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The verdict’s in: Netflix’s new satirical comedy 'Insatiable' is pure trash. Here are ten of the best female-fronted shows to stream instead.

All the best #GirlPower shows to watch instead of ‘Insatiable’

By News

The verdict’s in: Netflix’s new satirical comedy Insatiable is a disastrophe. And not the good kind you can sit and enjoy with a bottle of wine and absolutely no shame. The kind that misfires in its attempt to be edgy while lacking the sharpness and wit to nail the delivery of its controversial subject matter.

The show itself follows a “fat girl” (a thin girl in a fat suit) named Patty (Debby Ryan) who gets punched in the face, has her jaw wired shut, loses weight (and subsequently becomes “hot”), and seeks revenge on those who bullied her.

Although the premise is problematic in itself, we were quick to challenge the naysayers who denounced the show before they’d even seen in. However, having seen the first few episodes ourselves now, we can confirm Insatiable contains none of the sharpness it needed to deliver such a satirical statement on body image.

The show is at once aggressively cruel and a total yawnfest, and contains some tired queer tropes via its depiction of Patty’s closeted lesbian bestie Nonnie (Kimmy Shields) to boot. So while everyone expected Insatiable to be bad, the reality is even worse.

Instead of wasting your time on this trash heap of a “comedy” (which drops on Netflix today), turn your focus to better content with these stunning examples of #GirlPower. Here are ten of the best female-fronted shows to stream instead of Insatiable:  

GLOW (2017-)

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling body-slammed its way into our hearts when it first hit Netflix in 2017, and continued to do so into S2 with a solid core cast, nostalgic 80s setting, heartfelt portrayals of female friendship, and oodles of spandex.

A diverse cast including Alison Brie, Sydelle Noel, Sunita Mani, Britt Baron, Kate Nash, Gayle Rankin, Kia Stevens, Ellen Wong, Jackie Tohn, and Britney Young star as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling as they grapple with life both in and out of the ring, managing to remain both frothy and fun while exposing societal prejudices that are still prevalent today.

Broad City (2014-)

Yas queen! While it’s bittersweet to know that Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson’s next season will be their last, marking the end of an era, we can at least remind ourselves of the hilarious times the comedy duo have brought to us over the years (from seafood allergies to Val’s diamond-munching antics – no mo FOMO).

For four tumultuous seasons (soon to be five), Abbi and Ilana have kept our sides splitting with their portrayal of two broke girls living in NYC, while teaching us the true value of female friendship. It’s thanks to this show that we can’t leave the house without a Bingo Bronson at our side and a backup vape in our rucksacks.

Killing Eve (2018-)

A dazzling thriller from Phoebe Waller-Bridge – the creative mind behind Fleabag – Killing Eve stars Sandra Oh as a woman whose job as a bored low-level MI5 security employee takes an exciting turn when she links a string of murders to the capricious and dangerous assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer).

As Eve embarks on the task to seek out her culprit, the two end up obsessed with each other and enter into a risky game of cat & mouse. The genre-bending miniseries is at once slick, gripping, and wildly entertaining, bringing fresh energy to a worn out genre.

Good Girls (2018-)

Jenna Bans’s dramedy is getting a second season and we’re here for it every step of the way. Centering on three suburban moms (with glorious turns from Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman) who find themselves in desperate circumstances, the tired trio have had enough of playing it safe and swap wholesome housewife values for a life of crime, chaos, and dollar bills by robbing the local supermarket at (toy) gunpoint. Some girls are good, some girls are bad, and some are just doing what they can to get by.

Veronica Mars (2004-2007)

A show that was cut from the air and from our lives too soon, the neo-noir YA crime thriller saw Kristen Bell long before her Good Place days, as a snarky high school student turned private investigator who dedicates her life to cracking the toughest mysteries in the affluent town of Neptune, including the murder of her best friend Lily.

Using her smarts and determination to unturn a number of stones (while dealing with sexual trauma of her own), Veronica is the ultimate example of girl power, proving you don’t have to show physical strength to be powerful.

Riverdale (2016-)

The CW’s dark, edgy, and sexy take on the Archie comic books has proved highly addictive, set in the once-idyllic small town that becomes a hotbed of controversies and secrets with the death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines).

From Betty (Lili Reinhart), to Veronica (Camila Mendes), to Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), Riverdale features a host of female characters who show strength and are fierce in their own special ways.

Daria (1997-2001)

The TV show equivalent of your 00s teen angst, Daria was more than just a cartoon – it was a way of life.

Fuelled by misanthropy and cutting wit, Daria was and still is the perfect example of sardonic apathy, following the titular character through teenage life as a proud outsider in a world of mainly idiotic adolescents and condescending adults. Together with her bestie Jane, the pair take on the world in Creepers and grunge boots, one snarky quip at a time.

