The Handmaid’s Tale. Westworld. Stranger Things. Game of Thrones. Even if you haven’t seen any of these series, you’ve probably heard about them at some point because a lot of people are watching and talking about these shows. This is not the case for Netflix’s One Day at a Time.
The best part about One Day is how much it celebrates women. The family in the show is led by not one, but two strong, capable, complicated and fascinating women – the mother daughter duo that is Lydia and Penelope Alvarez. They represent two different types of women from two different generations, who sometimes butt heads over differing values and opinions, but who love and support each other no matter what. In One Day, the women run the show. They are shown as complex, multi-faceted and yes, flawed, but at the end of the day, they get things done. And isn’t that the kind of show you want to watch?
By some miracle, it has two seasons under its belt and has already been picked up for a third, but no one I know actually watches it or has even heard of it, which is a shame because it’s a great show that is definitely worth investing your time in.
It’s essentially a sitcom, so even though it’s on Netflix where shows get to play fast and loose with airtime, each episode only ranges from about 25 to 35 minutes long. And unlike most Netflix original programming, it’s not heavily serialized, so you don’t have to commit a whole weekend to devour one season. You can just watch an episode a day, or even an episode a week, which is really not that much commitment. It’s episodic television at its best, where you don’t have to binge and can just enjoy one episode at a time, much like the title of the show.
The thing that makes One Day at A Time great is that at its heart, it’s about family, a family that argues and fights and disagrees with each other, but one that, at the end of the day, loves each other and will always fight for one another. It’s packaged in the most earnest way but not at all cheesy, making this show relatable and grounded.
Although it’s a family sitcom, it doesn’t mean that this show shies away from dealing or at least talking about important (and real) issues. For one, the show centers around a single mother, Penelope Alvarez, a veteran who has depression and PTSD. Her teenage daughter, a self-proclaimed social justice warrior, is struggling with her sexuality. Even the landlord/family friend is a recovering addict. There’s no issue that the show doesn’t tackle, from immigration reform to LGBT rights, from mental health to gun control. Yet nothing feels forced, it’s not your “after-school special”, nor is it a PSA for a non-profit organization. And it never gets too serious or too heavy that you feel like switching to mindless cooking shows afterwards.
So do yourself a favor and add this show to your Netflix queue now. You’ll thank me later.
Binky Bee is an author, freelance copywriter and a self-professed TV junkie. When she's not writing or watching TV, she's usually taking care of her four cats and taking a nap. Binky Bee lives in Jakarta, Indonesia but dreams of moving to Montreal soon so she can get universal healthcare.
*Illustration by Michael Yarish / Netflix