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' is depressingly rare. The best telly is more than that in my mind. And I like mine fronted by the industry's powerhouse women, thanks. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sandra Oh, Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Fiona Shaw, come on down...
Fortunately, we’ve got plenty to choose from at the moment. We may have wrapped on the first season of Killing Eve and yes, I’m still at a loss without those other knockout BBC dramas like Little Drummer Girl and Doctor Foster, but there’s loads of top-notch TV fodder to come in 2019. 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 what we’re looking forward to so far. 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
Keeley Hawes and Emma Appleton in Traitors

Traitors

Thirsty for another period drama? Here comes Traitors, a spy thriller based in London 1945, amid the complex and tense aftermath of the second world war. Feef Symonds (Emma Appleton from Clique) is seduced into spying on her own country to get to the bottom of some suspicious goings-on within the British government. Bodyguard's Keeley Hawes stars as Priscilla, Feef’s boss, who on first impression is definitely not one to be messed with. Unsurprisingly, things are set to get very complicated, very quickly for our ambitious young mole. As for how far she’ll get in feeding information back to the Americans, we’ll have to wait until the series lands on Channel 4 (and Netflix outside of the UK) in mid February.

Happy AF

Another great-looking comedy is making its way to Channel 4 this year. Allow us to introduce you to Happy AF, Aisling Bea and Sharon Horgan's new six-parter about that elusive thing we like to call 'happiness'. Bea writes and stars as foreign language school worker Aine, who’s scrambling to get her life back on track after a "teeny little nervous breakdown". We anticipate that the lols will hit very close to home for many of us, and we couldn’t be more excited. Catastrophe’s Horgan will be back on our screens as Aine’s sister, Shona, and so far it sounds like an absolute comedic dream.
Photo: courtesy of BBC
Jodie Comer in Killing Eve

Killing Eve Season 2

Though the UK broadcast of this award-winning drama landed less than a year ago, it feels like we've been waiting for the next instalment forEVER. Fleabag star and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge's witty spy series brought us Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, an MI5 officer tracking down an assassin known as Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer. Its expert blend of the humorous and the eerily dark turned out to be everything we didn't know we needed from a legitimately gripping espionage show – yes, it was that good. And to be fair to our impatience, the second series was commissioned before the first had even finished airing in America. We can confirm that the cast have wrapped on filming, first-look pictures have been released and the American air date is set for Sunday 7th April. We're hoping and praying that the British release isn't far behind this time around.
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The Widow

Welcome Kate Beckinsale back to the small screen. She’s starring in a brand spanking new series for ITV and Amazon Studios as Georgia Wells, a woman who’s made a go of starting a new life as, you guessed it, a widow, only to spot her supposedly dead husband on the news. She later winds up in "the depths of the African Congo, where danger and revelation will greet her at every turn" while on a dramatic quest to find out WTF happened in her rather complicated past. It’s been written by the people behind The Missing so you can look forward to some crafty, gripping storytelling. We’re expecting it to land on our screens sometime this spring.

Flack

Ever wondered what really goes on behind closed doors at those super swanky PR firms? You know, the companies whose job it is to clean up big celebrity messes and convince the tabloids not to run that story about a famous chef cheating on his potentially pregnant wife? Well, one of UKTV’s new dramas is poised to lift the lid on this not-so-glamorous industry. Hitting the W channel on 21st February, you’ll get to watch award-winning actress Anna Paquin star as self-sabotaging public relations fairy godmother, Robyn. And yes, it’s as full-on as you’d imagine this sort of narrative to be.
Photo: Courtesy of Channel 4
Charly Clive in Pure

Pure

Contrary to the stigma and stereotypes surrounding OCD, it’s not just about cleanliness or germs. It’s actually a far-reaching condition, which for author Rose Cartwright manifested in intrusive thoughts that often took the shape of disturbing sexual images. Her memoir has been transformed into a six-part coming-of-age comedy-drama about Marnie (Charly Clive), who struggles with a similar case of Pure O. She runs away from her hometown in Scotland to London to try and figure out who she is, and the story that follows is as heart-achingly earnest as it is laugh-out-loud funny.
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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 the rule-favourite Elena Richardson. Her way of life is given a bit of a jolt when Mia Warren moves to town and rents one of the Richardson houses with her daughter, Pearl. Like all great dramas, this story is shrouded in secrets and the overwhelming power (and pressure) of motherhood. The transmission date is yet to be announced but trust we have our eyes peeled for this one.
Photo: Courtesy of BBC
Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle in Gentleman Jack

Gentleman Jack

In 19th century West Yorkshire, we're introduced to the marvellous Anne Lister (Doctor Foster's Suranne Jones) – a young woman who inherited her family estate, Shibden Hall, and is tasked with saving its fate. At the heart of the series is a love story, of course. Though it’s apparent that to salvage Shibden Hall, Anne must marry rich, she has no intention of finding herself a wealthy man. No, Anne plans to follow her heart rather than the rigid confines of the time, and marry a woman. It's also worth knowing that the story is very much rooted in history, with much of it taken from intimate diaries that Anne had originally written in secret code.

Fleabag Season 2

Yes, the long-awaited return of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s painfully funny series is almost upon us. Fleabag returns early this year with promise of even more drama to sink our teeth into. I’ll not spoil it for you if you’re yet to watch the first series, but when the second comes around we’ll be picking up a year after we left off, with our beloved protagonist still ostracised by her family and dealing with the reality of what happened to her best mate Boo. Things are set to take an unlikely turn (obvs) when Fleabag meets a priest, though. Apparently, we can consider series two as Fleabag vs God. Other treats include the return of Olivia Colman as Godmother and the welcome arrival of Fiona Shaw and Dame Kristin Scott Thomas in unspecified roles.
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