Big Little Lies (2017-)

Arguably one of the best crime dramas of last year, HBO’s Big Little Lies stars Hollywood heavyweights Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley as suburban moms who exist in a community fueled by rumors and divided into haves and have-nots.

As their seemingly perfect lives unravel, dark secrets bubble to the surface and we begin to see that life is not as it seems in the tranquil beachfront town of Monterey. Not only does the show offer a gripping storyline and three-dimensional characters whose arcs you can’t help but be enthralled by, but the show also tackles the tricky subject of domestic abuse in a complex and nuanced manner. With season two on the way, we’d recommend giving season one a watch or rewatch ahead of its release.

Vida (2018-)

Mishel Prada and Melissa Barrera star in Tanya Saracho’s latest comedy as Emma and Lyn – two estranged sisters who return to their old LA neighborhood where they are confronted by the past and the truth about their mother’s identity.

In its first season, the show has been praised for its portrayal of Latinx culture, LGBTQI relationships, and gentrification – with another season on the horizon, we’re excited to see what hot topics Saracho and the creative team will take on.

Pose (2018-)

Ryan Murphy’s portrayal of 80s NYC ball culture is dazzling, authentic, and deals with its challenging topics with tact and finesse. A landmark show in terms of LGBTQI representation, Pose explores the fetishization of trans women and the details of gender reassignment surgery in ways that have not been seen on TV before.

As well as lifting the curtain on the bold ball subculture and the issues the trans community faced both inside and out of the scene, Pose also feels like a family drama thanks to the relationships formed by the sweet yet powerful Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), who builds lives and shows love by making a home for Angel (Indya Moore) and Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain). In short, Pose demands to be seen – it’s one of the greatest shows on TV and we’re giving it tens across the board.

While we wait for the second season of 'Vida' to drop, here are a number of other TV shows taking on tricky subjects and addressing reality in a conscious way.

‘Vida’ fever: The TV shows addressing reality in a conscious way

By News

Last month, Starz announced the renewal of its hit dramedy Vida. Following a successful first season, the second round will see an expanded episode count, as well as an expanded cast, with Roberta Colindrez booking a series regular role in Tanya Saracho’s Latinx half-hour show.

Vida centers around two Mexican-American sisters from the Eastside of Los Angeles who returned to their hometown in S1 following the death of their mother. It has been lauded for its portrayal of Latinx culture, while also tackling important societal issues regarding gentrification and LGBTQI experiences throughout its debut season.

With another round on the horizon, we’re excited to see what hot topics Saracho and the creative team will take on. While we wait, here are a number of other TV shows taking on tricky subjects and addressing reality in a conscious way.  

Pose (2018-)

Ryan Murphy’s Pose made history by featuring the largest transgender cast in TV history, as well as taking on the first transgender woman of color to direct an episode of television thanks to the talents of best-selling writer Janet Mock.

As such, Pose is a landmark show in terms of LGBTQI representation, exploring the fetishization of trans women and the details of gender reassignment surgery in ways that have not yet been seen on TV before.

Taking place in the 80s, Pose is centered around the acrimonious relationship between two ball houses and delves into the lives of the trans characters who are finally shown to be more than just one-dimensional sex workers.

Via its numerous side stories, from Blanca’s journey as a “mother”, to Angel’s love affair, to Ricky and Damon’s blossoming relationship, Pose tackles a number of important issues including transphobia, homophobia, the HIV crisis, and racism, and it does so with tact, sensitivity, and finesse.

Transparent (2014-)

While Amazon Prime’s Transparent centers on one trans woman’s journey as she transitions in later life, the show also veered into political grounds as the Pfeffermans headed to Israel in season four.

Offering a ten-episode exploration on the issue of borders, Transparent explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as Maura is invited to give an Israeli conference on gender and Judaism, bringing her kids with her to the holy land.

Their journey allowed for the creators to explore Israel, the West Bank, themes on God and religion, politics, the history of the area, and the conflict that has been going on for 70 years. As Transparent does so well, these heavy themes are lifted with moments of hilarity and humanity – but more essentially, they were a departure from the usual way Israel is depicted on US television.

Shay Roman, who advised the show on issues relating to the conflict, highlighted the way Ali talks about how the American media and the Israeli government are so conflated.

“She refers to them as ‘they,’ sort of like ‘the man.’ Personally, as a young American Jew, I’ve felt often frustrated by the one-sided Israel at all costs perspective. I think I was excited to bring in a world that we don’t get to see, and hear people’s opinions that we don’t get to hear.”

