August 9, 2018 at 8:55 am EDT | by Susan Hornik
TV critics take on the fall line up
Fall gay television, gay news, Washington Blade

The ‘Will & Grace’ reboot returns for its second season (10th total; an 11th has been announced as well) on Thursday, Oct. 4. It’s one show LGBT critics are most looking forward to. (Photo courtesy NBC)

With more broadcast, cable and streaming network programs than ever before, gay television critics have their hands full, in a constant state of binge-watching all the new and returning series.

At the Television Critics Press Tour, which took place in Beverly Hills, the Los Angeles Blade’s Susan Hornik talked to gay television critics about their favorite shows.

Malcolm Venable, senior writer, TVGuide.com

Malcolm Venable (Photo courtesy of Venable)

This fall, I’m excited about the return of “The Deuce,” where the divine Maggie Gyllenhaal this season will be giving less blowjobs in dirty theaters and producing porn in 1970’s New York City. Last season, the series flirted with depictions of gay sex, and here’s to hoping that this season will take those flirtations even further, by showing more same-sex porn and what happens when authorities try to clamp down on it.

Like everyone else with a pulse, I’m also keen to see what ways the Pearsons of “This Is Us” will be making us cry again — I suspect it’s only a matter of time before they push a grandma down a flight of steps or punt a puppy across a football field. Though Denis O’Hare is highly unlikely to return as William’s partner unless the show is going to depict some kind of dead person-alive person romance, we can probably count on some type of LGBTQ representation…or at least more Beth. I need more Beth. I’m also giddy with anticipation for another season of “The Good Place.” It’s a show that never fails to make you happy.

Of course “Will & Grace” comes back again this fall too, and, like a fabulous queen who has faithfully applied moisturizer with SPF every day, this show is aging really well. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” in its final season, promises to be bonkers, and though they’re both animated, “She-Ra” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” both on Netflix, promise to bring more kick-ass women to the small screen and give lots of queer fangirls new crushes to obsess over.

Jim Colucci, freelance television critic, author of “Golden Girls Forever” and “Will & Grace: Fabulously Uncensored”

Jim Colucci (Photo courtesy of Colucci)

Of all the new and returning fall shows, the thing I’m most excited about, from both an overall and LGBT perspective, is a classic: “Will & Grace.” The show returned last fall, just when the world needed it again, as the current administration regularly threatens LGBT rights. 

After all, this was a show that in 1998 — eons ago, as far as LGBT rights go — captured the world’s hearts and minds, and showed the humanity of gay and lesbian characters. That, plus the show has always been one of the wittiest, campiest, and yet most touching sitcoms ever on TV.  Now that it’s back for a second “rebooted” season, things are changing — Will’s mom is engaged to Grace’s dad, Jack has a new, steady boyfriend — and the show and its cast is becoming more diverse.

One of the things that stood out most to me when I wrote my book, “Will & Grace: Fabulously Uncensored” is when the show’s creators, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, told me that they enjoyed deliberately “writing themselves into a corner” with the cliffhanger of every season. It challenged them as writers in determining how to proceed with the next season’s storylines, and therefore ultimately made the show deeper and better.  Last season’s cliffhanger sure did force some changes, and I can’t wait to see how those play out.

Brendan Haley, contributing writer for PRIDE.com

Brendan Haley (Photo courtesy of Haley)

As we can expect the forthcoming season three of “The Crown” to debut a brand new cast, it’ll be exciting to see the developments in one relationship in particular, both performance and story-wise, Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter) and her bisexual ex-husband Antony-Armstrong Jones (Ben Daniels).

Antony’s sexuality played a key role in last season’s drama, depicting the harsh judgments that LGBT people faced in the 1960s.

Also, obviously I anticipate the return of “Will & Grace” this coming fall season, knowing several new comedic additions are in store, including the legendary Chelsea Handler, and the talents of Brian Jordan Alvarez (Estefan).

Where the landscape of TV show reboots can sometimes plateau, “Will & Grace” has not only come back harder than where it left off in 2006, it has thrived in a new era of entertainment, receiving nominations for both Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress (Megan Mullally), and Guest Actress (Molly Shannon) in a Comedy Series.

