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  • Julius Eks

Queerantine TV Series to Watch Now!

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Welcome to the most surreal moment in our recent times! The age of Netflix & Chill just got a little too real for most of us. And so, as we look to the TV Guide with trepidation, curiosity, and uncertainty as to how long this will all go on for, here is my inconclusive, indecisive, and indefinite list of Gay TV Series to binge watch on lockdown. Bring snacks. Sex Education

Above: Kedar Williams-Stirling as thirst trap Jackson Marchetti in Sex Education.

If one part of this extraordinarily popular Netflix series deserves an honourable mention, it must be the epic scenery that is the British (mostly Welsh) countryside. Ignore the varied, topical storylines; forget the lovable, diverse characters; and enjoy the numerous shots of sprawling woodland and period buildings. But of course, we’re all here for the fabulous queer storylines, aren’t we! Sex Education deals with many areas on the spectrum of our human existence. Intensely funny, undoubtedly awkward - like most of our teenage years, there is an abundance of positive queer representation here. No one commits suicide, no one struggles with HIV/AIDs, and no one is kicked out of their family home. The struggles our community has faced are highlighted, but if any viewer is having a hard time accepting themselves, Sex Education will show them how it can - and will - get better. Join main characters, Otis, Eric, and Maeve on their mission to educate their sexually naïve but open classmates on how to do the ‘thing’, and how to do it well!

Pose


A friend of mine recently told me he was scared to watch Pose because of the profound impact Paris is Burning had on his life. I’m sure many had the same fear that this groundbreaking drama would dilute or misrepresent the Black/Latinx community in the New York ballroom scene, but with producer Ryan Murphy consulting the likes of Freddie Pendavis, Hector Xtravaganza, Jack Mizrahi, Deja Smith, Jonovia Chase, Mila Khalevich, and Twiggy Pucci Garçon, he was surely onto a winner. This show will make history, mainly because of the sheer quantity of quality non-binary and transgender performers in the cast (no less than fifty!). And as an ensemble, they make us laugh, make us cry, make us love, and make us learn about this crucial chapter of LGBTQ+ history. Queer As Folk (US/UK)

Above: Charlie Hunnam as Nathan Maloney in the original UK series, Queer as Folk.

Now, as a Brit, I’m ashamed to say that I never watched the UK version of Queer as Folk. I binge-watched the US version during my freshers year at university, but I was always told by friends that I “shouldn’t bother” with the UK version after watching what could be offered from across the pond. I regret that decision to deny myself some true, British, queer cultural history and so, this lockdown, I will be watching Queer As Folk where it all began. I will urge you all to do the same, even if the production quality may be inferior or the accents a little kookier. Many a young, British, queer kid tuned in to this show in 1999 in secrecy. The bedroom door was firmly shut, the lights out, and the volume low. It was Queer As Folk that revealed British sexuality at its most honest, raw, and detailed best to the public. Watch what the UK and the US has to offer, and decide for yourselves which resonates most with you.

“Larias” - Salatut Elämät

Above: Petteri Paavola & Ronny Röslöf as Elias Vikstedt and Lari Väänänen (Larias)

Yeah, that’s Finnish for “Concealed Lives” - a soap opera that has been airing on Finnish T.V. since 1999! But you don’t have to search that far back to find the YouTube sensation that is Lari Väänänen and Elias Vikstedt - or “Larias", as their fans have shipped them. And this is another typical storyline that begins with a teen who meets the school bully, is bullied by the bully, and then falls in love with the bully - all in secret! But it doesn’t end with that. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but if you want hot actors, steamy sauna scenes, and a production quality typical of low-budget, European soap operas, you need to go to YouTube and discover the "Elias’ Story" playlist (with English subtitles). I was hooked for several years on this storyline!

