This year was a memorable one when it came down to the representation, and we were offered within our favorite television shows.
Writing and casting people that make the story feel inclusive isn't about quantity, it is about quality. But the shows that stood out to us managed to achieve both.
They offered us a wide range of diverse characters, all with rich storylines that felt like they would appeal to the audience in various ways.
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Not everyone would see themselves in every character, but they would be able to connect to someone because of the care that was put into it from the very beginning.
Which TV shows do you think had the most diverse casting and representation of 2018?
Black Lightning just gets it right. The main characters are a Black family trying to deal with their patriarch going back to becoming a superhero, with them gradually joining him in the kickass vigilante life. On top of that, we have been blessed with Anissa Pierce, the first black lesbian superhero to be seen on network television and a stunning presence within the show. Black Lightning wins 2018 for us because it embodies both diversity and representation and could serve as a model for other TV shows.
All American feels underrated, if only because of how strong the show is and how little conversation there seems to be around it. The cast is diverse and the stories are important to have at a time when there is so much television happening and you just want to see something that connects with you because of the rich storytelling and character-rich season.
Even though it was canceled, Shadowhunters offered representation in its main characters. Most notably, the show offered its fans the lovely relationship between Magnus and Alec, a ship that is arguably one of the most popular right now and adds to the huge online presence for the show. But there was also asexuality represented on the show, something that isn't discussed on television at all, which makes Shadowhunters all the more valuable for it.
Supergirl has been killing it lately, especially with its introduction of the first trans superhero in its current season. Nia Nal is an absolute delight on the show, and so is Alex Danvers who had an extremely important coming out story on the show as well.
The Flash continues to stand out, if only because of Iris and how amazing her presence is on screen. It is really incredible that we get a Black woman in this leading role because she continues to be our favorite character and we just don't deserve her. In addition, the show allows other POC to have their own stories be told throughout the seasons, it feels natural but it also comes off like there is an attempt to be inclusive in a way that other shows might not be.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Chilling Adventures has a diverse main cast as well as a non-binary character that is figuring out their journey throughout the upcoming seasons. Susie isn't given a label right away, with fans following along as they piece together who they really are with the help of their friends. There is also Ambrose, he is pansexual which is a label that offers representation for fans of the show as well.
It is shocking that having a female doctor is something that is new in 2018, and yet we are all the more thankful for it finally happening. Doctor Who Season 11 was a change, and it was all that more successful for it. There is also representation offered to the woman watching the show because now they get to see themselves in a role they haven't gotten to before and it is telling that the companions reflect that diversity as well.
The 100 Season 5 had its fair share of conflicting worries among the fans, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a show that still had representation that we see ourselves in. Raven Reyes is a character that fans still consistently adore and appreciate that her disability is part of her without it leaving her unable to be the incredible person that she is. But it also feels like every fan connects to another character, with each season allowing for more inclusive stories to touch grip fans that don't usually get to see themselves on television.
Superstore follows a group of employees who work at a big box store and right off the bat there is a conscious awareness about making the stories feel real. They accomplish that by having diverse roles and not leaving room to not try to include someone. Each character is a different voice, and it works because of the working class focus that comes out of it.
Pose is set in the 1980s and it is a dance musical that follows the ball culture world, the rise of the Trump-era universe, and the downtown social scene. And it was praised for how inclusive it was immediately because it included the largest transgender cast for a narrative television series, something that has never happened before, at 50 transgender actors on the show. It was well overdue, and outside of that, the show itself was written and directed and acted exceptionally well.
Killing Eve is a show with Sandra Oh in the lead role. Do we even need to say more? Sandra Oh plays a desk-bound MI5 officer who begins to track an assassin, Villanelle, only for both women to become obsessed with each other. There is something so addicting about the relationship between these two women, you can't look away and you wouldn't want to. It works well because the show focuses on where the story is, the connection between those two.
The Runaways follows six teenagers who find out that their parents are evil, and must work together to stop them. This group feels very inclusive, and it organically tells stories that make us happy. Could you ask for anything more?
Medical shows for the win in 2018! New Amsterdam is unique because its setting in NY is approached with awareness when it comes to showing representation. And that doesn't just apply to the staff, the patients as well have stories of their own that we get to experience. There is obvious thought being put into the way the show connects with its audience.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a sitcom focused on a police precinct, and the reason it has found the success that it did is through its characters. The show reflects Brooklyn, having a diverse main cast and even exploring LGBTQ stories. Rosa coming out as bisexual pushed for more stories that felt honest and that offered representation to the fans that see themselves in the character.
The Bold Type
The Bold Type has struggled a bit this year in some aspects, especially with the way some of the main characters don't get any screentime when they have their own stories to tell that have value. But on the bright side, the fact that a QWOC like Adena exists and is so loved means she offers representation that we as an audience always want to see more of. Highlighting the way that Kat and Adena's stories matter is just as important as asking to see more of it down the line.
The Good Doctor
The Good Doctor follows Shaun, an autistic surgical resident who starts working at the hospital and must deal with the challenges that come with it. Having a lead character like Shaun is so important because of how the story becomes new and it is important with the way that him being on the spectrum adds to how he is able to figure out the cases instead of taking away from him. There is obvious care put into the way Shaun is created and we all appreciate The Good Doctor more for that.
God Friended Me
Within the show, you have Miles who is an atheist and whose sister Ali comes out to their spiritual father. Miles' best friends are Cara and Rakesh, whose family is traditional and want to set him up with a nice Indian girl. The conversations that get started because of this are fascinating and they are part of what made this show great in 2018.
The Good Place
The Good Place is another show that just has a diverse cast and from it stems small details that feel like they represent a wide group of people. It doesn't feel like there is just one audience in mind, which makes this audience that much happier with each new season.
The Gifted is another example of a sci-fi superhero show leaving a lasting effect on us because of the way that diversity comes off organic and yet there is a real effort made there.
Charmed is a reboot of a very beloved show, and with its focus on more diversity, you really can't go wrong. The perspective strays from the usual white and straight outlook, while still staying through in its message about sisterhood and feminism that they took from the original show.
It feels like Vida has flown a bit under the radar, and it deserves more attention because of what it offers to us. The show follows two Mexican-American sisters and their journey as they find out more about their mother. The topic of identity flows seamlessly throughout the series, and it was a real standout for us this year.
Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin continues to tell impactful and emotional stories that feel real every season. Jane the Virgin Season Four made our year because of Petra and JR's relationship, allowing another fan favorite character from The CW explore her sexuality was exciting and satisfying.
Legends of Tomorrow
Legends of Tomorrow continues to be eccentric and fun, but it also has room to explore sexuality and the women on their show. It is balanced out so well, with this year going above and beyond to make us feel represented.