The Daily Stream: Good Girls Shows What People Will Do For Family

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Series: "Good Girls"

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: Imagine this scenario: You had a kid in your teens, and his father is married to someone else. You have no money and you're getting desperate. Or this one: You have four kids and a house. You're incredibly unhappy in a marriage where your husband keeps cheating, and his terrible money issues have made it so you're going to lose that house. Or this one: Your daughter has kidney problems, and insurance won't cover the thing that could potentially save her life. You and your husband can't figure out a solution, and your other kid needs attention as well. What do you do? Well, if you're Beth (Christina Hendricks), Ruby (Retta), and Annie (Mae Whitman), you find an unlikely solution. You rob the grocery store that Annie works at. Seems like the perfect solution. The store has insurance to cover the loss, no one gets hurt, and you can save your house, your kids, and make a better life for yourself. 

The caveat? Not only did one of the employees recognize Annie, but the store was a front for a dangerous gang, who is now coming after you for a cut. This begins the story of three unlikely criminals, one of whom has a real talent for it. Crime is a slippery slope in this show, with each attempt to cover tracks or get out leading to yet another law-breaking event in a game of criminal whack-a-mole. 

Why it's essential viewing

"Good Girls" was not a series I was interested in to begin with, but after watching the first season for an event, I was completely hooked. I was fascinated by not only the lives of these women and their families, but the unbelievable chemistry between Beth and her gang contact Rio (Manny Montana). I mean, this is palpable. It will burn through your watching screen of choice.

If you didn't remember how good an actress Christina Hendricks is, oh goodness, are you in for a treat! She practically jumps off the screen at you. Every look, every thought that goes through her head is on point, and the scenes between Beth and Rio, full of danger and attraction let you know early on that Beth was just made for a life of crime. Maybe it was years of taking a back seat to her husband. Maybe it was untapped potential, but whatever it was, you can see how desperately she wants this. Even as she tries to get out, you can see how her heart isn't in it. As she learns each new aspect of being a criminal, she becomes better than the people she learned it from. (I have also learned things, like the color of nail polish needed to counterfeit money. It just ... seems like a lot of work.) 

Add in Matthew Lillard who plays Beth's weasel of a husband (and he's so good at playing weasels), and performances from June Squill, Allison Tolman, Ione Skye, and Andrew McCarthy, and you've got a total blast of a series. 

Some people were just made for crime

This entire show is about girl power. Criminal girl power, sure, but you know what desperate times call for (in fact, that make this show even more timely than it was when it came out). It's not just that though. In a show where men are often jerks who cheat and destroy things, you have the incredible marriage of Ruby and Stanley (Reno Wilson). It would be very easy to know how much the audience is going to root for these women and to make all the men villains. Stanley is not only wonderful and supportive, no matter what he learns, but he's no pushover. This feels real. It feels like an actual marriage. He's not just there as a foil. Even more lovely is the way the character of Ben, Annie's son, comes out as transgender. The actor Isaiah Stannard came out as trans during production, and we got to see a story that needed to be told.

I'm still heartbroken that the show came to an end, but it did so in a way that doesn't just feel like loose ends were tied up because of the cancellation. They weren't tied up at all, but you can absolutely see what's going to happen next. Just make sure that when you sit down to watch this series, you have a lot of time. You're not going to want to turn it off once you start.