Summer is just around the corner, and with coronavirus vaccines widely available and restrictions loosening around the country, it seems like life might finally be getting back to normal. Still, as we’ve all learned over the past year, sometimes there’s nothing better than sitting on your couch, picking up the remote, and finding a movie to watch (or binging far too many episodes of a new show).
Here’s what’s Streaming Queer in May 2021.
Hacks – Season 1
In Hacks, the incomparable Jean Smart plays Deborah Vance, a legendary comedian whose act isn’t working as well as it used to. To freshen up her material, Vance reluctantly hires much-younger, bisexual TV writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder) to write some new jokes. Their battle of wits makes for a surprising, caustic, laugh-out-loud funny show, one that’s anchored by solid, lived-in performances from its two leads. Not to be missed.
Stream This LGBTQ+ Show On: HBOMax (premiered May 13th, new episodes weekly)
Halston – Limited Series
Another month, another glossy new Ryan Murphy mini-series. This one is about acclaimed gay fashion designer Halston (Ewan McGregor), who Netflix calls “the first American celebrity fashion designer.” His longtime friendship with Liza Minelli is the stuff of legend, as is his meteoric rise and subsequent fall from grace. Love him or hate him, Ryan Murphy has an admirable commitment to getting Queer stories on television. Some critics have called Halston style over substance, but Murphy’s whole thing is style as substance; messy as his shows may sometimes be on a plot level, Murphy’s flashy approach to his material makes it difficult to look away from.
Stream This LGBTQ+ Show On: Netflix (premiered May 14th)
Pose — Season 3
Speaking of Ryan Murphy, his best show Pose, came back this month for one final season. I’ll let Queerist‘s Lex Evan take it from here: “In the final seven episodes, the writers of Pose have delicately balanced a story that offers more insight into the circumstances that shaped the resilience of Blanca’s (MJ Rodriguez) family members and the events that brought them together, with the effects of extreme loss through the height of the AIDS epidemic. It also balances a vision of Trans and Queer representation that finds our beloved Pose characters thriving in a world that seeks to erase their existence, all while continuing its focus on Ballroom culture in the 80s and 90s. This season is overflowing with emotion through legacy, sacrifice, triumph, and hope.” It’s a shame Pose is coming to an end after only three seasons, but I’m glad it ever existed at all.
Stream This LGBTQ+ Show On: FX, next day on Hulu (premiered May 2nd, new episodes weekly)
Legendary — Season 2
HBOMax’s competition show Legendary returned for a new season this month, and it makes for the perfect companion piece to Pose. Whereas Pose depicts the history of ballroom and traces out the subculture through the tumultuous 1980s and 90s, Legendary shows that ballroom is alive and well, honey! The show features ten voguing houses proving their skills on the runway, judged by the iconic dancer Leiomy Maldonado, rapper Megan Thee Stallion, actress Jameela Jamil, and stylist Law Roach. It’s a blast from start to finish, providing an essential platform for a number of Queer people, Trans people, Queer People of Color, and other artists that don’t typically have a chance to show off their art form to the world.
Stream This LGBTQ+ Show On: HBOMax (premiered May 6th, new episodes weekly)
PG: Psycho Goreman
Psycho Goreman, which has been out for a few months on demand, finally comes to Shudder this month. The gonzo horror flick is nearly impossible to describe; it feels like something that fell off a Blockbuster shelf in 1997 and gathered cobwebs until finally being rediscovered this year, and it really must be seen to be believed. It’s the story of a brother/sister duo who accidentally unleash a dangerous alien who’s been entombed on Earth, only to find themselves in possession of a magical amulet that lets them control his every move. It’s a movie tailor-made for every nerdy kid who loved Power Rangers, everyone who ever wanted a big strong alien to come beat up their bullies. It’s thoroughly ridiculous, full of wild practical-effects gore, hysterically weird alien costumes, and low-budget-as-high-art production design. Oh, and Psycho Goreman himself enjoys flipping through magazines of hunky men, and the movie loves him for it. Queer icon!
