Happy Women’s History Month! To celebrate the power of all things female, our staff chose our favorite shows and movies created or directed by women.

Despite their common thread of female leadership, our picks are as diverse as the ladies who made them. The list includes a war movie, comedies, a political drama, teen love stories, and everything in between. So watch, enjoy, and support women!

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Photo: Amazon

Marissa DiBartolo: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017 — Present) 

Set in the late 1950s, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a whirlwind of fun, humor, and heartbreak. Midge Maisel reminds us all that women are truly capable of anything, including comedy. Amy Sherman-Palladino runs the show (literally and figuratively), and gives audiences a glimpse into the past that is so relevant to our present. She also brought us Gilmore Girls. Not all heroes wear capes — some wear crazy hats.

WATCH IT NOW: Stream on Amazon 


A League of Their Own

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Ali Mierzejewski: A League of Their Own (1992)

PENNY MARSHALL IS AN ICON. Every time I watch this movie, I try to find something I don’t love — and I truly just cannot. This hilariously funny and incredibly moving story of a women’s baseball team who fill in for the men at war (in order to entertain the men not at war who DO NOT APPRECIATE THEM!) is more than a sports movie. It’s a movie about friendship that turns into family; it’s about empowerment and strength; it’s about pushing yourself past the limits that you place on yourself — as well as the limits that society places on you — and realizing your true power. And it’s all through the lens of my own personal hero, Penny Marshall, who was — and still is — a damn national treasure.

WATCH IT NOW: Rent or buy on Amazon, Vudu


Big

Photo: 20th Century Fox

James ZahnBIG (1988)

Penny Marshall’s (RIP) 1988 film about a boy who wants to be “big” hit all the right notes for me as a kid, but as a grown-up, there are new layers to explore. Viewing it first during the summer of its original release, I was the exact same age as Josh Baskin (David Moscow) as he paid a visit to a visit to a Zoltar machine to make his fateful wish.

After waking up in a new body that looked suspiciously like the guy from Splash (Tom Hanks), Baskin quickly heads off to the city where everything he does is a 12-year-old’s dream! A job at a toy company? Yes! A cool apartment packed with full-size arcade machines? Hell yes! Bunk beds to share with Susan (Elizabeth Perkins)? Sweet!

When I revisited the film back in 2012, I realized that as a parent, BIG has some terrifying implications. It could be retold in a parallel story as a crime drama following the painful ordeal of Mrs. Baskin (Mercedes Ruehl) in the wake of her son’s assumed abduction.

However, BIG also provided me with my go-to quote for crappy toys: “I don’t get it.”

WATCH IT NOW: Stream on Cinemax Go | Rent or buy on Amazon, iTunes


Gilmore Girls

Photo: Warner Bros. Television

Maddie Michalik: Gilmore Girls (2000 — 2007, 2016)

Rory Gilmore being The Worstaside, Gilmore Girls represents the ultimate bond between a mother and her daughter. Everyone I know who watches the show dreams of living in a Stars Hallow-esque town with all of its one-of-a-kind residents. And truly, Emily Gilmore is an icon. She was Marie Kondo before that Netflix series was a thing, and I go by Emily’s way of cleaning any day. No joy!

WATCH IT NOW: Stream on Netflix  


John Tucker Must Die

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Jackie Cucco: John Tucker Must Die (2006)

John Tucker Must Die was a story ahead of its time, about a high school eff-boy who’s dating three girls at once, telling them all everything they want to hear. Except the girls are one step ahead of John the dumb-dumb and they turn the tables on him. The ending is kind of anticlimactic, John gets off the hook way too easily, and we don’t quite get the revenge we deserve (it was written by a man), but director Betty Thomas and 2000s queens Brittany Snow, Sophia Bush, Ashanti, and Arielle Kebbel still give us a good dose of girl power.

