If you loved 'Fleabag', you'll love these shows too, including Aisling Bea's 'This Way Up', which has just landed on Netflix
Phoebe Waller-Bridge introduced us to a whole new genre of TV with Fleabag. Putting forth a roster of characters that we didn’t always necessarily like, they were amongst some of the small screen’s most relatable and Fleabag’s tendency to break the fourth wall/speak directly to us made the show feel more like an intimate conversation between friends than anything else.
Smashing our hearts into pieces with the admission that the series would never go further than two seasons, we’ve been trying to fill the Fleabag-shaped hole in our lives ever since… but the good news is that we’re spoiled for choice. From Aisling Bea’s This Way Up to the BAFTA-nominated, I Hate Suzie, there’s plenty of good TV to choose from.
This Way Up
Headed up by our very own Miss Aisling Bea, This Way Up returned to Channel 4 earlier this year. Dubbed “the smartest feel-good show you’re not yet watching” by Vogue, it follows the lives of two sisters over in London – Áine (Bea), a “whip-smart” teacher trying to put her life back together again and Shona (Sharon Horgan), her more collected older sister.
Picking up where the action left off, season two sees Áine continue trying to navigate post-rehab life. Attempting to leave the memories of her “teeny little nervous breakdown” behind her and live less cautiously, Channel 4 advises viewers to expect “more bittersweet sister-related shenanigans, including ill-advised trips to infrared saunas, and possibly another sung duet”.
You can watch both seasons of This Way Up over on the Channel 4 player now.
Directed by Girls star Lena Dunham, Industry follows a group of enterprising young graduates all vying to secure their spot at Pierpoint & Co., one of London’s top international banks. Often drawing comparisons to shows such as Succession and Skins, the series premiered to much fanfare last year but it definitely lived up to the hype and fans have been raving about it ever since.
Set in summer 2019, the series brought forth a brand new cast of rising stars, US newcomer Myha’la Herrold amongst them. Exposing us all to the “exhilarating world of international finance”, Dunham described it as Melrose Place meets The Wolf of Wall Street. So, in other words, it has plenty of sex, drugs and scandal to keep things interesting.
Watch it over on the BBC iPlayer.
I Hate Suzie
Billie Piper stars as Suzie Pickles, a former teenage pop star and TV actress who has her life upended after her phone is hacked and photos of her in an extremely compromising position are leaked. Struggling to keep her marriage together and protect her son, Frank, from what’s really happening, Suzie also has her career to worry about with best friend and manager Naomi trying to help her keep everything intact.
Charting her progression through varying stages of shock, denial, fear, shame, bargaining, guilt, anger and acceptance, according to the Sky TV synopsis, the drama is “about the moment in life when the mask slips”.
I Hate Suzie is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Back To Life
Daisy Haggard plays a 30-something woman who returns to her hometown in Hythe, Kent… after 18 years in prison. Moving back in with her parents in her childhood home, the series follows Miri Matteson’s attempts to rebuild her life. Not welcomed back with quite the warmth she was hoping for, her presence is met with much hostility and there are several instances where locals make their feelings about her known – be that by sending her faeces in the post, spray-painting offensive graffiti on her garden wall or just straight up insulting her to her face.
Miri remains optimistic throughout it all though and her awkward, but often comical, journey to reconnect with the community makes for brilliant watching. You can binge-watch all six episodes of season one over on Netflix.
We Are Lady Parts
A new(ish) sitcom about an all-female Muslim punk band, We Are Lady Parts had its premiere on Channel 4 earlier this year. Following the lives of five different women, the six-part series centres on Amina Hussain – a microbiology PhD student who joins the band as their lead guitarist.
An “edgy blend of punk-rock feminism, whimsical humour, head-banging tunes, and relatable tales of romance and friendship”, the series was written and directed by Nida Manzoor. Partly inspired by Manzoor’s love of music, it was her desire for more representative TV that really helped to drive the project forward.
Where can you watch it? We Are Lady Parts can be streamed over on All4 now.
“Annie’s done being a wallflower. No longer playing down to expectations of fat women, she vows to love herself, whether or not her hook-ups, colleagues and family feel the same.” That’s what the short bio for the first season of Shrill reads. Now with three full seasons already under its belt, the American comedy series has amassed plenty of loyal fans since it had its debut two years ago back in 2019.
Based on a memoir by writer Lindy West, the action revolves around Annie Easton, an up-and-coming journalist at an alternative magazine in Portland, Oregon. Described as a “fat young woman who wants to change her life – but not her body”, the series follows her as she tries to make something of herself… all while juggling bad boyfriends, a sick parent and a perfectionist boss. Not to mention toxic societal standards telling her how she should look.
Shrill is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.