Never Have I Ever will return in August with its third season, bringing Devi back for another round of teen drama. The show is one of the best teen comedies on television and a great example of a female-led vehicle that provides a fresh look into the female experience.
Like Never Have I Ever, Netflix has several other shows that put women front and center, delivering compelling, female-led stories that remain entertaining and insightful. From The Crown to Stranger Thingsthese shows stand out above the rest.
10 Never Have I Ever (2020-)
Created by Mindy Kaling, Never Have I Ever follows Devi Vishwakumar, a high school student looking to improve her standing following a traumatic year. The love triangle between Devi, her crush Paxton, and her enemy-turned-friend-turned-love-interest Ben also provides much of the show’s drama.
Devi is complicated, sometimes hard to root for, but always engaging and compelling. The show is also a watershed moment for South Asian representation, putting a complex yet relatable character at the center and allowing her enough agency to make mistakes and learn from them.
9 Stranger Things (2016-)
One of the best teen sci-fi shows on television, Stranger Things follows the mysterious and supernatural events in the town of Hawkins and their connection with a dangerous alternate reality, known as the Upside Down.
Stranger Things is more of an ensemble show, featuring numerous characters with varying degrees of importance. However, it is undeniable that Eleven is the show’s star. She’s easily the most recognizable character, and the mystery behind her powers and background is at the center of Stranger Things‘main conflicts. Millie Bobbie Brown is also the show’s breakout star, cementing Eleven as the heart of Stranger Things.
8 First Kill (2022)
First Kill is one of several teen supernatural shows that have become fan favorites. The plot follows Juliette, a teenage vampire on the verge of making her first kill but develops romantic feelings for Calliope, a monster hunter from the Guardian Guild.
The show features strong LGBTQ + representation by having a lesbian couple front and center. Both characters are independent and well-developed, letting the love story feel natural and allowing audiences to root for them and their romance. There’s no news about a season 2 renewal, but canceling it would be an egregious mistake and a step back for LGBTQ + representation.
7 Grace And Frankie (2015-2022)
Starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie follows two women befriending one another after their husbands leave them for each other. The show followed their misadventures, business enterprises, and blossoming friendship.
Grace and Frankie’s relationship is the show’s bread and butter. The series also dealt with female sexuality and independence, a topic seldom explored in stories featuring older women. Grace and Frankie was also the ideal vehicle for its beloved and acclaimed actresses, providing them with material worthy of their comedic talents.
6 Orange Is The New Black (2013-2019)
Like Grace and Frankie, Orange is the New Black is one of the shows that built Netflix’s reputation as a legitimate studio. The story, based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, centered on Piper Chapman, a woman sentenced to fifteen months at a minimum-security prison.
Orange is the New Black received critical praise, including twelve Emmy nominations. The show featured a large ensemble cast of female performers, giving the show a unique and distinctive voice. Characters like Piper, Alex, “Red,” and “Crazy Eyes” quickly became some of the best on television, thanks to their intricate personalities. They were not always easy to understand, but they remained compelling until the end.
5 Dear White People (2017-2021)
Based on the 2014 film of the same name, Dear White People follows the lives of several Black students at a prestigious Ivy League institution.
Although the show follows many characters – in fact, each episode focuses on one particular character at a time, with only a few exceptions -, Logan Browning’s Sam serves as the show’s de-facto lead. The show deals with race issues refreshingly and progressively, allowing for a genuine and insightful exploration of racial relationships and cultural bias while showcasing the communities most affected by these behaviors.
4 Anne With An E (2017-2019)
Anne with an Eloosely based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables, follows Anne McNulty, a young orphan looking for her place in the world. Following a hard childhood in orphanages, Anne goes to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, changing their lives and those of their small community.
Critically praised and beloved among its audience, the show features a spirited, talkative, and bright protagonist in the form of Anne. Although it dealt with several serious issues throughout its three-season run, Anne with an E remained a wholesome experience and one of the many Netflix shows canceled before their time.
3 Dead To Me (2019-)
Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate star in Dead to Me, a black comedy about two grieving women, Jen and Judy, who bond and become friends during therapy. Things get complicated by the reveal that Judy is responsible for the hit-and-run that killed Jen’s husband.
Deliciously dark, Dead to Me lives and dies with Applegate and Cardellini. The actresses portray two incredibly troubled characters trying to do what’s best. Applegate, in particular, ups the ante as the increasingly unhinged Jen, playing the character with empathy and making it easier for audiences to sympathize with her.
2 Russian Doll (2019-)
One of Netflix’s best and most original shows, Russian Doll stars Natasha Lyonne as Nadia, a woman who repeatedly dies and relives the same night. Finding another man in the same situation, she decides to find an end to her torture.
Russian Doll received critical acclaim, with significant praise for Lyonne’s leading performance. Indeed, the show excels because of how compelling she is in the main role, creating a unique character that’s impossible to forget. Nadia is bold, independent, somewhat selfish, and sarcastic, harboring deep trauma that keeps torturing her. It’s a tricky role, but Lyonne pulls it off effortlessly.
1 The Crown (2016-)
A fictional take on the Royal Family, focusing particularly on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown is Netflix’s pride and joy. The show follows the royals’ personal lives and their struggles trying to live up to their titles and responsibilities.
Whether focusing on Elizabeth, Princess Diana, or Margaret Thatcher, The Crown remains uncompromisingly female. The show does its best to portray the difficulties these powerful and influential women have, especially living in a world where not many women have a voice.
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