The Week in Gay TV: “Brothers & Sisters” returns, TCM pays tribute to Elizabeth Taylor and ABC looks for “Happy Endings”

It’s time to take a look at The Week in Gay TV, your guide to the shows that will be battling for space on your DVR in the week ahead. This week, we’ve got the debut of the new gay-inclusive comedy Happy Endings, and the NewNowNext Awards, Logo’s ceremony to praise the up-and-coming in pop culture.

Ten years ago, the WB debuted a new take on how to bring Superman to TV, a drama that took the youthful focus of the network that gave us Buffy and Charmed and mixed it with superheroics, teen angst and young romance. More importantly, Smallville mainstreamed “hoyay”, where viewers enjoyed finding homoerotic tension in the actors’ glances and body language.

With Smallville ending in a few weeks, The CW celebrates the series by re-airing the pilot episode Friday night. When Smallville debuted in 2001, I didn’t have a WB affiliate with a strong enough signal to reach my apartment, but even I heard buzz about the levels of sexual tension between the Smallville guys. I’m looking forward for the chance to look back at the days when Pete, Whitney and Lex were a part of the landscape.

Teen Nick has new gay episode of Degrassi on Friday. Unfortunately, it doesn’t focus on Riley but Fiona, who is questioning her sexual orientation (much to the chagrin of transgender teen Adam, who doesn’t appreciate being called “the best of both worlds” by Fiona.) I’m hoping that the Degrassi writers will remember how Riley dated Fiona when he was questioning his sexuality, and a scene between the two could be very powerful. Unfortunately, I expect to be disappointed considering how bad Degrassi has been at remembering Riley’s history.

That’s not the only story that should include him this episode as jock Owen tries to make amends with his pal Anya. Even without missing multiple chances to include Riley, Degrassi might turn out to be gayer than Friday’s Gigantic, which sees Piper and Anna turn a party into a brawl.

Meanwhile, once more anglophiles have a choice of crime, fantasy or both as Syfy has the season finale of Merlin, while BBC America has a new episode of Law & Order:UK.

The latest Logo Doc is Ballet High, which follows the senior class of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School as they struggle to juggle dance and schoolwork. Instead of college, these students are worrying about getting accepted at a good dance company, or else face the possibility of having spent all that tuition and hours of practice for nothing.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a movie with a sense of camp, the Syfy channel has a new original movie. Ferocious Planet stars John Rhys-Davies as part of a team that must escape a hellish dimension after a device meant to look at parallel worlds goes wrong. Edie McClurg joins Elvira for a screening of  Untamed Woman on Movie Macabre.

BBC America also has a new Being Human while Hellen Mirren will be hosting this weekend’s Saturday Night Live. I sure hope there’s a sketch where she’s haunted by the ghost of Dudley Moore.

Turner Classic Movies airs its tribute to fierce gay ally Elizabeth Taylor on Sunday with a 24-hour marathon of her movies. It starts at 6 AM with Lassie Come Home and as the day goes on TCM will air movies from later in her career (with Giant and Ivanhoe airing out of order). Too bad the line-up doesn’t include the campfest that is Cleopatra. Still, I’ve always been meaning to catch Giant.

Meanwhile, Comedy Central debuts the first Comedy Awards ceremony, which looks to honor comedy in film and TV. There are plenty of gay and gay-adjacent nominees, including 30 Rock, Modern Family, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Childrens Hospital and Archer. The ceremony will feature plenty of today’s biggest funny people including Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Andy Samberg and Louis C.K. Plus, you’ll get to see Stephen Colbert tell off (NSFW language at the link) Jon Stewart.

The Walker family finally returns on Sunday with a two-hour episode with plenty of drama that includes a death in the Walker family, the return of someone Scotty hasn’t seen in a while and the arrival of Olivia’s brother, who wants to take custody of her. I’ve been enjoying watching Kevin and Scotty as dads, so this better not be another case of Brothers & Sisters bailing out of a story just as it finished the opening chapters. (At least the Brothers & Sisters writers have a better memory than the Desperate Housewives team.)

