Small-Screen Stream: 'Russian Doll,' 'Lorena,' And Other Female-Centric Series You Need To Catch Up On

(Welcome to Small-Screen Stream, a feature where we share the best television shows streaming and where you can watch them.)Hello and welcome to another week of Small-Screen Stream, where I bring you suggestions for TV shows available to stream right now. This week, in a minor tribute to Captain Marvel – who bursts onto the big screen this Friday – I've decided to focus this column on shows with female leads and female-centric storylines. What better way to honor our first female-headlined Marvel flick than with a reminder that female stories are varied, interesting, dark, funny, and everything in between?I've cobbled this list together with shows from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now. Here are 12 female-starring shows you can watch from home right now.

Russian Doll

Where To Watch: NetflixEveryone in their mother is talking about Russian Doll, and I'm no different. Though it took me a bit longer to catch up than most people who binged it that first weekend, I have a good reason: I'm a lifelong Natasha Lyonne fan and have battled many of the same issues she has both on the show and real life. Knowing that it would hit close to home meant I needed to save it for a time when I wasn't feeling so vulnerable. Luckily, I finally got there and was able to experience this beautiful series about pain, mental illness, and the cycles of self-destruction we put ourselves through as humans for no apparent reason. Lynne has never been better.


Where To Watch: Amazon PrimeJordan Peele executive produced this 4-episode true crime series for Amazon Prime, and as a woman, hoo boy did it enrage me. Definitely in the ways Peele intended, as Lorena tells the story of Lorena Bobbitt, the woman who cut off her husband John's penis with a knife in 1993. Their case made national headlines and both Bobbitts were subjected to intense scrutiny. Lorena got the worst of it, and watching the clips from the news and interviews is heartbreakingly misogynistic. In reality, Lorena was the subject of domestic and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband, but she's treated like a leper by the public. It's a sad story that's elegantly told.

One Day At a Time

Where To Watch: NetflixI've sang the praises of this show in this column before but here I am, doing it again, because more people need to watch it to save it from cancellation. Netflix has been coy about any possible upcoming seasons, which is a shame, because if any show deserves to live on, it's this rebooted sitcom. The show follows a Cuban-American family run by a single mom (Justina Machado) with help from her own mother (Rita Moreno). The show tackles a number of big issues – immigration, PTSD, mental illness, homophobia – but it never feels preachy or too after-school-special. It's a delightful, happy comedy, and it deserves a dozen seasons, minimum.

The Widow

Where To Watch: Amazon PrimeKate Beckinsale has been in the news this week for, well, pretty unfortunate reasons, which sucks for her because she also has a pretty decent Amazon Prime series to promote. The Widow isn't necessarily great TV, but Beckinsale proves how underrated she is. As Georgia Wells, she plays a woman grief-stricken and haunted by the death of her husband in a plane crash in the Congo. Unable to escape her terrible loss, she heads to the Congolese jungle to search for the truth. Beckinsale puts the physicality she brought to the Underworld movies into the role. No one has ever looked prettier when sweaty in the Congo.

Witches of East End

Where To Watch: HuluI'm a sucker for witch things and I straight-up adore this very goofy Lifetime series about a family of witches living in a sleepy East Coast town. It's sort of like Charmed, although probably worse, but I love the cast and all of their fun, witchy shenanigans. Ever wonder where Julia Ormond went? She's here, in Witches of East End! It also stars a pre-Riverdale Mädchen Amick and a pre-divorce Jenna Dewan Tatum. If you're looking to shut off your brain and cuddle on the couch for an afternoon, this is a super fun junk food binge.

2 Dope Queens

Where To Watch: HBO NowThis 4-episode series based on the popular podcast of the same name is such a delight. Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson center each hourlong episode on a different guest – including Jon Stewart, Sarah Jessica Parker, Uzo Aduba, and Tituss Burgess who share stories of New York City, their careers, and more. The series also features some of the girls' favorite stand-up comics. If you're a fan of Williams from The Daily Show or love the podcast, you definitely don't want to miss this special.

Northern Rescue

Where To Watch: NetflixThis Canadian drama is absolutely, 100% Canadian. I mean that as both a compliment and a diss. The production values aren't great, the acting is only so-so, but it also has a charm to it that makes it easy to throw on if you're craving some meaty, occasionally corny family drama that doesn't require too much brain power. The show follows John West (William Baldwin) and his family, who move to a small town after the death of their matriarch. The show is mostly focused on John's daughter Maddie (Amalia Williamson) and her struggles fitting into the new community.

Doctor Foster

Where To Watch: NetflixThis two-season BBC drama is a truly excellent and chilling tale with a tight storyline, unexpected turns, and a surprising amount of violence. Suranne Jones stars as Dr. Gemma Foster, a general practitioner, who finds out her husband is having an affair. Things spin out wildly from that basic premise, and to tell you more would spoil the series. The only thing I will say is that the show also stars Jodie Comer of Killing Eve, who is always fantastic.


Where To Watch: HuluThere's probably nothing I can say about Daria that hasn't already been said. The misanthropic teenage girl is the perfect anecdote to today's world, gloriously over the whole occupation of humanity and whatnot. I'm sure anyone who would be interested in Daria has already seen it. If you haven't, or if you fancy a re-watch, the complete series is available on Hulu.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Where To Watch: HuluThere's been a lot of lamenting from cinephiles lately that kids today won't remember the classics. That's how I feel about a lot of old television, like I Love Lucy and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, series that were unabashedly feminist and way ahead of their time – and that young people never seem to talk about. Luckily, both shows are currently available to stream on Hulu. The latter is my personal favorite, about a Minneapolis TV journalist whose work life is her greatest priority.


Where To Watch: HuluThis is the third series on this list set in a sleepy coastal town. I guess I have a thing for that sort of story. Siren is the about the town of Bristol Cove, which is famous for its mermaid folklore. But is it folklore? The arrival of Ryn Fisher (Eline Powell), a real-life mermaid in search of her captured sister, sets the whole "once upon a time" thing to bed. The show is a fun modern take on the mythical creature. It's a Freeform show, so suspect Freeform quality, so ye be warned.

Lost Girl

Where To Watch: NetflixI always compare Lost Girl to Orphan Black when I'm trying to sell it to people. Like the latter, the show is a Canadian series focused on a tough female character. This one is about a succubus – or, seductive demon – who grapples with her identity in several ways, including sexually. (She's a bisexual, which is such a refreshing thing to see.) Anna Silk is fantastic in the lead role, and the show which ran for five seasons, all of which are available on Netflix – is full of supernatural horror and fun.