Pride Month may be ending in a few days, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop celebrating. Rotten Tomatoes asked the cast and creatives of some of our favorite LGBTQ+-centered series — including The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken, Pose creator Steven Canals, Vida creator Tanya Saracho, activist/Pose director and writer Janet Mock, and Pose star Mj Rodriguez — to reveal what their personal favorite LGBTQ+ television shows are, and why. Here’s their curated list so you can keep celebrating LGBTQ+ contributions to pop culture all year long.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.Thumbnail image photo credit: Gareth Gatrell/BBCAmerica; Chris Haston/NBC; Sarah Shatz/FXKilling Eve 89%Ilene Chaiken: Killing Eve is everything. It’s the television game-changer of the moment. It’s spectacular in every way. Those two women both as actresses and characters are stunning. Jodie Comer is my new favorite sexy twisted hero villainess. And it’s just – what can I say? The added bonus is Fiona Shaw, who, on the show, is playing this wicked character but she is also just an icon in gay, elevated, acting royalty.Tanya Saracho: Killing Eve is inspired storytelling. I will continue to love it for its complicated, flawed and morally ambiguous protagonists. I choose to disregard [star Sandra] Oh s comments about this not being a lesbian story and will take it for what I think it is: A f ked-up queer tale of love and obsession.Noah’s ArcSteven Canals: Noah s Arc is a really great one. It s one of the few shows I can think of that centers queer black men.Mj Rodriguez: When Noah s Arc came out, that slayed for me. It was the validation. And also there were trans women on that show. Granted, they were featured, or they were guests, or they were background, but they were still there and that s what really made me feel good.American Horror Story 77%Ilene Chaiken: Ryan Murphy delivers for me in American Horror Story. In everything he does he delivers. Nobody tells our stories and portrays us and provokes us in the way he does, but American Horror Story is my favorite because he does genre, and genre gets at us in such a profound way.Vida 100%Janet Mock: I love Vida. I love what Tanya has done with that series. I love how much deeper they go in season 2 — I watched it in a day and a half. I love a half-hour drama. I think that she s doing such important work. I love those actors so much. I love the world that s there. That s literally right over here, right, a little east of us where we re at right now. And so yeah, I love that series and I hope that more people watch it and support it.Pose 98%Tanya Saracho: Pose is necessary television. And it s overdue. It s a beautiful thing to see all those brown and black faces on screen, living their truest lives.Will & Grace Mj Rodriguez: Now granted, there were no trans women on that show at all, but it was still representation of the LGBT community. And I can only relate to it somewhat because I mean, it was an all-white cast.Sense8 86%Ilene Chaiken: Maybe it never found the audience that it should have, although I know it has some very devoted fans. It’s a beautiful work of art, something we don’t often see on television. It works as story, but it works as just ethereal, ephemeral, profound art.Gentleman Jack 90%Tanya Saracho: I m crazy about Gentleman Jack (and that top hat!). I love everything about the show; the aesthetic, the tone, the story — but mainly, Ms. Suranne Jones. She took her character, Anne Lister, through the emotional paces from cheeky breaks of the fourth wall to stirring exploration of what it meant to be queer in a time when that was a viscerally dangerous thing.Orphan Black 93%Ilene Chaiken: Even if there hadn’t been gay and trans clones, I still would’ve said it was a gay show, but it’s just progressive, it’s subversive, it’s brilliant, and also, and really important for me, I have been looking for gay genre shows, or for genre shows that feature gay characters and gay themes forever and ever and Orphan Black finally delivered for me.Orange Is the New Black 90%Mj Rodriguez: Laverne Cox is like my sister, and she was the one who broke down that door and opened the space up for us to come on in and take our craft seriously.One Day at a Time 99%Tanya Saracho: I heart One Day at a Time so much. Elena and Syd s beautiful relationship is poignant and bold and so now. I love how they love.The Rachel Maddow ShowIlene Chaiken: And also Anderson Cooper, but Rachel Maddow in particular. Where else do we look for icons, for just a touchstone to our own rage and hope and truth?
