Even the most cynical of reviewers seems to be swooning over The Bold Type, a new Freeform (formerly ABC Family) show that Vulture calls “the best surprise of the TV year so far.” While the show’s premise is far from original or even exceptionally timely—it centers around three 20-somethings who work at a women’s magazine called Scarlet—the show’s execution is refreshingly raw and honest in a way that sets The Bold Type apart from the myriad Sex and the City copycats that came before it without edging into the grittiness of, say, Girls. This is no doubt due to the fact that the series was created by talented former Parenthood scribe Sara Watson and executive-produced by former Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles, upon whom one of the show’s periphery characters is based.
In The Bold Type, the young “Carrie Bradshaws” known as Kat, Sutton and Jane are given storylines involving their work as often as their personal lives, which is a nice change of pace from similar shows as well, especially given how prominent work drama is in the real lives of 20-somethings. The jobs in question—in the editorial department of Scarlet—are a fairly accurate portrayal of what it’s like to work in media these days. “We’re trying to be real to the experience of what it means to be a journalist right now and what it means to be a journalist working at a women’s magazine because they really have become front and center, and gained respect in a way that these magazines haven’t before,” Sara told Variety. She went on to explain that she felt the show’s premise to be more timely in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election, as journalism has become more of a central player in the nation’s new narrative. “We’re not out to send a political message, however, it would be impossible to ignore the reality of the political situation,” she said. “These are strong, fierce, politically savvy women. We are very much living in modern America and all that comes with it.”
Though SATC may have shied away from overt politics, it was boundary-pushing in so many ways acknowledged by Sara to have paved the way for what she’s doing now on The Bold Type. “The reason a show like this gets to exist is because of Sex and the City. It broke this barrier that women can talk about sex and have these conversations—at the same time, that was 20 years ago and I do think the conversations have shifted,” she told Variety. “When Sex and the City came on the scene, it was this groundbreaking thing. Now, these conversations are not groundbreaking anymore, but we haven’t had a show in a while that’s been in that world, and it’s been fun to see how those conversations have changed.”
It’s been too long, in our humble opinion, and we’re ready! You can watch the first two episodes of The Bold Type on Hulu here.