1. ‘Bridgerton’ (streaming on Netflix)
A flustered Aidy Bryant and Ego Nwodim professing their love for the Shonda Rhimes-produced period drama after “Bridgerton” breakout Regé-Jean Page hosted “Saturday Night Live,” which led to one of the most relatable bits in recent memory. Page asked, “Did you have a favorite part?” This is two minutes into episode 5, Nwodim informed the audience. A five-minute preview of episode six was provided by Bryant as a solution. Referencing sex scenes between the Duke of Hastings and Daphne Bridgerton, the character played by Robert Pattinson (Page), women all over the world nodded in agreement (Phoebe Dynevor). The first season of “Bridgerton” revolves around their love story, which is told by Lady Whistledown, an anonymous author whose gossip columns embarrass British society in the late 1800s. There are plenty of Shondaland touches to enjoy in this adaptation of the Julia Quinn novels, such as a color-blind cast, classical renditions of popular songs and runway-worthy outfits. It’s the apex of indulgent escapism. The writer, Bethonie Butler, said
2. ‘Gossip Girl’ (streaming on HBO Max)
The allure of a good television show is that you don’t have to do much thinking to enjoy it. The six seasons of scheming, backstabbing, and making up in the original “Gossip Girl” required a certain suspension of disbelief. Enjoy the Upper East Side teens Serena (Blake Lively) and Blair (Leighton Meester) and their petty drama; stay for the over-the-top plotlines and compelling secondary characters such as Dorota, the Waldorfs’ maid (Zuzanna Szadkowski). in the words of Sonia Rao
3. ‘Derry Girls’ (streaming on Netflix)
Before starring in “Bridgerton,” Nicola Coughlan appeared in the comedy “Derry Girls,” about a group of teenage girls in 1990s Northern Ireland. Due to the contentious political backdrop, the show’s creator Lisa McGee and the rest of the cast (Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell and Dylan Llewellyn) have a dark sense of humor that they cleverly execute. — S.R.
4. ‘Starstruck’ (streaming on HBO Max)
The plot of this British import couldn’t be more girly: a girl meets a boy, sleeps with him, and discovers the next day that the boy is a movie star who is secretly into her. Because of her charisma, comic skills, and fresh perspective as creator-star, Rose Matafeo brings an effortlessness to the show’s high concept. Meanwhile, co-star Nikesh Patel plays an A-lister and a frustrated everydude at the same time. Even though Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts starred in the 1990s version of the same story, which asks if life in London’s gig economy is for everyone, the millennial version, with its emphasis on economic realism, isn’t any less romantic because of it. In my opinion — I.K.
5. ‘Never Have I Ever’ (streaming on Netflix)
On the surface, “Never Have I Ever” appears to be a standard teen drama about Devi Vishwakumar, a high school student (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan). However, when it is put into practice, it becomes much more. What matters most in the show is Devi’s relationship with her mother Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan), not the love triangle she finds herself in after her father’s death (Darren Barnet and Jaren Lewison). Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher, a writer on “The Mindy Project,” created the show together. — S.R.
6. ‘Run the World’ (streaming on Starz)
This Starz series follows four Black 30-something women as they navigate New York City’s social, romantic, and professional landscapes. Amber Stevens West, Andrea Bordeaux, Corbin Reid and a scene-stealing Bresha Webb star in “Run the World,” a film that manages to be both relatable and inspirational at the same time. For more than a decade, Leigh Davenport worked on the concept for the show, which she hoped would portray Black women in a way she hadn’t seen on television since “Living Single.” Unexpectedly, Yvette Lee Bowser, who created the iconic ’90s show, is also running the show on “Run the World.” The first episode makes a reference to “Sex and the City,” but if we only looked at what the show has in common with other shows about women, we’d be doing it an injustice. The late great B.B. King.
7. ‘Ugly Betty’ (streaming on Hulu)
Who among the world’s glamazons hasn’t felt like a troll? (And if you’ve never done so, please take a step back.) America Ferrera, who played the title character, became a household name on ABC the same year as “The Devil Wears Prada.” The show also reintroduced actress Vanessa Williams, who played an editrix who was more dominatrix, to the next generation by channeling our deepest insecurities about being professionally beautiful. Aside from “Ugly Betty,” which featured eye-popping outfits, timeless one-liners, and risky performances, few shows captured our love/hate relationship with the fashion industry quite like this one. In my opinion — I.K.
8. ‘We Are Lady Parts’ (streaming on Peacock)
We Are Lady Parts is a punk rock mash-up of Jane Austen and riot grrrl about an introverted graduate student (Anjana Vasan) who joins an all-female, all-Muslim band. Nothing but her own surprise, it’s exactly what she needed — although, at first, her musical passion doesn’t temper her search for a husband much (or the unacknowledged horniness fueling that pursuit). For all of its multicultural and multiethnic Muslim communities, this is a series that earn its representational triumphs through offering its girly bona fides — fashionable clothes and female friendships, as well as personal fulfillment through a unique viewpoint. — I.K.
9. ‘Tuca and Bertie’ (streaming on Netflix and Adult Swim)
Despite “Tuca and Bertie” being axed by Netflix after one season, Adult Swim brought it back for a second season this summer, which is a blessing. Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong star as a carefree toucan and an anxious songbird, respectively, in the show, which takes a surreal animated approach thanks to “BoJack Horseman” alum Lisa Hanawalt. Similar to “Broad City,” but set in Bird Town instead of Manhattan. — S.R.
