The decade going by will forever be remembered for the digital transformation of entertainment. From the big and small-screen, it moved to an even smaller screen; our smartphones, that allowed us the privacy to watch content that we couldn’t while sitting with our family. This, in turn, liberated the content creators to generate shows and films which could touch on subjects and gives us visuals that were, scandalous too many, while novel, relatable and refreshing to others. And there was more on offer than just nudity, gruesome violence, and steamy sex. Another major change that the OTT platforms brought our way was that women got to tell their stories, the way they wanted, in a lingo they chose to.
Especially in the year 2019, we were bestowed with many women-centric web shows that catered to all sorts of appetite that our varying population has developed for empowering stories. From the far West to our very own country, here is a list of most talked about women-centric shows from the year going by.
Fleabag (Amazon Prime Video)
Waller-Bridge’s witty writing leaves you in splits and fills your heart with a bittersweet ache.
If there is one show that championed women writing women’s stories, then it was Fleabag. This dark comedy created and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also plays the titular character in the series, is about love, failure, making mistakes, family and all things in between. Even the most loathsome character in this series has layers to it. Smartly casted, this series is relatable and surreal at the same time. But it is Waller-Bridge’s witty writing that leaves you in splits and fills your heart with a bittersweet ache.
Russian Doll (Netflix)
Ten minutes into Russian Doll, and you are lost in a maze of a plot that you have never seen before. The web-series has been created by Natasha Lyonne, who stars as Nadia, a self-centred carefree woman who is stuck reliving the last day of her life and thus her death. One would think that the concept would lose its novelty in two episodes. After all, how many ways can you kill a person, creative or otherwise? Turns out, a lot. But there is so much more to Russian Doll which is also a commentary on the value of empathy and how we can even change our destinies if we begin to care for each other. A timely dialogue?
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Video)
Women and men love Mrs. Maisel. Why? Well here’s a show set in the charming 50s about a badass funny woman, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery, one joke at a time. Despite its retro premise, Mrs. Maisel resonates with so many women today who have to fight against stereotypes in their field. Whose skills and talent aren’t appreciated enough, because people cannot look beyond their gender. The show also highlights the cost women had to pay to be career-oriented, and we all know, much hasn’t changed even today.
Dead To Me (Netflix)
Move over bromance, Dead to Me is a show about sisterhood. A friendship cemented on lies and tragedy, how far can it go? This question hangs like a dagger over the bond that Judy and Jen. The two women, who couldn’t have more contrasting personalities, are kind, forgiving, and unconditionally supportive. A rarity even today, when it comes to the portrayal of female friendships. The camaraderie between Christina Applegate (Jen) and Linda Cardellini (Judy) will make you crave for your sisterhood and reach out to your old friends.
Killing Eve (Hotstar)
This British crime-thriller about a female serial killer and MI5 agent hot on her pursuit isn’t your regular sunshine tale of sisterhood and friendship. Killing Eve is a tale of obsession that plagues both its leading women Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and the chameleon-esque Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Both women are unpredictable, stubborn and just cannot let each other go. For me, the best thing about Killing Eve was how it wore its sexuality so matter-of-factly. The sexual tension between Even and Villanelle is very palpable, but these feelings are never overexploited, something many shows fail to get right.
This British crime-thriller about a female serial killer and MI5 agent hot on her pursuit isn’t your regular fluffy tale of sisterhood and friendship. Killing Eve is a tale of obsession, which plagues both its leading wome.
Made In Heaven (Amazon Prime Video)
Perhaps the most stylish Indian web-series to date, Made In Heaven is a show about big fat Indian weddings, where hypocrisy masquerades as progressiveness. Two wedding planners are shown dealing with the demands of their rich and famous Delhi clients, all the while also dealing with personal issues like infidelity and homophobia. The series created by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti and co-written by Alankrita Shrivastava touches on topics like dowry, sexual harassment and elderly love and the tussle between traditions and modernity. Sobhita Dhulipala’s Tara Khanna is one of the most flawed yet likable characters that Indian entertainment has given to us.
Mission Over Mars (Alt Balaji)
ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission found its way to our screens twice this year. The big-budget blockbuster film that was based on it, however, was in the news for side-lining women from the narrative, to encash on the box office presence of a leading male superstar. This is where Mission Over Mars did thing differently, it let the narrative be with the women scientists, who were the force behind MOM.
Four More Shots Please! (Amazon Prime Video)
This unapologetic show about four bold women, who embrace their flaws and put themselves first was an instant hit. One of the reasons why women have taken o this show instantly is that it resonates with the urban modern women of this country and the issues they have to deal with. Breaking the stereotyping of women as either good or bad, sati-savitri or the seductress, Four More Shots Please! brings us a tale of female friendship with some desi tadka.
Image Credit: Amazon Prime/ Netflix
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.