Stream This LGBTQ+ Film On: Shudder (premieres May 20th)
Dance of the 41
In Dance of the 41, Sense8 star Alfonso Herrera plays Ignacio de la Torre y Mier, a Mexican man who married the daughter of then-President Porfirio Díaz. However, he was in the closet, a fact that became widely known when police raided a cross-dressing ball he attended. Dance of the 41 depicts the ensuing scandal, which broke the concept of homosexuality wide open in Mexican media. The film is gorgeously sensual, from the incredible detailing of the costumes to the intimate sex scenes. Herrera is a wonderful actor, and Dance of the 41‘s story should be seen far and wide, especially by audiences who may be unaware of the importance of the real-life event.
Stream This LGBTQ+ Film On: Netflix (premiered May 12th)
Everything’s Gonna Be Okay — Season 2
Out gay Australian actor Josh Thomas’ first show Please Like Me is one of my favorite sitcoms ever, so I was nervous for his follow-up, and first, show on American television, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay. I am happy to report that it’s even better. Everything’s Gonna Be Okay tells the story of Nicholas (Thomas), a twentysomething man who finds himself the guardian of his half-siblings when his father unexpectedly passes away. Kayla Cromer, who plays Nicholas’s younger sister Mathilda, is the first actor on the autism spectrum to play an autistic character on television; the show’s warm-hearted portrayal of their family dynamic is genuinely touching, as is Nicholas’ new relationship with the charming Alex (Adam Faison).
Stream This LGBTQ+ Show On: Freeform, next day on Hulu (premiered April 8th, new episodes weekly)
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series — Season 2
It’s been a while since we’ve had a pop star burst onto the scene as fully-formed as Olivia Rodrigo seems to be. Her rise to pop stardom in the last few months has been meteoric; her debut single driver’s license smashed records, and the two follow-ups deja vu and good 4 u didn’t disappoint either. It’s easy to forget, then, that Rodrigo is also a TV star; she’s currently the lead on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, which returns this month for Season 2. Despite (or maybe because of?) the behind-the-scenes gossip about Rodrigo and her former flame and current co-star Joshua Bassett (who himself may have come out as Queer last week), HSM:TM:TS is still an utter gift of a show. It’s like what Glee seemed like it was going to be before Glee became… that. Adorable gay romances abound, as do gender-bent casting choices and campy song-and-dance numbers.
Stream This LGBTQ+ Show On: Disney+ (premiered May 14th, new episodes weekly)
Special – Season 2
Writer and star Ryan O’Connell’s warm, sardonic, semi-autobiographical show Special was a delightful surprise back in 2019 when Netflix dropped the short first season with little fanfare. Thankfully, the show is back this month for another season of antics, and this time around the episodes are half an hour long instead of the too-brief 15-minute runtime of Season 1. This will, unfortunately, be the final season of the show, but we can’t wait to see what O’Connell and his newly-expanded writers’ room have cooked up for the characters we came to love the first time around, including and especially Ryan’s friend Kim (Punam Patel).
Stream This LGBTQ+ Show On: Netflix (premieres May 20th)
The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Okay, I’m cheating on this last one, as Netflix’s brilliant animated film The Mitchells vs. The Machines was technically released in April. Still, if you haven’t yet watched this delightful family comedy about a world where machines attempt to eradicate humanity, there’s no better time than the present to fix that. The movie stars out bisexual actress Abbi Jacobson as the voice of Katie, an artsy teenager trying to save the world so she can get back to the business of impressing a girl at college. The animation looks great; the jokes fly fast and furious, and it’s still touching to see a film aimed at children include Queer characters with nary a second thought. The Mitchells vs. The Machines is, consequently, maybe my favorite thing I’ve watched this year so far.
Stream This LGBTQ+ Film On: Netflix (premiered April 30th)
Streaming Queer is our monthly series on the best of what’s Queer in TV & Film.