Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The Bold Type: Season 1 ★★★☆☆


It truly amazes me just how many TV shows hit our screens each year. Naturally, there will always be a lot – there are a lot of hours to fill in a year, and television channels run almost 24/7! But it’s crazy looking at the list of shows renewed or cancelled each year and thinking just how many of them you’ve never even heard of, let alone never seen. This show was one that I’d certainly never heard of. If ever there were a show that is absolutely not made with people like me in mind, it is The Bold Type. But surprisingly, there was actually some quality here that is worth discussing. But there’s a lot of shit, too.


Inspired by the life of former Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, The series centres on three friends – Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat (Aisha Dee), and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) – who all work for Scarlet, a global women's magazine. The show explores their outrageous lives in New York City as they learn to find their own voices and explore their sexuality, identity, love, and fashion. Acting as a fairly accurate glimpse into the outrageous lives and loves of those responsible for a global women's magazine, we enter the personal lives of these women and their struggles and success in equal measure.

Now, first of all, this is a feminist show. Three-dimensional female leads with oodles of depth are a rare thing indeed at the moment, but The Bold Type delivers them in spades. Romances are important to the plot but secondary to the characters’ ambition, career progression and personal successes. Not only that, but the diversity in the characters’ representation is incredible – there are characters of all colours, backgrounds and sexualities. This is a rare show when it comes to the roster of varied characters, which is an impressive and respectable feat that earns the show a couple of stars in itself. These characters are far more than the usual stereotype of catty women obsessed with men, and that is incredibly important in these divisive times. Everything about this show looks predictable and unoriginal on the surface – but the characters certainly manage to subvert expectations repeatedly throughout the first season.


The main message of this show, the idea of empowerment and fighting against misogyny and sexism, is something we can all get behind, regardless of gender or background. But unfortunately, the show is far from perfect outside of this message. While the characters are certainly strongly written and would pass the Bechdel test with flying colours, the plotlines of the show often leave a lot to be desired. There aren’t particularly big stakes to the story and there’s nothing particularly engrossing to keep the audience coming back. While a lot of shows are style over substance, this is message over substance. The writers seem to think that the premise alone is enough to hold the show up. But unfortunately, it isn’t.

These characters could go very far in future, but this debut season acts as a very drawn out introduction and not much else. A second and third season have been confirmed, so the future could be bright for these ladies. But the writers will have to think of far better ways to keep the audience coming back for more.

★★★☆☆
Sam Love



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