(Photo by Apple)Netflix, Amazon, and now Hulu have both become synonymous with prestige TV, but there s one giant tech company not far behind the two streaming services — at least in theory. In the past year, Apple has made moves to compete with Netflix, Hulu, and premium cable channels (like HBO and Showtime) for the peak TV crown in 2019.With more TV series — and places to watch them — than ever, Apple is putting a reported billion toward adding to the peak TV pile. While the company began its foray into scripted series with two current shows offered through Apple Music — the tech-themed Shark Tank–esque reality competition Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke: The Series — the competition really ramped up when it hired veteran TV executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht in June 2017. The duo formerly ran Sony Pictures Television, the studio that brought the world Breaking Bad and The Crown.Van Amburg and Erlicht have engaged in aggressive bidding wars for some of TV s hottest projects, according to a New York Times report, and will likely surpass its reported budget in doing so. With more than a dozen projects currently in the works, it s clear the company is ready to spend money to compete with TV s current titans. (Planet of the Apps, which featured guest judges including Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba, didn t get much critical acclaim when it debuted in June 2017. Carpool Karaoke: The Series, a spin-off of James Corden s popular Late Late Show segment, has been ordered for a second season.)(Photo by Apple)Apple held a star-studded launch event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters in March to announce its new streaming product and original series offerings. Stars including Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard, J.J. Abrams, Sara Bareilles, and even Big Bird were present for the Apple TV+ presentation. The service is scheduled to roll out its programming on Nov. 1.RELATED: Everything To Know About Apple TV+ Below, we ve rounded up a list of all the titles that are headed to or intended for the tech giant. Some are in development, while the others are series orders (and have even completed filming). Read on to find out who the players are and more about the shows.UPDATED (9/11/19): Apple s latest event revealed pricing and launch date information for Apple TV+. Check out the updated list of everything we know below, including which shows will debut at launch, which are coming soon, and which are still in the works.Launching Nov. 1The Morning Show(Photo by Apple TV+)Talent: Witherspoon and Aniston are both set to star in and executive produce the drama, which was one of the first scripted series Apple announced. While Jay Carson (House of Cards) was originally signed on to write the project, he has since departed and Bates Motel boss Kerry Ehrin took over. Steve Carell will play the male lead.What it s about: The morning show drama has already been ordered for two seasons and 20 episodes and will draw background from Brian Stelter s book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV.Chances it ll be a Certified Fresh hit: With the star power and bona fides of Big Little Lies star and producer Witherspoon and Friends vet Aniston, plus the creative power of Ehrin, it s almost too big to fail. Then again, the drama surrounding Carson s departure is never a good sign (Photo by Apple TV+)Talent: Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard star in the series, which was written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games).What it s about: The show is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the human race has lost the sense of sight.Chances it ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Momoa is a fan-favorite star, and with such high-caliber talent attached, this could go very, very well. (But since it s got such an ambitious plot, there s also plenty of opportunity for things to go very, very wrong.For All Mankind(Photo by Apple)Talent: Battlestar Galactica and Outlander creator Ronald D. Moore has teamed up with Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi (Fargo) for the still-untitled series.What it s about: The drama, which has been ordered straight to series, explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended.Chances it ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Between BSG and Outlander, Moore certainly has both the cred and the goods to assume he ll deliver on this one, too.Dickinson(Photo by Apple)Talent: Hailee Steinfeld and Jane Krakowski are set to star as young poet Emily Dickinson and her mother, respectively.What it’s about: The series is a half-hour comedy that “is set during Emily Dickinson’s era with a modern sensibility and tone. It takes viewers into the world of Emily, audaciously exploring the constraints of society, gender, and family from the perspective of a budding writer who doesn’t fit in to her own time through her imaginative point of view,” per Deadline.Chances it’ll be a Certified Fresh hit: The star power is great, but the series logline is a little out there. We’ll have to wait and see to reserve judgement.Helpsters(Photo by Apple)Talent: Sesame Workshop is producing the series, which was announced at the Apple event by none other than Big Bird.What it s about: The preschool-targeted series will be an educational program about coding.Chances it ll be a Certified Fresh hit: If Sesame Street can continue educating children a half a century after its original launch, there s no reason to believe this new series won t work.Snoopy in Space/Peanuts STEM Series(Photo by Courtesy of DHX Media)Talent: Charlie Brown, Lucy, Pigpen, Snoopy — you know, all your favorites from Charles M. Schulz s Peanuts gang — will be the focus of this new series.What it s about: The first series from Apple s deal acquiring the rights to the famous characters will be a science- and math-oriented