I am a fan of television shows that include realistic situations that are both relatable and truthful. I am always in search of amazing shows to watch as well, so here are a few I either found on my own or were recommended to me! Make sure you have tissues handy when you dive into their stories.
1. "Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce" (Netflix)
Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce centers around the life of Abby McCarthy who is an esteemed author. Throughout the season, we dive into Abby's personal and professional life. As an accomplished author of one book, she works towards success with creating another book. Abby's life is nowhere near perfect, she is faced with many hardships (including a difficult divorce) and heartbreaks, but she always finds a way to make it work. This show teaches you that you might not have it all together, but with others supporting you, together you have it all.
2. "The Fosters" (Netflix, Freeform)
The Fosters is probably my absolute favorite show, ever. This show tackles the harsh reality of life and works towards promoting acceptance and equality. The show follows the life of an unconventional family, the Fosters! Steph and Lena Foster are married and have the biggest hearts. These women open their hearts and home to foster children, but these children don't always remain as fostered (hint, hint). This show highlights topics such as LGBTQ+ right (especially gay and transgender rights), untraditional families, the foster system, mental illness, school shootings, and much more. The episodes can include some graphic content but always include a warning. This show teaches us that family isn't always blood.
3. "Life Unexpected" (Netflix)
One of my best friends recommended this show to me, she has rewatched the show about five times because it is just that good. Life Unexpected is similar to The Fosters and that is why I was so hooked on it. This show follows the life of Lux, who was placed in the foster system as an infant. Lux eventually reconnects with her birth parents, and the rest...well, you'd have to watch what unfolds. Lux learns what it means to have a family after spending most of her life in temporary homes.
4. "Everything Sucks" (Netflix)
Everything Sucks follows the lives of high school classmates who are all members of the AV club. High school is often a time when young adults morph into their true selves. These kids struggle with their personal identity as they navigate through the challenges of high school. Many of the characters have internal battles that they turn to another to work through, especially when it comes to sexual orientation. This show uncovers the true challenges encountered as we grow up.
5. "Friday Night Lights" (Hulu)
Friday Night Lights was originally on Netflix but was taken down. Thankfully Hulu scooped it right up because I am rewatching the show!!! Friday Night Lights takes place in Dillon, Texas where high school football is the heart of the community. The situations presented in the show are real and raw, I do not go an episode without crying. From a military son, to an unplanned pregnancy, to an alcoholic, to a murder. There is never a dull episode. I do not want to go into too much detail about this show because I do not want to spoil ANYTHING. You don't even have to like football to fall in love with this show! It is beautiful and intense. Friday Night Lights proves to us that we always have someone who has our back.
6. "One Day at a Time" (Netflix)
One Day at a Time looks at the life of a Cuban-American family. While I am not Cuban, nor do I come from any Hispanic background, I was still able to resonate with their hard times. Penelope is a U.S. Army veteran, current nurse, and a single mother of two spunky children. Life can throw some extreme curveballs sometimes, and One Day at a Time shows the power of family and working through those situations. One Day at a Time highlights many topics similar to The Fosters and Everything Sucks. This show is both heartwarming and heartwrenching, another "tissues necessary" show. From One Day at a Time, we learn that less than ideal situations can be worked through with a more than ideal support system.
7. "Jane the Virgin" (Netflix, The CW)
While Jane the Virgin is FULL of humor, it also has some incredible life lessons embedded in it. Jane Villanueva is artificially inseminated and a virgin, her life completely changes from then on. It's one rollercoaster of a show that leaves you with many cliffhangers after every episode. You'll always click "continue watching" when Netflix asks if you're still watching the show. Jane has immense love for her family, and her family has immense love for her in return. The story in the show can get outrageous sometimes, but it always keeps you wanting more. Notice I'm not giving much away...it's THAT intense. Jane the Virgin teaches you that life is full of surprises.
8. "Glee" (Netflix)
Glee was actually the first show I ever watched that discussed the difficulties of life, especially as a high school student who doesn't necessarily fit in with the crowd. Glee takes place at McKinley High School and focuses on the members of the school's glee club. Students involved in glee club, drama club, or any fine art often aren't accepted by others and subject to bullying. Glee shows that students have a voice in the big, bad world they're part of. The members of the McKinley High glee club are empowered and accepted by the little family they created. This show includes LGBTQ+ equality, teenage pregnancy, bullying, and much more. Your heart will ache more than once throughout the course of this show, I guarantee it.
9. "Dear White People" (Netflix)
This show is a little different than the others on this list. Dear White People takes place at the Ivy League college: Winchester University. This prestigious university is predominately white with a very small group of students of color. Dear White People follows the lives of the minority and shows the heartwrenching experiences they have due to being in the minority. Cultural bias, social injustice, slippery politics, and much more are discussed within this show. This show unveils the harsh reality of students of color attending a white-dominated university. Dear White People calls for equality because no one should feel out of place, ever.
10. "13 Reasons Why" (Netflix)
I saved this one for last because 13 Reasons Why is probably one of the most controversial shows to ever be produced. It is very graphic, very real, and very, very raw. 13 Reasons Why follows the story of Hannah Baker who tragically took her own life, she retells her story via tapes she recorded explaining her death. This show is important for people who do not understand mental illness, mental health, sexual harassment, rape, and more. 13 Reasons Why is important for people who are ignorant, it is NOT meant for people who have first-hand experience with self-harm, sexual harassment, or sexual abuse. The show opens peoples' eyes to mental illness, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, and much more. I highly recommend this show to individuals who simply do not understand the impact someone's words and actions can have on another person.
If you're into shows that uncover the harshness of reality, give these a watch!! If you're not into that, I recommend giving them a try (I'm not sorry if you end up hooked). Grab yourself a snack, get comfy, and dive in!