5 Underrated Netflix Shows With A Female Lead

One of the best ways to empower women is to support shows that are created and led by other women, that portray female characters realistically. The shows in this list are hilarious, informative, and, I think, very underrated. And they’re all on Netflix, so you can watch them whenever you want!

1. Madam Secretary

I was a big Model U.N. nerd in high school, so I was sold on Madam Secretary after hearing it was about the Secretary of State dealing with international dilemmas. But even if you aren’t like me this show is still worth watching. Tea Leoni is a great actress, and the different storylines will keep you on the edge of your seat as a good political show should. There’s also a lot of time dedicated to exploring how Elizabeth McCord (the title character) balances her career and family, and her relationship with her husband is one of the healthiest on television.

2. Chewing Gum

Michaela Coel, the creator and lead actress of Chewing Gum, is one of the funniest people I’ve ever seen. Her fast-talking humor and amazing physical comedy make me cry laughing, while the autobiographical nature of the show makes all the characters seem genuine. Her character’s relationship with her sister is also one of the most realistic portrayals of sibling relationships on TV. Although a show about a 24-year-old woman in a strict Christian, Nigerian family living in a British estate, learning to explore her sexuality might not seem like the most relatable show for American audiences, you will soon find yourself being drawn into Tracy’s misadventures. Just don’t watch this one with your parents.


Do you love the 1980s, diverse TV casts, and amazing hair and costumes? Then you will love GLOW. Led by Alison Brie, Marc Maron, and Betty Gilpin, this show documents a ragtag group of actresses in 1980s Los Angeles as they attempt to launch a new show, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Even though this show is really funny, it doesn’t shy away from dramatic moments, either. In just two seasons, GLOW has tackled everything from sexism and abuse in the entertainment industry, LGBT issues, and the impact of racial stereotypes on television without losing the positivity at the heart of the show. For me, the best part is seeing the complex friendship between Ruth (Brie) and Debbie (Gilpin). The acting and writing are phenomenal, as well. Next season the ladies are headed to Las Vegas, and I can’t wait to see what they do.

4. Salt Fat Acid Heat

Salt Fat Acid Heat is a show for those of you that love food. Based on her bestselling cookbook, in Salt Fat Acid Heat, chef Samin Nosrat travels the world searching for masters of the titular tastes. In the four episodes released to Netflix so far, she has gone to Japan, Italy, Mexico, and the United States, learning how the locals make delicious food. My favorite part of this show is how Nosrat isn’t afraid to show how much she genuinely enjoys the food. It's really refreshing to see a show about food with a female star that isn’t about dieting or losing weight. Salt Fat Acid Heat makes me want to travel, try new cuisines, and have fun exploring food.  

5. Derry Girls

In a lot of entertainment, there is a really harmful stereotype that women, especially teenage girls, can’t be funny. In a lot of TV shows, female characters serve as the level-headed counters to the male characters, whose mishaps and large personalities are the basis for humor. Derry Girls is not one of those shows. This show, which has only six short episodes so far, follows the lives of four high school girls (Erin, Michelle, Orla, and Claire) living in Derry, Ireland, in the early 1990s. Each character is flawed and has a distinctive personality, and the wild situations they find themselves in (from causing a priest to quit the clergy to hosting an exchange student from Chernobyl) are only made funnier by the stoic nature of Erin’s family. Along with the comedy, Derry Girls will also teach you about the sectarian conflict in Ireland during the time. All in all, I would recommend this show to anyone, and I can’t wait until season two starts airing this month.

There are many more shows led and created by women that are not on this list, and I encourage you to look for them. These shows are funny, heartwarming, thrilling, and dramatic, and we should support women in media by watching them.


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