The coming year will be quite a ride for fans of Boys’ Love shows. On November 22 the Thai media company GMMTV, one of the most popular producers of BL, announced their 2023 line-up in a live-streamed event called Diversely Yours and caused a massive BL Twitter frenzy as they announced 9 BL/Queer programs out of their 22 titles.
Now whether the list is diverse enough remains debatable at best, for sure. Even so, with these shows on top of other Thai companies’ titles, not to mention releases from Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, BL fans are set to have plenty of options in 2023. In this article, we’re counting down the 8 BL and queer titles from Thailand that we’re looking forward to in the coming year.
Let’s get to it.
Plot: A poor but intelligent and gutsy student (Chimon Wachirawit) takes the job of becoming tutor to his privileged bully (Perth Tanapon) for extra cash.
There is never a shortage of campus-set dramas and toxic macho behavior in Thai BLs for sure, but this show is one of the few that actually takes class difference as major consideration in an otherwise often-explored dynamic. Also, it would be interesting to see the new pair Perth and Chimon’s comeback to the genre after their last projects with their previous ships.
I Feel You Linger in the Air
Plot: A heartbroken architect whose project is to renovate a historic house drives over a bridge and into a river. But when he gets out of the water, he finds himself in 1920’s Chiang Mai.
We were dead-set on counting down shows announced by GMMTV’s list of titles but it seemed wrong to exclude Dee Hup House and WeTV’s IFYLITA considering how long fans of its source material have been waiting. And please. Look at them!
Romances that defy the laws of time and space aren’t new. There’s Chris Reeve’s Somewhere in Time, the Korean classic Il Mare, and the romcom Kate and Leopold to name a few. But this is quite an unexplored territory for BL. Especially considering how gay relationships aren’t as accepted in the past, it would be interesting to see how queerness adds another layer to the struggle of being temporally displaced.
Be My Favorite
Plot: Distraught over the engagement of the girl of his dreams, Botkawee travels back in time with the help of a magic crystal ball to set things right with her, but ends up having a one-night stand with her future groom, Pisaeng. Again and again, Botkawee tries to revise his past to get his desired results, but fate insists on the man he saw as his rival.
BMF is a BL Groundhog Day and The Butterfly Effect. This alone makes it more interesting than the surplus of campus and workplace romances set to air next year. But perhaps what makes it even more interesting is its cast.
Krist Perawat didn’t do any BLs after he and his then-partner Singto Prachaya completely changed the genre’s landscape with SOTUS in 2016, so imagine how excited fans are about this comeback. Be My Favorite was set to be released in 2022 but GMMTV moved it to early next year after several delays, including a major casting change that’s also one of the reasons this show made it to this list: Gawin Caskey.
Gawin Caskey (Dark Blue Kiss, Not Me) has played supporting roles in BLs for years and has been a known scene-stealer in each one. With its fresh concept and the surprising pairing of a pillar in the genre and an underserved artist finally getting his due, Be My Favorite definitely deserves checking out.
Our Skyy 2
Plot: Our Skyy, an anthology of side stories and epilogues of boys’ love shows, returns for a second season with BL characters from the past two years.
The reason this makes it on the list is simple: this is GMMTV’s BL All-Stars. Here, fans get to revisit their most beloved BL characters and see what happened to them after their respective happy endings.
Plot: With no clear future in sight, a young mechanic takes a high-paying job of becoming the carer of a rich heir who has partial blindness.
Last Twilight marks the second project of one of 2022’s breakout pairings, JimmySea. The plot almost has a Nicholas Sparks quality about it – At First Sight and A Walk to Remember rolled into one – so we’ll probably cry over this one. But perhaps the true draw to this show is its director, Aof Noppharnach Chaiwimol, who’s responsible for some of the most iconic GMMTV BLs, Dark Blue Kiss, A Tale of a Thousand Stars, and Bad Buddy. I have a feeling his winning streak continues with this one!
Cherry Magic – Thailand
Plot: Based on the popular manga, Cherry Magic is an office romance between an introvert who, after turning 30, found out that his virginity gave him the power to read people’s minds with one touch and their office’s gentle heartthrob who has long been harboring feelings for him.
TayNew’s comeback project is the most talked about among all of GMMTV’s new titles as it’s been received with both excitement and apprehension – and it’s understandable. While TayNew remains in the pantheon of BL couples, fans tend to be protective and possessive of media they love, and some would argue that it’s too soon for another adaptation. But to be fair though, the Norwegian show Skam’s many adaptations are barely a year apart and yet almost every one was able to offer something new as they take into account cultural differences. Here’s to hoping this version succeeds in doing the same
Plot: A group of friends’ dynamics is upended as they get caught in a web of romantic and sexual entanglements of their own making.
This show is off-the-bat sexy, violent, and just all-around chaotic and we are living! In a sea of fluffy, sometimes saccharine titles where the leads are either ideal boyfriends or whose toxicity is just glossed over and passed off as romance, Only Friends provides a much-needed bitter and spicy palette cleanser in what looks like an over-the-top but nonetheless grounded depiction of friendship between masculine gay friends.
And yes, these gay characters aren’t ideals and we’re here for it because gay characters shouldn’t always be. In an age where we exalt cishet villains’ origin stories, it’s an assertion of equality to let queer characters be as messy and complex without them being seen as irredeemable.
Plot: Always the outsider, Ongsa decides to hide behind the name Earth to make a connection with a girl named Sun. Will she be able to make herself known when Sun finally falls for her too?
Director Samantha Lee (Billie and Emma, Sleep With Me) once said that to support a queer film or series is to buy a ticket for more of their kind. GMMTV announces its first Girls’ Love series and it’s under the helm of a queer woman. That in itself should be enough of a reason to support 23.5.
I don’t think GMMTV would be so silly to call their event Diversely Yours without knowing that diversity in the media people have been clamoring for is more about queer representation than plots. And after announcing more than twenty titles with almost nothing but cishet leads and masc gay characters, they for sure failed to do that. 23.5 is not enough sapphic representation, it doesn’t meet the “diversity quota”, and it won’t fix real-life problems of queer women either. But it is a foot in the door if not a seat at the table, and we must take it.
Are there other upcoming queer shows you are excited about? Share them with us in the comments below!