5 Reasons to Watch Roar, an Anthology Series From Executive Producer and Star Nicole Kidman

It's from the team behind beloved women-in-wrestling dramedy GLOW, for starters, and also stars Alison Brie, Cynthia Erivo, Betty Gilpin, Issa Rae, and Merritt Wever.

by | April 15, 2022 | Comments

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Carly Mensch and Liz Flahive are no stranger to telling women’s stories — the duo co-created the critically acclaimed women’s wrestling dramedy GLOW, and cut their TV-writing teeth on other women-centric series like Nurse Jackie, Weeds, and Orange Is the New Black. In the new Apple TV+ anthology Roar, they put those storytelling skills to the test as they use elements of magical realism to tell the stories of eight different women and the funny, messy, outrageous, and sometimes incredibly infuriating ways they experience life.

Griffin Matthews and Issa Rae in “Roar”

(Photo by Ali Goldstein/Apple TV+)

In the opening installment, Issa Rae stars as an author who seems to literally disappear around white men. In another, Alison Brie is a woman who solves her own murder when the misogynistic cops assigned to her case don’t make much of an effort to do so. And in a third, executive producer Nicole Kidman plays a woman who eats photographs in order to relive old memories.

Rotten Tomatoes spoke to co-creator Flahive and star Brie about the new series. Read on to find out why you should tune in.

1. It’s based on a book.

Alison Brie in Roar,

(Photo by Ali Goldstein/Apple TV+)

Cecelia Ahern’s collection of short stories of the same name stuck with both Mensch and Flahive when they read it, and they were especially inspired by how short the 30 tales are — from three to 12 pages each. That meant there was plenty of room to expand or adjust the stories they and their writers most responded to

“There is an optimism that I think exists in the show, but it exists even more in the book,” Flahive tells Rotten Tomatoes. “We were like, we’re gonna get a little messier. We’re gonna get a little edgier. We’re gonna get a little funnier. And [Ahern] was very supportive of us doing our own thing with the stories.”

2. It’s a GLOW reunion (of sorts).

Alison Brie, Chris Lowell, Hugh Dancy in Roar, Ali Goldstein/Apple TV+

(Photo by Ali Goldstein/Apple TV+)

Brie, who stars in the fourth episode of the season as a ghost trying to solve her own murder, said reuniting with her GLOW family was obviously a no-brainer. Her GLOW co-star Chris Lowell plays one of the detectives investigating her character’s death, but that wasn’t the only meaningful reunion for the stars of the unceremoniously canceled series. (Although it had been renewed and begun filming a new season, pandemic-related costs led Netflix to not resume production after it was shut down in March 2020.)

“A lot of our crew was involved as well so it really did feel like a GLOW reunion when I got to set,” Brie says. “Our full GLOW family was there — costumes and hair and makeup and sound and Anya Adams, who directed the episode, had been on. So it was really fun and we got to sort of say goodbye in person, which we didn’t get to do when the show was canceled.”

Plus, her GLOW costar Betty Gilpin stars in her own episode, “The Woman Who Was Kept on A Shelf.”

3. There’s a magical realism element to each story.

Betty Gilpin in “Roar”

(Photo by Ali Goldstein/Apple TV+)

The magical elements originated in Ahern’s book, but the ways in which they come to life on screen are thanks to Flahive, Mensch, and their writers, says Brie.

“I think it’s a real gift that Liz and Carly have in the way that they tell stories in that it’s so unique, and they’re constantly blending genres and pushing boundaries in terms of what we normally see on television.”

And while there are those supernatural elements, “every episode is grounded in truth, and sometimes really harsh realities about women’s roles in society. But it’s wrapped in this beautiful sparkling wrapping paper, it’s like the package itself is so appealing and entertaining, and hence, way more effective. I think there’s never a heavy hand and there’s a healthy dose of humor and comedy and it goes so far in really helping to land the stories that they’re trying to tell about the female experience.”

4. But each story is also (sometimes infuriatingly) real.

Cynthia Erivo in Roar, Ali Goldstein/Apple TV+

(Photo by Ali Goldstein/Apple TV+)

In Brie’s episode, the detectives who are supposed to be solving her character’s murder are more occupied with making broad generalizations and assumptions about her than actually figuring out what happened. Flahive explains, “part of it comes from watching so many shows where a dead girl is the catalyst for everything that happens and you find out nothing about that dead girl.”

That theme — of women being ignored or cast aside — runs through many of the episodes. Actually, it runs through all of them, if you count the opening credit sequence (a woman’s mouth inside of a flower, screaming). The episode also examines the problem with internet radicalization and other big issues. Says Flahive, “Carly and I always like big ideas that go down kind of easy, but I think there are a lot of big ideas we’re messing around with in that episode, and luckily, somebody like Ali Brie can handle a lot of different colors.”

5. The show champions women.

Merritt Wever in “Roar”

(Photo by Ali Goldstein/Apple TV+)

While Flahive and Mensch naturally write stories about women because that’s their life experience (and the shows they’ve worked on throughout their careers have all been centered around women), they also employ women in every facet behind the scenes.

“The biggest takeaway is how inspiring it is to me to see women in every different creative capacity,” Brie says. “And yes, the stories we’re telling are very important and meaningful to me, but also the experience is so inspiring to me. On GLOW I got to direct an episode and since GLOW, I’ve written and produced three movies. These are things that I hadn’t really even considered doing or thought that I was capable of or would enjoy, and the experience of shooting these shows that champion feminism really led to personal self-empowerment for me and growth in that way.”

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