Summer TV is in full swing as The Bold Type returns for season two tonight on Freeform. A surprise hit upon its debut last year, the sophomore dramedy takes inspiration from Joanna Coles’ (Project Runway) tenure as Cosmopolitan’s editor in chief. If that premise sounds worrisomely familiar, then don’t fret: The Bold Type is so much more than a Devil Wears Prada serial.
In season one, the show’s strong leading ladies tackled social and political issues such as sexism in the workplace, the travel ban, internet trolling, and even sexual assault in advance of the #MeToo movement. However, The Bold Type addressed these deep, heavy issues in a respectful and relatable way, and season two will no doubt maintain that momentum as each of the characters finds herself facing new challenges.
Twenty-somethings Jane, Kat, and Sutton are three best friends who start out together as assistants in the New York City office of the fictional fashion magazine ‘Scarlet.’ Three years later, they’re still pursuing their dreams, pushing their careers and the magazine forward, and navigating increasingly complex romantic entanglements.
Played by Katie Stevens (American Idol, Faking It… basically Katherine McPhee 2.0), Jane is in many ways the Carrie Bradshaw of the trio. Though recently promoted to staff writer, she is suffering from writer’s block and struggling to express her most vulnerable experiences, which signals a departure from her hitherto buttoned-up personality.
Scarlet’s outspoken and sexually fluid social media director, Kat, is winningly portrayed by Aisha Dee (Sweet/Vicious). While collaborating with Adena, a multi-minority artist (lesbian + Muslim + immigrant) played by Nikohl Boosheri, Kat discovers a passion that is more than professional. True, this might also have been the plotline for Samantha Jones in SATC season four, but luckily The Bold Type doesn’t treat lesbianism as a three-episode arc. Kat and Adena’s romance provides one of the show’s most emotionally engaging ongoing storylines.
Compared with her two friends’ early success in the magazine industry, still-an-assistant Sutton (Meghann Fahy) feels as though her career is stuck in a rut. Overcoming humble beginnings, she is reluctant to give up on a financially stable position in the ad sales department in pursuit of a creatively fulfilling role in the fashion department.
While the adventures of these three up-and-comers would be more than enough to build a show around, the most interesting twist The Bold Type delivers is Jacqueline Carlyle, the Miranda Priestly-like editrix in chief of Scarlet, who unlike her devilish precursor takes a warm and nurturing interest in the three young women. Brought to life by Melora Harden (The Office, Monk) and based on how producer Joanna Coles (probably) views her past at Cosmopolitan, Jacqueline serves as a mentor to Jane, Kat, and Sutton with just as much authority and intelligence as the notorious Runway editor.
To anyone who still feels a hole in their heart from the cancellation of Ugly Betty or who wishes Miranda Priestly was bit more of a feminist in the vein of Miranda Hobbes, The Bold Type is the show you’ve been looking for. And as an early treat to eager fans ahead of tonight’s premiere, Freeform has already renewed The Bold Type for a third season, a gift that would make even the iciest style queen smile.
Catch up on season one via on-demand and don’t miss new episodes of The Bold Type on Tuesdays at 8pm ET on Freeform.