The Broke Girl’s Guide to TV

Let’s face it—you’re a TV junkie, but you’re broke. Thanks to television stations that graciously air shows online, there’s a way for those of us without fancy cable subscriptions and DVR packages to keep up with the best shows on TV—without breaking the bank. Sure, you can’t follow Game of Thrones unless you’re an HBO subscriber, but that doesn’t mean you can’t watch good TV.
By: Camille Beredjick
September 06 2012 1:05 PM

Let’s face it—you’re a TV junkie, but you’re broke. Thanks to television stations that graciously air shows online, there’s a way for those of us without fancy cable subscriptions and DVR packages to keep up with the best shows on TV—without breaking the bank. Sure, you can’t follow Game of Thrones unless you’re an HBO subscriber, but that doesn’t mean you can’t watch good TV.

In no particular order, here are the top 10 shows we think you should be watching this season—and how to legally watch them online. Some have exciting new plot twists, some feature our favorite ladies, and others, well, we just love.

Modern Family

New season starts: Sept. 26

Where to watch online: Full episodes are available on ABC.

Why you should watch: Because Cam and Mitchell are brilliantly funny as an onscreen gay couple. Last season left off with the pair ready to give up on having another baby—just as gorgeous Gloria (Sofia Vergara) discovers she’s pregnant. Modern Family is consistently one of the most praised shows on television for its gay-friendliness, and this plot twist makes for a truly memorable season.

The clip to convince you: Cam and Mitchell go on a juice fast, and it doesn’t go well.

Pretty Little Liars

New season starts: Oct. 23 launches the second half of Season 3

Where to watch online: Full episodes are available on ABC Family.

Why you should watch: Because the lesbian plots aren’t going anywhere. The mid-season finale didn’t necessarily end well for the show’s straight couples, but PLL has always given lesbian viewers something to talk about with ongoing lesbian-themed storylines for gay main character Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell).

The clip to convince you: This sweet, sexy moment from Season 3 is a look into Emily and Paige’s complicated relationship.

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NEW SERIES: The New Normal

New season starts: Sept. 11 marks the series premiere(the pilot is already available)

Where to watch online: Full episodes will be available on NBC.

Why you should watch: Because controversy is all the rage. This super-gay new series from Glee creator Ryan Murphy and Allison Adler focuses on a gay couple who seek the help of a surrogate to have a baby. A Salt Lake City station has already refused to air the show—so it must be good.

The clip to convince you: The NBC trailer for the show says it all. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll get hooked.

Law & Order SVU

New season starts: Sept. 26

Where to watch online: Full episodes are available on NBC.

Why you should watch: Because powerful women are hot. While the show occasionally incorporates gay storylines, SVU has gotten mixed reviews from the LGBT crowd in the past, especially in 2010, when GLAAD bashed an episode featuring Kathy Griffin as a lesbian activist. Still, Mariska Hargitay and Kelli Giddish do rock as leading ladies.

The clip to convince you: Kathy Griffin rocks in this short, snarky speech about bringing down the patriarchy.

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Criminal Minds

New season starts: Sept. 26

Where to watch online: Full episodes are available on CBS.

Why you should watch: Because Kirsten Vangsness brings girl power to a whole new level. Openly queer Vangsness, who plans to marry her fiancée Melanie Goldstein in 2013 “regardless of whether it’s legal,” plays FBI technical analyst and resident badass Penelope Garcia. Prominent lesbian actress Jane Lynch also appears on the show as recurring character Diana Reid, the schizophrenic mother of Doctor Spencer Reid, another BAU agent. Plus, you'll want to catch up on Agents Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) and J.J. Jareau (A.J. Cook) catching bad guys together. 

The clip to convince you: In the Season 1 finale, Penelope’s computer gets hacked while she’s playing an online role-playing game.

30 Rock

New season starts: Oct. 4

Where to watch online: Full episodes are available on NBC.

Why you should watch: Because Tina Fey is the perfect woman. We all suspect that by playing Liz Lemon, Fey is actually playing herself, and we love her for it. The show regularly includes gay characters and makes genuine, smart and sassy references to LGBT culture more often than not. What’s not to love?

The clip to convince you: This compilation of the best Liz Lemon moments perfectly captures the essence of her totally odd, insanely relatable character.

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Grey’s Anatomy

New season starts: Sept. 27

Where to watch online: Full episodes are available on ABC.

Why you should watch: Because we’re holding out hope for more lesbian storylines. The show features Sara Ramirez as bisexual doctor Callie Torres and Jessica Capshaw as her wife Arizona, while earlier seasons of Grey’s had Brooke Smith playing gay doctor Erica Hahn. Gay storylines aren’t uncommon for Grey’s—think a lesbian wedding and a same-sex parenting triangle—and we hope the show continues to deliver.

The clip to convince you: Callie and Arizona’s beautiful wedding ceremony might just bring a tear to your eye.

NEW SERIES: The Mindy Project

New season starts: Sept. 25 marks the series premiere (the pilot is already available)

Where to watch online: Full episodes will be available on FOX.

Why you should watch: Because it’s Mindy Kaling’s first time in the spotlight. Previously a writer and actress on The Office, Kaling plays a slightly neurotic OB/GYN searching desperately for the perfect man, the perfect career, the perfect body, and anything else that will make her feel like she’s living in a romantic comedy. It’s high time Kaling is recognized as one of the funniest women on television, and this is her shot.

The clip to convince you: This promo for the premiere shows Mindy at her finest – or, at the very least, her Mindy-est.

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How I Met Your Mother

New season starts: Sept. 24

Where to watch online: Full episodes are available on CBS.

Why you should watch: Because there’s always room for a comedy about a weirdly tight-knit crew in New York—any Friends fans out there? As a bonus, Alyson Hannigan, beloved as groundbreaking lesbian character Willow on Buffy back in the day, plays Lily, who’s occasionally bi-curious for Robin (the gorgeous Cobie Smulders).

The clip to convince you: Lily’s girl crush on Robin intensifies whenever she drinks martinis.

New Girl

New season starts: Sept. 25

Where to watch online: Full episodes are available on FOX.

Why you should watch: Because we wish Zooey Deschanel was a lesbian. Abundantly cute and always quirky—sometimes to a fault, argues SNL—Deschanel’s character Jess brings perfect balance to her testosterone-overloaded apartment. Never too dramatic and with ample surprises, it’s an easy show to fall in love with.

The clip to convince you: After Jess walks in on her roommate naked, she can’t bring herself to say what she saw.

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