WATCH IT NOW: Rent or buy on Vudu, Amazon


The Hurt Locker

Photo: Summit Entertainment

Joe Ibraham: The Hurt Locker (2009)

Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker is nothing short of spectacular. In 2009, it was nominated for nine Academy Awards. It won six, including Best Picture, and was the first female-directed film to earn the honor. Aside from being a thrilling war story, The Hurt Locker gets even better when you dive into the details. It was independently produced and directed by Bigelow and Voltage Pictures with a budget of just $15 million; the screenwriter, Mark Boal, spent time as a journalist with troops and bomb squads in the 2004 Iraq War; and stories of Bigelow herself filming in the Jordan heat litter the internet. The Hurt Locker is the result of a hands-on director and a hard-working crew. Not to mention it stars two future Avengers: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie).

WATCH IT NOW: Stream on Netflix |Rent or buy on iTunes, Vudu 


Jane the Virgin

Photo: The CW

Madeleine Buckley (that’s me!): Jane the Virgin (2014 — Present)

This show may contain all the aspects of telenovela, including an abnormally high number of love triangles, (not to mention murder, evil twins, people coming back from the dead, etc.) but it is also packed with intelligent, independent, and strong female lead characters and SO much heart. Jennie Snyder Urman has made the American adaptation of this series incredibly entertaining and funny, sometimes heartbreaking, and often a poignant political commentary. I’m so sad that this season is the show’s last!

WATCH IT NOW: Stream on Netflix 


Scandal

Photo: Getty Images

Miranda Siwak: Scandal (2012 — 2018)

In terms of female television creators, Shonda Rhimes is second-to-none in terms of how many hit series she penned under her Shondaland production company. Rhimes became the first showrunner (of any gender) to have three shows air back-to-back in primetime on a single network, essentially launching ABC’s #TGIT nights. Not only that, but Rhimes was one of the pioneer TV creators of the current era to focus her storytelling on strong, fierce, and independent leading ladies, who can exist outside a relationship and be fierce warrior queens. While all her past and present Shondaland series stand out as quality programs, none featured a leading lady quite as badass as Olivia Pope. The DC-based fixer can handle anything without missing a beat, and remaining quite chic while doing so — white hat and all. Not only is Olivia Pope everything I aspire to be, but she empowers girls everywhere to be strong and handle everything. And that final scene, where two young girls look up at Pope’s portrait in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian in awe? CHILLS.

WATCH IT NOW: Stream on Netflix 


TOTBILB

Photo: Netflix

Sierra McCleary-Harris: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

I am basic AF.

While that’s true, there are plenty of other reasons behind my love for TATBILB. The Netflix Original does a great job of staying true to origin trilogy, written by the amazing Jenny Han, author of all the YA series you never knew you needed to read as a full-grown, 30-something year old adult (but you DO!). Viewers also got a treat that’s all too rare in rom-coms: A male love interest who doesn’t mostly suck but you just love him anyway because he is dreamy and you love love. Whether that’s because the film was directed by a woman (relatively unknown Susan Johnson), because Han was so involved and intent on fighting for her vision and the integrity of the movie, or because we’ve just paid our dues and finally earned a non-trash-a** male lead, I don’t know. And tbh, I don’t *super* care. I just love it.

Also, there’s the wee little matter of Peter Kavinsky, played by Noah Centineo — aka the young man who sent many adult women into a tailspin while frantically Googling his age to make sure they (read: me) weren’t thirsting after a less-than-legal beau. He’s a kind, thoughtful, and family-oriented (young) man that we can all support, full stop; not support despite trash reasons A, B, and C — he’s just good. And that’s refreshing after decades of watching the opposite. (The Nod does the best job of explaining this, better than I’ll ever do, so just listen to Brittany and Eric do their thing.)

Since good things come in threes, I’ll add that I am 200 percent here for the diversity of this movie. As a woman of color, I can only watch so many homogenous casts before I roll my eyes so hard it threatens my already-terrible vision.

K, thanks, byeeeeeee!

WATCH IT NOW: Stream on Netflix