5 shows every woman should watch again and again

28 February 2018

5 shows every woman should watch again and again

With the release of Black Panther in cinemas around the world last month, it’s safe to say that the future is female – in Hollywood, at least. Here are five series that you’ll find on Showmax that celebrate fierce women at every turn. Stream or download them whenever you need inspiration, or a reminder of how strong the bonds between women can be in the face of adversity.

1. The Handmaid’s Tale, S1-2| S3 comes 10 June

Everything that happens to the women in this award-winning series has happened at some point in history, as the author Margaret Atwood says. And when you watch this addictive, disturbing series about June, who finds herself in a living nightmare when her country falls to a coup by the religious extremists who turn the US into Gilead, you’ll realise just how terrifying the real world has been – and could become. Under the new regime, women are stripped of their agency, their jobs, their money, their families and their rights as they are forced to serve, either by producing offspring for the sterile Generals and their wives, or, if they’re infertile, by becoming a house servant or prostitute. Now that June is Offred, she starts to slowly chip away at the strength of those who imprison her, bit by tiny bit, using all the power at her disposal. Seasons 1 and 2 are now on Showmax, with S3 arriving on 10 June. Watch now »

2. HBO’s Big Little Lies | S2 comes 10 June

This is the story of five women living in the super-wealthy enclave of Monterey in California. They’re all mothers, and they’ve all got an axe to grind – whether it’s over their children being bullied, their amateur drama performance being vetoed by the mayor, or the way other mothers look down on them for having a career. They may have plenty of reasons to be pitted against one another, but, after a murder is committed in town, we find out how, one night, they resolved, in an instant, to unite against the person who represented their single common enemy. Produced by and starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, with Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz making up the rest of the quintet, this show has won multiple Emmys, Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes. Watch now » 

3. Harlots, S1-2 – First on Showmax

Harlots S2 is only on Showmax

Image: ITV

You might think you have next to nothing in common with brothel owners and their “girls” in the dirty streets of London in the 18th Century, but this British series might surprise you. As Margaret Wells struggles to move her brothel to the more prestigious area of Greek Street in Soho, she comes up against her old nemesis Lydia Quigley, who doesn’t welcome the competition in her part of town. Lydia and Margaret have history, we find out, and it’s one of the ways this raunchy, gorgeous, hard-hitting show examines the peaks and pitfalls of mother-daughter relationships. Margaret’s also got two daughters, who she’s hoping will be “taken on” by wealthy gentlemen who will keep them in luxurious gowns and jewels for the rest of their lives. But her daughters have ideas of their own… Created and written by women, this series provides a fresh perspective on modern-day feminism, even while being set so far in the past. Watch now »

4. Younger, S1-5 – First on Showmax

A little more light-hearted than the other series on this list, Younger was made by the creator of Sex and the City, and is just as fun, frothy and fashion-forward while also raising interesting issues that women face today. Liza is 40, and getting divorced. She’s been a housewife for her whole marriage, and now needs to get a job and a new life, so she moves in with her old friend Maggie, a gay painter who lives in an apartment in Brooklyn. Liza very quickly realises that no one will hire a 40-year-old woman with no experience in publishing, so she gets a complete visual and vocab makeover and poses as a twentysomething. Sutton Foster, who plays Liza, is 41 in real life, and really does manage to look like she’s in her 20s, thanks to some really inventive hipster outfits. Her friendships with Maggie, who knows her secret, and Kelsey, her new colleague, who does not, are touching, and realistic, with the ups and downs all women will recognise from their own relationships with their girl friends. All four seasons are only on Showmax. Episodes are only around 20 minutes long, so beware – this is perfect fodder for your next binge and you won’t be able to stop until you’ve made your way through the entire series. Watch now »

5. HBO’s Sex and the City, S1-6

Sex and the City on Showmax

This HBO classic may be better known now for the series that inspired those movies, or as the setting for the beginning of the long-standing feud between Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrell, but let’s put those aside for a moment. When this series first aired in 1998, it completely revolutionised the way women had sex on TV. Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte decide to start “having sex like men” – meaning that they would pursue it for the sheer fun of it, because they enjoyed it, and because they could. Without Sex and the City, we wouldn’t have had HBO’s Girls. Or pretty much any series that films sex from the women’s perspective. Plus, the series grapples with the idea of women who are single by choice, who aren’t settling down and having kids just because they’ve reached a certain age, which is still something of a taboo, even in pockets of Western society. A lot of the humour still holds up today, and yes, SJP’s outfits are still just as fabulous, even 20 years after the first episode aired. (Does that make you feel old? You’re welcome.) Watch now »

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