GLOW, the newest original series from the streaming giant Netflix, tells the much-fictionalized story of the real-life ‘Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,’ a once fully functioning women’s wrestling league in the 1980s.

The series begins when struggling actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) stumbles upon one of the only roles she can find that portrays a strong female character: a female wrestler. The wrestling federation is organized by Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) a chain-smoking, past his prime, wreck who gradually begins to warm up, and eventually defend, his wrestlers.

The 10-part series, which was made available for streaming on Friday, is being applauded by critics for its strong ensemble cast, its sense of place and nostalgia, and its unique perspective on an obscure subject.

GLOW Review Roundup

“GLOW has plenty of ’80s accoutrements—some nostalgia-inducing (a synth-heavy soundtrack, leotards for every occasion, neon eyeshadow, Steve Guttenberg) and some not (a home pregnancy test that resembles an AP chemistry exam). Each episode runs around 30 minutes, which allows the show to both delve into individual stories and spin a larger arc, with few of the pacing issues of Netflix’s longer shows. Mostly, though, it’s just a blast to watch women having so much fun. GLOW fully owns its campiness and its showy aesthetics, but it’s smart and subversive underneath the glitter.”  – Sophie GilbertThe Atlantic 

“GLOW is a loving look at a hair-brained scheme developed during an awkward age, as the neon glitz of the 1970s became the cynical, money-obsessed 1980s. The time period depicted feels like the only pop culture moment when GLOW could have been a thing. And in the same way the wrestling league surprised viewers 30 years ago, viewers may be surprised to find Netflix’s GLOW is one of the best new shows they’ll see this summer.”  – Eric Deggans, NPR

GLOW is blessedly its own thing. It’s nostalgic, but it’s more than the sum of its soundtrack and hair spray. Its ratty mid-80s Los Angeles of motels and skate punks feels specific and lived in. Like last summer’s Netflix breakout, Stranger ThingsGLOW is a hulking creature sewn together from pop-cultural scraps, but when it steps into the ring, it reveals itself as a true original.” – James PoniewozikThe New York Times

“If you’ve already finished the latest season of OITNB or just need something entertaining to binge,GLOW should be right up your alley, wrestling fan or not. This ’80s-soaked series feels surreal at times, until you remember that this show is based on a real cable television series. Personally, as a wrestling fan, the show was surprisingly great and melded sports entertainment with comedy exceptionally well. GLOW‘s first episode is sometimes funny. Other times, it’s depressing. Most importantly, it’s engaging and noteworthy.” – Mat ElfringGameSpot 

Watch the trailer for GLOW below.

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