THE GIRLS ON THE BUS is a Max Original series (HBO Max in Europe) about four female journalists covering presidential candidates. The casting is great, the dialogue sharp, and after 10 episodes, I wanted more. Read our The Girls on the Bus series review here!

THE GIRLS ON THE BUS on Max is a new Max Original series (HBO Max in Europe) with 10 episodes. For me, ten episodes weren’t nearly enough, so I hope maybe it’ll be able to continue somehow. I mean, some people never stop campaigning – not even after winning the presidential election.

In any case, this Max Original isn’t about any real politicians. I mean, there is obvious inspiration, so you can see current (or former) presidential candidates represented in the characters of this series. For me, the four female journalists at the heart of this story worked perfectly. Often in imperfect ways which only made them more interesting and realistic.

Continue reading our The Girls on the Bus series review below. Find the first two episodes on Max on March 14, 2024.

Sadie, Sadie, reporting lady!

Yes, I did just reference a song from Funny Lady because I cannot hear the name “Sadie” and not have that song playing in my head. In any case, The Girls on the Bus focuses on Sadie McCarthy (Melissa Benoist), who is very openly a journalist who romanticizes campaign reporting.

And yes, she does tend to reference The Boys on the Bus, despite her boss also pointing out that much of their behavior would be an HR nightmare in today’s world.

By centering on Sadie, The Girls on the Bus takes us viewers on the campaign trail alongside three of her female journalist colleagues. All of them have very different styles and personalities which reflect both the various news outlets and ideologies. Also, just their difference in tone of voice.

From the Social Media influencer directness to the brazen propaganda-like style of television reporting and finally the newspaper journalists. The ones who triple-check their sources and do their best to stay unbiased and neutral. Well, okay, Sadie does battle quite a lot with the latter as she has a favorite candidate.

This landed her in hot water during the previous presidential election when her candidate didn’t win. Still, she’s ready to head out again and already knows she just might get heartbroken all over again.

The three other female journalists at the heart of this story (and the title characters) are all wonderful and brutal in their own ways.

Meet the Girls on the Bus

There’s Grace (Carla Gugino) who is also a newspaper journalist and grew up around politicians as her father works in the same field. Carla Gugino is always wonderful, yet in The Girls on the Bus, I found myself falling for her all over again. Okay, it doesn’t hurt that this character (not least her wardrobe) reminded me of my own wife.

Along with Grace, there is the TV reporter Kimberlyn (Christina Elmore) who is a black woman on a very white channel. Kimberlyn is fierce and direct but also knows what she’s up against. Most of the time it fuels her, but it also gets to her. How could it not?

Finally, there’s the newcomer, Lola (Natasha Behnam), a queer social media influencer. To stay on the campaign trail, she must mention various sponsors. She doesn’t like it, but that’s the deal she has. Also, she is clearly rooting for “her candidate”, who is very much the outsider as she is more “radical” than your average candidate.


Be sure to check out the HBO Orignal series The Regime starring Kate Winslet >

Basically, she just wants people to be able to exist and get an education or go to the hospital without being indebted for life. As a social media reporter, it should come as no surprise that she isn’t concerned with being neutral.

That is not her brand. She doesn’t work for a newspaper, TV station, or even a website. She is her own brand and needs to always stay on top of being true to herself. However, that can get in the way, when you want to be a decent person to the opposition. A small detail in the storyline that I really loved.

Especially as it shows just how divided the two sides have become. However, in The Girls on the Bus that is exactly what we learn: That despite their differences, the four women become a family of sorts. One that may not agree, but has each other’s backs.

The Girls on the Bus – Review – Max/HBO Series

I bought the book after watching episode 1

I have no problem admitting that I loved The Girls on the Bus series from the very first scene. Actually, I kept waiting for it to turn stupid somehow. Either by having a slow episode or a character act in a way that didn’t feel organic, but simply used to force the situation.

That moment just never came. Nor did I ever expect it to. I mean, I bought the book [Amy Chozick’s “Chasing Hillary”] that this Max series is based on after episode 1. This should tell you a lot!

