Musical television shows are hugely entertaining with addictive songs and complex dance choreography. But recording new music and rehearsing for these sequences take a lot of time, effort, and money, making these shows even more special when everything comes together.
Queens is one of the newest musical shows to hit the small screen. It tells the story of four women who were part of a successful hip-hop girl group in the 1990s. Now, they are estranged from each other. But they get the chance to reunite for another stab at fame and fortune. While the show received positive reviews, it was sadly canceled after one season. If you didn’t get enough of Queensthere are other similar musical series you can watch.
‘The Get Down’ (2016 – 2017)
Set in the 1970s, The Get Down explores the rise of hip-hop through the eyes of a group of young people living in South Bronx. Zeke (Justice Smith) meets Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore), and they form The Get Down Brothers with their friends with plans to enter the music industry. mylene (Herizen F. Guardiola) has dreams of becoming a disco singer but fears she is stuck in the city.
Created by Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis, the series provides exuberant musical moments and the realistic struggles of a marginalized community. Each episode includes real footage from that era, which made for an impactful viewing. Despite their hardship, the characters rise above it through their love for music. Watch it on Netflix.
‘Empire’ (2015 – 2020)
When hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, he is forced to secure plans for his empire. He sets his three sons against each other to see who will be a worthy successor. He must also contend with his ex-wife, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), who is released from prison after 17 years and wants a stake in the company.
Empire was received well by critics and fans with praises for the acting and soundtrack produced by acclaimed producer Timbaland which topped the Billboard music chart. The show is heavy on melodrama but shines in its portrayal of the Lyons family as they face the ups and downs of the hip-hop music industry. Watch it on Hulu.
‘Girls5eva’ (2012 – present)
Four women were part of a girl group, Girls5eva, that was briefly famous for one hit song in 2000 before fading into obscurity. When their song is sampled by a rising rapper, they get the chance to reunite for a comeback.
starring Sara Bareilles, Busy Philipps, Paula Pell, and Renee Elise Goldsberry, Girls5eva is a delightful comedy that celebrates 1990s music. like Queens, it illustrates the complexities of the music industry for women in their 40s and how much the business has changed throughout the years. The characters want a second chance for success but must manage their ambitions with their families and careers. Through it all, they rely on each other while singing plenty of catchy and fun tunes. Watch it on Peacock.
‘Nashville’ (2012 – 2018)
Country music can be a wellspring of drama, and Nashville delivers on that front. Reigning country music queen Rayna James (Connie Britton) is losing popularity when her new album is not received well, and her tour is not selling out. She’s threatened by the rise of young country pop singer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), who is determined to replace Rayna as the star.
Set in Nashville, the show is filmed on location to keep its authenticity. While the storyline revolves around the rivalry between Rayna and Juliette, Nashville also portrays the lives of other characters in the industry. The cast performs the show’s original songs that are influenced by the singer-songwriter characteristic of the genre. Watch it on Hulu.
Mozart in the Jungle (2014 – 2018)
Charismatic maestro Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal) is hired to be the new conductor for the New York Symphony Orchestra, where he clashes with the outgoing maestro Thomas (Malcolm McDowell) and Symphony President, Gloria (Bernadette Peters). Meanwhile, oboist Hailey (Lola Kirke) is waiting for her chance to shine.
Loosely based on oboist Blair Tindall‘s autobiography Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, the series showcases the beauty of classical music. It delves into the drama of an orchestra, with its various levels of power structure and conflict between art and business.Mozart in the Jungle is whimsical and eccentric but also thoughtful and sincere when it needs to be. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
‘Crazy Ex Girlfriend’ (2015 – 2019)
Rebecca (Rachel Bloom), a successful lawyer in New York, impulsively moves to California to follow her ex-boyfriend from high school summer camp. She ends up in various relationships, faces tough challenges, and learns more about herself in the process.
Created and written by Bloom, Crazy Ex Girlfriend is a quirky musical comedy that tactfully tackles issues like mental illness and female sexuality. The show employs the musical theater trick of making the characters burst into songs at the right moment. It has been praised for its truthful musical numbers and won several awards, including the Emmy Awards and Golden Globes. Watch it on Netflix.
‘Smash’ (2012 – 2013)
smash takes place in a New York City theater, where it features the behind-the-scenes drama of a new Broadway musical. The theater community includes the director, composer, producer, and performers who have to juggle their professional lives with their personal lives. The show captures the grand, sweeping glamor of a Broadway production while keeping a grounded look at the characters.
The series features an ensemble cast led by Megan Hilty, Katherine McPhee, and Debra Brass. Original music was composed for the show, and the song “Let Me Be Your Star” nabbed a Grammy Award nomination. Watch it on NBC.
After an earthquake incident, Zoey (Jane Levy) gains the ability to hear other people’s innermost thoughts through songs. Her family, friends, and even strangers are singing their feelings to her, which leads her to question her sanity. But soon, she realizes that this ability could be used to help others.
touching and hilarious, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlistshows the rollercoaster of emotions through musical sequences of popular songs. Zoey learns to deal with the difficulties in her life, like her father’s illness and her best friend’s changing feelings. While the show only lasted two seasons, there is a Christmas movie called Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas that gives the characters a proper farewell. Watch it on NBC.
‘Star’ (2016 – 2019)
star (Jude Demorest) is an orphan who spends her childhood in and out of foster care with her younger sister Simone (Brittany O’Grady). She becomes online friends with singer-songwriter Alexandra Crane (Ryan Destiny). Together, they form a girl group with the help of Carlotta Brown (Queen Latifah), a beauty salon owner who becomes their surrogate mother.
star is co-created by Lee Daniels, who had previously co-created another musical TV series, Empire. The show portrays the challenges of the music business for newcomers. The three singers must navigate their new careers along with the fame and success that affect their relationships with each other. Watch it on Hulu.
‘Julie and The Phantoms’ (2020)
After her mother’s death, teenager Julie (Madison Reyes) lost her passion for music. One day, she accidentally summons the ghosts of three boys from a 1990s teen band. She eventually befriends them, and they start a new band together, leading her to rediscover her love for music.
Despite its morbid premise, Julie and the Phantoms is a sweet supernatural series that focuses on the joys of making music. It depicts the characters dealing with grief, mortality, and romance. Though canceled after just one season, it’s the kind of feel-good show that will make you want to sing along. Watch it on Netflix.
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