2022 was a very mixed year for LGBT+ media. Our screens saw many new and fresh queer stories; featuring sapphic vampires, gay pirates and gay baseball players, as well as your average coming-of-age love stories like Heartstopper. Unfortunately, there were also a slew of cancellations.
With streaming services becoming more competitive, in an age where there are so many to choose from, projects which aren’t pulling in enough viewers are swiftly cancelled after one season rather than given the space to flourish and grow over time. Even shows which were successful, like Warrior Nun, have been cancelled. This is not a problem that is exclusive to LGBT+ media, but LGBT+ media is hit especially hard.
LGBT+ movies had a pretty good year in 2022, all things considered. Do Revenge and My Policeman were both successful and Bros made history as the first R-rated queer rom-com by a major studio. Tár, which has been released in the US, was highly critically acclaimed and is a favourite for Academy Award winner. Fortunately, 2023 is set to feature just as much LGBT+ representation as last year.
Heartstopper, Season Two. Heartstopper Season One received huge critical acclaim upon its release. Based on the graphic novels, it follows two young British boys navigating a relationship while at secondary school. What made it stand out was how truly joyful it was. It is sweet and fluffy, which was a breath of fresh air in the sometimes more tragedy-centred genre of gay male romance. Season two is set to come some time in 2023.
Young Royals, Season Three. Young Royals is also about two young queer boys navigating a relationship while at school. In this case, though, one of the boys is the Prince of Sweden. The show received similar acclaim and popularity upon its release. The third and final season will be released in 2023.
Our Flag Means Death, Season Two. Gay pirates fall in love as they sail the seven seas. Whimsical, romantic and hilarious. With only 10 episodes in season 1, it’s easy to catch up on if you missed it last year.
That ‘90s Show. A sequel to the iconic That ‘70s Show, it is set to feature a prominent storyline involving a gay teenager. Most of the cast is returning, and is now on Netflix.
Glamorous. Think The Devil Wears Prada, but queer. A gender-nonconforming young queer person starts working for a makeup mogul, changing their life and allowing them to find themself. It will star Sex and The City’s Kim Cattrall.
And Just Like That, Season Two. Speaking of Sex and The City, the sequel series will return for season 2 in 2023. The first season had a prominent non-binary character and featured one of the iconic Sex And The City women questioning their sexuality. The original Sex And The City was progressive (for its time, at least) and And Just Like That is attempting to touch on social issues in the same way as the original did.
Tár. This has already been released in the US, but is coming to Ireland in January. Cate Blanchett is enchanting in her performance as a gay composer whose messy personal life and misdeeds begin to finally catch up with her.
Eileen. This adaptation of the novel by Otessa Moshfegh, author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, is set to be released in early 2023. It follows a young woman in the 1960s and the relationship between her and her co-worker at a prison facility.
Fairyland. Centring around the AIDS crisis, this film is set to debut in January. A young woman is raised by a gay activist dad in the 1970s. This is based on the moving memoir by Alysia Abbot.
Good Grief. A queer romcom about grief and friendship to be released on Netflix. A recent widow takes a trip to Paris with his two best friends to cope with the loss of his husband and mother.
Femme. Based on the 2021 short film, this thriller follows a young drag queen taking revenge on the man who attacked her. The directors, Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping, have said they aim to show a queer perspective in the hyper-masculine genre of thrillers.
The Colour Purple. This novel has already seen a film adaptation, but 2023 will see the movie musical. The story centres on the life and struggles of a queer African American woman in the early 1900s.
Knock At The Cabin. M. Night Shyamalan’s new psychological horror film will feature a family with two gay parents. The family are taken hostage while vacationing at a remote cabin and forced to sacrifice one member of the family to avoid the apocalypse.
After the success of Heartstopper and Young Royals, and the cancellations of First Kill and Warrior Nun, it would be nice to see some prominent Woman Who Love Women (WLW) media in the spotlight this year. It’s no secret that male LGBT+ representation is much more common, and in 2023 we can hope streaming services and films will attempt to help close this gap. In the wake of ongoing transphobia and trans rights crises in the US and UK, it is more important than ever to see Own Voices authentic representation of trans people on screen.
While last year’s cancellations were disappointing, it is great to see so many shows with LGBT+ representation coming back in 2023. Every year that goes by in producing successful queer stories shows TV and film investors and boards that these stories are no longer a business risk or destined for smaller audiences. Queer media does not have to be a niche, and the success of shows like Heartstopper help to prove that.