It should come as no surprise that The Girls on the Bus is a very character-driven story. However, what I especially loved were all the flawed and realistic characters. Yes, the four girls on the campaign trail are among them, but really, every character was fleshed out to a larger extent than what we can usually hope for.

Whether it was a presidential candidate, love interest, friend, family member, or even colleague, we got to see enough to understand what made them tick. No one is entirely good or bad, they are just human. And what the four colleagues discover while on the campaign bus together is that everyone can learn something from another person.

Be that social media skills, the unwritten rules of the campaign trail, or not underestimating someone you know nothing about. There was always a lesson for each of them. And, not least, us viewers!

Back on the campaign trail

Having The Girls on the Bus coming out in 2024, just as the presidential election is really getting started, is perfect timing. Of course, it has already been a long time coming. Netflix began development on it in 2019. Then in September 2021, Netflix dropped the series and it moved to The CW. Finally, in February 2022, the series moved to then-HBO Max.

It was with HBO Max the production of the series finally started in October 2022. Now, here we are, getting 10 episodes from March to May of 2024, before the presidential election on November 5, 2024.

What I expect – and certainly hope – many will take away from watching The Girls on the Bus is that elections aren’t as binary as many seem to think. For some voters, the coverage and news are extremely black and white as the rhetoric is one-sided in favor of one candidate.

However, as this series focuses on, most journalists who respect and honor their profession, try to cover it all. This is an ongoing theme as the four journalists clearly have very different worldviews and ideologies. Still, they recognize that they need to listen to more than one side. And they especially have to respect that not everyone agrees.

We could all learn from that. In this Max series, the four main characters manage to learn without having to compromise on their own beliefs. That’s how democracy works!

Watch The Girls on the Bus series on Max

Creators Amy Chozick and Julie Plec are responsible for giving us this amazing new series. The Girls on the Bus is inspired by Amy Chozick’s experiences as a political reporter. Yes, she too has been on the campaign bus following multiple presidential candidates as they either make it or bow out.

Amy Chozick and Julie Plec (The Originals creator and showrunner) also serve as executive producers alongside Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter (Supergirl, You, The Flight Attendant), Leigh London Redman, Marcos Siega, and showrunner Rina Mimoun.

Also, the star of the series, Melissa Benoist, serves as a producer on the series. Good for her – I love seeing actors producing as well as star.

Whether you’re into politics or not – though really, anyone should be, and especially women right now – this Max Original is worth your time because the characters are so well written. The story is also intriguing and engaging, but without good characters, the story can never truly work.

Following these four female journalists on the campaign trail as they find friendship, love, and a scandal or two, is one of the best series I’ve watched in quite some time. So how can I not give it a top rating?! Enjoy!

Womentainment recommendation: A must-watch for everyone!

While The Girls on the Bus is all about the four women, it’s also about the media landscape, politics, and the people in their lives. Fortunately, this series has a brilliant cast of supporting (or recurring) actors as well.

Along with Melissa Benoist (Supergirl), Carla Gugino (Gunpowder Milkshake), Natasha Behnam, and Christina Elmore (Twenties) in the title roles, we see Brandon Scott (Dead to Me) and Griffin Dunne. Their two characters are perhaps most important as they work closely with Melissa Benoit’s Sadie, who the story centers on.

Also in key roles are Scott Foley, Mark Consuelos, Eric Stoltz, Kyle Vincent Terry, BD Wong, and Hettienne Park (The Outsider).

Overall, I loved that this was a very character-driven story. After all, politics and elections – democracy as a whole – is all about people. And, okay, the fact that the four female journalists at the heart of The Girls on the Bus were all awesome in their way didn’t hurt. Watch it for them!

The Girls on the Bus premieres on Max with its first two episodes on March 14, 2024. One weekly episode will be released following this with the series (or season, fingers crossed?) finale coming on May 9, 2024.

Creators:Amy Chozick, Julie Plec
Jesse Peretz, Erica Dunton, Marcos Siega, Marta Cunningham, DeMane Davis
Cast: Melissa Benoist, Carla Gugino, Natasha Behnam, Christina Elmore, Brandon Scott, Griffin Dunne, Mark Consuelos, Scott Foley

Official plot:

Four female journalists follow the every move of a parade of flawed presidential candidates.