Viewers may be familiar with “certain Western BL” like Young Royals or Hearstopper, but there are still plenty more to watch. Here is a list of ten highly recommended Boys’ Love series and gay romances to binge-watch anytime soon!

Benjamin (2018)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

One of the best young actors I’ve seen (from any generation) is Colin Morgan. Yup, he’s lead in the fantasy action-adventure series Merlin, which took a 5-year turn from 2008-2012. In Benjamin, he plays a rising young filmmaker struggling to replicate his early success. He also happens to be gay. This is one Western BL production you would want to watch.

Wetsern BL hitlist: Benjamin
Phenix Brossard and Colin Morgan in a scene from Benjamin | laura radford photography ltd

Simran Hans at The Guardian reviews the film and sums it up:

Benjamin (Colin Morgan) is a depressed filmmaker with a penchant for men who are “weak and well-lit”. When he meets Noah (Phénix Brossard), a young French musician, he falls head over heels but pulls away when things get serious, unable to comfortably accept the love he’s being offered, and insecure that others – in love and in work – are only interested in him because of his modest success.

benjamin review at the guardian

London Spy (2015)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This crime drama, created by New York Times best-selling author Tom Rob Smith, follows the emotional journey of a young man as he tries to find the truth behind his lover’s death.

Western BL Hitlist: London Spy
Ben Whishaw and Edward Holcroft play ill-fated lovers in London Spy | BBC Two

Ordinary man Danny begins a romance with MI6 code genius Alex, and they share a happy relationship before it’s tragically cut short when the spy is mysteriously murdered. The suspicious death spurs Danny into investigating the circumstances that took place. Wise mentor Scottie guides the innocent soul through the shady world of espionage as Danny steps out of his comfort zone and into danger.

Behind the Scenes on London Spy | Screen Bites

Among the many outstanding projects acted on by Ben Whishaw, London Spy has the most impact on me as a gay man. Not only is the on-screen chemistry between him and Edward Holcroft so deliciously wicked, his delineation as a young gay man prosecuted for ‘falling in love’ is so chillingly real and even cathartic.

Jongens – Boys (2014)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Perhaps one of the best gay coming-of-age films ever released. Jongen (Boys) is a short, noteworthy, and totally unforgettable film about coming to terms with one’s sexuality. The fact that it stars Gijs Blom and Ko Zandvliet as Sieger and Marc respectively are enough to gush over every scene.

Gijs Blom and Ko Zandvliet enjoying a moment in Jongens | Pupkin Film

Boys (Jongens) beautifully portrays the inner struggle of a character coming to terms with his sexuality and not how he’s influenced and pressured by his surroundings, and it leaves on a positive note… or at least a hopeful one.

REVIEW BY Alexander Ryll @Gay Essential

The cinematography captured the lush greenery and the breathtaking seashores as Sieger and Marc began their dance of romance and intimacy. Not to mention the sweet, unadulterated pop music that accompanies each scene that showcases the developing relationship between the boys.

Summer of 85 (2020)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What do you dream of when you’re 16 years old and in a seaside resort in Normandy in the 1980s? A best friend? A lifelong teen pact? Scooting off on adventures on a boat or a motorbike? Living life at breakneck speed? No. You dream of death. Because you can’t get a bigger kick than dying. And that’s why you save it till the very end. The summer holidays are just beginning, and this story recounts how Alexis grew into himself.

Benjamin Voisin and Felix Lefebvre in a scene from Summer of 85 | Mandarin Films, Scope Pictures

This film will have you guessing what truly transpired in the end. Dir. François Ozon complained about the difficulty and complexity of shooting the film because it requires a lot of energy and creative thoughts. Yet, this more recent work from the French Auteur is hard to forget and is literally a gay film gem.

More French gay films from Ozon in our Hitlist.

The Dutch Boys (2022)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Cinerama’s Neil Baker described this collection of short films:

Themes of masculinity, community, belonging and desire find a sublime fresh voice in NQV’s latest short film collection, The Dutch Boys. Not since The Italian Boys have we seen a compilation this compelling from the NQV team. Each film’s sheer artistry and impact ensure The Dutch Boys is both unforgettable and essential viewing. Here, we travel through themes of fear, religious control, community entrapment, and artistic freedom—each outstanding short film weaving together to create a rich, complex, and stunning tapestry of stories. The result is a beautiful and enriching journey into masculinity, sexuality, socialization, passion, and defiance. 

Cinerama Film profile by Neil baker
Florian Regtien in Beautiful Alexander (Part of The Dutch Boys) | NQV Media

From directors Viktor van der Valk, Marco van Bergen, Jordi Wijnalda, and Marc Wagenaar. You can watch it from different streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime.

Jongen’s Gijsbrecht Thijmen Matthias “Gijs” Blom is also part of the cast, which is mainly my reason to watch it, and then the other actors were excellent as well.

There you have it! Part One of our 10 must-see BL and gay films, and TV series worth watching anytime soon.