TV shows end all the time for many reasons. Maybe the story reached its logical conclusion. Maybe all of the individuals involved wanted to move on to new projects.
However, sometimes that isn’t the case. Sometimes all of the producers involved want to keep it on air as long as possible or at least for another season or two. Sometimes audiences are loving it, expressing that they have always looked for a TV show like this, be it in representation or storytelling. Sometimes critics are raving about it. Sometimes it looks like everything is working in its favor, but it still gets canceled.
I know that I’m far from getting closure on any of my favorite canceled shows (I may have a #SaveJessicaJones petition opened on a separate tab as I write this). However, what frustrates me about some cancelations is the argument that is often brought up on views: there wasn’t a big enough audience to sustain these shows any longer. How can that be when there are dozens of online petitions being signed to save it? How can that be when there are enough people expressing their love for the show to make it Twitter trending? The truth is many times a show only draws that much attention once it is too late to be saved.
Maybe it is too late for us to do anything about the ones that were already canceled. However, we can still do something about the shows that premiered this year. Here are five 2019 female-led TV shows to support in your next binge-watch session.
Premiere Date: February 1
Where to watch? Netflix
Created by Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, and Leslye Headland, Russian Doll tells the story of Nadia (played by Lyonne), a New York woman who is stuck reliving the night of her 36th birthday as she dies over and over again, Groundhog Day-style.
As a fan of Orange is the New Black, this 8-episode show caught my eye due by having Lyonne as its lead. Don’t get me wrong: Lyonne absolutely delivers the badass performance any OITNB fans expect from her. However, Russian Doll is also a show with a lot of layers, addressing themes such as morality and trauma. If you’re a fan of time-traveling shenanigans and hidden meanings, then this may be the ideal choice for you.
Premiere Date: February 8
Where to watch? Hulu
I personally never want to go back to middle school, but I’m glad that Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle do. The duo stars in PEN15 share all of the secrets and moments from their experience in seventh grade. The 10-episode premiere season features highlights like school dances, recitals, first kisses, bad haircuts, first periods, and much more.
The catch? Erskine and Konkle are actually playing their 13-year-old selves even though they are both 32.
If you’re able to embrace that concept—and, trust me, it is so easy to do so given their talented performances—PEN15 is a delight to watch. It’s all the nostalgia of being a middle school girl paired with wit, comedy, and none of the awkwardness of having to relive it.
Premiere Date: March 15
Where to watch? Hulu
Based on Lindy West’s Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, Shrill features Annie Easton (played by Aidy Bryant, from Saturday Night Live), who is juggling work problems, relationship drama, and family issues while going through her journey of self-acceptance.
I first learned about this show when reading an interview with Amanda Needham, Shrill’s costume designer, who was discussing how many of outfits used had to be made from scratch due to how difficult it was to find the looks they were going for. First of all, someone please give this woman an award already because all of these outfits are amazing. Second, if a costume designer isn’t able to find clothes in stores for a character and has to resort to making them herself, that’s a problem. Shrill is a great show not just because of its excellent storytelling but also for highlighting limitations with the representation of different body sizes, be it in the television industry or otherwise.
Dead to Me
From Legally Blonde to Avengers: Endgame to even Scooby-Doo, I am pretty sure I have seen Linda Cardellini in almost every kind of movie or TV show. However, Dead To Me is by far her best work yet.
The 10-episode season features Jen Harding (played by Christina Applegate) and Judy Hale (played by Cardellini) as two widows who meet in a support group. The show ends up being a blend of comedy and drama, filled with twists, turns, and big reveals. However, what really shines in this show is the odd friendship between Jen and Judy. Their chemistry just clicks, despite all the murder around them. Dead to Me proves to be an ideal watch for fans of murder and mystery shows like Big Little Lies.
Premiere Date: June 14
Where to watch? Netflix
Created by Kirsten Smith, Amy Andelson, and Emily Meyer, Trinkets tells the story of Elodie, Moe, and Tabitha (played by Brianna Hildebrand, Kiana Madeira, and Quintessa Swindell, respectively), a trio of kleptomaniacs who meet in a support group called Shoplifters Anonymous and become unlikely friends.
The 10-episode series, adapted from Kirsten Smith’s novel, is a good, easy kind of fun that feels familiar yet it isn’t. The trio navigates through issues that often show up in teenage series, like family and relationships. However, although the kleptomaniac factor does add wrinkles on its own, all three girls feel real and genuine, not just cardboard copies from your standard teen TV show. If you’ve been craving a series about three teenage girls being best friends and thieves at the same time, then this one is for you.
I love all of these new TV shows, but, most importantly, I mentioned them here because I’d like to see more of them in the next couple of years. They all have powerful, diverse female leads. Some, like Trinkets, provide female friendships. Some, like Shrill, are smashing standards both in and out of the screen. And some, like PEN15, are just pure fun, intelligent content produced by women.
One way to help guarantee that a show will keep getting renewed is not only by watching it yourself but also by sharing it with others. Do you know a 2019 show that is doing something amazing that I missed? Please tell me. Write it in the comments. Share it with your friends. Maybe we can’t do anything about the TV shows that are long gone, but we can sure as hell help shape the future content produced by supporting shows now.