Binge-worthy, Women-Created Shows To Take You Places During Your Self-Isolation
As the COVID-19 situation around the world leaves more and more people sheltering at home, the agnès films editorial staff has joined together to provide a list of show recommendations to provide much-needed entertainment in this time of social distancing and self-isolation.
Whether you’ve got a soft spot for light-hearted comedy or like to invest yourself in fictional drama to distract from your own, here’s a list of women-created shows in alphabetical order that we at agnès films love and think that you’ll love too.
If you have your own recommendation, be sure to Tweet it to us @agnèsfilms. Together we can make this time a little less lonely for everyone.
30 Rock, created by Tina Fey
By Alexandra Hidalgo
Ever since Trump ran for president and somehow won enough delegates—if not enough actual votes—to move into the White House, American life has been tainted with endless doses of daily absurdity. While it’s tempting to despair (and of course we have to sometimes) I try to keep my spirits up because I do better work that way. 30 Rock is the perfect antidote to the Trump absurdity because it revels in the nonsense of life and strings together seven seasons of inside jokes and outlandish gags that remind us that there is indeed laughter and a lot of heart in maneuvering through madness. The show follows the adventures of Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) as she tries to run a TV show with unruly stars Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) and Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) while navigating her friendship with her boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). There are tears to be had between fits of laughter and a world of New York moments and characters to fall in love with as we remember that things will indeed get better soon. They have to. You can watch it on Amazon Prime and on Hulu.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, created by Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna
By Kara Headley
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a musical comedy series that follows New York lawyer Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) as she searches for happiness and love. She runs into her high school ex-boyfriend, Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), and decides to move across the country to his hometown of West Covina, California, the entire time insisting she is not moving there for Josh although it is clear to us that she is. Rebecca quickly befriends Paula Proctor (Donna Lynne Champlin), a paralegal at her new law firm, who vows to help Rebecca win Josh back. Every episode features original musical numbers performed by the cast, and I listen to the soundtracks all the time. This show’s premise is, admittedly, bizarre, and the title is off-putting. However, this show turns the stereotype of the crazy ex-girlfriend on its head. Throughout its four-season run, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend explores themes of mental health, feminism, motherhood, and so much more. It excels at everything it attempts, like changing genres for specific episodes to reflect Rebecca’s moods and big dance numbers involving the entire cast. It has remained my favorite TV show for years. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is available to watch on Netflix.
Fleabag, created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
By Tiffany McIntyre
The creative genius of Phoebe Waller-Bridge is evident in the complexity and wit of her sensual, guilt-ridden, struggling-to-keep-afloat character “Fleabag.” While she is never officially given a name in the show, we know that “Fleabag” denotes how everyone treats and views her. Fleabag will have you in tears as you laugh at the awkward encounters and uncomfortable relationships that unfold in the show, and then in tears as Fleabag’s personhood unravels to reveal her internal struggles. I recommend watching both seasons back-to-back, but it’s so easy to get attached to these characters that you might end up doing just that without even noticing, no matter how uncomfortable you get. The stark brilliance of this show is the narrative: Fleabag constantly breaks the fourth wall, staring right at you—the viewer— to share an intimate moment of the actions and dialogue by the people in her life. From the first scene where she frantically describes how she got into the situation of waiting for the guy who just booty-called her (and as they’re *ahem* going at it), she lets you know exactly what she’s thinking. This holds true all the way to the very last scene at the, well, I guess you’ll just have to find that out for yourself. Fleabag is an awkward, spectacular journey available on Amazon Prime. Enjoy!
Fresh Off the Boat, created by Nahnatchka Khan
By Sophie Schmidt
Fresh Off the Boat is the perfect show to start if you’re looking for something to make you laugh during your quarantine. Set in the 90s, this show follows the Huangs, a Taiwanese-American family, right after their move from Chinatown in Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida where the father, Louis (Randall Park), opens a cowboy-themed steakhouse. As Jessica (Constance Wu) and her three sons struggle to settle into their new environment, viewers are able to laugh and cringe along with their stories. Narrated by the oldest son, Eddie (Hudson Yang), Fresh Off the Boat captures parts of the immigrant experience that can be shared among many. You can stream Fresh Off the Boat on Hulu and ABC. If you loved the show and need more, you can read Eddie Huang’s memoir of the same title on which the show is based.
