As the list of cancelled LGBTQ+ TV shows grows ever longer, here’s our tribute to the vital small screen representation we have lost over the past year.
LGBTQ+ television is facing an existential threat from major streaming studios, linear TV and big studio executives alike. Over the past few years, there has been a relentless stream of cancellations specifically targeting shows that offer meaningful queer representation.
Shows centring sapphic relationships and LGBTQ+ people of colour have taken the biggest hit as frustrated fans are told our stories are simply not profitable or popular enough.
While some shows have been admirably rescued thanks to concerted fan campaigns and heroic networks – think Warrior Nun and Uncoupled – countless more have been tragically lost. So let’s raise a cup to the show’s that have fallen along the way as we renew our strength to fight for queer representation in the future.
Our Flag Means Death
Rhys Darby as Stede (L) and Taika Waititi as Blackbeard (R) in Our Flag Means Death. (Max)
In a harsh blow for joyous onscreen queer representation, HBO Max kicked off 2024 with the devastating news that their LGBTQ+ pirate series Our Flag Means Death would not be returning for a highly-anticipated third season.
The series offered multiple out and proud LGBTQ+ relationships, trans characters and an outrageously camp seaworthy drag sequence – and for that, we salute it.
Unless the series manages to find a new home, fans will never get to see beloved captains Stede “Gentleman Pirate” Bonnet (Rhys Darby) and Ed “Blackbeard” Teach get married as they live their blissful domestic lives as innkeepers.
Miss Benny as Marco, Kim Cattrall as Madolyn in Glamorous. (Netflix)
Netflix’s original series Glamorous had everything going for it – from evoking the nostalgia of noughties hit The Devil Wears Prada to the genius stroke of casting of Kim Cattrall as a makeup mogul.
The series featured rising star Miss Benny in the lead role of eager intern Marco looking to make it in the cut-throat world of beauty.
Alas, it was not to be as Netflix announced the show would not have a second season, leaving fans gutted at this loss of joyful trans representation.
Shadow and Bone
Shadow and Bone was also cancelled. (Netflix)
Netflix truly got their hands dirty this year with a steady stream of cancellations. Their hit fantasy show Shadow & Bone, based on the bestselling Six of Crows book series, caused a stir with the first two seasons.
The latest season even featured a burgeoning romance between Jesper (Kit Young) and Wylan (Jack Wolfe).
But when push came to shove, Netflix simply couldn’t commit to a third season (also thwarting plans of a potential spin-off series).
LGBTQ+ fantasy series Willow was also removed from Disney+. (Disney)
Disney+’s fantasy series Willow – a follow-up to the 1988 film – had a sapphic romance at its heart between Princess Kit (Ruby Cruz) and Jade, played by Erin Kellyman.
Willow had all the ingredients needed to be the perfect YA show, filled with chivalrous romance, gallant adventure and mysterious quests. But it suffered a fate even crueler than your average cancellation, with Disney confirming the show would be pulled from the platform altogether.
1899 was cancelled. (Netflix)
The historic Netflix series follows a group of Europeans travelling from Southampton to New York City on a steamship named Kerberos. But the ordinary journey soon turns sinister as the voyagers embark on a supernatural mystery.
Passengers Ángel (Miguel Bernardeau) and Ramiro (Jose Pimentao) posed as brothers but were actually lovers who had a steamy – and fan-favourite – romance.
Sadly, despite the show’s online popularity it was cancelled after just one season, leaving viewers outraged.
A League of Their Own
A League of Their Own. (Nicola Goode/Prime Video)
Amazon Prime series A League of Their Own offered a brilliant update to the 1992 baseball film of the same name. The TV series, created by Abby Jackson, featured a cast of almost entirely LGBTQ+ main characters centred around an all-female baseball league.
After major fan pressure, the show was renewed for a four-episode second and final season but even this consolation prize was scrapped earlier this year due to the long-running Hollywood writers’ strike.
Gossip Girl has gay characters in its reboot. (HBO Max)
After a cultural impact of the original Gossip Girl, the reboot on HBO Max had everything going for it. The cast featured queer singer Jordan Alexander as Julien Calloway and trans model Zion Moreno as Luna La. And who can forget pansexual party boy Max, played by Thomas Doherty?
Sadly, this queer reboot simply didn’t take off like its OG counterpart and after a two season run, it didn’t get that all important season renewal order.
Meredith and Mia share a kiss in Vampire Academy. (Peacock)
After Peacock announced that they were pulling the plug on queer fantasy TV adaptation Vampire Academy, showrunners Julie Plec and Marguerite MacIntyre attempted to find a new home for the show for season two – sadly with little luck.
