Top Gay SF and Fantasy Shows

The Untamed promo photo
copyright Tencent Video – used for promotional purposes only

Ever since the days of the original “Star Trek” series and perhaps even earlier, fans have been imagining gay relationships between characters in various shows, but very few programmes deliberately show openly gay or implied gay relationships or characters.  Here is a collection of some of the science-fiction and fantasy series that do.

The Untamed” (2019)

The Untamed screencap boatBased on a massively popular BL (Boy Love) novel, “The Untamed” Chinese fantasy series was a world-wide hit when it was released last year.  The gay romance, although only implied, was left intact in this 50-episode series and the slowly developing relationship between the main characters, Wei Wuxian (played by Xiao Zhan) and Lan Zhan (Wang Yibo), is poignant and beautifully written.  The fantasy world is rich and the plot is engrossing, centred around the life of Wei Wuxian, who develops a style of magic that puts him at odds with all the major clans.

Because the novel, “Mo Dao Zu Shi” (aka “The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation”), was already so well-known before the series came out, this series has a massive fan base.  There is enough English fan fiction to keep the most avid reader happy and some of the cast meet up when schedules allow as The Untamed Boys pop group.  There is also a wealth of behind the scenes footage from the series available on YouTube and various cast interviews with English subtitles.  The series has one spin-off film, “The Living Dead“, released – although, sadly, not on Netflix – with another film in production at the moment, so interest in this show is likely to remain high for a long time.

Watch it now on Netflix with English subtitles.

Good Omens” (2019)

Good Omens promo photo
copyright Amazon and BBC

Based on the hit novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, this 6-part series was created by Amazon and the BBC and aired last year.  Starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen, it has a demon, Crowley, and an angel, Aziraphale, teaming up to stop an apocalypse.  Since the two main characters have not really had anyone else but each other to develop a relationship with since they appeared at the dawn of time on Earth, they have an unexpectedly affectionate relationship.  Crowley tries to convince Aziraphale to run away with him any number of times and the two of them constantly exchange adoring glances.

Along with the original novel, there is a lot of fan fiction available to read and some beautiful fan art.

Watch it now on Amazon Prime or buy the series on DVD.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” (2016)

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency promo photo
copyright Amazon

This American show is based on a series of Douglas Adams novels and stars Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood.  Two seasons have been released.  This show has had mixed reactions, largely because the plot confused some people, but it all makes sense in the end and the characters are well-developed and interesting.

Dirk is written as a gay character – and played by a gay actor – in this version of the story and much of the first season centres on his bromance with Todd, although it never develops into a romantic relationship and the second season suggests that Todd is interested in a female character.

The plots involve time travel, an alien world and various murders to be solved in Dirk’s unique holistic style.

You can see this series on Netflix or on DVD.

Guardian” (2018 Chinese series)

Guardian” is a 40-episode fantasy drama based on a much loved Chinese Boy Love

Guardian 2018 promo photo
copyright Youku

novel.  The show faced various problems, with many of its themes and even the open inclusion of a gay romance being illegal to broadcast due to current Chinese laws.   This meant that the plot of the series was flawed and many fans were unhappy with its changed ending.  Despite this, it is worth a look because of a beautifully portrayed romance between its main characters, Zhao Yunlan (Bai Yu) and Shen Wei (Zhu Yilong).

The show plot avoids censorship issues by changing the fantasy plot (involving gods and ghosts) of the novel into a science-fiction story where two races exist on Earth and Zhao Yunlan’s agency looks into crimes involving the alien race.

The strong fan love for the novel ensures that there is plenty of English fan fiction to read as well as a fan-translation into English of the original novel.

The series is available to watch on YouTube with English subtitles.

“Torchwood” (2006)

Torchwood promo photo
copyright Amazon and BBC

Captain Jack Harkness originally appeared in “Doctor Who” and then got his own spin-off series.  He was one of the first openly gay characters to appear in a mainstream SF show.  A number of gay and lesbian relationships are shown in the series but the one between main character, Jack, and Ianto is the one fans tend to love.

The show followed an agency that solved extraterrestrial crimes.

If you enjoy the romance between Captain Jack and Ianto, you might want to stop watching after season 2, as sadly it doesn’t have a happy ending, except in fan fiction.

Torchwood” is available on Amazon Prime and on DVD.

Honorable Mentions

Shadowhunters promo imageShadowhunters: Mortal Instruments” (2016) – This 55-episode US show, based on the set of novels by Cassandra Clare, featured a popular romance among 2 non-lead characters: warlock, Magnus Bane (Harry Shum Jr), and shadowhunter, Alec Lightwood (Matthew Daddario).   The show followed central character, Clary, whose mother vanished.  Clary then discovered a supernatural world existing within the regular world.  This show is available on Netflix and DVD.

Teen Wolf” (2011) – During the 6 seasons of this popular paranormal Young Adult series starring Tyler Posey and Dylan O’Brien, there were various gay and straight relationships shown.  The main characters had gay friends and, in a pleasant change from usual, no one was ever bullied for being gay.  The plot involved the main character, Scott, being turned into a werewolf and was loosely based on the Michael J Fox film of the same name. It is available to watch on Netflix and on DVD.

Once Upon a Time in Lingjian Mountain” (Chinese drama, 2019) – Although the main character, Wang Lu, eventually gets together with a female character, he manages to flirt non-stop with his best friend, Hai Yun Fan, for all 37 episodes of this parody of the Chinese fantasy genre.  The show has over-the-top humour and a crazy plot but if you want something that will make you smile, give it a try.  (If the series bromance isn’t enough for you, there are behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube of scenes too gay to escape the censors, featuring Wang Lu and Hai Yun Fan bathing together and Wang Lu repeatedly trying to kiss Hai Yun Fan.)  Available to watch with English subtitles on Netflix.

If there are SF and fantasy shows with major gay characters or gay romances that I’ve missed, I would love to hear about them.  Just comment below.

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