'GLOW' Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix

GLOW - Production Stills - 076 -Season 1-  EPISODE 7 -Publicity- H 2017
Courtesy of Netflix

GLOW is hopping back in the ring.

Netflix has renewed the female-led wrestling series — aka The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling — for a second season, the streaming giant announced Thursday.

The show will return for another 10 episodes. 

The series, co-created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch and executive produced by Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan, stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron. Kate Nash, Jackie Tohn and Kia Stevens — the only actress with wrestling experience — also round out the 14-women ensemble featured on the first season, which released its 10 episodes on June 23.

The critically praised comedy has earned rave reviews and launched during a strong second quarter for Netflix. The streamer added 5.2 million subscribers during the three-month period that saw the return of stalwart series like House of Cards and Orange, along with the release of buzzy new shows like GLOW.

GLOW, which takes its inspiration from the syndicated TV series of the same name that aired in the late 1980s, tells a fictionalized story of the actresses-turned-wrestlers who go on to create the first-ever professional women's wrestling show. The first season developed like an origin story to introduce its characters, who are led by Brie and Gilpin. Set in 1985 Los Angeles, struggling actress Ruth Wilder (Brie) lands a role in GLOW after several humiliating audition attempts. The director, Sam Sylvia (Maron) then casts her best friend Debbie Egan (Gilpin), a new mom and former soap opera star, when the pair launch their own unscripted wrestling match after Debbie finds out that Ruth had an affair with her husband (Rich Sommer).

"It was definitely intentional," Flahive told The Hollywood Reporter of the pace of the first season, which doesn't reach the filming of the first episode of GLOW (the show within the show) until the finale. "We came in with that season shape early on, and it helped." When chatting ahead of the second-season renewal, her partner, Mensch, said the pair did not write GLOW with a specific number of seasons in mind, even though the syndicated series aired for four cycles (from 1986-1990). 

"Part of what we talked about as storytellers is that once the women know how to wrestle, you can’t go back in time," said Flahive of building their GLOW characters from scratch and taking their untrained actresses through four and a half weeks of wrestling training before filming. "The women learning how to wrestle was a big part of the show. There is so much comedy in the women learning something new. Taking our time and being able to craft stories that we felt inclined to tell, like the women getting to know each other and that they didn’t know wrestling at all, felt really rich to us."

Though GLOW doesn't utilize flashbacks in its storytelling like Orange — Mensch also wrote on the Kohan series — the second season provides an opportunity for the showrunners to explore the additional 12 women who join Ruth and Debbie in the ring. There's also a fractured friendship at the heart of the series that still needs mending.

"You see how rich this show is, just full of different characters, and you can mine those characters for years," Brie told THR of the possibilities for the show's longevity. "The real GLOW was a slight revolving door in terms of some women being on the show for years and years, and other new characters coming in."

The series has been hailed for its diverse cast, female-heavy set (including the majority of the first season's directors) and its message of overall female empowerment, including an episode that was praised by Planned Parenthood for how it handled an abortion storyline.

The pickup follows Netflix's season-two renewal for Justin Simien's comedy Dear White People and a season-four pickup for Tina Fey's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The news also comes after a rare string of cancelations, including the comedy Girlboss and the dramas The Get Down and Sense8, the latter which was later confirmed for a two-hour goodbye special. The streamer recently picked up a record 91 Emmy nominations.

Kohan will now have three series on the air: GLOW, Orange Is the New Black and Lifetime's newly ordered American Princess.