Frank DeCaro, writer/comedian

Frank DeCaro (Photo courtesy of DeCaro)

I’m most excited for the fifth and final season of “Gotham.” I’ve been obsessed with this lush, twisted, delicious, funny, gorgeously costumed, and perversely sexy “Batman” origin story since its debut. What’s not to love? Pansexual girl gangs! Erotic tension between the Penguin and the Riddler! A hunky Mr. Freeze with an enormous freeze gun! Watching it makes me happier than a queer in Arkham, and, hold on to your Batpole, this is one series that is sure to go out with a bang!

Hunter Ingram

Hunter Ingram (Photo courtesy of Ingram)

It’s only been a few months since Pop’s “Schitt’s Creek” wrapped its fourth season, but the Canadian import has left a maple leaf-sized hole in my heart waiting until season five to arrive in 2019. Lucky for us Schittheads, the Catherine O’Hara-Eugene Levy-fronted comedy series saved the final episode of its 13-episode order for a Christmas special, set to arrive in December.

The series has matured from its fish-out-of-water roots into a genuinely uproarious laugh riot with undercurrent of heart and family, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they do with “Schitt’s Creek” holiday special. Family dinner at Cafe Tropical? Some caroling from Jazzagirls? If nothing else, David and Patrick, TV’s most underrated gay romance, better find themselves under some mistletoe.

Eight seasons in, FX’s “American Horror Story” has hit some scary-good highs and frustrating lows. Many of the former came in its first and third seasons — “Murder House” and “Coven,” respectively — meaning September’s crossover season between the two installments comes with ultra-high expectations.

The tease of a return to LA’s deadliest house and a visit from a few of Miss Robichaux’s Academy’s finest already has my spine tingling. But the addition of the Drama Queen herself, Joan Collins, and the lingering hope for more surprise faces (Jessica Lange, perhaps?) make this the most highly anticipated “AHS” in years. Don’t let us down, Ryan Murphy!

Netflix’s churns out so much original content it’s hard to lose things amongst the deluge. But one thing I’ve kept my eye on is Cary Fukunaga’s “Maniac,” a trippy limited series about a questionable drug trial, starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. It was first announced two years ago and since then, the drip-drip of pictures and promises it’s happening have kept me thirsting for more.

With the recent announcement it will arrive Sept. 21 and a psychedelic teaser to boot, this one has already grab my attention. And that’s even without our first glimpses of co-stars Justin Theroux and Sally Field!

Movie stars on the small screen rarely have the same shock value as it had at the dawn of Peak TV. But Julia Roberts is an exception. The Oscar winner is taking on her first series regular (let’s not forget that stellar guest spot on “Friends” in 1996) with Amazon’s “Homecoming,” an adaptation of the popular podcast (Nov. 2). No one doubts Roberts’ talents, but how do they translate to episodic television, let alone a character-driven half-hour thriller that’s already a go for two seasons. I’m ecstatic about the potential, and not just because she finally lands “My Best Friend’s Wedding” co-star Dermot Mulroney as her boyfriend.

Dennis Pastorizo, TV Host, Host of LATV Network’s The Zoo

Dennis Pastorizo (Photo courtesy of Pastorizo)

Shows like “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Voice” and “Dancing with the Stars” seem like they’ve been on forever and are here to stay, so I don’t feel as much anticipation for their premieres. I am, however, thrilled to see the new “Magnum P.I.” with Jay Hernandez. I’m usually weary about remakes but he‘s a hunk and the locations look amazing.

Speaking of remakes and reboots: I am excited to see what the new season of “Murphy Brown” will look like. The show’s been off for 20 years and I’m wondering if its core audience will return and how much more can be done with the characters.  And although I never cared for “Last Man Standing” on ABC, I want to see how long it will last on FOX.

Original episodes are currently running on Antenna TV, but if it isn’t available on a streaming service beforehand,  I don’t know how much hype can be built around the premiere or if viewers will remember important plot points, given Antenna TV is nowhere near accessible or popular as a Netflix or Hulu.

“The Conners”  is definitely going to be must-see-TV, at least for its first episode, because we all want to know what will happen to Roseanne’s character.  Only time will tell if she is indeed the glue that kept everything together in that show, or if her supporting cast is strong enough to continue the series’ legacy. 

Diane Anderson-Minshall, Editorial Director, The Advocate magazine and Chill magazine

Diane Anderson-Minshall

Trial & Error is amazingly funny and criminally underrated, and there’s a gender subversive bent to a lot of it. The first season had explicitly queer content and though it was played for laughs, it was never at our expense. I’m expecting the same out of season 2, plus Kristin Chenoweth chews the scenery like no other actress can.

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