The Best Netflix Originals with Female Protagonists

the Netflix logo but in pink

Let's be real here for a second. Netflix has an intense catalog of original movies and shows. When looking on the website, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the plethora of options shown. To make your life a little bit easier, I've listed below what I think are the top five Netflix original television shows with female protagonists, because let's be honest with ourselves; we can never have too many female protagonists.

5. Anne with an E

Genres: drama, historical fiction

I think that it’s safe to say that a majority of people have either heard of or read Anne of Green Gables, a literary classic by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Personally, I watched various PBS dramas on it and even read the book during my freshman year of high school. This show is an updated remake of previous versions of the book. Even though I grew up watching and reading about Anne, this remake was still extremely refreshing to see as it was very aesthetically pleasing.

Anne with an E follows Anne, a girl living in Prince Edward Island, and her adoption by brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. The Cuthberts actually wanted to adopt an orphan boy to help out on their farm but ended up with Anne instead. Throughout the series, we see Anne grow up into a young woman, and eventually, the Cuthberts and Anne learn to live with and love each other.

4. Chewing Gum

Genres: comedy, sitcom

Chewing Gum is what happens when the critically acclaimed artist Michaela Coel directs, writes, and stars in her own Netflix original. With a unique storyline, this show definitely deserves more attention compared to some of the more popular Netflix originals. And with only two seasons, it’s an easy binge too.

This show follows Coel as Tracey Gordon, a 24-year-old virgin who grew up in an ultra-religious home in London. Tracey is tired of being a virgin and decides to live her life for herself, and not for religion, after divorcing her super religious fiance first. The rest of the series goes on to show Tracey navigating her life as a young adult. What’s really interesting is when the dynamics between Tracey and her mother are shown, as the show progresses, you really start to see Tracey’s mom treating her more and more like the adult she is.

3. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Genres: cartoon, fantasy

At first, I was a bit skeptic when it came to this show. The animation and the idea of a collective of princesses seemed kind of childish. It may look simple and childish, however, it is anything but.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is based on the fictional character She-Ra, who originated from the fictional world of He-Man. As He-Man was created to appeal to young boys, She-Ra was created to appeal to its counter demographic, young girls. The show follows Adora, a girl who is a part of the Evil Horde, which is the main antagonist of the series. After meeting Glimmer, a princess, and Bow, her archer best friend, she realizes the viciousness of the Horde and joins Glimmer and Bow in the Rebellion. From this, Adora also learns of her true nature, which is that of She-Ra, an ancient being meant to save and protect the planet of Etheria.

The show deals with simple concepts like friendship and loss in complex ways that you could only understand if you were to watch it yourself. What’s even better about She-Ra is that it can easily appeal to any age.

2. Hilda

Genres: cartoon, fantasy

This show looks really cute. And it is. Monsters, mythological creatures, and all. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Luke Pearson, Hilda takes you on a journey sort of reminiscent to Gravity Falls, where anything could be lurking around the corner. However, I think that Hilda does a great job standing on its own and being set apart from Gravity Falls despite the comparisons.

Hilda is about a young girl who lives in the wilderness with her mom and hybrid deer-fox pet, Twig. After one of Hilda’s many adventures, the cabin that her family lives in ends up destroyed, so her mom decides that they need to move to Trollberg, a town where there are walls high enough to keep the trolls out at night. After the move, the series then continues with Hilda having more adventures in Trollberg, and with new friends now too.

1. Derry Girls

Genres: sitcom, black comedy, realistic fiction

Derry Girls is by far my favorite Netflix Original of all time. There’s just something about a coming-of-age story set in the ’90s with an amazing soundtrack including the Cranberries that almost immediately hooks you in. Here’s the kicker though — it takes place in Northern Ireland.

For those who need a brief history lesson, there was an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that started in the late 1960s and ended on Good Friday of 1998. The series takes place within the last year or so of “The Troubles,” which is what the conflict is often referred to as. Although the conflict is a part of Derry Girls, I really liked how it played as more of an overarching plotline instead of it being the main focus of the show. It shows a regular group of girls and their British guy friend going to a Catholic all-girls school (yes, the boy too) and how they lived their lives. It’s raw, it’s real, and most importantly. It’s funny.