"Aristemo” - Mi Marido Tiene Más Familia / El Corazón Nunca se Equivoca

Above: Emilio Osorio and Joaquín Bondoni are Aristemo

And on a similar note, time for a telenovela straight from Mexico! Once again, the “Aristemo” storyline is available and subtitled on YouTube. So, why should you watch this? Firstly, the two actors (Emilio Osorio and Joaquín Bondoni) are super cute! Secondly, a gay storyline is kinda a big deal in telenovela terms. Thirdly, the typically recycled gayboy-meets-gayboy storylines may be outrageously clichéd, but their message of hope and fighting for who you really are will never grow old. Love for “Aristemo” has spread far beyond Latinx communities and has been embraced by scores of LGBTQ+ fans on Twitter, launching this telenovela into the cyberspace stratosphere! Such has been its popularity that several Aristemo spin-offs are in the pipeline. This onscreen relationship has already saved young, queer lives and it deserves our appreciation. Will & Grace

Above: Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, describing how we're all feeling right now, in

Will & Grace

It’s back! And it's just as hilarious. The original run will have a place in all our hearts for its positive representation of gay life, diverse display of queerness, and very naughty humour. The new run struggles at times to be relevant, but the laughs keep coming. And if that isn’t enough for you, remember, there are eight classic seasons of original Will & Grace to binge watch until the herd immunity cows come home!

Bonding


Let me come out and say this now. This series was too short! Only 7 episodes, each barely 15 minutes long - I DEMAND MORE! But, from what we can see, this is a fun series touching on an element of sexuality that still conjures either a giggle or a sneer. Tiff is a psychology student moonlighting as a dominatrix. She enlists her gay best friend, Pete, to be her assistant, and through this, we watch him grow to accept himself and become liberated in his life, his job (he’s an aspiring stand-up comedian who suffers crippling stage fright), and his love life.

Tales of the City

Tales of the City is the gift that keeps on giving. Armistead Maupin’s series of novels, spanning back as far as 1978, have since grown to the point where we are celebrating Netflix’s 10-episode revival of this monumental queer TV series. Hosting a dynamic cast of diverse characters, we all want to find our own place in Anna Madrigal’s house in San Francisco. My favourite episode was the one where we are welcomed into Anna Madrigal’s past and discover her journey to transition into the fierce role model she is today. Oh, and Bob the Drag Queen has a recurring role! Rupaul's Drag Race UK

Above: Baga Chipz features in Rupaul's Drag Race UK

Yes. I included Rupaul’s mega-empire cash cow. But if you are bored of the usual death drops, shade throwing, and talentless Instagram queens, I must urge you to tune in to see where drag (arguably) began. In Drag Race UK, we trade werkroom bitchiness and backstabbing for solidarity and cooperation, which, as I’m sure we can all agree, is something greatly lacking in the queer community. The looks are nowhere near as polished as the beautiful US queens, but if you’ve ever been to a rundown, British gay bar in a dodgy back alley, you’ll soon know that looks aren’t everything in drag performance. The sharp wit, the double entendre, and the sheer nerve shine through in Rupaul’s Drag Race UK that will make you crave and live for a second season! Please Like Me

Above: Josh Thomas as Josh Thomas in Josh Thomas' Please Like Me

Australian writer/comedian, Josh Thomas brings us this simply lovely comedy that does so much more. As well as treating us to some hilarious moments and touching romances, Josh’s endearing awkwardness helps us to reflect inwards with a sense of normality. Please Like Me’s honest - and needed - portrayal of mental illness today is the true winner in this series, which blends lightness with real issues so beautifully.

And so, that concludes my inconclusive list of gay lockdown viewing that most certainly misses out so much more! But hey, I'm neither God nor Cher, so leave me alone.


Next, watch out for my own take on essential Queerantine reading, which may (or may not) include my new book, Le Berceau, which hit the bookshelves last month...just in time for lockdown! Thank you Bold Strokes Books! So until next time, stay inside, stay safe, stay entertained, and stop licking door handles!


- JX


Available now on: The Bold Strokes Books Website:


https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/books/le-berceau-by-julius-eks-3201-b


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Berceau-Julius-Eks-ebook/dp/B084QHF72Z/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=le+berceau+eks&qid=1587303539&sr=8-1 Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/le-berceau-julius-eks/1136577200?ean=2940162744467


And other major retailers!

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