Mother's Day Edition
Mothers: They’re the first ones to tell you your haircut is "interesting" and a shoulder to cry on when you need it most. This Mother’s Day, Queue staff recommend series and flicks featuring moms that run the gamut from supportive stepmom to criminal mastermind to the mother of us all: Gaia.
Wendy Byrde (Laura Linney)
Wendy, Wendy, Wendy . . . Wendy Byrde’s criminal audacity isn’t winning her any mother-of-the-year awards. Between the first and the fourth season, she transforms from the suburban, wine-loving, and philandering mom in pedal pushers to the brother-killing, cartel-whispering, political mastermind, who also happens to be the mother of two; I would argue that there’s never been a better, more complex mother than Laura Linney’s Wendy. She makes it impossible for you to like her, yet you are never not rooting for her. This mom will stop at nothing to protect her family. Happy Mother’s Day, Wendy.
— Krista Smith
Our Great National Parks
Respect your mother! Mother Earth, that is. In Our Great National Parks, the doc series hosted and narrated by President Barack Obama, mothers of all species are seen doing what moms do — loving on their little ones. Between all the awe-inspiring and awwwww-inspiring up-close images of mama-baby interactions, we’re also reminded of the beauty and fragility of our planet. Come for the cute baby hippos, leaping monkeys, and lumbering elephants. Stay for the messages of hope and advocacy about how to protect the mother to us all: Earth.
— Blaine Zuckerman
Sarah Nelson (Olivia Colman)
If anyone is able to get through the final minutes of the British teen rom-drama Heartstoppers without tearing up — and begging for Olivia Colman to be their mom — they must be heart-less. After eight episodes of watching Charlie and Nick fall in love, while Nick explores his sexuality, the heart-to-heart Nick shares with his mom (played in a few brief but memorable scenes by The Lost Daughter’s Olivia Colman), telling her he’s bisexual is the beautiful ending of one chapter of Nick’s story and the exciting beginning of the next. Where can we sign the petition to instate Olivia Colman as the mother in every future teen series?
— Madeleine Saaf Welsh
Georgia Miller (Brianne Howey)
Ginny & Georgia
Georgia Miller is not your average mom. And she’s more than just a “cool” mom. In Season 1 of Ginny & Georgia, Georgia (played by Brianne Howey) charges into a new town with her children, Ginny and Austin, in tow, ready for a fresh start. The family navigates fights, tears, unexpected reunions, and a murder mystery (!) as they adjust to their new lives.
While we get a glimpse of Georgia’s past through a series of flashbacks, her full backstory remains elusive. What we do know is that she is a mighty protector of her children, even if she has to lie and defraud a few people along the way. Georgia reminds us that there is no such thing as a perfect mom. She’s unashamed of her flaws and uses each harrowing circumstance from her own less-than-stellar upbringing to break the cycle of trauma with her children. For that, I am in awe, and can’t wait to see how she’ll maneuver Season 2.
— Chris McPherson
Paula (Andie MacDowell)
As a child of the 90s, I am happy to report that my mother rocked the hell out of a perm, one that she also teased through a frosting cap for an extra bit of color. To this day, it’s still a look that I recall with the best sense of nostalgia a boy can ask for. This more than likely encapsulates why Andie MacDowell has always felt to me like the most iconic, most enduring beauty of the silver screen, with maternal instinct radiating from her core.
In MAID, MacDowell plays a mother, Paula, that couldn’t be further from my own — one who is navigating her way through life with mental health disorders, one who wants nothing more than to provide for her granddaughter while not being able to provide for herself, and one who maintains a tumultuous, yet deeply loving, relationship with her daughter Alex, played by MacDowell’s real-life daughter Margaret Qualley.
MAID sheds light on the pitfalls of domestic violence support systems in America and the struggles of navigating mental health. And while the subject matter is not to be taken lightly, the love shared between the series’ mothers and daughters triumphs over the darkness. And MacDowell’s wicked curls triumph over absolutely everything.
— Ryan G. Smith
Heidi (Kate Bosworth)
Along for the Ride
In Along for the Ride, based on the novel by Sarah Dessen, Auden (Emma Pasarow) is spending her last summer before college in the sleepy seaside town of Colby, where her father lives with his new wife Heidi, played by Kate Bosworth, and their new baby. While this family portrait might be familiar, Heidi steps outside of our expectations, subverting the cinematic trope of the evil stepmother. She brings Auden into her world, getting her a job at her store, connecting her with friends, and ultimately confiding in Auden about her postpartum reality. In turn, Auden sees Heidi for the vulnerable, multi-dimensional human that she is, and we all see her as anything but an archetype.