Gilmore Girls, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino
By Sophie Schmidt
This classic TV show is something from my high school years, and I can always turn to it when I need a pick-me-up. Gilmore Girls follows Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) and her mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham) in their picturesque town Stars Hollow. Rory is completing high school at Chilton, an elite private school that she hopes will improve her chances of getting into her dream college: Harvard. Lorelai must balance life as a working single mother and her classes at a community college to get her business degree so she can start her own inn with her best friend, Sookie (Melissa McCarthy). Navigating a complex mother-daughter relationship and capturing the essence of growing up, Rory, Lorelai, and the rest of the crew from Stars Hollow are sure to evoke memories of the more magical aspects of being a teenager with a big dream. If you finish all seven seasons, don’t fret because there was a reboot of it on Netflix a few years ago. You can watch all of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
GLOW, created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch
By Mimi Anagli, staff writer
Based on the 1986 women’s professional wrestling company, Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW), this show is a modern and feminist take on the women who wrestled for the company. The show follows the fictional life of Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), a struggling actor who joins the wrestling company out of pure desperation. As she becomes part of the team, she is forced to face her past and grow from her mistakes. Her character development is incredible, I’ve never loved and hated a character so much in the course of one season. GLOW is full of tension, drama, friendship, and badass wrestling. If you’re looking for an empowering and emotional roller coaster that will fuel your feminist fire, then join the women of GLOW in their three seasons of pure adrenaline. But before you get started, let me warn you that the third season’s cliffhanger will leave you itching for more. You can watch GLOW on Netflix and keep your eyes out for the fourth season which is rumored to come out this summer.
Golden Girls, created by Susan Harris
By Tiffany McIntyre
Golden Girls is a classic feel good show that contains some of the most basic strategies to life, especially important during this quarantine. The first: friendships are some of the most important bonds to have in life. Take special care of those around you, whether they be in the same house or through the phone. Second: pay attention to resilient women who have life experience. Age is just a number, but very rarely do adult women, particularly divorcées with greying hair, have their own stories. Listen to them. They know what they’re talking about. And third: Let yourself be happy! This show is full of silliness, heartbreak (new and old), comedy, and intentional love. Get wrapped up in the lives of Blanche (Rue McClanahan), Sophia (Estelle Getty), Dorothy (Bea Arthur), and Rose (Betty White) as they enjoy life together in their home. You can watch Golden Girls on Hulu.
Good Girls, created by Jenna Bans
By Megan Elias
This is one of the few shows I’ve seen that actually gets better with each season, heightening the stakes without making it unrealistic. It follows sisters Beth (Christina Hendricks) and Annie (Mae Whitman) and their best friend since childhood Ruby (Retta) who, tired of struggling to make ends meet, inadvertently get involved in a money-laundering scheme. I love this show because each character has such a distinct personality. Beth was a housewife and mother who lived blissfully unaware of her husband’s incompetencies and infidelities until she found this (albeit illegal) avenue to prove to herself and those around her that she’s cunning and capable (and such a badass I just love her so much). Annie was the one who originally proposed breaking the law to provide for her and her child, but soon we find that she uses taking care of her family as an excuse to take more and more risks. Ruby has a hard time balancing her life of crime and her family, especially since she isn’t blood related to Beth and Annie. The dialogue and body language between the three main characters are so natural and realistic that it feels exactly like watching conversations I’ve had with my own friends, even though for these friends the subject matter is usually much more life-threatening, such as telling Detroit gangbanger and reason the three women got wrapped up in this whole thing in the first place, Rio (Manny Montana), why he shouldn’t shoot Beth in broad daylight (this time). I’ve found Good Girls to be a comfort in this uncertain time because it offers a great distraction from the world around me. I can tune in to the ever-more dangerous lives of Beth, Annie, and Ruby (and constantly whisper “ooo, the drama”) and not worry about my own problems for a while. You can watch the first two seasons on Netflix or catch all of it, including new episodes as they air, for free on NBC.com.