Black-ish (2014-)

The ABC family show has never shied away from exploring cultural issues within its storylines, having focused on issues such as gun control and racial prejudice in modern society.

However, there’s one episode in particular that serves as a significant example of why  Black-ish deserves credit for incorporating such serious subjects into its narrative and that is season two, episode 16 “Hope”, in which the Johnson family discusses race issues while watching news coverage of a grand jury considering the indictment of a white police officer accused of killing an African American teen.

Sparking emotional responses on social media, the episode put the show within the thick of the Black Lives Matter movement. “This is the age of #BlackLivesMatter and sometimes there is no better way to get a message out to the American public than secreting it in one of their favorite sitcoms,” noted The Guardian.

13 Reasons Why (2017-)

There are thirteen reasons why we support Netflix’s decision to renew the young adult drama 13 Reasons Why for a third season, one of those being the show’s dedicated to not only portraying mental health issues, bullying, depression, sexual assault, and suicide in an honest and frank manner, but also its efforts to help audiences seek help if suffering from such afflictions.

S1 depicts the suicide of teen protagonist Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who leaves behind a series of tapes revealing the events and the people who led her to commit the act. The show incorporates narratives of depression including those dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault.

Although many of the adult viewers clutched their pearls in horror at a show discussing these topics and portraying them uncensored (you know, like in real life), a study showed teenagers reacted well to the content, with more than three-quarters of respondents stating they learned about depression and suicidal ideation.

Meanwhile, another major issue the show tackles is that of sexual assault and rape culture, which it does so convincingly by using the narrative to highlight its persistence in schools, its dark evolution through social media, and the debate surrounding consent.

The scene in which Hannah is raped shows her turning numb and unresponsive, portraying how rape doesn’t necessarily mean the victim has to fight back to show they do not consent and that there is no right or wrong response when faced with a traumatic experience.

It’s rare for a teen show to level with its audience in such an honest manner and it’s for this reason its audience deserves a third season. No matter how much it “offends” the Parents Television Council.

Big Little Lies (2017-)

Starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, HBO’s Big Little Lies was one of prestige TV’s big wins. A dark crime drama about the seemingly perfect lives of three mothers as they unravel to the point of murder, the show won over audiences and will continue to do so with a second round set to premiere in 2019.

Not only does the show offer a gripping storyline and three-dimensional characters whose arcs you can’t help but be enthralled by, but the show also tackles the tricky subject of domestic abuse in a complex and nuanced manner.

While Kidman’s Celeste appears to have the perfect marriage, we soon discover the opposite to be true. On the outside, her husband Perry is kind, caring, and affectionate. But behind closed doors he is controlling and dominating, flipping between love and rage like a light switch.

As is seen in so many domestic abuse cases, Perry manipulates Celeste into forgiving his behavior and even into feeling guilty herself. Speaking to Marie Claire, CEO of Refuge Sandra Horley praised the accuracy of Big Little Lies’s portrayal of a controlling and abusive relationship, adding that the show highlights how “women like Celeste should never be judged for how they respond to abuse.”

Atlanta (2016-)

Donald Glover’s surreal comedy tackles social issues via the lens of rap, successfully weaving together themes of oppression, racial prejudice, and poverty told with an absurdist and entertaining oddball ride about a rapper named Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) and his manager / cousin (Glover).

“With Atlanta, Glover uses the platform of network television to express his opinions on race, black culture, hip hop, mental health, masculinity, and fatherhood,” noted The Mercury. In particular, Paper Boi’s journey provides an insight into what it’s like as a rapper in the landscape of Atlanta.

Season two of the show explores themes on exploitation and poverty, starting with a shootout at a drive-through and going on to show how Earn is now homeless and Paper Boi is under house arrest. It makes poignant statements without veering into overtly political commentary.

“The way I look at it, the years Obama was in office, and the year after Trump was inaugurated, if you were poor, you really didn’t see the difference. That stuff really didn’t touch you,” noted Glover. “We just look at what happens when someone is really poor, when someone really doesn’t have a stake in any of this.”

Dear White People (2017-)

Justin Simien’s Netflix dramedy made bold political statements in S1 by focusing on racial issues at an Ivy League college. However, it was in season two that the show really came into its own, addressing its flaws on slippery politics and building on its topical takes on racism, black identity, and police brutality.

For round two, we see the characters of Winchester University as they deal with white supremacy, online alt-right trolls, and the psychological fallout of racial discrimination.

But we’re also shown the bigger picture, including Reggie’s suffering mental state following his traumatic experience when held up at gunpoint by a police officer, as well as the emotional distress Sam felt when being targeted by a racially-charged social media attack.

