7 women-led titles for your next me-time binge-watch session
It’s March. Easter is looming like a chocolate-filled, diet-smashing monster on the horizon. There’s definitely more of a chill in the air as summer starts to wind down. It was also International Women’s Day on 8 March, and all of these mean it’s the perfect time to binge-watch some of our favourite series and movies with women in the lead roles.
Whether you’re looking for some me-time, avoiding crowds because Covid is still a thing (bring on those vaccines!), or need something to replace WandaVision now that it’s over (we were not ready!), these comfort-viewing picks should hit the spot.
Tali Babes (Julia Anastasopoulos), your favourite Joburg girl who recently moved to Cape Town, is at it again. It’s 2021, in a parallel universe sans a global pandemic, and newlywed Tali has signed the biggest influencer deal of her career. But when the fitness brand who signed her is forced to cancel the contract as it’s not exactly pregnancy friendly, Tali, as always, has a plan. A big plan. Follow the brand-new momfluencer on her pregnancy journey as the show’s razor-sharp writing and impeccable acting has you in stitches.
Zoey (Jane Levy) is a coder at a San Francisco tech firm, applying for a promotion at work. Sounds a bit predictable, right? Just wait. Claustrophobic Zoey goes for an MRI scan and while in the doom tube (MRIs scare me too, okay?!) an earthquake hits, which is now right on the top of the list of fears that I never knew I had. Anyway, this freak event leaves Zoey with a unique superpower: she can hear people’s thoughts, as songs. This is original, zany, imaginative storytelling that really does hit all of the right notes.
We’ve all seen the footage of JFK’s assassination and the fallout in the weeks that followed. This movie takes a look at how Jackie, JFK’s widow, copes with her loss in both the private and public spheres. It’s raw, emotional, beautifully sombre viewing that peels back some of the layers to one of the most high-profile tragedies in US history. Natalie Portman delivers a poignant performance as the former first lady, who’s trying her best to mourn her husband while controlling the narrative. Be prepared for moments that’ll be like a sucker punch to the feels (Jackie crying over her husband’s body after he was shot is one).
Drama and intrigue are as much a reality TV staple as caffeine is to my daily life. And on this front The Real Housewives of Durban delivers. The Durban version had a lot to live up to when comparing it to its successful American and Joburg counterparts, but in a refreshing departure from The Real Housewives formula, not all the women in the show are actual housewives. They’re all highly successful businesswomen – which is as welcome a surprise as getting a sea-salt caramel latte instead of a tepid mug of instant coffee. While the first episode is a little more toned down, when the tea is spilled, and controversy starts rearing its head, things get real gripping real fast.
Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
When I eventually grow up, I want to be as fantastic as Jane Fonda. The seasoned star really does act circles around her younger colleagues, and her role as Grace is no exception. Pairing her with the outstanding Lily Tomlin’s Frankie was a stroke of genius. Grace and Frankie’s husbands (who have been business partners for decades) leave their wives for each other. The polar opposites Grace and Frankie move in together and navigate life post divorce, while starting an online business (I won’t give away what they sell. That delightful plot device is something you have to experience for yourself). Hands down, this is one of my favourites.
Firefly Lane (Netflix)
Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate (Sarah Chalke) have been best friends since high school and have been pretty much inseparable since Tully and her mom Cloud moved in next door to Kate and her family. Through flashbacks we get to see how their friendship saw them navigate their teens, their 20s and now their 40s. Tully’s career as a TV host has seen her reach massive success, while writer Kate is going through motherhood. Yes, it does sound like typical series fodder, but the spectacular performances by Heigl and Chalke are enough to lift it above the tropes to bingeable TV that’ll suck you right in.
Ginny and Georgia (Netflix)
Binged all of Gilmore Girls? Looking for something that’ll help fill the hole left by Rory and Lorelai? Ginny and Georgia could be your next fix. Georgia (Brianne Howey) does say: “We’re like the Gilmore Girls. But with boobs”. If the tone of that quip doesn’t appeal, then the more mature topics of race, class, and eating disorders might: this is a fun, quirky, occasionally serious series. The story follows single mom, Georgia, and her daughter, Ginny (Antonia Gentry), as they move to yet another new town. Ginny comments how they’re always leaving to get away from a man, which tells us a lot about her mother – a women whose closet is as full of designer shoes as it is of secrets.