15 Shows With Strong Female Leads We Love on Netflix Canada
In honour of Women's History Month, we've rounded up our favourite shows on Netflix Canada that have starring roles by women who inspire us, empower us, and make us laugh. From new series like Ginny and Georgia to classics like Girlfriends, here are 15 shows to watch now.
Ginny and Georgia
This new addition to Netflix Canada has been causing some buzz. At first, the new show bears a resemblance to Gilmore Girls (aside from the alliteration in their titles). It’s set in the northeastern United States and centres around the relationship between a young mother and her teenage daughter as they navigate through relationships, class struggles, and complex family dynamics. However, where the surface-level aspects of the shows share similarities, Ginny and Georgia sets itself apart with its dark tone and spotlight on diversity. The show addresses relevant topics like racial identity, sexual orientation, self-harm, and trauma. This comedy crime-drama will keep you on the edge of your seat, but also deliver a ton of laughs. What’s more: The show was filmed in southern Ontario, so as you watch, see if you can spot any familiar destinations in Toronto, East York, and Cobourg.
Despite ending over a decade ago, this show has remained relevant for young women everywhere. It’s the show that launched Tracee Ellis Ross’s career, and also features Golden Brooks, Persia White, and Jill Marie Jones. Covering topics like friendship, colourism, sexism, and women’s power, Girlfriends highlights the struggles and triumphs of navigating through the world as a young woman of colour. Full of quick wit, hilarious jokes, and heartwarming friendships, this is the perfect show to help you feel empowered and inspired.
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Often dubbed the most binge-able TV show on Netflix, Gilmore Girls is the perfect show to watch if you want to celebrate friendship, mother-daughter relationships, and powerful women achieving their dreams. This woman-heavy TV show, created by Amy Sherman Palladino, provides a diverse representation of strong personalities. From straight-A student Rory to prim and proper Emily to independent Lorelai, Gilmore Girls has a character for everyone to relate to and be inspired by. Plus, with obscure pop culture references, a killer old-school playlist, and all the 2000s vibes, this show provides education in mainstream society.
How to Get Away with Murder
Produced by Shonda Rhimes, and with a cast led by Emmy-award-winning actress Viola Davis, this show puts a strong emphasis on discrimination of Black people in the courtroom and political corruption. HTGAWM is topical, relevant, full of suspense—and empowering. Plus, all six seasons are on Canadian Netflix, meaning you can binge the whole series from beginning to end.
Workin’ Moms has become synonymous with women’s representation, both on and off camera. On-screen, the show focuses on the struggle of navigating motherhood and a career while trying to balance personal lives, friendships, and relationships. Off-screen, writer, director, and lead actress Catherine Reitman employed an all-female writer’s room and Canada’s first-ever all-female camera crew.
Powerful and complex women dominate the cast in this drama that chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II. Filled with whirlwind romances, struggles with mental illness, and a fight for female leadership, this show is educational and intriguing. The Crown has dominated award-shows, having won 39 television awards over the course of the last four seasons. Most recently the show claimed its second Golden Globe for Best Drama Series, and lead actresses Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, and Emma Corrin have all been awarded Best Actress Golden Globes, as well.
Jane the Virgin
This telenovela-inspired rom-com is a hilarious menagerie of intimacy, dramatic hijinks, and the importance of family. Jane the Virgin is heavy with fiery romances and dramatic love triangles, but it also focuses on more serious topics like religion, race, and women’s sexuality. The show stars three Latinx women—Gina Rodriguez, Andrea Navedo, and Ivonne Cole—who teach important lessons about Venezuelan pride and family ties. Plus, with outrageous twists and turns and dramatic melodrama, you’ll never be bored with this show.
There’s nothing better than a badass crime show. This genre of TV is often male-dominated—shows like Breaking Bad and Dexter come to mind. In Good Girls, three women take the lead in this crime comedy-drama series and find themselves in situations they never imagined they could end up in. There’s violence, corruption, and serious danger, but there’s also an overarching theme of women supporting women. Created by Jenna Bans and starring decorated actresses, Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman, Good Girls is a binge-worthy emotional rollercoaster that puts women in the spotlight.
Anne With an E
Canadian culture shines through in this TV adaption of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley is the epitome of feminism; never accepting unequal treatment and always fighting for her rights. This TV show proves itself to be relatable, showing not only Anne’s intelligence and determination but also her insecurities and the struggles she endures as a woman.
Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever is a coming-of-age sitcom that touches on prejudice, sexual orientation, loss, race, and how to navigate the tricky world of teenagehood. Released in 2020, the experiences of 15-year-old Devi and her diverse friend group are all too relatable. This show also has a Canadian connection, with lead role Devi played by Mississauga-born actress Maitreyi Ramakrishnan. Never Have I Ever just received the green light for season two, so make sure you’re caught up in time for its release. Also, Mindy Kaling is the co-creator—need we say more?
The Queen’s Gambit
The Queen’s Gambit has become a global sensation as a fierce show about determination, confidence, and the struggle for equality. The show follows main character Beth (Anya Taylor-Joy) struggling to establish herself in a male-dominated sport, in an era when women were regarded as subservient. Filled with drama, battles with mental illness, and the intensity of serious competition, this show has all the cliffhangers to suck you in. An added perk: the set and the wardrobes are just as captivating as the plot.
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Politics, corruption, hot-and-heavy romance, and women’s power take centre stage in this political thriller created by legendary writer and producer Shonda Rhimes. Kerry Washington exudes strength and dominance in her role as badass Olivia Pope, while also shining a light on the unequal treatment of women in politics. It also features star-studded cameos from actresses like Portia De Rossi and Lisa Kudrow, and a crossover with HTGAWM.
Dead to Me
This dark and twisted show is about grief, family, and unlikely female friendships. Christina Applegate drives the show forward with dry humour, and Linda Cardellini complements her as a guilt-stricken, yet devoted, best friend. Each episode ends on a cliffhanger, meaning it’s perfect for a binge session.
Grace and Frankie
Real-life best friends Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star in Grace and Frankie as reluctant roommates. Their odd-couple dynamic of hippy-dippy, peyote-using artist Tomlin and martini-obsessed, uptight businesswoman Fonda is an unlikely match made in heaven. The comedy focuses on the characters re-defining themselves as newly-single women and learning how to navigate the modern world together. Watch this if you’re in the mood for non-stop laughs and touching moments of vulnerability.
Parks and Recreation
Need a pick-me-up? This documentary-style comedy, which ran for seven seasons, is widely regarded as one of the funniest and most upbeat shows on TV. Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, and Aubrey Plaza are just a few of the notable actresses who showcase independence, intelligence, and female empowerment in every episode of the show. With non-stop iconic quotes–and Leslie Knope’s undying love for strong women in politics—Parks and Rec will keep you educated and feeling proud to be a woman.