Insecure, created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore.
By Alexandra Hidalgo
This brilliant comedy is based on Issa Rae’s semi-autobiographical cult web series. It brings to life the experiences of black women in their late 20s with luminous humor and nuanced characters who navigate dating, work, and figuring out what their adult identities should feel, sound, and look like. Expertly acted and featuring original rap performances by the incandescent Rae, who plays the protagonist, the show is also a meditation on the give and take of female friendship and on figuring out how to be there for our friends when we don’t yet know how to be there for ourselves. As we work through figuring out how to be happy while sheltered at home, this show provides the perfect excuse to put on something fabulous and sexy and to dream of future adventures to be had out on the town when all of this is over. They will, no doubt, be a little awkward and invariably funny adventures, but that’s what makes life memorable and exciting to explore. Insecure is streaming on HBO.
Jessica Jones, created by Melissa Rosenberg
By Alexandra Hidalgo
For about a year we couldn’t make it through an agnès films meeting without me finding a way to sneak Jessica Jones into the conversation. Based on a Marvel superhero and played with mesmerizing vulnerability by Krysten Ritter, Jessica Jones provides a delicious feminist twist on the superhero genre. Finding herself with supernatural strength after a teenage accident that left her family dead, Jessica is now a jaded private eye trying not to care about her clients but getting forever drawn into solving cases that force her to face some of life’s eternal questions like how long we must atone for our past deeds and what to do when those we love cross lines that should never be crossed. Season 2, my favorite, was directed exclusively by women and although I provide no spoilers here, it has one of the most emotional relationships with a villain I have ever witnessed on screens small and large. Jessica Jones, which you can watch on Netflix, will make you feel empowered in spite of (or maybe because of) your flaws and get you ready to kick some butt when we finally get back out into the world.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino.
By Megan Elias
I love a story where a woman takes charge of her narrative, especially when that means leaving her useless husband. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is exactly that. Taking place in the late 1950s, Midge Maisel’s (Rachel Brosnahan) life was one that she had meticulously curated to fit the expectations of her parents and friends right down to waking up before the sunrise so that not even her husband Joel (Michael Zegen) ever sees her without makeup on. But when her aspiring (and not very talented) comedian husband leaves her (then comes back, then she leaves him, it’s a whole thing), Midge realizes she was the real funny one of the couple, and begins the long, challenging journey of disappointing her parents so she can finally follow the dreams that make her happy and share that with the world. This show is great for binging because Midge and her manager-turned-reluctant-but-secretly-soft-friend Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) have plenty of bumps in the road but just as many successes. The show is not only funny, but clever, and even being someone who can’t stand being in the room when a stand-up comedian is on TV, every episode makes me laugh out loud. You can stream The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on Amazon Prime.
Masters of Sex, created by Michelle Ashford.
By Alexandra Hidalgo
I heard a lot of buzz about the first two seasons of Masters of Sex back in 2016 but I didn’t get around to watching it til last spring. I was completely hooked after the premiere and even though the last season falters, I adore the show’s historical portrayal of sex research and its explorations of love with all its demons, tears, and orgasms. Based on the lives of pioneer sex researchers Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), the show, like Masters and Johnson themselves, argues that female sexuality with our potential for multiple orgasms is a lot more elastic and resilient than men’s sexuality, even if we’ve been told otherwise for millenia. Caplan, who has always shined brightly in comedies like Mean Girls and Party Down, plays Virginia—her first major dramatic role—with wit and relentless empathy for a working mother who has no idea how to balance her love for her children, for her scientific quest, and for the utter enjoyment of sex, a taboo for women in the 1950s and sadly still today. Whether you’re home with a partner or not, this show, which you can find on Showtime or rent on Amazon Prime, makes a provocative argument for the immense value of sex in women’s lives.