Fox has a new line-up of animated comedies starting with an American Dad where Roger tries to teach Steve to be cool. Roger probably has a better chance selling a Wheels and the Legman pilot. Then, Lisa becomes a magician’s apprentice on The Simpsons. Gay-fave comedienne Sarah Silverman appears on a new Bob’s Burgers, where Bob has to fight to keep from losing his lease. Finally, a new Cleveland Show sees Cleveland prepare for a boat race.

ABC Family’s latest movie has Popular fave Sara Rue in My Future Boyfriend. Barry Watson plays a time traveler from the year 3127, an orderly future where love and passion are archaic concepts. When he discovers an old romance novel in an archeology dig, he decides to travel back in time to meet the writer (Rue) and be confused by our primitive technology.

Sunday has has the final chapters of Mildred Pierce while the latest episode of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom focuses on gay sharks dolphins. Finally, as much as I’m eager to stop mentioning The Celebrity Apprentice, I did want to stop and note how thrilled I was when Richard Hatch got eliminated last week. I could keep watching to see how much La Toya Jackson raises for AIDS Project LA, but I’m sure you all understand the urge to get the bag of meat and orange hair off my DVR.

Lady Gaga performing at the 2008 NewNowNext Awards.

This year the NewNowNext Awards comes early, as James van der Beek hosts Logo’s celebration of the buzzworthy and notable. I hope he’ll be debuting some new memes during the show. The ceremony will also see Lady Gaga (who made her TV-performance debut on the 2008 Awards) receive the “Always Next, Forever Now” award for her talent for constantly surprising, engaging and challenging audiences. Performances include Robyn, Oh Land and Wynter Gordon.

Before the awards, Logo has a new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race at a special time. As the final four are challenged to create a dress out of money, one doll reaches the end of her rope and thinks about quitting the Race.

I’ve complained plenty about this season, but last week’s episode finally managed to capture the Drag Race I loved for two seasons. Thanks to the casting of some very entertaining drag sisters, this season’s drag makeover delivered the most engaging episode of the year. I was even captivated by Untucked for the first time ever.

CBS has a new Monday night lineup as Marshall quits his job at Goliath National Bank on a new How I Met Your Mother. That move makes Barney very unhappy, as you might expect. I hope he’s got some kind of wacky scheme to lure Marshall back to GNB. There’s also a new Hawaii 5-O, promising a story for Chin Ho and Kono (perhaps that’s because Daniel Dae Kim will be liveblogging the episode for the east coast with the tag #H5O) as the truth of how Chin Ho’s HPD career ended. The episode also promises appearances by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, and contemporary Hawaiian band Hapa.

Monday also has new episodes of Nurse Jackie and United States of Tara on Showtime, while Louis van Amstel dances another round with Kendra Wilkinson on Dancing with the Stars.

PBS takes a look at the art scene of the 80’s in the latest Independent Lens, with the film Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child. Focusing on an interview Tamra Davis conducted with Basquiat, the documentary follows the gay artist’s upbringing, his meteoric rise, his friendship with Andy Warhol and his sudden tragic downfall.

I’ll confess, even though I’ve long found Warhol and his colleagues fascinating, I didn’t make it through the 1996 biofilm about Basquiat. I’m hoping a documentary holds my attention better.

Election day finally arrives on Tuesday’s episode of The Good Wife, which also sees America Ferrera make her next appearance. Finally, Planet Green sees both of The Fabulous Beekman Boys try to market the Beekman product line.

ABC’s Wednesday night comedies are back with new episodes, including one new comedy, Happy Endings. The series follows a group of friends that includes a couple about to get married. When the marriage gets called off at the alter, they’re left wondering if they can continue their new friendships. Among those friends are Max, a chubby, not-very-stylish gay man who, judging by the previews, is just as immature as his guy friends. At first glance, Max looks like he could be a very interesting gay character.