short featuring Snoopy as an astronaut. This and other new originals with be produced with DHX Media, a Canadian production company that owns a large portion of children s content, also including Yo Gabba Gabba! and the Teletubbies.Chances it ll be a Certified Fresh hit: You can t really go wrong with such beloved characters.Ghostwriter(Photo by Apple TV+)Talent: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. veteran Brett DaltonWhat it s about: According to the official description, this is a reinvention of the classic 90s children s series following four kids who are brought together by a mysterious ghost in a neighborhood bookstore, and must team up to release fictional characters from works of literature. Chances it ll be a Certified Fresh hit: While beloved to a very small group of people who grew up in the 1990s, the series doesn t necessarily have much recognition outside that circle. We ll have to wait until it debuts to find out whether the concept transfers to a new generation.Launching SoonM. Night Shyamalan Thriller, Servant(Photo by Apple)Talent: M. Night Shyamalan is executive producing and will direct the first episode of this series, from writer Tony Basgallop.What it s about: As if the king of big twists would reveal anything about his psychological thriller! Good to note: The first season will consist of 10 half-hour episodes and has been ordered straight to series.Chances it ll be a Certified Fresh hit: This one, like Shayamalan s movies, depends on execution. Will it be a Sixth Sense or a Lady in the Water? Only time will tell.Truth Be Told(Photo by Apple)Talent: Octavia Spencer is set to star in the drama, which is produced by Reese Witherspoon, created and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman (The Good Wife, Justified), and based on true-crime novel by Kathleen Barber. Sarah Koenig, creator of the podcast phenomenon Serial, is consulting. Aaron Paul plays the male lead.What it s about: Truth Be Told (formerly, Are You Sleeping ) provides a unique glimpse into America’s obsession with true-crime podcasts and challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage. Spencer plays a disgraced journalist who returns to her hometown and revisits a case in which she played a pivotal role in her early career. Paul plays a man Spencer s character helped put behind bars — but he could potentially be innocent of the crime.Chances it ll be a Certified Fresh hit: There s a reason true-crime stories are so engrossing, and if this series can capture the source of that fascination, then it should thrive.Little America(Photo by Apple)Talent: Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the husband-and-wife team behind indie hit The Big Sick, are developing this series for Apple.What it s about: The anthology series is based on Epic Magazine s series of the same name, described as a small, collective portrait of America s immigrants — and thereby a portrait of America itself. Nanjiani announced at the Apple TV+ launch that the scripted series is being made solely by immigrants or children of immigrants, and will focus on everyday people.Chances it ll be a Certified Fresh hit: Given the tender eye and charm
Taylor (cont.): The scale of the scene was big for me, at the time, because I hadn t really done anything big and epic yet. That came later, and the show hadn t gotten its big budget boost until later. So, by the terms of the time, it was a bigger deal, and we didn t have much money, and we didn t have enough extras, and we couldn t afford the visual effects that we had planned, so it was all very sort of getting by by the seat of our pants. But I remember talking to my DP, Alik Sakharov, and both of us agreeing that the core, it was really a story about a father and his two daughters, and sticking to that dynamic guided us through how we handled the scene.In fact, the most emotional moments for me were some of the stuff between the way we crosscut between Ned and his daughters and, certainly, between Ned and Arya, who sort of inherits the narrative at the end of that episode. We hand off from Ned and take it to her in a way that I was happy with, because of course, her character, like all characters, has a long road ahead of them, and we re going to grow with them. But I remember being very conscious about saying, OK, we re finishing Ned, but the story continues and we re passing the narrative, passing the consciousness, passing the subjectivity to this young girl. So, we did that with pictures and with sound, and I was happy with how it turned out.