Recent Comments

    Four Binge-Worthy Queer-Themed Series on Netflix

    By Gary Kramer–

    As we continue to quarantine, some folks are binging on TV series. But with all the options, what are the best series to stream? Well, for guilty pleasures, here are four Spanish-language series on Netflix featuring queer content and beautiful people behaving badly. Bonus: you can convince yourself it’s educational—you’re learning a foreign language while you watch!

    Elite (24 hour-long episodes in 3 seasons)

    The third season of this glossy Spanish series just dropped, promising more juicy plots and mystery. The show concerns a trio of working-class teens—Samuel (Itzan Escamilla), Nadia (Mina El Hammani), and Christian (Miguel Herrán)—who matriculate into Las Encinas, a fancy private school, when their classrooms are destroyed. (No online classes here!) Season 1 unfolds as police investigate the murder of one of the students, recounting what happened in flashbacks and with interrogation scenes designed to keep viewers guessing. At Las Encinas, Samuel gets romantically involved with Marina (María Pedraza); Nadia is courted by Guzmán (Miguel Bernardeau), who may be playing her; and Christian has a threesome with the power couple Carla (Ester Expósito) and Polo (Álvaro Rico), both of whom desire him. A subplot concerns Nadia’s closeted gay brother, Omar (Omar Ayuso), who meets Nadia’s classmate, Ander (Arón Piper), on the sly, and tries to keep his sexuality—and his drug dealing—from his conservative Muslim parents. Elite is sleekly made, and it makes points about money and class, as well as sexuality, which go down easily. Season 2 follows the aftermath of the killer being identified, which prompts a student to go missing. It introduces a trio of interesting new characters and features some very homoerotic affection between Polo and Ander. Season 3 continues the story, with the investigation into the death of a character, and the classmates’ efforts to graduate.

    House of Flowers (22 half-hour episodes in 2 seasons)

    Like Empire, this campy Mexican series has three adult children struggling to maintain the family business—the flower shop of the title—while facing family secrets, money issues, and power struggles that threaten to undo them. Virginia de la Mora (Verónica Castro) is the mother of the uptight Paulina (Cecilia Suárez), the sexpot Elena (Aislinn Derbez), and the bisexual Julián (Dario Yazbek Bernal). The storylines are all exaggerated in a telenovela style, with characters making discoveries that cause comic mayhem. The queer content includes Paulina’s transgender ex-husband José María (cis actor Paco León), who now goes by María José. Meanwhile, Julián keeps jeopardizing his secret relationship with his boyfriend, Diego (Juan Pablo Medina), by sleeping with other people. This undemanding show is brightly colored (like an Almodóvar film), fast-paced, sexy, and funny.

    Also from Mexico is El Club (25 half-hour episodes in 1 season)

    This naughty, addicting crime drama—perfect for fans of the pill-mill series Claws—concerns a group of overprivileged twentysomethings who get involved in selling MDMA to their friends. When Pablo (Alejandro Speitzer) and his pal Matías (Jorge Caballero) have an unsuccessful launch party for their new app, they realize there may be another route to financial success. Enlisting the help of Sofia (Minnie West) and Jonás (Axel Arenas)—whose mother is a housekeeper for Pablo’s family—the team encounter some, well, highs and lows, dealing drugs. There is palpable chemistry between Pablo and Sofia, who get caught in a love triangle with her hunky boyfriend (Marco Toastado). There are class tensions as Jonás becomes romantically involved with Sofia’s bestie, the wealthy Ana Pau (Ana Gonzalez Bello). There is also a queer subplot involving Pablo’s closeted brother, Santiago (Alejandro Puente), whose relationship with Max (Martin Saracho) generates some drama. El Club culminates with an intense finale that will leave viewers wanting more. 

    Millennials (48 half-hour episodes in 2 seasons)

    Taking its cue perhaps from the Friends model, this deliciously trashy option from Argentina features three attractive couples whose lives center around a co-working space. Benja (Nicolás Riera) is dating Ariana (Laura Laprida) and works on an app with Juanma (Juan Manuel Guilera) and Rodri (Matías Mayer). Juanma is romantically involved with Flor (Noelia Marzol) and Rodri is partnered with Alma (Johanna Francella). There are pregnancies both real and imagined, financial windfalls and losses, career backstabbing, blackmailing, and more along with multiple overlapping storylines involving characters cheating, uncoupling, and recoupling. There is also a subplot featuring Fabi (Santiago Talledo), who is both a cross-dresser and bisexual. (He has an intriguing, extended same-sex relationship in Season 2.) Millennials also addresses domestic abuse along with issues of fidelity and trust, but don’t take any of it too seriously. The softheaded series is distinguished by its emphasis on sex and nudity—one of the recurring transitional scenes inexplicably features the studly Juanma in the shower. This show is the television equivalent of a bag of Doritos.

    © 2020 Gary M. Kramer

    Gary M. Kramer is the author of “Independent Queer Cinema: Reviews and Interviews,” and the co-editor of “Directory of World Cinema: Argentina.” Follow him on Twitter @garymkramer

    Published on April 23, 2020