Glow, a new Netflix half-hour, is a finely wrought period piece of an especially ahistoric-seeming time and place: 1985, on the fringes of Hollywood, in a moment both entirely recognizable and light years away. Everything that thrived in the ‘80s seems to have been as artificial as possible: Spandex, synthesizers, shoulder pads, extra-strong hairspray. It’s a decade of neon and fluorescence; it’s an era that literally glows.
No wonder it was the Golden Age of professional wrestling — a muscle-bound flourish of theatricality that is more soap opera than sport. The essence of wrestling is its artifice; its grandiose gestures and over-the-top stunts are meant to be only barely believable.
“Glow” takes this arena of artifice and turns it into a story of feminine coming-of-age with a bright, engaging energy that balances tones with masterful skill. The show admires the glitz of the ‘80s — or at least, the way pop culture purports to remember the ‘80s.