TV & Movies

10 Trail Blazing Shows Paving The Way For Greater Representation On Screen

By Jessica Best
6th May 2020

young woman and man standing in the middle of an underground dance club

If you’re craving TV that brings you more voices, more stories and more binge-worthy antics, you’ve come to the right place.

In this list you’ll find a line-up of shows that embrace a diverse range of people, LGBQTI+ inclusive stories, First Nations storytelling, varying communities and cultures, gender expression, mental health accounts, climate change and a general push for greater representation in the TV shows we watch.

Here are the best TV shows to watch for a greater representation of stories.

You Can’t Ask That

ABC iView

Is it one of the greatest TV shows of our generation? Quite possibly. You Can’t Ask That showcases a diverse group of Australians each episode who confront prejudice and discrimination head-on. The idea is that these groups answer the hard and awkward questions but the reality turns into some pretty inspiring moments of honesty and heart-warming humour.

Chewing Gum

Netflix

For a cast packed with diversity and less “whitewashing”, you’ll want to hit the hilarious sit-com of Chewing Gum. Tracy Gordon is a Beyonce-obsessed 24-year-old who was raised in a strictly religious London flat but she’s basically more than ready to let her V-card go. However, the more she steps out of her comfort zone, the more she begins to actually understand the world.

The Good Place

Netflix

The Good Place has been paving the way for diversity on screen for a couple of years now and is a big player in the world of normalising interracial relationships. You’ll find body-positive advocate Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Bell and Ted Danson in this one.

Mystery Road

ABC iview

You’ll have two incredible seasons of Mystery Road to binge on ABC iView so get comfy. Directed by Indigenous filmmaker, screenwriter and cinematographer Warwick Thorton (ie. the brains behind Samson & Delilah) brings you a predominantly Indigenous cast and a storyline dedicated to some brilliant Australian crime drama in the outback.

Never Have I Ever

Netflix

Netflix’s new coming-of-age comedy has been spurring some big conversations about representation on TV. After a traumatic year, a first-generation Indian-American teen is keen as anything to just make her way through high school and spruce up her social status. However, this show makes leaps and bounds in bursting racial South Asian stereotypes (without shoving these concepts right at you) and that’s exactly why we love it.

Atypical

Netflix

When a teen on the autism spectrum, Sam, decides to get a girlfriend, his bid for more independence puts his whole family on a challenging path to give him just that. There’s already three seasons of this one and in the most recent, Sam starts his first year of college and is faced with figuring out what success means for him, while adjusting to the changes that come with growing up. 

Ramy

Stan

American stand-up comedian Ramy Youssef is coming at you with an enlightened and authentic tale about the modern Muslim-American experience. As a first-generation Egyptian-American who is on a spiritual journey in his politically-divided New Jersey neighbourhood, this show brings a whole new perspective as it explores the challenges of what it’s like being caught between a Muslim community that thinks life is a moral test and a millennial generation that thinks life has no consequences. 

High Fidelity

ABC iview

Starring Zoe Kravitz, High Fidelity is a reimagining of Nick Hornsby’s 1995 novel. This show follows Rob, a record store owner, as she revisits past relationships through music and pop culture while simultaneously trying to get over her one true love. The lead, played by Kravitz, is actually a sneaky gender-swap with the original story panning around the love-life of a guy, with the creators behind the re-imagined show aiming to flip the standard love narrative for women portrayed on screen. High Fidelity also tackles issues around gentrification and representation. 

War On Waste 

ABC iview

If the world could have its voice heard and turned into a TV show, it would no doubt be the game-changing War On Waste. Hosted by Craig Reucassel, this show spans two mind-blowing seasons which target everything you need to know about plastic water bottles, straws, e-waste, fast furniture, food waste and the recycling crisis.

Sex Education 

Netflix

There isn’t a series that hones in on the complete awkwardness of being a teenager quite like Sex Education. Delving into gender, sexual orientation, racial stereotyping, mental health—this show endearingly explores it all. 

You should also bury your head in these books that will change the way you think.

Image credit: High Fidelity

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