Imagining what could have happened if the creator dared to dream bigger is fandom’s driving ethos. Whether or not the people behind the scenes expected to have the most passionate bloc of their audience fixate on a queer romance that may or may not have been intentional is irrelevant. When queerness is still on the periphery of society, it’s unsurprising that the relationships fans obsess over and seek to actualize are predominantly queer.
Our Flag Meets Death, whose second season is now airing on Max, doesn’t require its fans to dream of the queer possibilities. Instead, it’s that rare breed of work that raises the romantic subtext—typically buried under bromatic jokes or subtle ambiguity—to undeniable text from the very beginning. And when fandoms and creative teams are both on the same page of the same unabashedly queer love story, as is the case for Our Flag, the experience is nothing short of sublime.
Queer media, particularly TV, has entered something of a golden age since the aughts. There are the early mainstream pioneers like The L Word and Will and Grace; the wholesome coming-of-age romcoms like Heartstopper and Love, Victor; and the adaptations taking beloved stories one big step further, like Interview with the Vampire, Good Omens, and Hannibal. There are gritty, inspired-by-real-life dramas like Orange is the New Black and Pose, murderous thrillers like Killing Eve and Orphan Black, raunchy comedies like What We Do in the Shadows and Sex Education, and many more stories featuring queer leads with fully fleshed-out storylines.