The Mindy Project, Created by Mindy Kaling
By Tiffany McIntyre
The Mindy Project will have you hooked ten minutes into the first episode. Mindy is a successful doctor looking for love and is determined to attain it, except her ideal love is every rom-com from the 80s. The Mindy Project is the perfect quarantine show; Mindy is such a down-to-earth character who works tirelessly and with an always humorous result to love her friends and herself. She narrates her life in internal dialogue that, more often than not, turns into her actually saying her thoughts out loud wherever she is. The very first encounter you have of this narration is a romantic, clumsy night, which ends up with Mindy explaining to a police officer in the questioning room why she got arrested with multiple offenses after her ex-boyfriend’s wedding. This show is poignant, relatable, and will leave you pressing “next episode” right away instead of waiting the 20 seconds for Hulu to automatically play.
Mixed-ish, created by Tracee Ellis Ross, Kenya Barris, and Peter Saji
By Mimi Anagli
If you’re looking for something low-commitment, then Mixed-ish is the show for you. With only one season out, Mixed-ish is a branch of ABC’s -ish franchise. As a precursor to the stories told in Black-ish and Grown-ish, the show is centered around the childhood of Rainbow Johnson (Arica Himmel/Tracee Ellis Ross). Having lived her entire life in a hippie commune, Rainbow’s life is turned upside down when she moves into the suburbs in 1985 and becomes a part of “normal” society. Rainbow and her two siblings start going to public school for the first time and are forced to face something that they never had to give thought to, the fact that they are mixed race. Putting a spotlight on both racial and gender stereotypes, Mixed-ish does a great job at raising important questions about identity all while being hilarious. Whether you’re mixed race or have experienced any kind of identity crisis, Mixed-ish is painfully relatable and will keep you laughing through these tough times. You can watch it on Hulu and ABC.
New Girl, created by Elizabeth Meriwether
By Mimi Anagli
Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-watch comedy, feel-good romance, or just an uplifting story about friendship, New Girl has got your back during this time of social distancing. New Girl follows the life of Jess (Zooey Deschanel), a teacher in her thirties who moves into an apartment with three strangers who all happen to be men. As a quirky and unconventional character herself, Jess learns to navigate friendships with each of these unique (to say the least) men. Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield), and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.), who moves out and is replaced by my personal favorite, Winston (Lamorne Morris) all have had a “failure to launch.” Whether it’s professionally or emotionally each of these men have a lot of maturing to do and turn to Jess for guidance. With seven seasons on Netflix, New Girl has no shortage of dry humor or iconic phrases that you’ll find yourself repeating until it drives your family mad (if quarantine hasn’t done so already). Jokes aside, if you’re struggling to be apart from friends and family during this time, Jess, Nick, Schmidt and Winston will surely give you all the entertainment you need.
One Day at a Time, created by Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce
By Kara Headley
One Day at a Time is a comedy show developed by Netflix which was recently picked up by PopTV. It centers around the life of a Cuban-American family living in Los Angeles. Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado), mother of Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Alex (Marcel Ruiz), is a nurse and army veteran living with PTSD. The three of them live with Penelope’s mother, Lydia Riera (Rita Moreno), a Cuban immigrant. Together, the family faces the world. The show deals with themes of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and mental health. Despite these heavy topics, it remains light and heartwarming. The first three seasons of One Day at a Time can be found on Netflix, and at the time of writing this, season 4 is currently airing on PopTV.
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker, created by Janine Sherman Barroi, Elle Johnson, Maverick Carter, LeBron James, Octavia Spencer, Mark Holder, Christine Holder, Kasi Lemmons, and Jamal Henderson
By Kara Headley
Self Made is a Netflix limited series about the life of Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, who was the first self-made female millionaire in America. The series is based on the Madam C.J. Walker biography On Her Own Ground, written by her great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles. The show begins by showing how Sarah (Octavia Spencer) started making and selling her own hair care products. It follows her and her daughter, Lelia (Tiffany Haddish), as they move across the country, building the Madam C.J. Walker company and legacy. This series has drummed up some controversy, skipping parts of Sarah’s life and dramatizing others. That being said, it’s a great watch; Octavia Spencer gives an extraordinary performance, and I certainly learned a lot about a historical figure I had previously known very little about. Self Made is available to watch on Netflix.
Do you have a great woman-created or co-created TV show recommendation? Be sure to tweet us @agnesfilms! You can learn more about Megan, Alexandra, Kara, Tiffany, Sophie, and Mimi by visiting their profiles.