The hottest Western boy love shows: They’re nearly as good as Asian TV
Boy love dramas have steadily increased in popularity over the years and have left us with some superb series. From The Untamed to Addicted to TharnType, boy love has well & truly captured our hearts – and our attention.
Boy love is not just for those Korean, Chinese, and Thai dramas (among others) as Western audiences have slowly opened up to stories about young gay romance. Netflix especially has been opening doors for more series of this nature and we’ve seen the rewards of a more diverse cast. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen quite a few of these boy love series get canceled before their time.
If you’re looking for some boy love storylines outside of AsianTV, take a look at these contenders and if you like what you see, recommend them to your fellow boy love enthusiasts so we can see more stories down the line!
Sense8 is a sci-fi drama brought to life by the Wachowski sisters and follows eight strangers who find themselves mentally & emotionally linked. A boy love storyline present in the series encompasses Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre), an actor & one of the eight strangers, who has to deal with the aftermath of him & his boyfriend Hernando (Alfonso Herrera) outed as gay in Mexico City.
Sense8 also portrayed a lesbian relationship as well as trans character masking it an acclaimed queer series. Unfortunately, Sense8 was canceled after only two seasons which compelled the series’s passionate fanbase to draw up petitions asking for more content. Eventually, Netflix responded by announcing a two-hour special which premiered in 2018.
We would be amiss if we didn’t mention ShadowHunters while talking about Western boy love. With a relationship like Alec (Matthew Daddario) & Magnus’s (Harry Shum Jr.), ShadowHunters deserves to be recognized as the queer fantasy haven it is.
Alec & Magnus easily have the best relationship in the series. Alec Lightwood is struggling with his sexual identity, unable to step out of the closet. Upon meeting the powerful warlock Magnus Bane, Alec falls deeply in love and reveals his identity to his family & fellow hunters. ShadowHunters sadly came to an abrupt end when it was canceled in 2019 after just three seasons.
Netflix premiered Special on April 12, 2019, a series that gives a unique twist to the boy love plotline. Special features the show’s creator Ryan Hayes as Ryan O’Connell, a fictionalized version of Hayes as he navigates life as a gay man with mild cerebral palsy.
Ryan is eager to finally go after what he wants including embarking on new experiences in romance and sex. Ryan even takes the plunge by losing his virginity at twenty-eight to a male sex worker. Throughout the short series, we see a beautiful romance begin to bloom between Ryan & his friend Carey (Augustus Prew). Thankfully, Special is still alive & kicking and set for a second season sometime in the near future.
Sex Education is a superb show not only for its biting, fresh humor but also for its representation of marginalized groups and some pretty damn informative sex talk. One of the main storylines in Sex Education is between Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa) & high school bully Adam Groff (Connor Swindells).
The relationship between Eric & Adam starts off rough as Adam torments Eric for his sexuality. Slowly we learn that Adam is compensating for his own closeted feelings for Eric. Things get even more complicated in the second season when Eric couples up with a hot new exchange student, leaving Adam to rethink his past. Netflix has renewed Sex Education for a third season that we can’t wait to watch!
Inspired by the acclaimed film Love, Simon, Hulu created a series following the life of another teen struggling to find himself in high school. Love, Victor sees Victor Salazar (Michael Cimino) as a new transfer student just looking to fit in. Along with his strict Catholic family & fear of alienation, Victor finds it impossible to admit to himself who he really is.
Love, Victor’s boy love storyline comes into play when Victor is smitten with the handsome, charismatic Benji (George Sear). Even though Victor begins dating a girl, his eyes always stray back to Benji. Along the way, Victor seeks help from Simon to get him past major life hurdles. Hulu recently announced that Love, Victor would be renewed for a second season.
Ryan Murphy’s miniseries Hollywood takes on the secret lives of men in old Hollywood who hid their sexuality while performing for the camera. One boy love relationship featured is between leading-man actor Roy Fitzgerlad (Jake Pickings) & screenwriter Archie Coleman (Spencer Pope).
After the two have a cheeky meet-cute in a gas station, they take on Hollywood, trying to break into an industry that was against them from the beginning. Hollywood received critical acclaim for its dazzling production value & top-notch acting.