LGBTQ+ fans of the show will not be able to check in on the budding sapphic romance between students Mia (Mia McKenna-Bruce) and Meredith (Rhian Blundell) or our resident royal power couple Victor Dashkov (Angel‘s J August Richards) and Robert Karp (Cornelius Macarthy).
The L Word: Generation Q
The L Word: Generation Q cast. (Showtime)
Another reboot bit the dust earlier this year, as Showtime’s modern-day The L Word: Generation Q got cut after just three seasons.
The new series saw cameos from the likes of Fletcher, Margaret Cho and Kehlani and even offered a redemption arc for pre-existing trans character Max Sweeney, played by Daniel Sea.
However, in a wild twist, there is a silver lining to this cancellation cloud as creator Ilene Chaiken is working on a remake, which currently has the working title of The L Word: New York.
Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies
Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies cast. (Eduardo Araquel/Paramount+)
As we continue the nostalgia trip, Paramount+ also attempted to cash in on classics from decades past with a prequel to Grease that takes place four years prior to Danny and Sandy’s high school romance.
Similarly to Willow, after failing to be renewed for a second season, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies has been removed from Paramount+ – although it is available to purchase on DVD.
What We Do In the Shadows
What We Do in the Shadows, a vampire mockumentary series beloved by the queer community, has also been cancelled. . (FX)
FX series What We Do In The Shadows has been a mockumentary staple since it first aired in 2019, following the hilarious shenanigans of sexually fluid vampire roommates Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) in New York’s Staten Island, alongside their gay human familiar, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén).
Sadly, the upcoming sixth season will also be its final one. Not a good year for fictional vampires!
Queen of the Universe
Queen of the Universe has been cancelled and will be removed from Paramount+. (Paramount+)
The RuPaul-produced drag reality singing competition featured judges Trixie Mattel, Michelle Visage, Spice Girl Mel B, and Ugly Betty‘s Vanessa Williams. And, as if that wasn’t enough, it was all hosted by Graham Norton.
Despite having all the ingredients for a hit drag show, viewers were left bereft after the show was not only axed after two seasons but the entire show was taken off Paramount+.
Laci Mosley turned iCarly queer with her pansexual character, Harper. (Giselle Hernandez/Paramount+)
Another day, another cancelled reboot. This time Paramount+ announced that the sitcom, starring childhood favourites Carly (Miranda Cosgrove) and Freddy (Nathan Kress), would not return for a fourth season.
Naturally, fans who had finally seen Carly and Freddy get together after a 16 year wait were left devastated. While queer viewers were also left typically disappointed with the loss of yet another sapphic character, this time pansexual icon Harper (Laci Moseley).
Dead End: Paranormal Park
After Q-Force, Netflix were on a roll and decided to pick out Dead End: Paranormal Park as their next animation victim. The horror comedy series lasted for two seasons, featuring LGBTQ+ stars including Pose‘s MJ Rodrigeuz and legendary drag queen Coco Peru, before meeting its demise.
Queer creator Hamish Steele admitted they had plans to give these characters “the proper ending they deserve” that will now never see the light of day.
One of Us Is Lying
One Of Us Is Lying cast. (Peacock)
Peacock’s teen thriller One Of Us Is Lying had two seasons to prove itself before getting the chop. Based on the YA novel series of the same name, the plot follows five students in detention, all with a clear motive to have murdered fellow high-schooler Simon.
The show starred 17-year-old closeted gay jock Cooper Clay (Chibuikem Uche) and non-binary lesbian Janae Matthews protrayed by Jess McLeod.
Single Drunk Female
Single Drunk Female star Sofia Black-D’Elia on queerness, Bob The Drag Queen and being comedy’s next It-girl (Disney+)
The Disney+ sitcom Single Drunk Female, which lasted for two seasons, follows Sofia Black-D’Elia as the 28-year-old bisexual and recovering alcoholic Samantha Fink.
The show features multiple LGBTQ+ cameos, including from Bob the Drag Queen who is interviewed by Sam in a bid to rebuild her career.
Sadly, the show was axed without fanfare earlier this year and (in an increasingly concerning move) pulled from Hulu.
Netflix series Smiley cancelled. (Netflix)
Finally, we have beloved gay romcom Smiley from Spanish creator Guillem Clua, which landed multiple awards from organisations such as GLAAD and Queerties.
Smiley follows Barcelona-based singles, hunky bartender Alex (Carlos Cuevas) and endearing architect Bruno (Miki Esparbe), who orbit one another’s lives after a wrongly delivered voicemail that kicks off their truly unconventional love story.