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Younger

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What it’s about:

When 40-year-old divorcée Liza Miller tries to return to the publishing industry after taking time away to raise her daughter she encounters nothing but rejection … until she gets the idea to pretend to be in her 20s and immediately lands a job as an assistant at a New York publishing house. But the longer she stays there and the closer she gets to her colleagues, the harder it is to maintain the lie.

Names you might know:

Broadway star Sutton Foster leads the cast as Liza alongside Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella, Molly Bernard, Peter Hermann, and Charles Michael Davis. The show is based on a novel by Pamela Saltran and comes from Sex and the City producer Darren Star.

Why it’s worth your time:

After six wild seasons, Younger is coming to a close with a seventh and final season of 12 new episodes, releasing weekly on Hulu and Paramount+. If that surprises you, you’re not alone. In its previous home on TV Land—a basic cable network known mainly for airing sitcom reruns—Younger never quite reached the breakthrough popularity it deserves. The fan base may be small, but they are loyal, thanks to the show’s multi-age appeal, not to mention sharp wit, playful storylines, and messy romantic entanglements that sweep you along from one season to the next.

With the move to two different platforms simultaneously, maybe more viewers will give this worthy series a chance. If you missed a few episodes along the way, now is a great time to catch up. And if you’ve never seen Younger before, you’ve got a fantastic binge ahead of you. Don’t be daunted by the number of seasons—the episodes run less than half an hour and go by in a blink. Before you know it, you’ll be switching back and forth between Team Josh and Team Charles, looking up real estate listings for lofts in Brooklyn, and eyeing chunky necklaces on Etsy.

A light and addictive comedy, Younger gives flight to the fantasy of getting a do-over to re-live your 20s, albeit with the wisdom and gratitude of mid-life. It charts the the journey of Liza Miller from a sheltered, broke New Jersey housewife to a confident book editor who knows exactly what she wants and fights for it. That journey is nearly complete, but we can enjoy what’s left of the ride while it lasts. There are lots of vicarious thrills to be had, whether it’s fabulous parties, high-powered corporate intrigue, sexy flirtations, or aspirational living spaces (complete with a soundproof wine locker that’s perfect for cathartic screaming sessions).

While Liza’s secret can seem implausible, Sutton Foster’s youthful energy and brilliant comic instincts absolutely sell the ruse. It helps that she’s backed up by a cast of powerful female co-stars. Hilary Duff is relatable as Liza’s millennial co-worker and friend Kelsey, who constantly struggles to balance her professional and romantic aspirations. Debi Mazar seems to be having a blast as Liza’s longtime best friend and roommate Maggie, a lesbian artist whose love life is the source of some of the funniest scenes in the show. And then there’s Molly Bernard, who stole so many scenes in her recurring role as dramatic and energetic Lauren she was promoted to a regular cast member after the first season. Last, but absolutely not least, there’s the fabulous Miriam Shor as Liza’s demanding boss, Diana Trout. Shor takes what could have been a one-note role—a self-obsessed, temperamental diva with a chip on her shoulder—and gives her flashes of vulnerability and sentimentality, even as she dishes out acerbic pearls of wisdom. Plus, she somehow manages to pull off Diana’s ridiculously oversized neckwear with a straight face.

There’s no shortage of hot guys in the cast either. Liza finds herself in a love triangle with sexy, young tattoo artist Josh (Nico Tortorella), and Charles (Peter Hermann), the handsome head of the publishing company she works for. It’s hard to know which one to root for, as they’re both good and bad for her in different ways. But Liza doesn’t get all the fun. Kelsey has plenty of steamy and stormy romances throughout the series, most notably with ambitious rival editor Zane (Charles Michael Davis).

For avid readers, or anyone with any interest publishing, there’s added amusement in the show’s constant skewering of popular book-world trends and personalities in a way that feels insider-y without being exclusionary. There’s no mistaking the character of Edward L.L. Moore and his Crown of Kings series for anything but a caricature of George R.R. Martin and Game of Thrones. It becomes a recurring device that each author’s pitch is cleverly tied to whatever issues Liza happens to be going through at the time. In one episode, just as Liza is struggling with issues of honesty and trust, political consultant Marylynne Keller, played by guest star Kristin Chenoweth (and clearly based on certain truth-adverse members of the previous administration), comes in to pitch a book about—what else?—the art of the spin.

There are social messages and deeper meanings in the show if you look for them—the premise itself can be seen as a feminist commentary on the institutional barriers that keep older women from returning to the workforce—but if all you want is a funny and fresh comedy with some romance thrown in, you can just sit back and enjoy watching Liza and her friends live it up in glamorous New York City without thinking too much about it. For a little while longer, at least.

The takeaway:

This is a great escape watch for anyone who misses the colorful lives and characters of Sex and the City and didn’t feel that same connection to Darren Star’s latest project, Emily in Paris.

Watch it with:

Your friends, your mom, your friends who also happen to be moms, or anyone in need of a new outlook on life.

Worth noting:

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a spinoff series is in the works starring Hilary Duff that would center on Kelsey as the main character. The series has also inspired a number remakes for international markets, including Korea and China.

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