(Photo by HBO)Can you also talk a little bit about the performances of your actors, in that moment?Taylor: Yeah. Again, it hung mostly on the three. Ned Stark was the linchpin, the centerpiece of the whole thing, and his performance I still think is just heartbreaking and beautiful. It s partly because I have daughters, and I sort of know what it d be like. I can t know, but I think I identify with him up there: a combination of anguish and shame and despair. His performance was perfect.Our two actresses were so young and were going to develop and build and grow so much, but I think they did amazing work, both of them, in that scene. Joffrey also is great as the consummate villain, with his pettiness and naiveté on display. I did watch it recently and was impressed with everyone, and when you go to a wide shot, everyone is absolutely in character. Cersei and Sansa, and even Varys and everyone is really playing their relationship to this moment, intensely. I was very happy.All anybody really wants to know is what Ned Stark was whispering when he was about to get his head chopped off, and that s the question I get a million times. I know I spoke to him about what would be going through his head and what he would be doing, and we agreed that he d be praying to his own gods and trying to make peace and trying to accept. So I know he came up with a prayer, probably talking to our language guy and our writers, but it was nothing scripted. It was really his invention, but it was to do with the prayers to his gods.(Photo by HBO)The series would have been so different if he had survived, and it seems obvious, but can you talk a little bit about how essential that moment is in the series overall?Taylor: I think it s true that it is the turning point. Some friends and I have talked about the show and one of the things we have come to believe is that it s an epic show that has a kind of the pilot episode is the first season. It s not like the first episode sets you up. It s such a scale of storytelling that really the whole first season is the pilot. It s the turning point of Ned being destroyed and the dragons being born. The stakes rise and chaos is initiated.The Starks and everyone is sort of scattered to the winds, and all the seasons that follow are about the slow reconnection of those people that were scattered. In that way, it really does launch the story forward and shape what s to come. [In] the eighth season, the culmination is everyone coming back together, everyone finding their place in the battle that will finish things, and much of that comes from what happened that day.What was your first experience watching Ned s beheading with people who weren t involved with the production and didn t know what was coming?Taylor: That was a revelation, partly because of that scene, and also because we didn t know when we were doing it the scale of the audience response to the series as a whole, so we had no idea that we would find this audience. I was most stunned by the way that Ned connected to every demographic and to every economic level. It was such effective storytelling and such a great performance on his part and doing what fantasy can do, which sort of transposes to an environment where everybody, I think, can relate.I was really taken aback and impressed that the people who seemed torn up by it really took Ned as their character. As I said, I was struck by [how] it cut across all categories, and frequently we re aware of how our society and our time is fractured along any number of measurable lines, and in that moment I was struck by how much everybody had taken that character into their hearts and identified with them and felt the loss of him, which was inspiring.I think that was the first moment that people started posting video reactions on the internet, right? Taylor: Yeah. I remember seeing something on YouTube, and one young man was watching and he was just beside himself. It was just devastating. He was so upset with us and stuff. It was the best audience response you could find.Going back, would you do anything differently with that moment?Taylor: Yes. Of course. I mean, I look at it now and I see the crudeness of some of it. Some I can blame on budget and time and stuff. But also I think I ve gotten better at handling scenes of that scale, so I think I might have done a better job with the camera. But I can t think of anything to change in terms of the performance the actors gave, and I can t argue with the emotional impact that it has, so in that way I m not trying to redo it in my head.Moment: Mother of Dragons(Photo by HBO)Next is the Mother of Dragons scene. Viewers watched Daenerys walk into the fire and everyone thinks she s sacrificing herself. She thinks she might be, too. Can you tell us about building that moment with your actors?Taylor: A lot was going on there, obviously. It s a tragedy, it s a funeral, it s the end of things, and as we discovered, it s the beginning of everything, too. I know — I ve heard this, and we spoke about it — that Emilia did not think her character expected to die in the flames. She didn t know what was coming, but whatever came she felt was right. So there s a wonderful look she gives to Iain Glen when he s all torn up. When she s about to walk in she looks at him, and it s such a forgiving, letting go look from such a place of wisdom. I thought it was really beautiful, and that, for me, was the attitude that Emilia had Daenerys take into the flames — that she knew the rightness of what she was doing.Partly it s a culture where when the King dies, the Queen goes with him, but she s a Targaryen. I think in her mind she knew flames were not going to be the problem, that something was going to happen, or that she was going to a place, that it wasn t necessarily her death that she was walking to. Certainly nobody, including her, expected the birth that happened with her three sidekicks.But that was the beginning of the new dawn. One detail that I was happy with and proud of was that