Better with You returns with another Popular-fave, Leslie Grossman, appearing. I don’t imagine even Mary Cherry  can do much to make this show funny, but I’ll likely tune in to see.

ABC also has a new episode of Modern Family that sees Cameron taking on the role of music director at Luke and Manny’s school. Would you be surprised to hear Cam ends up enjoying the job a little too much? Meanwhile, Jonathan Banks shows up as Jay’s brother, Donnie. I’m hoping Banks’ appearance will make that wait for the next season of Breaking Bad a little easier.

MTV has a new episode of The Real World, and it looks like Adam may finally be getting himself kicked out of the suite. I’m still debating how I feel about last week’s powerful episode, which saw Nany bring up her history of abusive relationships. On one hand, it was full of reality TV drama. Still, those uncomfortable scenes should get viewers discussing the issue of domestic abuse and, perhaps that’s how you get people discussing an issue in today’s TV landscape.

Wednesday also brings a new episode of Top Chef Masters. While I’m still not happy with the open scoring going away, the presence of Ruth Reichl makes up for that disappointment. She’s got a great enthusiasm and she’s clearly happy to be sampling these great chefs’ efforts. She can also deliver some tough criticism with a tone that’s comes off as entirely focused on being constructive. Why hasn’t Bravo recruited this legend of food criticism sooner?

I’m hoping what we’ve seen of out chef Suvir bodes well for him in this competition. Not only did he confidently offer to create a dessert, an item that has been the doom of many a chef, he charmed the judges with it. He also got plenty of screen time and managed to make me laugh just about every time he was on screen. I’d like to think we wouldn’t get to see footage of Suvir being so charming if he weren’t going to spend a long while entertaining the Top Chef Masters audience.

Finally, Justified gets another episode closer towards its finale. At the rate things are starting to heat up, it’ seems we’re headed towards a climax that will make last season’s big showdown look like the teddy bears’ picnic. SOAPnet also has a new episode of Being Erica.

NBC’s Thursday night comedies return with new episodes this week including a new episode of The Office that sees Will Ferrell join the Dundler-Mifflin team as the new Scranton office manager. I’m feeling wary about Ferrell, because when he reins in the urge to ham it up he can be really funny. but too often I find him turning the wacky up to 11. That’s followed by a new Parks & Recreation that sees April and Andy host a dinner party. I wonder if April’s gay ex-boyfriend (and his boyfriend) will be on the guest list.

Liz goes searching for Tracy, hoping to save TGS from cancellation on a new 30 Rock while Madhuri ends up creating trouble on Outsourced when she starts offering to read her co-workers’ palms. That sounds like a plot for Gupta.

We’re one episode away from meeting Klaus on The Vampire Diaries, and the residents of Mystic Falls are trying to make sure they’re ready to face him when he arrives. The upcoming school dance looks like a good target for Klaus, so Damon and Alaric sign up for chaperone duty. Meanwhile, the dance’s 60’s theme give the ladies a chance to dress up.

Devon Sawa returns to Nikita with information on another one of The Division’s mysterious black boxes, while fx has the penultimate Archer, which sees Sterling seek out the identity of his father.

As usual, I’m curious to learn which show you’re most eager to watch in the coming week:

Last week, it was a tight race to be named your pick for the week with the men of Gigolos landing in first place, with 26% of your vote. “Other” came in second with 22%, with a large number of those votes picking The Vampire Diaries. Freddy Rodriguez’s new spy drama, CHAOS came in third with 20%

Next week, we’ve got the debut of HBO’s highly-anticipated fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Can HBO do for fantasy what True Blood did for vampires?

Lyle Masaki is a fan of obscure superheroes, video games, adorkable guys and that show you loved that got cancelled way too soon.