-Town; a federal Fishery Service Agent who uses her gun and badge to seduce tourist chicks. She’s none-too-enthusiastically putting in her time until she can draw a federal pension – but everything changes when she discovers a body in Cape Cod Bay, and finds herself at the center of the Cape’s gruesome heroin epidemic.

SyFy

ShowQueer?Summary
Resident AlienUnknownA real fish-out-of-water story, the show follows an alien, whose ship crashes just outside a small Colorado town. Based on the comic, it looks like a fun comedy.

TBS

ShowQueer?Summary
ChadUnknownNasim Pedrad plays a 14-year-old boy.

Telemundo

ShowQueer?Summary
The League of PanUnlikelyA Peter Pan syfy-esque drama, it continues the adventures of Pan and the Darlings.

TNT

ShowQueer?Summary
SnowpiercerYESAfter five years, two networks, and two show runners, Snowpiercer will be released in May.

USA

Among other things, USA is picking up The Biggest Loser and the buzz is that they’re stilly pretty tone-deaf about the criticism on that show. Scripted shows are improving too.

ShowQueer?Summary
BriarpatchUnknownThis 10-part anthology mini-series is going to be quirky and dark with a Tarantino vibe. Very noir and vintage, it’s adapted from a novel.
ChuckyUnknownBased on the movies, this has been ordered to pilot, and I for one will not be watching. That is the worst kind of show for me to watch, but if it’s your jam, I bet it’ll be awesome.

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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