Netflix released their latest original series, GLOW, on June 23rd. The series is based on the all-female wrestling league of the same name which debuted in 1986 and changed the face of professional wrestling forever. Today, beautiful-but-formidable female wrestlers are part of the pro wrestling landscape, but that wasn’t always the case. After GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) appeared briefly in the late 1980s, the comedic skits, over-the-top costumes, and intricate storylines which made GLOW stand out suddenly became the norm in professional wrestling.
The series is so far receiving mixed critical reviews, with The Hollywood Reporter calling GLOW an essential part of the “evolving TV landscape for women.” Vanity Fair wasn’t as generous, writing that while the first episode is a “textured and well-considered portrait of a moment in time and the people who dwelled in it,” by the time the mid-season point comes “what makes GLOW initially so vibrant and exciting quickly fades, and what’s left is a passable comedy staffed with good actors that gradually loses its wits.” Ouch.
GLOW stars Alison Brie as Ruth, a struggling, down-on-her-luck actress who blindly auditions for the new wrestling league to try and revive her career. Mark Maron (Easy) stars as the league’s manager Sam Sylvia, a washed-up B-movie director seeking to turn things around. Jenji Kohan and Tara Herrmann, the team behind the hit Netflix original series Orange is the New Black serve as executive producers, and veterans Liz Flahive (Homeland) and Carly Mensch (Orange is the New Black) created GLOW and act as show runners.
Brie told The Hollywood Reporter that GLOW is a part of the changing face of television, brought about in part by Netflix’s commitment to creating groundbreaking content:
Shows like GLOW and Orange Is the New Black — people like Jenji Kohan and Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, who created this show — are definitely leading the charge of creating interesting and exciting characters for all types of women and really aiding in finding roles for unknown actresses. The TV landscape has changed, especially with the streamers, like Netflix, taking bigger risks creatively. Even five years ago, when Orange Is the New Black went up, that seemed like a real big and shocking risk to have so many unknown women starring in a new show and look how that turned out.
All ten episodes of season one of GLOW are available on Netflix.