September 14, 2017 at 1:50 pm EDT | by Brian T. Carney
Fall Arts Preview 2017: Something old, something new on TV
Fall LGBT TV season, Narcos, gay news, washington blade

’Narcos’ season three on Netflix features Alberto Ammann (right) as a gay drug lord. (Photo by Juan Pablo Gutierrez; courtesy Netflix)

The fall LGBT TV season got off to an explosive start with the return of “Narcos” to Netflix on Sept. 1. Based on the violent history of the Cali Cartel in Colombia, season three picks up after the death of Pablo Escobar. Gay hitman Pacho Herrera (Alberto Ammann) rises to the top ranks of the cocaine cartel; the flamboyant character is featured in steamy sex scenes and has quickly become a fan favorite.

The first new show of the LGBT TV season was “American Horror Story: Cult” on FX. Set in a small Michigan town, season seven of the popular anthology series is the first major scripted show to deal directly with the political and social aftermath of the 2016 presidential election.

The cast is led by Ryan Murphy regulars Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters. Paulson and Alison Pill play Ally and Ivy Mayfair-Richards, Clinton supporters who are terrified by the outcome of the election and who begin to see evil clowns everywhere. Peters plays Kai Anderson, a Trump supporter who is energized by the outcome of the election.

Other new shows include:

“The Deuce” looks back at the 1970s porn industry in New York City. James Franco stars as the twin Mancini brothers, Vinnie (good) and Frankie (bad); Maggie Gyllenhaal plays porn actress Eileen “Candy” Merrill. Currently running on HBO, the series includes plenty of queer content, including Chris Coy as gay bartender Paul Hendrickson.

LogoTV.com is streaming “Made to Model: Trans Beauty in Fashion,” a celebration of the diverse models who are transforming the runways at New York Fashion Week.

“Star Trek: Discovery” boldly goes where no other “Star Trek” television series has gone before: it includes openly gay characters. Out actor Anthony Rapp (“Rent”) plays Lieutenant Paul Stamets, an astromycologist (fungus expert) and Starfleet science officer aboard the Starship Discovery. Out actor Wilson Cruz (“Rent” and “My So-Called Life”) plays his partner, Dr. Hugh Culber. The new series blasts off on CBS All-Access on Sept. 25.

The most highly anticipated television show of the fall season may be the return of “Will & Grace.” The queer quartet will resume their shenanigans on NBC on Sept. 28. Season nine will ignore the dreary series finale which aired on May 18, 2006 and give the returning characters a fresh start. Based on the enthusiastic response from dedicated fans, the new “Will & Grace” has already been renewed for a second season.

The campy 1980s nighttime soap “Dynasty” is perhaps best remembered for its vicious cat fights, glamorous gowns and conspicuous consumption, but it made television history with its ground-breaking portrayal of mature women who were powerful and sexy and for the inclusion of a gay male character. While the cast of the reboot, which premieres on Oct. 11 on the CW, is noticeably younger than the original cast, it is also noticeably more diverse.

The series returns to familiar story lines about the Carringtons and the Colbys, two rich Colorado families battling over business empires and family loyalties. Grant Show (“Melrose Place”) plays patriarch Blake Carrington and James Mackay (“The Dressmaker”) plays his openly gay son Stephen. Their love interests are Cristal Flores and her nephew Sammy Joe (played by Hispanic actors Nathalie Kelley and Rafael de la Fuente); in the original series Sammy Jo was played by Heather Locklear. In the early episodes of the reboot, the Colbys are represented by African-American actors Sam Adegoke as Jeff and Wakeema Hollis as Monique.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of gay sex in the United Kingdom, the BBC has commissioned a series of eight monologues about LGBT life. The writers include Jackie Clune, Mark Gatiss and Brian Fillis; the actors include Alan Cummings, Russell Tovey, Ben Whishaw, Gemma Whalen and Rebecca Front.  “Queers”premieres on BBC America on Oct. 14.

Queer director Bryan Singer is using his artistic superpowers to help move Marvel’s X-Men franchise to the small screen. He served as director and executive producer for the pilot episode of “The Gifted” which airs on Oct. 2 on Fox. Marvel is also represented on television this fall by “Runaways.” Starting Nov. 21 on Hulu, the series about teens fleeing their extra-terrestrial parents includes lesbian Karolina Dean (played by Virginia Gardner) in the diverse cast.

Following on Hulu’s runaway success with “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Netflix brings Margaret Atwood’s novel “Alias Grace” to the small screen on Nov. 3. Loosely based on a true case, the six-hour mini-series tells the story of Grace Marks (Sara Gadon), who was convicted (and later exonerated) for the murders of her boss, Thomas Kinnear (Paul Gross), and his maid/mistress Nancy Montgomery (Anna Paquin) in Canada in 1843. Directed by Sarah Polley, this passionate tale of love and murder also tackles issues of class, gender and sexuality.

Lots of fan favorites with LGBT characters will also be returning this fall. Already back on the airwaves are Tig Notaro’s “One Mississippi” on Amazon, “Top of the Lake: China Girl” directed by Jane Campion and starring Nicole Kidman and Elisabeth Moss (the Sundance Channel); “Broad City” (Comedy Central); and “Better Things” (FX).

The dysfunctional clan of transwoman Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) has also returned to Amazon for season four of “Transparent.” The Lyons family returns to Fox on Sept. 27 for season four of “Empire.” Gay son Jamal (played by out actor Jussie Smollett) gets involved in a scandal; Cookie (award-winning actor Taraji P. Henson) stirs up more trouble; and, the entire cast helps to launch the second season of “Star” which returns on the same night.

Although it’s slipping in the ratings, “Modern Family” comes back to ABC on Sept. 27 for season nine. The award-winning show tracks the antics of the extended Pritchett family, including husbands Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker (Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet).

Although creator Shonda Rhimes is moving to Netflix, her queer-friendly series “How to Get Away with Murder” returns to ABC on Sept. 28. Season four will reportedly include the wedding of interracial gay couple Conner and Oliver (Jake Falahee and Conrad Ricamora).

As the fall TV season continues, a delightfully diverse crew of queer characters will reappear in such returning shows as “Supergirl,” “Riverdale,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Stranger Things,” “Shameless,” “The Girlfriend Experience,” “Search Party,” “The Walking Dead” and “The Shannara Chronicles.”

Fall LGBT TV season, Transparent, gay news, washington blade

The cast of ‘Transparent.’ Its fourth season premieres Sept. 22. (Photo courtesy Amazon)

 

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