The Best in TV 2005
By Out.com Editors
Is it just us or are gays and lesbians filling out some of the more interesting roles on the small screen? Three of our writers share their favorite boob tube highlights below. Think they missed one? Fill out a comment and tell us!
Jeffrey Epstein's Top 10 TV Highlights of 2005
10) Third Man Out
It may not have been the best-written movie, but seeing openly gay actor Chad Allen star as openly gay detective, Donald Strachey, in this here! television film was a breath of fresh air. An honest, damaged, loving queer character on TV? Tell us it ain't so!
9) The Soaps
I have to tip my hat to Passions and General Hospital, which have both had characters'essential characters'come out this year, and another soap will soon have a crucial character leaving the closet. I'm glad daytime finally realizes that gay people watch too!
8) Our Fathers
Showtime's powerful film about the child molestation scandal in the Catholic Church was disturbing and moving'and the movie used a gay priest (Brian Dennehy) to emphasize that there is a big difference between a homosexual and a pedophile.
7) Lackawanna Blues
Openly gay director George C. Wolfe brought this vibrant tale to life for HBO. The story of a young man sent to live in a small New York boarding house is set against a bluesy mid-20th'century backdrop'with a butch lesbian cleaner to boot.
6) Queer As Folk
Love it or hate it, Queer As Folk was a landmark series for frank portrayals of gay life on TV (whether it was your life or not). I, for one, will miss the drama between Brian, Justin, Michael, Ben, Emmett, Lindsay, Ted, Melanie, and PFLAG mom Deb.
5) Grey's Anatomy
Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and her messy way of handing her lovelife, Cristina's (Sandra Oh) deliciously frank quips, brooding hunk Alex (Justin Chambers), and the rest of the crew'including bartender Joe (Steven W. Bailey), who just happens to be gay'win the award for best medical drama queens.
4) Six Feet Under
I still can't believe they killed Nate (Peter Krause), but the final shot of Claire (Lauren Ambrose) in the future slipping away after a life fully lived was a beautiful way to end this darkly quirky series.
The over-the-top plastic surgery drama is gayer than Queer Eye. Liz (Roma Maffia) is a lesbian. Quentin (Bruno Campos) is bi'as is Gina (Jessalyn Gilsig). While mostly hetero, Kimber (Kelly Carlson) has also slept with girls. Matt (John Hensley) is attracted to trans-women. And even the creepy Carver has sex with both men and women!
There's not much gay here (although I have my suspicions about Michelle Rodriguez's character, Ana Lucia), but I would be happy to be deserted on this wacky island as long as I could stare at Jack (Matthew Fox) and Sawyer (Josh Holloway) all day long.
1) Desperate Housewives
With five fabulous, fierce females fronting this guilty pleasure, the show couldn't have a gayer sensibility. (We all kinda feel like clumsy Susan, yet wish we were confident Edie.) Out creator Marc Cherry also gave us a first in queer television: a gay teenage sociopath with a raging libido (Shawn Pyfrom). It sure beats the asexual best friend.
Christine Champagne's Top 10 TV Highlights of 2005
10) Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical
This movie musical spoof of the anti-pot propaganda film from the 1930s was so gloriously over-the-top that I got high just by watching it. What an amazing showcase for the talents of Kristen Bell (who looks great in fishnets), Christian Campbell, and the versatile Alan Cumming, who stole the show in not one, not two, but three roles.
9) The Oprah Winfrey Show
Admit it. You never miss it either. Now in its 25th season, this show is as fresh as ever (the fabulous new set helps), and you've got to give it to our girl Oprah'a woman equally as devoted to her designer shoe collection as she is to saving orphans in Africa. Cutie-pie gay interior designer Nate Berkus, a regular guest, offers yet another compelling reason to watch.
8) The L Word
What self-respecting lesbian would compile a top 10 list of TV shows and not include The L Word? In its second season, the show continued to deliver all of the lesbian drama I thrive on and the sex scenes I live to rewind. I sure do love to watch.
7) Queer As Folk
I wish Queer As Folk had ended its five-year run when'after the bombing at Babylon'Brian (Gale Harold) finally admitted to Justin (Randy Harrison) that he loved him. That, to me, was the capstone of the entire series. Still, I was happy to soak up every last minute of the final season and was truly sad to say so long to the gang from Liberty Avenue.
