I have never will return in August with its third season, bringing Devi back for another round of teen drama. The show is one of the best teen comedies on TV and a great example of a female-led vehicle that offers a fresh look at the female experience.
As I have never, Netflix has several other shows that put women first, delivering compelling female-led stories that remain entertaining and insightful. Of The crown at stranger thingsthese shows stand out from the rest.
ten I Never Did (2020-)
Created by Mindy Kaling, I have never follows Devi Vishwakumar, a high school student who seeks to improve her status after a traumatic year. The love triangle between Devi, her crush Paxton, and her enemy-turned-friend-turned-lover Ben also provides much of the show’s drama.
Devi is complicated, sometimes hard to root for, but always engaging and compelling. The show is also a watershed moment for South Asian representation, putting a complex but relatable character at the center and allowing him enough agency to make mistakes and learn from them.
9 Stranger Things (2016-)
One of the best teen sci-fi shows on TV, stranger things follows mysterious and supernatural events in the town of Hawkins and their connection to a dangerous alternate reality, known as the Upside Down.
stranger things is more of an ensemble show, featuring many characters of varying prominence. However, there’s no denying that Eleven is the star of the show. She’s easily the most recognizable character, and the mystery behind her powers and background is central to stranger things‘ main conflicts. Millie Bobbie Brown also stars in the series, cementing Eleven at the heart of stranger things.
8 First Murder (2022)
First murder is one of many supernatural teen shows that have become fan favorites. The plot follows Juliet, a teenage vampire about to make her first kill but develops romantic feelings for Calliope, a Guardian Guild monster hunter.
The show features strong LGBTQ+ representation by having a lesbian couple front and center. Both characters are independent and well-developed, letting the love story feel natural and allowing audiences to root for them and their romance. There’s no news on a Season 2 renewal, but canceling it would be a glaring mistake and a step backwards for LGBTQ+ representation.
seven Grace and Frankie (2015-2022)
With Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie follows two women who befriend each other after their husbands leave them for each other. The show followed their misadventures, business ventures, and blossoming friendship.
Grace and Frankie’s relationship is the bread and butter of the series. The series also dealt with female sexuality and independence, a topic rarely explored in stories featuring older women. Grace and Frankie was also the perfect vehicle for its beloved and acclaimed actresses, providing them with worthy material for their comedic talents.
6 Orange is the New Black (2013-2019)
As Grace and Frankie, Orange is the new black is one of the shows that built Netflix’s reputation as a legit studio. The story, based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, centered on Piper Chapman, a woman sentenced to fifteen months in a minimum-security prison.
Orange is the new black received critical acclaim, including twelve Emmy nominations. The show featured a large ensemble of female performers, giving the show a unique and distinctive voice. Characters like Piper, Alex, “Red” and “Crazy Eyes” quickly became some of TV’s best, thanks to their complex personalities. They weren’t always easy to understand, but they remained compelling until the end.
5 Dear Whites (2017-2021)
Based on the 2014 film of the same name, Dear Whites follows the lives of several black students at a prestigious Ivy League institution.
Although the show follows many characters — in fact, each episode focuses on one particular character at a time, with a few exceptions — Logan Browning’s Sam de facto serves the show. The show deals with issues of race in a refreshing and progressive way, allowing for a genuine and insightful exploration of race relations and cultural biases while showcasing the communities most affected by these behaviors.
4 Anne with an E (2017-2019)
Anne with an Eloosely based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables, follows Anne McNulty, a young orphan who searches for her place in the world. After a difficult childhood in orphanages, Anne will live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, changing their life and that of their small community.
Praised by critics and beloved by its audience, the show features a fiery, talkative, and brilliant protagonist in the form of Anne. Although he dealt with several serious issues throughout his three-season run, Anne with an E remained a wholesome experience and one of many Netflix shows canceled before its time.
3 Dead to Me (2019-)
Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate star in dead to me, a dark comedy about two grieving women, Jen and Judy, who bond and become friends during therapy. Things get complicated when we learn that Judy is responsible for the hit-and-run that killed Jen’s husband.
Deliciously dark, dead to me lives and dies with Applegate and Cardellini. The actresses play two incredibly troubled characters trying to do what’s best. Applegate, in particular, ups the ante as the increasingly unhinged Jen, playing the character with empathy and making it easy for audiences to sympathize with her.
2 Russian Doll (2019-)
One of Netflix’s best and most original shows, Russian doll stars Natasha Lyonne as Nadia, a woman who dies multiple times and lives again the same night. Finding another man in the same situation, she decides to find an end to her torture.
Russian doll was critically acclaimed, with significant praise for Lyonne’s top-notch performance. Indeed, the series excels due to its strength of character in the lead role, creating a unique character that is impossible to forget. Nadia is bold, independent, somewhat selfish and sarcastic, harboring a deep trauma that keeps torturing her. It’s a tricky role, but Lyonne pulls it off effortlessly.
1 The Crown (2016-)
A fictionalized version of the Royal Family, focusing particularly on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, The crown is the pride and joy of Netflix. The show follows the personal lives of members of the royal family and their struggles to live up to their titles and responsibilities.
Whether it’s Elizabeth, Princess Diana or Margaret Thatcher, The crown remains resolutely feminine. The show does its best to portray the struggles of these powerful and influential women, especially in a world where few women have a voice.
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