If you’re feeling the spirit of Women’s Day but not the enthusiasm to step out for an activity, stay home to stream these shows with terrific women characters.

‘Fleabag’

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s multi award-winning is the most devastatingly comic and tragic portrait of a woman seen on TV in recent years. Waller-Bridge is Fleabag, a self-absorbed, smart-alecky Londoner trying to make a living off a café and keep her sanity, which is under attack from guilt over a terrible event and the anxiety of having an emotionally distant family. Fleabag’s state of mind and relationships with her dad and sibling (Sian Clifford, who vibrates with edgy energy) improve in season two. Then a dishy priest (Andrew Scott) arrives to mess things up.
Directors: Harry Bradbeer, Tim Kirkby
Writer: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Cast: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford, Olivia Colman, Fiona Shaw, Kristin Scott Thomas, Bill Paterson, Brett Gelman, Andrew Scott
Seasons: 2 (2016, 2019)
Streaming on: Amazon Prime

‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’

Stand-up comedy in America in the 1950s was largely a guy thing. It’s not the scene in which you’d expect to find Midge Maisel (pictured above), an upper-class Jewish housewife. As Maisel is too funny to not be on stage, she defies convention to make a career in comedy, jeopardising her marriage to a man, who himself has comedy ambitions. Rachel Brosnahan is electric as Maisel and Alex Borstein is lovable as her butch manager.
Directors: Amy Sherman-Palladino, Daniel Palladino
Writers: Amy Sherman-Palladino, Kate Fodor, Daniel Palladino, Noah Gardenswartz, Jen Kirkman
Cast: Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle, Tony Shalhoub, Kevin Pollak, Luke Kirby, Rufus Sewell, Jane Lynch
Seasons: 3 (2017, 2018, 2019)
Streaming on: Amazon Prime

‘Big Little Lies’

Based on Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name, Big Little Lies is a sharp, layered examination of patriarchy with a violent yet cathartic conclusion. Set in the well-heeled milieu of Monterey in California, the drama follows the lives of five women and their families. Rape, physical abuse and gender identity are deftly dealt with, particularly in season one.
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée, Andrea Arnold
Writers: David E Kelley
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard
Seasons: 2 (2017, 2019)
Streaming on: Hostar

‘The Good Wife’

The Good Wife is the story of the evolution of Juliana Marguiles’ Alicia Florrick. She hangs up her home-maker boots and returns to her career in law following a sex and corruption scandal involving her husband. Florrick struggles to balance challenges in the courtroom with those at home and often fails. The highly acclaimed, award-winning show has memorable and badass characters in the form of private investigator Kalinda Sharma (Archie Punjabi) and lawyer Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski).
Creators: Robert King, Michelle King
Cast: Juliana Marguiles, Archie Punjabi, Christine Baranski, Matt Czuchry, Alan Cumming, Matthew Goode
Seasons: 7 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Streaming on: Amazon Prime

‘Delhi Crime’

Based on the 2012 Delhi gangrape case which sparked nationwide outrage and protests, Delhi Crime follows the aftermath of the horrific incident and the subsequent police investigation. Headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Vartika Singh, the team gets cracking on finding the criminals, deploying old-fashioned detective work over high tech methods. Shefali Shah is absolutely brilliant as Vartika and Rasika Dugal as officer Neeti Singh turns in a sincere performance.
Director and Writer: Richie Mehta
Cast: Shefali Shah, Rasika Dugal, Adil Hussain, Rajesh Tailang
Seasons: 1 (2019)
Streaming on: Netflix

‘The Morning Show’

When you think of Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell working together, you imagine it to be frothy and funny. The Morning Show is, in contrast, dark and disturbing as it tackles sexism at work, the aftermath of the #MeToo movement and sexual harassment. Jennifer Anniston’s performance has been hailed as one of her best. Reese Witherspoon too shows off her acting chops as scrappy reporter Bradley Jackson.
Creators: Jay Carson, Kerry Ehrin
Cast: Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell, Billy Crudup
Seasons: 1 (2019)
Streaming on: Apple TV+

For shows coming up on Netflix and Amazon Prime in 2020, see here and here.