Best of TV – November 2015

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Homosexuality on TV was limited to being a comic relief or a supporting role with no prominent storyline. With time slots filled with drama and melodrama and more, soap operas outright neglected the stories that need to be told. Nilanjana Dutta lists out the shows that changed all that and gave drama a new angle with their portrayal of homosexuality

Empire
A show fuelled by plot points like power, sex, money, drugs and violence is all that was expected of this story centred on a hip hop mogul’s lineage. It manages to go a notch above everyone’s expectation with a gay character which, central to the storyline, isn’t a stereotype or a comic relief. Starting from hateful slurs being directed at the gay character to flashbacks of him being stuffed into a garbage can by his father, the hip hop legend, unapologetically brings out a raw culture where masculinity is equal only to heterosexuality and homosexuality is a sinful aberration.

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Sense 8
This show dwells in unchartered territory with a highly diverse lead cast of LGBT characters in a grand multi reality sci-fi. If the compelling storyline of eight individuals mysteriously connecting at a mental and physical level while being hunted by an unknown organisation is not enough for us to binge, the unique portrayal of a cis-gender and transgender love story and other such untold narratives, will keep your torrent busy.

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How to get away with Murder
This legal drama treats homosexuality with an ease matched to the general portrayal of heterosexuality, neither claiming it to be central or required to the storyline but rather a by product which doesn’t need to be fussed over.

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Modern family
This show’s hilarious portrayal of family ties and feuds over a period of time is bang on. Probably one of the first shows to portray your next-door-gay-couple, its depiction isn’t completely original or realistic and tends to get a little stereotypical, where the makers of the show play at the advantage of being a comedy TV series.

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Orange is the new black
As our lead, Piper, is told that she does ‘not have to have lesbian sex’ by her counsellor, it mockingly confirms that this isn’t your regular vulgar, violence driven prison drama with lesbian shower rapes from yesteryear. Here, our convict is spending 14 months in prison for carrying drugs for her lesbian lover years ago, while her current fiancé runs around trying to get her supplies in prison. The show successfully represents queer women as part of a larger spectrum beyond sexuality.