I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on TV! May flowers have bought spring showers for TV fans this week, with quite a few shows winding down to a series finale or, if they were particularly unlucky, being handed a pink slip without a proper goodbye. The end of the spring TV season has also spelled the end for quite a few LGBTQIA+ characters, which will leave behind vacancies that may not be filled in the TV seasons to come. Here’s the list–so far– of LGBTQIA+ characters and/or their shows that are about to leave the small screen.
Social media was in turmoil Thursday afternoon as Fox announced several more shows getting the ax this season. Fans were shocked that “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, the cop comedy show from ‘SNL’ alum Andy Samberg, was canceled after just five seasons on the air. The series’ cancellation quickly became the number one trending topic on Twitter Thursday night, with celebrities Lin-Manuel Miranda, Seth Meyers, and Mark Hamill expressing their upset with the move. However, Deadline has reported that other platforms are currently eyeing the show, so “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” may get a few more years like the fellow Fox comedy “The Mindy Project,” which moved to Hulu after Fox initially cancelled it.
While the show’s fate is still up in the air, I want to take a moment and raise a glass for Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) and Detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), who railed against gay and bisexual stereotypes with an unparalleled comedic polish. Captain Holt has been here and queer since 1987, becoming the first openly gay police captain in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” NYC history and refusing to let other people’s BS impede his work. But the shining rainbow star of the show’s fifth season was Rosa, whose coming out was inspired by Beatriz’s recent coming out as a bisexual/queer woman. Both characters have become beloved, positive role models for the next generation of LGBTQIA+ folx, and their impact cannot be overstated.
So long to Freeform’s “The Fosters,” which is coming to an end on June 6. The drama series was one of few shows to feature a family with two lesbian moms, Stef and Lena (Teri Polo and Sherri Saum), who’ve represented queer true love since 2012. But there’s a silver lining for “The Fosters'” ending, with Freeform giving a 13-episode series order for a spinoff featuring Callie (Cierra Ramirez) and Mariana (Maia Mitchell) as they embark on the next phase of life. Here’s hoping for some cameos from the rest of the Foster fam on the new series.
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Tina Fey’s magnum opus is coming to an end, with the final season available on Netflix at the end of this month. Titus Andromedon (Titus Burgess in real life) has stolen the show and broken the Internet on every season of the series, among his hits a parody of Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and the romance song of the ages, “Peeno Noir.” Watch one of NYC’s hottest queens give the performance of a lifetime above, and maybe give Season 3 a rewatch before May 30.
It all ends June 8, and I’m not ready to say goodbye. Netflix’s “Sense8,” which featured a plethora of LGBTQIA+ characters co-habitating in queer paradise– that is, when they’re not running away from Whispers– never found a new platform after its previous cancellation, but did secure a two hour finale after a heavy fan campaign to save the series. At least we’ll find out what happened to Wolfgang? (Nah, I’m still going to be a crying mess during this finale).
Arizona Robbins, “Grey’s Anatomy”
“Grey’s Anatomy” isn’t ending anytime soon, but one of TV’s longest-living lesbian characters is saying her final goodbyes. I was devastated when I heard that Jessica Capshaw’s contract wasn’t renewed, but at least the “Grey’s Anatomy” writers are giving Arizona the kindest sendoff possible. The series finale is officially next week, but Arizona’s exit is all but sealed with a little help from her former mentor (played by Geena Davis) and her daughter Sofia’s homesickness (played by Eva Binder). It looks like Arizona is off to NYC to rejoin ex-wife Callie Torres, where Sofia will be raised by both parents and Arizona can continue to help moms everywhere in their time of need.
“Grey’s Anatomy” won’t be the same without Seattle’s top fetal surgeon and resident ray of sunshine. I doubt that the series, which has tried its best to stay away from the bury-your-gays trope, would kill off Arizona just before her ride off into the sunset. But no matter what form her exit takes, Arizona Robbins will remain one of the most iconic LGBTQIA+ characters of all time, with her journey in Seattle showcasing a brilliant, happy lesbian who never succumbed to typical (and often violent) TV lesbian tropes. Her romance with Callie Torres was one of the longest, most nuanced and most realistic lesbian relationships on TV, giving young queer girls (including fourteen-year-old me) a peek into the world out of the closet. Thank you, Arizona Robbins: you are my knight in wheelie-sneaks.
With so many LGBTQIA+ characters saying their final goodbyes, it’s obvious that the world of TV will need to step up and fill the void. Thus far, Ryan Murphy’s “Pose” and the newly-ordered Netflix revival of “Tales of the City” will be bringing new queer characters onto the scene, which is great, but not enough to fill up my future watchlist. What new shows are you looking forward to in the coming months? And which LGBTQIA+ TV icons will you miss the most?