Updated: Aug 28
These are Five Shows with Leading Ladies you'll Stay up all Night to Watch
There’s nothing I love more than getting into a guilt-free Netflix binge. I say guilt-free because I can’t tell you how many times I wanted so badly to curl up in bed in front of my TV but didn’t, feeling like there were other things I should have been doing. To be honest, I watched little to no television for the first year of my daughter’s life, having written Tainted Lionheart and began book-two production, launching Our Galaxy, and ya know, doing that whole mama bear thing.
But recently, I got to reward myself, and with the show, I started indulging in, I began thinking about all the bad-ass women I’ve watched on TV over the years. The women whose characters have impacted and influenced me, who I became totally invested in, who- even after watching- I still feel a connection to. That’s part of why I prefer TV shows as opposed to watching movies, because I get to stay in their worlds for longer, and go on multiple journeys with the characters I fall in love with.
In realizing this, I decided to compile a list of my five favorite shows on Netflix right now with amazing female leads, and why I think they’re binge-worthy. They’re all fairly popular, so I would be surprised if most of you hadn’t already become fans. But these shows are full of women who do what they want and live their lives with no apologies and fucks to give- and I friggin’ love their fictional selves for it.
1. Good Girls - NBC
So, this is the show that inspired me to write this thread, as it’s the most recent thing I’ve watched. Oh my goodness, I am obsessed- totally hooked. I was up until 3 am last week finishing season two knowing I had to be up at 7 am to do a grocery run, but I couldn’t stop.
The story follows three women who, let’s just say, find themselves all needing some fast cash. These three suburban moms end up on the wrong side of the law to provide for their families and I am having so much fun on the ride with them. The show’s hilarious, yet I’ve had countless moments of also being on the edge of my seat because the shit these women get themselves into is actually super intense.
But what I love most about this show is that we’ve got three women who essentially become sick of following all the rules and decide to take control of their own lives in a way they never imagined they would. Granted, they’re doing some pretty illegal shit, but you’re also watching them evolve into these total powerhouses. Excuse me while I go watch season three until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.
2. Glow - Netflix Original
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. This one follows a group of underdog women who pretty much reinvent their lives after joining a female wrestling group. First of all, I had no idea this was based on a real wrestling circuit back in the ’80s, but it made me love it more. Second, let me just commend the writers of this show because I really think they did such a great job with this. Every episode is perfectly in tune with the plot and characterization, and watching it all develop is not only hilarious but also makes you feel like you’re a part of something.
Watching a show that’s placed in the 1980s is fun for me to begin with, but I think what I love most about it is not that we get to see what it is like to be a wrestler and construct a wrestling show- which was actually super enlightening- but about the circumstances and storylines of the women the show follows. To me, Glow calls out a lot of the sexist, anti-feminist stereotypes of the 1980s that in many ways are still relevant today. It attacks the theme with well-placed comedy, and it becomes easy to want to see these women succeed.
3. Grace & Frankie - Netflix Original
Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda pairing up in a series together? Sign me up. Don’t even tell me the plot. They could set cameras up in a shack and watch paint dry and I’d be right there with them to see how it all turns out. These two are powerhouse veterans in terms of true feminine pioneer actresses, so really I could just end this here and tell you if you haven’t watched this show yet I have no idea what you’re doing.
Grace & Frankie is about two women who find out that their husbands have been secretly in love for twenty years and, despite never having got along in the past, find solace and friendship through trying to cope with their circumstances. You want to talk laugh-out-loud-until-you-cry type of comedy? This is all you need right here. One’s a hippy artist and the other is a high-maintenance beauty and the two blended together make for some of the most honest comedy you will ever watch.
Not to mention, I truly do aspire to be just like Frankie when I get older. She is all things goals of carefree, honest, artistic living. I find so much comfort in these character’s vulnerability, and the way the writers did so well to depict the things women go through as they get older. You will fall in love with both of them instantly, I promise. There’s literally nothing to not like.
4. Workin' Moms- CBC
This is one of those shows I love so much because of the way it depicts real women working really hard to live the life they want for themselves and their families and the real challenges that go along with all of it. It is no secret that there are a lot of pressures in being a working mother, especially the ones we put on ourselves. Having to balance your home life and still have a successful career and find ways to not feel guilty about the moments when things get off-kilter a bit. I love that the show is shedding light on that in a way that reminds us that though it’s all a juggling act, we are not alone in our struggles to keep it all intact.
I think the writing is great, I think the characters are remarkably relatable, and the show is so damn funny. These women make me laugh with them as they embark on their daily lives and I appreciate the humor the show brings to the table. It gets emotional as well because the show is so honest, but there is a great balance of both. I think it gives women the chance to realize that no matter how great things may seem for other women around you, we’re all going through it. Perfection is a myth, and the storylines will remind you of that, while also giving you hope that you really can still make shit happen for yourself in spite of being a mother.
Nancy Botwin: my favorite female TV character of all time. There is no question about it. First of all, in retrospect, I was way too young when I watched this series for the first time in 2005 (I was only 14 y’all) but even then, I knew Botwin was a total bad-ass. I’ve binged it two more times since then in my adult years, and I can never get enough of the debauchery of this woman’s story. Weeds is about a woman whose husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her in debt with two children. She decides to start selling, and later growing, marijuana to take care of her family after her husband’s passing. And holy shit, what a ride she ends upon.
You’ve got this California housewife who turns out to be this resilient, fearless, bold woman who doesn’t let anything stop her from doing what she’s got to do to keep her life intact. Most times, she’s ending up in the worst life-or-death situations, but she keeps going and fighting every time. Mary Louise Parker is an amazing actress, plus a total babe, and the satire comedy she brings to the show is everything we all need and more. It’s action-packed, super entertaining, and totally unpredictable.
The show has a lot of heart, and Nancy Botwin pulls at the strings of ours as we want so badly for her to get out of her messes and pull it all together for herself. Watching Nancy have to play this dual role between PTA mom and big-time pot dealer is something you can never tire of. Plus, watching her progression is so dope because she really comes alive as a strong woman once she steps into this lifestyle. Seeing her surprise herself when she does things for survival makes you love her even more. She’s so real. There is no façade to be had, and this show cannot get rawer than it is.
I also just heard that there’s a sequel series coming out through Starz and I nearly squealed. I am here for it.
We all could benefit from watching these women on the screen try to work their way through the chaos of their lives. Not just for the sake of the escape, or the genius comedy, or the entertainment factor, but also because we could learn from them. I’m not saying we should be selling pot or starting our wrestling careers, but we could put their journeys into perspective in the way that every single one of these characters has some of the same things in common.
They’re all women who have found themselves in tough circumstances who do not give up in fighting the challenges they meet. They all have gone through experiences that have changed them, they all have the desire to be happy, and they all want to find their place as strong women in society. Fiction or not, that’s something I can get behind.
Have you watched any of these shows? Tell me what your favorites are. If your top binge-worthy show with female leads isn’t on this list, please share them with me. I’m always looking to indulge in something new, especially if it’s got a leading woman- or two!
Want more content like this? Check out our 13 Feminine Anthems blog to get your next playlist going!