By Rachel Lankester, Mutton Club editor
There is so much good TV to watch around. Especially if you have access to the various streaming services. I’ve pulled together some of the best series to watch, especially if you’re a woman in midlife and beyond.
My husband says I watch too much TV, but there’s some seriously good escapism around! These are personal favorites, recommendations from our community, and some random best TV series thrown in for good measure.
I’ve also tried to highlight series with strong female characters and if they are in midlife and beyond so much the better! We’ll be updating this list with new favorite TV shows for middle-aged women.
Gentleman Jack – iPlayer and HBO
I’m a huge fan of Suranne Jones, the brilliant star of this wonderful period drama set in Yorkshire in the early 19th century. Based on the diary of the real Anne Lister, written in code, so a true story, about her many romantic liaisons with women, living a secret life in plain sight! It’s a fascinating dramatization of true events in history.
The Morning Show – Apple
I gobbled this up. Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Anniston in all their messy midlife glory. It feels so credible and followed real world issues almost in real time – there’s not so much good news in this TV newsroom! One of my favorite shows. Wonderful. Available on Apple TV.
This Is Us – Prime
I just love this series about an American family at different stages of their collective lives. I’ve watched all of it and feel so invested in the family members. I watched the final season last year and I’m going to miss them all!
The Split – iPlayer
Another brilliant midlife actress leads this wonderful series about a firm of family lawyers, three of whom are actually family themselves. Nicola Walker is the troubled woman at the center trying to juggle real life and work, and getting them mixed up along the way. Lots of older women lead the drama here.
Grace and Frankie – Netflix
Another series I was very sad to see end. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are sublime in this wonderful original series about two glorious older women coming to terms with betrayal, new love and getting older. This show was the first of its kind and is still a true and hilarious ground breaker. One of the very best Netflix series!
Big Little Lies – HBO and maybe Prime
A fabulous cast of midlife women grappling with small town lives that may look perfect on the surface but are seriously shaky underneath. A crime drama and psychological thriller in one. Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Kravitz, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern – what’s not to like?!
Spiral (Engrenanges in French) – Prime
This is utterly brilliant too. Beware, as you might get sucked into the 8 series. (See I told you my husband said I watch too much TV – but he did enjoy this one too). I was hooked by the first season. A French police drama as only the French could do it – with all of messy life mixed in and beautifully flawed characters. Caroline Proust as the main character is sublime. I like shows with subtitles as they stop me scrolling on my phone while watching!
See – Apple
Some strong female characters in this dystopian vision of a future where a deadly virus has left survivors blind. It’s fascinating and disturbing, especially if your worst fear has always been to lose your sight, like me! It is beautiful to watch, gripping and massive in scale, even on the small screen. The final season came out in 2022.
The United States of Tara – Possibly Showtime or Prime
This one’s a little out of leftfield and is quite old having started in 2009. Sadly there are only 3 seasons – I could have watched more. Toni Collette stars as a mother grappling with dissociative identity disorder and if you’ve ever been the least bit interested in this condition, this series is brilliant. Funny and sad. There’s some serious character development in this series, with Toni grappling with most of them! It’s very entertaining. I love anything Toni Collette is in and she also stars in Pieces of Her on Netflix. I reckon Tara is a cult classic for midlife women!
The Lincoln Lawyer – Netflix
This is great fun. The main character isn’t a midlife woman, but a midlife man this time. But with two wives complicating his midlife! The second season is out in summer 2023. I hope there’ll be a third season too! Available on Netflix.
Update Summer 2023 – Best TV shows
Some other great new shows and limited series to consider:
Queen Charlotte (a Bridgerton story) – the ultimate midlife woman showing us how to rule her world! Available on Netflix.
The Diplomat – another strong midlife character ruling the roost in her own indomitable way – a fabulous political thriller. Available on Netflix.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel – oh my how I loved this brilliant comedy series about a young woman (she’s midlife+ by the end) trying to be a comic in a man’s world. When the last season came to an end I was very sad! One of the most popular shows on Amazon Prime Video.
The Crown – if you like royal drama, this has it all. A loose interpretation of real life at times – don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a dramatized documentary series! But it’s a good place to get your Royal Family fix. It’s interesting to see the evolving relationships the Queen has with all her different prime ministers! Olivia Colman is very fine as the midlife Queen. Available on Netflix.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my roundup of the best series to watch – especially for women in midlife and beyond! I reckon it’s a very cool selection of some of the best TV shows for middle-aged women! These have certainly kept me entertained. Let me know at rachel @ themuttonclub.com if you have other suggestions!
Rachel Lankester is the founder of Magnificent Midlife, author, host of the Magnificent Midlife Podcast, a midlife mentor and editor of the Mutton Club online magazine. After an initially devastating early menopause at 41, she dedicated herself to helping women vibrantly transition through the sometimes messy middle of life, helping them cope better with menopause and ageing in general, and create magnificent next chapters. She’s been featured in/on BBC Woman’s Hour, The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, The Age Buster, Woman’s Weekly, Prima Magazine, eShe, Tatler HK and Woman’s Own amongst others. She believes we just get better with age. Get her book Magnificent Midlife: Transform Your Middle Years, Menopause and Beyond which was recommended in the New York Times.
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