6) America's Next Top Model
Lesbian contestant Kim Stolz didn't win the Cycle 5 edition of America's Next Top Model. But this smart, sexy girl's showdowns with the judges (could Miss Jay have been any harder on her?) and make-out sessions with a supposedly straight competitor helped her to come out on top in my book.
5) Arrested Development
Only on a wonderfully twisted'and, potentially, ill-fated'show like Arrested Development (wonder what's next for now out lesbian Portia de Rossi) would we see a character billing himself as the world's first analyst/therapist and passing out business cards listing him as an 'Analrapist.' Come on, that's funny!
4) Anderson Cooper 360
The prematurely gray'and maturely gay'anchor came into his own this year with his thoughtful, unabashedly emotional coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the process, the newsman not only became CNN's top star but also challenged our perceptions of how journalists should conduct themselves.
Raci, Gabbie, T.J., and Lucas'the gender-transitioning college kids in this documentary series'weren't depicted as freaks or people to feel sorry for. Rather, they were portrayed as young people simply determined to be themselves. The producers of this realistic slice-of-trans-life earn extra points for outstanding opening graphics and music.
Rescue me. On second thought, don't bother. As if being stranded on an island with Lost's gorgeous cast members Matthew Fox (Jack), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), and Josh Holloway (Sawyer) every Wednesday night wasn't enough, sexy tough girl Michelle Rodriguez (Ana-Lucia) washed up on the beach in 2005.
1) Desperate Housewives
Is there anyone out there who doesn't live for Sunday nights and Desperate Housewives? The campiest show on television is well into its second season and gay creator Marc Cherry has yet to run out of wild and crazy plotlines for the fabulous fivesome of Bree, Gabrielle, Lynette, Susan, and Edie.
Bryan Buss's Top 10 TV Highlights of 2005
10. Ghost Whisperer
Though it may not be the best-written show on TV and the stories are hopelessly sappy, my boyfriend is in tears by the end of each episode. And what's not to love about a show that brings your boyfriend into your arms and gives you Jennifer Love Hewitt at her most appealing?
Though the show faltered this last year by sacrificing roller-coaster twists and turns for more straightforward action, it's still better-produced than most feature films. And with Mary Lynn Rajskub as sour, petulant Chloe and The L Word's Mia Kirshner reprising her role as bisexual assassin Mandy, it had two of the coolest female characters on TV.
8. Family Guy
Having come back from the dead to air successfully opposite Desperate Housewives, this animated series is as irreverent as broadcast network TV will allow. And with the voice of reason in the Griffin household being a talking dog and gay-in-the-making baby Stewie plotting world domination'not to mention the murder of his mother, Lois'Rhode Island has never looked so fun.
7. The Grammys with Melissa Etheridge
Rarely has a performer made such a triumphant return to the public eye as Melissa Etheridge did when she stormed the Grammy stage with a shaved pate, lots of soul, and the confidence that nothing could keep her down.
6. Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again
It was such fun revisiting Seaview Circle with characters I grew up with, it was unfortunate that the joy was marred by the producers pretending original core characters Ginger, Kenny, Richard, and Laura never existed. Regardless, being able to check out the plastic surgery some of these women have had and witnessing Ted Shackleford tear up with nostalgia made this the must-see TV special of the year for me!
Carla Gugino's Molly Anne Caffrey may not have been a lesbian, but she was one of the strongest female characters to grace the small screen this year. Unfortunately, the smart blend of science fiction, action, special effects, and suspense didn't translate to ratings and CBS canned it.
What's not hot about alpha males running around a deserted island, their clothes in tatters? And with lesbian-licious Ana-Lucia (played by the always-welcome Michelle Rodriguez) thrown into the mix, the isle just got hotter.
3. America's Next Top Model
Out lesbian Kim Stolz made it to the Top 5 and learned how to merge her tomboy with her inner femme. And she even got to make out with one of her straight competitors in a limo!
Out creator Greg Berlanti's sweet yet strong family drama may have stumbled with too much One Tree Hill-type teen melodrama this fall, but it still makes the cut based on the emotional wallops it delivered this past spring with Rose's cancer scare and Ephraim learning the truth about Madison. When you're weeping before the opening credits, you know someone's doing something right.
1. Survivor: Guatemala
For the first time since the original season when Richard Hatch won the game, an openly gay person made it to the Final 4. Rafe Judkins (a gay, Mormon-reared, wilderness guide, no less!) was good-natured, sweet-tempered, and fair, yet brutal when he needed to be. He would have been the one to beat in the Final 2, which is probably why winner Danni Boatwright voted him out before he had that chance.