10. ‘Gilmore Girls’ (streaming on Netflix)
Like no other show, Rory and Lorelai Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) by Amy Sherman-Palladino has resonated with viewers (Lauren Graham). Because Rory was born when Lorelai was only a teenager in the cozy and fictitious town of Stars Hollow, Conn., the series served as both a mother-daughter coming-of-age story. It was refreshing to see a show with parents who weren’t antagonistic or clueless banter, especially when they were drinking so much coffee. For the same reasons that she had trouble picking which Ivy to attend, Booksmart Rory made for an engaging (and relatable) protagonist. However, you are free to ignore the comeback. The legendary singer B.B. King
11. Sex and the City
With Cynthia Nixon as lead and Kristin Davis as co-lead and Sarah Jessica Parker as co-producer,
Only one other Darren Star show has taken place in New York, including Sex and the City’s iconic fifth character, Younger. Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place were both set in California, while Emily in Paris, which Star is currently filming in Paris, is set in the city’s eponymous suburb. If you want to spend more time in Star’s glitzy New York, go see Sex and the City to learn more about the origins of the romance. However, like Younger, the series is a comfortingly over-the-top blend of fantasy, frankness, dating adventures and extreme fashion accessories, all anchored by the female friendship that launched thousands of personality tests.. [HBO Max subscribers: check this out]
12. Cable Girls
Television characters have a long history of lying about their identities to get jobs, from Younger to Mad Men. While Liza pretends to be someone she’s not in order to re-enter the publishing industry, Cable Girls’ Alba (Blanca Suárez), better known as Lidia, has a more life-or-death reason for doing so. Netflix’s Spanish period drama focuses on the lives of young professionals at the National Telephone Company in 1920s Madrid and features Alba, one of four central female characters who is caught in the crossfire of a corrupt cop. If you’re a fan of the Younger generation and want to see more stories about strong women standing up for themselves and supporting one another in the workplace, check out Cable Girls. In addition to soapy romantic intrigue, this series also packs a powerful emotional punch as real-world history catches up with the characters. You can see it on Netflix.
13. Dead to Me
Dead to Me, which centers on a major betrayal, is a must-see if you’re a fan of female friendships built on lies. After her husband was killed in a hit-and-run, Jen (Christina Applegate) forms an unlikely friendship with Judy (Linda Cardellini), a grief group member who may have some knowledge of what happened to her husband. And here you thought Kelsey and Liza on Younger had a lot on their plates. Jen and Judy form a ride-or-die bond after being bound together by tragedy and guilt. Underneath the show’s wild exterior lies a portrait of grief anchored by outstanding performances from Applegate and Cardellini. Dead to Me is a compelling series to watch. Also, James Marsden is a hoot in this movie. You can see it on Netflix.
14. The Bold Type
As far as we know, no one in The Bold Type is lying about their age, but other than that, The Bold Type and Younger are identical: two frothy dramas about aspiring young professionals trying to make it in a frothy field. A trio of millennial women — Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat (Aisha Dee), and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) — find their voices at the fictional women’s magazine Scarlet in The Bold Type, which trades publishing for magazine journalism, which is known for its stability and predictability. With varying degrees of success, the story alternates between happy endings and serious issues for women. Even so, The Bold Type is a lot of fun, and the bond between Jane, Kat, and Sutton keeps the story moving forward. You can see it on Hulu.
You can watch Insecure if you want a more realistic portrayal of millennial life that doesn’t sacrifice happiness. Yvonne Orji and co-creator Issa Rae star in this hilarious and poignant HBO comedy-drama about two best friends in their 30s in Los Angeles. Even though their struggles with finding the right balance between friendship, dating, and career advancement will be well known to Younger viewers, it is the show’s willingness to steer into difficult growth moments that truly sets it apart. When you watch Insecure, you will be cheering for the characters, yelling about their love lives, and taking sides in the Twitter scuffles between Issa and Molly, among other things. If you enjoy Insecure, you may want to consider checking out these recommended television programs. [HBO Max subscribers: check this out]
Do you want to know more about Sutton Foster? Bunheads, a charming show that aired on Freeform from 2012 to 2013, is no longer on the air. Foster plays a Las Vegas showgirl who ends up teaching ballet with her new mother-in-law in a sleepy California town (Kelly Bishop). It’s a fast-talking, fast-footed gem with a soft heart and dance sequences designed for rewinding, co-created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creative mind behind Gilmore Girls and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Fans of Younger who hoped to see Foster use her Broadway skills more often will be delighted by this announcement. You can see it on Hulu.
17. Jane the Virgin
Sometimes, all you need to feel alive is to pick a side in a bitter fictional love triangle. Compared to Jane the Virgin’s Michael and Rafael, younger shows have Josh and Charles. Despite being a virgin, Gina Rodriguez’s Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) is forced to abandon her carefully planned life when she is accidentally artificially inseminated (yes) in the CW’s self-aware telenovela. She’s torn between Michael (Brett Dier), her longtime boyfriend, and Rafael, her baby’s biological father, as her circumstances change (Justin Baldoni). Jane the Virgin is at its best when it delicately explores faith and sexuality, illuminates immigration stories, and the fraught but unbreakable bond between three generations of Villanueva women. But the love triangle is an easy hook into a story that goes so much deeper than that. Soapy sweets are always a hit. You can see it on Netflix.
18. Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce
This book will appeal to anyone who enjoyed watching Liza reinvent herself as a single woman in her 40s and find love again. Lisa Edelstein plays Los Angeles self-help author Abby in the underrated Bravo series, who finds solace in making new friends as her divorce upends her life. While the story deals with the complexities of marriage and female friendship, it does so in a way that’s both poignant and downright nasty at the same time. Alanna Ubach, Retta, and Bernadette Peters round out Edelstein’s stellar cast, which also includes Carrie Fisher, Laverne Cox, and Bernadette Peters. That’s great, by the way. You can see it on Netflix.