— Jenny Changnon
Lenora (Chlöe Sevigny)
Season 2 of Natasha Lyonne’s existential New York romp dives right into alllll the mommy issues. The hit series takes us one step further into both Nadia’s time-traveling universe, and her familial world. As Nadia puts it midway though the first episode: “How’s this for an emergency? The universe finally found something worse than death: being my mother.” Played by Chloë Sevigny, Nadia’s mother Lenora is a bit of a wild card — and this season Nadia faces every woman’s nightmare: becoming your own mother. Inhabiting Lenora’s body as she meets Nadia’s dad, steals money from Nadia’s grandmother, and carries Nadia (a prosthetic worn by Chloë Sevigny mere months after giving birth to her own child) definitely puts some of our grievances with our moms in perspective. Thankfully she has her mom’s best friend turned honorary mother Ruth (Elizabeth Ashley) to help her work through all the damage.
— Brookie McIlvaine
Kang Sae-byeok (Jung Ho-yeon)
Yes, the series is known for its gore and pointed capitalist commentary, but it’s the characters’ relationships that truly move us to tears in Squid Game. Case in point: North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok’s motherly love for her young brother. After fleeing south with her sibling, only to have him taken into protective custody by the state, Kang risks it all to enter the Squid Games in a desperate attempt to earn enough money to support them both — and reunite them with their parents.
Played by Jung Ho-yeon, in an astonishing acting debut that’s already earned her Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice awards, Kang Sae-byeok stands in as the best kind of mother a kid can ask for — one that will do whatever it takes for her family.
— Miranda Tsang
Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder)
Joyce Byers might initially give the impression of someone just barely holding on, but make no mistake, the woman is a powerhouse, willing to go to any lengths to protect the people she loves. Venturing into mysterious alternate dimensions, staging makeshift exorcisms to drive an evil force out of her young son, Joyce doesn’t hesitate to follow her instincts, which time and again have proven to be spot-on.
But what’s perhaps most unique about Joyce, as beautifully played by two time Oscar-nominee Winona Ryder, is the combination of strength and vulnerability she exudes. She’s messy and emotional and real in a way that’s delightful to see. Also delightful? The confidence she’s gained over Stranger Things’s run. With the show set to return for its fourth season, which sees Joyce and her brood trading Indiana for sunny California, there’s no doubt more otherworldly adventures are in the offing — but something tells us that Joyce’s immediate future might involve a reunion with a certain sheriff recently presumed dead. Here’s hoping it’s about to be Joyce’s summer of love.
— Gina McIntyre
Grace Hanson (Jane Fonda) and Frankie Bergstein (Lily Tomlin)
Grace and Frankie
The grand finale. The coda. The final hurrah. After seven delightful and heartwarming seasons, Grace and Frankie has come to an end. The joyful series centering frenemies-turned-friends, Grace and Frankie (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin respectively) truly bridges generations. A comedy “for all,” if you will. The bond that brings these women together (their ex-husbands who become lovers) and the sisterhood that they have created for themselves show just how colorful new chapters in life can be.
This is a show about motherhood, grandmother-hood, unconventional companionship, and community. It ultimately reminds me of the friends I look forward to aging with and how people can evolve. This duo will be missed. I look forward to watching the final episodes with my mom this Mother’s Day Weekend.
— Morgan Johnson
Dr. Jean F. Milburn (Gillian Anderson)
Being a hormonal teenager navigating love and intimacy with your sex-therapist mom peeking over your shoulder might seem like a recipe for disaster. However, Sex Education’s mother-son duo, Jean and Otis (played by Gillian Anderson and Asa Butterfield), somehow make the unusual dynamic work.
Despite his limited personal experience, Otis realizes that years of being surrounded by sexual theory books, diagrams, and endless conversations about sexual wellness have given him a rare opportunity to help his peers with their problems. While Otis attempts to open an underground sex therapy clinic at his school, Jean struggles to balance her own professional ambitions and personal desires. With every heartwarming high and heartbreaking low, Sex Education drives home the lesson that self discovery and growth are lifelong journeys better traveled with someone you love by your side.
— Isabel Aurichio
Lady Portia Featherington (Polly Walker)
All mothers want the BEST for their daughters and Lady Portia Featherington is no exception. The Featherington matriarch may be well aware her family name doesn’t carry the same social status as the Bridgertons’, but that won’t stop her from scheming a path for her daughters to shine as diamonds of their own. Lady Featherington is a mother that “knows best” when it comes to serving and nailing the damsel in distress vibe. And this season she has to put all her wiles to work to secure husbands — and dowries — for her girls.