Yet the reason Dear White People resonates, outlined The Verge, is because “it’s adept at finding those little moments that feel like in-jokes to black viewers, and the ways we use humor to cope with living in a less-than-welcoming country.”

Although the nomination announcements are less than 24 hours away, we thought we’d turn our attention to the fierce females of TV today who without a doubt deserve an Emmy Award of their very own.

A plea to the Emmys: Female stars who deserve a nomination

By News

We’re one day away from the 2018 Emmys nominee announcement, and we can’t help but wait on the edge of our seats in apprehension. As is often the case with such prestigious awards ceremonies, this year’s event will no doubt be another exercise in predictability and – as the Emmys is famous for – some rather questionable categories (in no world does it make sense to shove drama and comedy series into one box).

While the organization has certainly improved over the years by increasing the number of nominations in some categories and shaking up its voting processes, as Vox so bluntly put it: “They (Emmys) still stink when it comes to variety, and they make a lot of bad choices.” Notably, there have been many women left out of the running over the years –  and with numerous actresses of the small screen today showing new levels of badassery across the genres, we have no doubt the 2018 nominations will contain some hefty disappointments and glaring holes.

So although the nomination announcements are less than 24 hours away, we thought we’d turn our attention to the fierce females of TV today who without a doubt deserve an Emmy Award of their very own.

Tessa Thompson

An Emmys Best Villain category should be created purely for Tessa Thompson’s depiction of Delos’s Charlotte Hale in HBO’s sci-fi series, Westworld. Thompson depicts a subtle level of evil that rots right to the core with a performance that is surely deserving of one of those little, gold statuettes. Surely.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

The title of Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series basically belongs to Phoebe Waller-Bridge for her outstanding comedic voice in the Brit dramedy Fleabag. (Perhaps an alternative Emmy should be handed to Olivia Coleman for her role in the show too, as the complete bitch of a Godmother-turned-stepmother who throws out some of the nastiest insults hidden behind that Cheshire cat smile of hers. She’s a comedic genius, we tell you!)

Issa Rae

Issa Rae

Can two people win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series? If so, we think the second honor should be handed to our primetime fave, Issa Rae, for her HBO hit Insecure. This woman is having her moment and we’re with her every step of the way.

Amy Adams

Amy Adams

We’re 100% jumping the gun with this one, but we don’t care – Amy Adams has proved her serious acting chops in a number of drama films since her jump from romcoms to thrillers, similar to that of Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club). And just like McConaughey, she’s now the center of a gritty noir crime-drama with HBO’s recently released Sharp Objects. If she doesn’t deserve at least a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, we don’t know who does.

Alia Shawkat

Alia Shawkat

Did we mention we love Alia Shawkat and her leading performance in the hilariously dark millennial satire Search Party? Someone give this girl an award – hell, give her all the Emmys! We certainly wouldn’t complain.

Eva Green

Eva Green

It’s been a while since Eva Green wowed us with her turn as the haunting and haunted Vanessa Ives in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, but we thought she’s worth a mention if only to highlight the glaring holes in the Emmys voting process, as Green has never even been nominated. As critic April Neale wrote: “Her work was breathtaking and exemplary for this white-knuckler TV series, and she should have at the very least earned an Emmy nom.”

Constance Wu

Constance Wu

There was a furore a couple of years back when actress Constance Wu from Fresh Off the Boat presented the Emmy Awards, yet wasn’t nominated for an award herself. Her comedic chops on the small screen have been proved time and again and yet still she’s not taken home the gold – there’s always this year to make up for it. Here’s hoping!

Kaitlin Olson

Kaitlin Olson

For some reason, over the years the Emmy voters have forgotten that Kaitlin Olson has been kicking ass as “Sweet Dee” Reynolds on the hit comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. As critic Tim Surette pointed out, this is made all the more frustrating by the fact that the award ceremony seems to have a tough time padding out its Lead Actress in a Comedy category. With another season of the show on the way, there’s still time for this mistake to be rectified – just maybe not this year.

Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham

She might be currently covering the voice for Oxana Hauntley in the kids animated show Vampirina, but we (and many others in the industry) are still of the view that it’s a fallacy Lauren Graham never received even a nomination for her role as the quick-witted Lorelai Gilmore in Gilmore Girls, despite the fact that she so clearly deserved one. It’s okay though, because Graham took home the honor of our hearts instead.

Keri Russell

Keri Russell

Okay, so The Americans star has been nominated twice. But as IndieWire pointed out: “She should be spending her weekends repeatedly fixing the mantle above her cozy cottage fireplace because it can’t hold the weight of her six goddamn Emmys.” The woman shouldn’t be able to walk through her house because of all the statuettes blocking her way. Come on, Emmys – sort your shit out!