I grew up surrounded by shows featuring the suburban mom and her goofy husband, I’m talking about you: Home Improvement, Everybody Loves Raymond, and The Simpsons. TV is finally starting to smash the gender stereotypes that its perpetuated for decades, and I’m here for it.
Netflix, in particular, has created female-centred shows that throw away archaic stereotypes around women, and create realistic and lively storylines and characters. Here are my favourite women-led shows on Netflix right now.
A unique show about the unlikely friendship between Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin), two women and long-time rivals, who discover their husbands have been having an affair together for decades. Each new season brings new plot twists, and a stronger friendship between Grace and Frankie.
I am in love with both Grace and Frankie, and the fact that they’re both able to finally discover their true selves after 70 years. This show brings film giants to the screen, but shows a side to each of them that we’ve never seen before. Both Grace and Frankie are individual, but they come as a package deal. These two women are forces to be reckoned with, and it’s no shock that the show has received wide acclaim and rave reviews.
A dramedy that centres around three suburban moms who are seemingly stereotypical, but turn out to be anything but. This series follows Beth (Christina Hendricks), Ruby (Retta), and Annie (Mae Whitman), three mothers who decide to rob a grocery store after realizing that nobody is going to solve their financial problems for them.
This genre-bending show is binge-worthy and full of smashed stereotypes, starting with three women who are in financial straits and decide to take matters into their own hands. Surprises arrive at every corner of Good Girls. Fans of this show are impatiently waiting for the second season to arrive.
Inspired by Norman Lear’s One Day at a Time (1975), this re-imagined sitcom offers an unexpected and praise-worthy revival. The show features a Cuban-American family, which includes Penelope (Justina Machado), a recently single army veteran, her two teenage children, and her sometimes overbearing, but always well-meaning mother, Lydia (Rita Moreno).
What doesn’t this show have? It’s one of the best sitcoms I’ve ever seen, period. It has substance and deals with weighty issues like depression, sexuality, PTSD, religion, and immigration. The social commentary is spot-on, but appeals to our humanity, using sensitivity and even humour to get the point across. The fact that the household is led by two hilarious and strong Cuban-American women is the cherry on top.
GLOW offers a fictionalized account of the real 1980s syndicated women wrestling circuit called GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling). Set in 1985, Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) leads the mostly-female cast, a group of misfits with different stories to tell, who are all eager to shine as women wrestlers.
I didn’t know that I needed GLOW in my life, until I pressed play on the first episode, and was obsessed after the first five minutes. There are plenty of stereotypes in this show, it’s set in the 1980s after all. But it’s the underlying message and realism that each character brings that makes this show a shining portrayal of womanhood in the 1980s.
A UK drama-mystery featuring four female leads who attempt to solve seemingly unsolvable crimes. Set in the 1950s, the four women were once codebreakers during World War II, but must return to their normal lives once the war is over. After a string of murders in London, Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin), begins to notice some patterns. The four women reunite in an attempt to solve the mystery together.
This is the kind of show that I would have never found without the suggestion of someone else. It’s a fantastic crime drama, and I love that it focuses on four brilliant women who use their talents for good. It’s addictive and fast-paced, and unfortunate that there’s only two seasons in the series.
What show would you add to the list?