I believe, in the book, that scene plays at night, and the dragons are born in the night. I remember pushing for the transition to be to dawn, so that when the dragons are born they re born into the dawn of a new day. It was partly a storytelling thing, to say that this has ended and now this is beginning, but it was also because we had that amazing location. I wanted to make sure that we saw it, and that we could back off and hear the dragons voices scaled. If it was night we couldn t have afforded to light it because we didn t have any money back then. I remembering being very happy with [it]. One of my favorite moments is the transition to dawn when Iain Glen s character walks in and we follow his feet and his sword in to discover her for the first time, and that transition to dawn meant a lot to me.(Photo by HBO)It was beautiful.Taylor: That location was in Malta and it s beautiful, right by the coast. It s all ocean on the right side of frame and desert on the left, but we had to erase the ocean and replace it with desert to make it look like we were in the right setting. It was funny to take such a beautiful image with this glistening sea and erase it all and put more sand in.I was going to ask about some of the effects in that moment, because obviously, the dragons. Can you just talk a little bit about coordinating to get the exact right baby dragon experience?Taylor: On the day Emilia did a great job of having nothing to work with, and none of us had seen the dragons yet. [Showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] kept talking about [how] they wanted them to be absolutely biologically believable. In all the research they d done with dragons, they threw away anything that had four feet and wings. They wanted to go off physiognomy and physiology that was real, so they looked at bats and creatures where the forelimbs are the wings. That became a big part of the design of the creatures.Just the fact that these awesome beings would enter the story as tiny, fragile, squeaky dependent creatures was a hint, or a gesture toward the scale of where we were going — that eventually they were going to be the size of jumbo jets. But at this point they were nothing.That relates to another question I had about when you re building these moments to film, taking into consideration what s to come for the character. How much of that is part of your filmmaking process?Taylor: You always want to know, because a lot of it, the way you would weight a certain moment comes from knowing where you re headed and playing against that, sometimes, or being true to it but playing against it. Certainly Daenerys has one of the strongest arcs in television. She was basically chattel — she s an object being sold off at the beginning, and she rises to become the most powerful person in that world.I think we were all guided by a dim awareness of her overall arc, but I had no grasp of the details, certainly, of where we were going. I m sure she had had talks with David and Dan. They probably gave her a lot more insight to where her character was going than I was privy to at the time. I just knew that this was the beginning of something very, very big.In fact, I think even when we did that scene I was naive about the scale of the storytelling. I thought that in season 2 the dragons would be something substantial to contend with, but they were not even preteen by season 2. I ve always been impressed with how they were taking their time to build layer on layer of things, and the dragons are one case where David and Dan had a very clear idea of the long game they were playing.Moment: Viserion Becomes an Ice DragonSpeaking of dragons, that brings me to the third big twist. We lose one of those baby dragons. Well, he gets adopted.Taylor: He s co-opted, appropriated. Yeah. I remember when I had been away from the show and I was coming back to do one episode, because it worked out schedule-wise. I saw that I was getting the second-to-last episode, which usually, in HBO terms, means you re getting a big one because there s a season structure where the second-to-last episode pulls out all the stops, and frequently the last episode is kind of a denouement.I thought, Oh, that s great. But then I started seeing the other scripts and realizing that in that season, every episode was huge. Every episode had a major huge event or battle or something, so I realized that that was just the nature of the show that had grown so much since I had been away. But then, when I read my script, I got to that moment with the dragon and I knew the power of what is was, because partly [in] killing off any longstanding character, the incredible upheaval it means for the balance of power is major.But also the fact that you re basically killing a puppy. You know it s going to have a very strong resonance with the audience, so I was really grateful to be able to handle that moment. The reveal of the turn at the end, of course, was one of the yummiest episode-enders I d ever been given — when we see the blue eye open and know what that means. Mostly it was just gratitude being able to do it. I remember designing all the sequences with the dragon, and it was great to be able to work at the scale of storytelling that so much of the show has driven you to this point.