Along with flip phones, dial-up internet and Windows XP, we’re leaving the bitchy-woman-in-fashion trope in the noughties, and striding into 21st century telly, where women can be nice and successful at the same time. The thing is, how do you make a good TV show without at least a bit of backstabbing, gossip and betrayal? You’ve got to be pretty bold to make that work.
Luckily this lot are The Bold Type. Kat (Aisha Dee), Jane (Katie Stevens) and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) work as assistants at Scarlet, a glossy women’s magazine based a stone’s throw from the Met on New York’s Upper East Side. When the show opens, they’re on a mutual mission to make their way to the top of the fashion mag ladder, and impress their six-inch-heeled boss Jacqueline. This character is loosely based on Joanna Coles, former Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan, who just so happens to be the show’s exec producer. And as she’s in charge of painting her own portrait, she’s gone as far away from The Devil Wear’s Prada’s Meryl Streep figure as she possibly could – she’s smart, sharp, in charge, and wants to see her employees grow without sacrificing their humanity (or sanity).
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From the top of its perfect hair to the bottom of its red soles shoes, this company is all about supporting and encouraging women in the workplace. So where does the drama and substance come in? Well, the trio are regularly causing a sensation on socials with their feminist headlines, and the dialogue regularly references social issues including race, sexuality and class. Plus, as much as they’re bossing it at work, their personal lives are less in order.
Is this the most ground-breaking show ever made? No. There’s no artsy cinematography or big moral statement. But there is a lot to enjoy – the relationship between these friends and colleagues is deep and realistic, and compared to the female-friendship-shows of the 90s and noughties, the lack of a Carrie Bradshaw-type is breath of fresh air. Before you know it, you’ll be rooting for Kat, Jane and Sutton to tweet their way to the top of Scarlet’s headquarters. However The Guardian’s Fiona Sturges thinks the series lacks realism – “despite subsisting on a salary that barely keeps them in green juice, the trio’s clothing outlay could match the annual turnover of Bloomingdale’s” – but says it makes up for it “in likable characters and zingy plot lines.” And Jia Tolentino in The New Yorker agrees. She says: “One of the most pleasurable things about The Bold Type is the way that its characters’ professional choices are shown to be as intimate and complex and important as anything else about them.” This is probably why Camilla Long of The Times calls this a “warm-hearted show,” full of big plotlines that Forbes’s Linda Maleh thinks are “immensely satisfying and exciting.”
First shown June 2017. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here: