The Best New Female-Led TV Shows You'll Be Glued To In 2019

Does anyone else crave drama? Like, actually crave those 30-60 minute time slots spent unapologetically glued to a TV screen, intently consuming a chaotic, almost too close-to-home story? Just me? Okay, hear me out. There’s a time and place for unlikely romances, and lol-ing (in the audible sense) at programmes ambitiously labelled 'comedy'. The best telly is more than that in my mind. And I like mine fronted by the industry's powerhouse women, thanks. Olivia Colman, Helen Mirren, Kerry Washington, Ruth Wilson and Zendaya come on down...
Fortunately, we’ve got plenty to choose from at the moment. Big Little Lies came and went a little too quickly and, yes, I’m still at a loss without those knockout BBC dramas like Fleabag and Killing Eve, but there’s loads of top-notch TV to come in the later half of 2019, too. Desperate for something to fill the gaping holes in your social calendar? Well, you have come to the right place, friend. Here, you'll find every TV show that we’re looking forward to at the moment. Be sure to check back as we'll be updating the list as more shows are confirmed.
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Photo: courtesy of Channel 4

This Way Up

Another brilliant dramedy has made its way to Channel 4. Allow us to introduce you to This Way Up, Aisling Bea and Sharon Horgan's new six-parter about that elusive thing we like to call 'happiness'. Bea writes and stars as adult foreign language school worker Aine, who’s scrambling to get her life back on track after a "teeny little nervous breakdown". Catastrophe’s Horgan stars as Aine’s worried, protective older sister Shona. The show takes us through the ups and downs of recovery with the common (and under-acknowledged) phenomenon of loneliness at the core of the narrative. It's heartbreaking stuff but, don't worry, Bea and Horgan's comedic genius shines through even the darkest of moments.
On Channel 4 and All4 from Thursday 8th August

Deep Water

Paula Daly’s Windermere novels have been turned into a suspense-fuelled, soapy drama. Anna Friel, Rosalind Eleazar and Sinead Keenan star as Lisa, Kate and Roz; three women living in Cumbria. Each have children around the same age and cross paths at the school gates. They’re all under very different pressure – Lisa never thinks she’s good enough and compares herself to Kate, who’s wealthy and seems to have it all together. Roz, on the other hand, is under huge financial strain and has bailiffs at the door. We know what you’re thinking; Big Little Lies déjà vu. There are indeed echoes of the Monterey Five but Deep Water is drenched in a distinct British-ness (for better and worse) that really sets it apart.
Airs weekly on ITV from Wednesday 14th August
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Sanditon

Jane Austen fans, there’s another one for you in the works. Rose Williams stars as Charlotte Heywood, a young woman from a good family who moves the struggling seaside town of Sanditon. For those unfamiliar with Austen’s unfinished novel, it’s an expansive and twisty narrative. Yes, there's also a complex love story with a suspicious young man thrown in the middle that’ll wrestle with our protagonist’s sense of self. In this instance, the book is chopped into an eight-part mini-series that’ll see you through the end of summer, right through to October.
On ITV from Sunday 25th August
Photo: courtesy of Sky

Euphoria

This just might be shaping up to be one of the most obsessively watched series of 2019. Riding a wave of success in America, Euphoria landed in the UK to similar, instant acclaim. Zendaya stars as Rue, a teen drug addict muddling her way through high school, friends, family and her own emotions. It’s a dark, smart and highly addictive look into what being Generation Z really looks and feels like. There’s a lot of sex, but not in the awkward, messy American Pie sense. We see middle-aged submissives begging for the attention of a teen cam girl who’s new to the game. Predatory men, unusual house party hook-ups and the worryingly nonchalant reality of sex tapes. It’s brilliant TV, and you won't know what to do with yourself when you finish the eighth episode.
On Sky Atlantic and Now TV from Tuesday 6th August
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His Dark Materials

Philip Pullman’s hit fantasy trilogy gets another turn on screen, this time for BBC One with the brilliant Ruth Wilson as Ms Coulter. Our young orphan heroine, Lyra Belacqua is played by Dafne Keen. We’ll follow her through the eight-part series as she embarks on an elaborate adventure to find her kidnapped friend, only to uncover secrets about other worlds, the crossover between magic and science, and a strange but vital thing called Dust.
On BBC later in 2019

The Morning Show

Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston star alongside Steve Carell in a juicy new drama coming to Apple TV+. The plot of the show has been kept very closely under wraps, and the teaser trailer doesn't give very much away either. What we do know, though, is that The Morning Show will be a drama about the "power dynamics between men and women in the high stakes world of morning news shows." We're expecting fireworks.
On Apple TV+ later in 2019

Orange Is The New Black series 7

We've known the end was nigh for a long time now, but that doesn't mean any of us are better prepared to say goodbye to the ladies of Litchfield. Nevertheless, the final season of Orange Is The New Black is upon us. Expect tears, anger and outrage as the focus terns to immigration and detention centres as the drama from the last season continues to rumble on. Piper and Alex's warped relationship continues (yes, even with Piper having been released from Max), several newcomers cause tension and Taystee goes through the toughest narrative of them all. Brace yourself, because it's a lot.
On Netflix from 26th July
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Photo: courtesy of Sky

Catherine the Great

It seems the world refuses to tire of royal period dramas. The next new addition to the canon looks particularly impressive, though. Dame Helen Mirren is heading to the small screen to star as one of the most powerful monarchs in history. The four-part drama is billed as “politically tumultuous and sexually charged”, taking us through the later years of Catherine’s reign though out Russia. There’ll be scandal, there’ll be upset and there’ll be incredible costumes to fawn over.
Airs on Sky Atlantic and Now TV in autumn 2019

The Crown, series 3

Though it may feel like we’ve been waiting for this series forever, the third instalment of Netflix’s beloved royal drama is just around the corner. The most exciting part is that academy award-winner Olivia Colman will be stepping into Queen Elizabeth’s shoes to take us through her reign from 1964 onwards. Helena Bonham Carter takes over from Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, Erin Doherty will be Princess Anne and Emerald Fennell stars as Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Airs on Netflix from 17th November 2019

Little Fires Everywhere

Last year it was confirmed that Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel was to receive the TV treatment and when we heard that Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington were set to star as the story’s two leading ladies, excitement was unashamedly uncontainable. If you’re unfamiliar with the book, it takes us to the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio where we meet Elena Richardson. Her way of life is given a bit of a jolt when Mia Warren moves to town and rents a nearby house with her daughter, Pearl. Like all great dramas, this story is shrouded in secrets and the overwhelming power (and pressure) of motherhood.
Expected on Apple TV later in 2019
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