The chances are that you’ll have heard of GLOW, Netflix’s latest show, at least in passing, but you’ve perhaps not given it a chance yet. Unlike some of Netflix’s other dramas, GLOW doesn’t boast a cast of massive household names (though if you’re from the UK, Kate Nash will be a serious blast from the past), nor does the concept of ‘female wrestlers’ appeal to universal audiences. However, against heavyweight titles like House of Cards and The Crown, GLOW offers a surprising, refreshing take on the Netflix Original that may bring defeat to its competitors.
“The reason that GLOW stands out is the reason it may put audiences off: the premise is very different to anything you’ve seen before”.
The reason that GLOW stands out is the reason it may put audiences off: the premise is very different to anything you’ve seen before. Set in the 1980s, the show follows a group of misfit women who are picked to star in a new take on wrestling, entitled ‘Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling’ or GLOW. It’s a very quirky premise, and this quirkiness runs through the plot, characters and humour. This can be off-putting to some, especially when most of us are pretty stubborn to what we know and like. But if the success of the likes of Katy Perry and the ‘peel the banana’ woman off YouTube means anything, it’s that quirky is popular, and GLOW demonstrates this perfectly. While the show will never have the slickness of the likes of House of Cards, it maintains a sense of humour, a relatable sense of human life, and a big heart that will surely keep audiences interested over the ten episodes.
Characters are a big part of GLOW, particularly the women in the wrestling group. It’s enjoyable to see each character develop, both in their real selves and their wrestling personas. There’s Melrose, a spoilt party girl who provides humour at every turn; Debbie, the star of the show who demonstrates being a strong woman; Cherry, the no-nonsense leader, and Carmen, the loveable member of a wrestling dynasty who just wants to show her dad what she’s capable of. And that’s just to name a few – the entire crew of girls are relatable and highly likeable, while the men of GLOW also add to the dynamic of loveable misfits. Bash is one of my favourites – in any other show, he would be the spoilt, rich villain, but in GLOW, he becomes an enthusiastic and naive puppy looking to make his dream show. There’s only one potential fly in the ointment: Ruth, the focus of the show, sways between likeable and annoying regularly. If you hate Piper in Orange is the New Black, you’ll probably hate Ruth too. She’s righteous and makes poor decisions that are hard, but not impossible, to forgive as the show progresses.
And of course, if you want to make any show better, set it in the 80s. Wrestling matches are soundtracked with anthemic 80s tunes, the costumes are gloriously garish, and props of retro robots and cassette players make for a nostalgic feel throughout the series.
Ultimately, GLOW is a feel-good show, which will keep you engaged with characters you love, humorous dialogue, and a plot that can bring a few twists. It’s perhaps not in the league of Netflix’s bigger titles, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. I wouldn’t be surprised if the show makes it to a second series and to an elevated level of hype in the near future, so get ahead of the game now and make sure you’re up to date.