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Three TV Shows Featuring Great Older Women

The cast of the Good Wife

For my last post in this series about older women on TV, I wanted to offer a list of shows worth watching (but not yet discussed here) if you're interested in aging and feminism on the small screen. These offer glimmers of hope on the horizon, that someday women over 40 will be portrayed wholeheartedly and multi-dimensionally all over our TV dials, or wherever we watch serialized stories on small screens.

The Good Wife: Almost all the women on this show (pictured above)—which interweaves politics with courtroom, family, and personal drama in the life of a political wife's post-scandal life—are over 40. And all of them, particularly Julianna Margulies' Alicia Florrick, are living, breathing, changing characters with many dimensions. It's so seamless you don't think about this show as about "women of a certain age"; you just think about it as a great series featuring interesting people. The fact that it doesn't even feel like a "women's" show just underscores how extraordinary it is. It also proves that men will watch shows about women, if the women and their stories are allowed to be fascinating.

Smash: This show about a Broadway production focuses on two ingénues vying for the lead in a musical about Marilyn Monroe. But it does give us two older women behind the scenes with complicated personal lives: Debra Messing's Julia is fresh off a divorce that she prompted with an affair and Anjelica Huston's Eileen battlles with her nefarious ex for financial control of the production. We'll probably never know how interesting they could've gotten, since this once-promising show is on its last legs. But catch it while you can if you like either of these two fantastic women or campy musical numbers.

Men of a Certain Age: This TNT dramedy about three middle-aged friends—played by Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, and Scott Bakula—ran from 2009-11 and, yes, focused on men. But it tackled fears about aging delicately, realistically, grippingly, and touchingly. It also busted up the strict gender binary on TV, allowing all three men to have moments of weakness, romantic longing, and true friendship (complete with feelings!). Watch it on Netflix, then start agitating for Hollywood to give us a female version.

Other shows we've already discussed:


Thanks for reading! Check out the whole "Women of a Certain Age" series about older women on TV!

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