×

TV Review: ‘The Bold Type,’ From Former Cosmo Editor Joanna Coles

This breezy, fun teen drama follows three young women starting their careers at a Cosmo-like women's lifestyle magazine

With:
Melora Hardin, Katie Stevens, Sam Page, Aisha Dee, Meghann Fahy, Matt Ward

There’s something fresh and energetic about Freeform’s new teen drama “The Bold Type,” following a trio of young women trying to make their mark at the women’s lifestyle magazine they all work for. The fictional magazine, called Scarlet, is an homage to real-life industry icon Cosmopolitan — former editor-in-chief Joanna Coles is an executive producer of “The Bold Type,” and the show markets itself as being based on her experiences.

But Coles wasn’t navigating the finer points of sexting and SnapChat while running a company Twitter account, which is what the leads of “The Bold Type” are juggling with surprising aplomb. Jane (Katie Stevens) is the bright-eyed dreamer, now a staff writer after four years as an assistant. Her first assignment is to stalk her ex — without the help of social media. Sutton (Meghann Fahy) is still an assistant, but has plenty to think about: The executive she’s having a clandestine affair with, played by Sam Page, is messaging her about her lacy underwear while she’s supposed to be answering calls. And Kat (Aisha Dee), Scarlet’s social media director, is trying to get the magazine to be more political, citing social shares and Twitter traffic as reasons to follow through on riskier interviews with controversial figures.

As should be the case for a show about young women and aimed at teenagers, a lot of “The Bold Type” is about the frothy but endlessly captivating drama of dating and texting and trying not to make your boss too upset. Magazines aren’t what they used to be, but for a generation that is exponentially more media-savvy than their parents, the grammar of presentation and posting — of likes and shares — is so obvious as to be inherent. The three lead characters live in that boundary-free world that we all increasingly live in — where the lines between social and private, personal and political are harder and harder to locate.

But as is to be expected given Coles’ perspective, “The Bold Type” is about three women beginning the process of building their careers. There’s something almost throwback about how Jane, Kat, and Sutton are the epitome of the ‘80s “career girl,” living in the big city and working at a company so chic that it’s too hot to handle. And though it is cheesily “empowering” — in that capitalistic, slightly silly way that seems to be designed just to sell shoes — it’s also kind of cool to see young women bring their own idealistic expectations to the reality of a publishing institution, whether that’s through politics or relationships or the craft of writing. Scarlet is trying to do good things, but it’s still a flawed institution, and in the first episode both Jane and Kat have to struggle with loving their jobs, but not liking what they have to put up with.

Melora Hardin plays Scarlet’s editor-in-chief —a mix between Coles and Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada.” She’s intimidating, but encouraging; a much better boss, but a much less captivating character than Meryl Streep’s take on Anna Wintour.

Still, it’s fun, if this type of fun is your cup of tea. It’s of course bordering on ridiculous, how effortlessly glamorous everything around Scarlet is; the trio of leads are always dressed to the nines, as if they’ve never even heard of New York’s high rent. But Kat especially makes for a charming, bold character — and the chemistry between the girls is neither saccharine nor unbelievable. It doesn’t have the streak of darkness that Freeform’s flagship “Pretty Little Liars” does. But “The Bold Type” makes up for it with a lot of go-girl vim that would make Helen Gurley Brown proud.

TV Review: ‘The Bold Type,' From Former Cosmo Editor Joanna Coles

Drama, pilot reviewed: Freeform, Tues. June 20, 9 p.m. 60 min.

Crew: Executive producers, Sarah Watson, Joanna Coles, David Bernad, Ruben Fleischer

Cast: Melora Hardin, Katie Stevens, Sam Page, Aisha Dee, Meghann Fahy, Matt Ward

More TV

  • Luna Nera Netflix Italy

    Italy's Women Filmmakers Set to Make Waves

    The Berlinale in recent years has been a prime launching pad for Italian films directed by women, which though fewer in number to their male counterparts, make up a considerable portion of the country’s representation on the festival circuit — Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) at Cannes, Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico”) at Venice, and Berlin regular [...]

  • Love Me Scandinavian Cinema

    Scandinavia Ups Its Game With So Many Markets for Its Fare

    When the Nordic entertainment group, one of Scandinavia’s largest media groups, announced last month during the Goteborg Film Festival that it was pulling out of non-scripted content to focus on scripted drama, and film production and distribution, it underscored two market trends in the Nordics: Subscription-based services, whether local or global, are driving the region’s [...]

  • Louis Hofmann in Prélude

    Berlin: Louis Hofmann Cast in Damian John Harper's 'Fresh' (EXCLUSIVE)

    German star Louis Hofmann is set to topline Damian John Harper’s upcoming drama “Fresh,” a German-language adaptation of Scottish writer Mark McNay’s novel of the same name. Hofmann plays a young man who must emancipate himself from his tyrannical older brother. Unlike the book, which is set in the outskirts of Glasgow, the film’s story [...]

  • Steve Stark

    Steve Stark Named President of Newly Formed MGM/UA Television

    The newly formed MGM/UA Television label has found a president in Steve Stark, who previously served as MGM’s president of scripted television production and development. MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett made the announcement late Friday, adding that Stark has extended his contract with the studio as part of his new role. “We are [...]

  • Bad Education

    TV News Roundup: HBO Sets Premiere Date for Hugh Jackman's 'Bad Education' (Watch)

    In today’s TV News roundup, HBO Films set the premiere date for “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney and “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” tapes Chris Harrison and Sage Steele as hosts. CASTING “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison will host “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” alongside co-host Sage Steele of ESPN, ABC announced. [...]

  • Randall Park Ed Helms

    Randall Park, Ed Helms to Host Hybrid Alternative-Scripted Series 'True Story' for NBC

    Ed Helms and Randall Park are attached to co-host a hybrid scripted-alternative series titled “True Story” at NBC. The hour-long show has received a six-episode order. It is based on the Australian series “True Story with Hamish & Andy.” In the series, everyday Americans sit down with Helms and Park to share their most extraordinary [...]

  • Annie MurphyGlamour Women of the Year

    'Schitt’s Creek' Star Annie Murphy Cast as Lead in AMC's ‘Kevin Can F— Himself’

    “Schitt’s Creek” star Annie Murphy has been cast as the lead in AMC’s upcoming series “Kevin Can F— Himself.” The dark comedy centers around Murphy’s Allison, Kevin’s wife, who escapes her confines and discovers her rage. “Kevin Can F– Himself” probes the secret life of a type of woman we all grew up believing we [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content