Sex/Life's Creator Explains Why Netflix And Star Sarah Shahi Are So Vital To The Show's Success

billie has fun in a club on sex/life season 1
(Image credit: Netflix)

The summer of 2021 was a special one for Netflix subscribers who like watching spicy tales about love. It was late June of that year when we were gifted with the wildness of Sex/Life Season 1, and all the shocks of its cliffhanger ending. The show was immediately popular and kept viewers talking for weeks, to the point where people had been dying to know not only when the drama would return, but who leading lady Billie would end up with by the end of Season 2. Now that the show’s back, and it’s once again struck some major chords with fans, we know why the creator thinks that Netflix and star Sarah Shahi are so vital to its success.

What Did Sex/Life’s Creator Say About Why Netflix Is Important To The Series?

By now, everyone knows that pretty much whatever genre of TV show/movie you want to watch can be found on the grandaddy of streaming services. It’s home to bingeable series, from established, hard-hitting crime dramas like Breaking Bad and new fantasy favorites like Wednesday, to dating shows like Love Is Blind, and everything else in between. Sex/Life creator Stacy Rukeyser recently spoke with CinemaBlend’s Laura Hurley at SCAD TVfest in Atlanta, and opened up about why Netflix has been important for the show, saying:

Well, we wouldn't be able to do as much sex and nudity on a broadcast network [laughs], as we are on Netflix. That was something that was really exciting, is that they were really looking to do something in this space, and very excited to do it from an empowered female point of view, and to really look at female desire through a female gaze. That's not something that every network is interested in doing, let alone just letting me have the freedom to sort of show what you can show. To really be interested in that singular female point of view is really exciting.

Fans of the show (which is based on the B. B. Easton book, 44 Chapters About 4 Men), know all too well that at least 40% of what we see Billie, Sasha, Cooper, and Brad get up to wouldn’t be allowed if it were on, say, ABC. The series is very sexually explicit and features a lot of nudity, not to mention including some types of sexytimes that are way more adventurous than what one might even see on premium cable.

On top of that, most of us TV lovers also realize that it’s still rare for a show to focus on a female protagonist, especially one as messy as Billie. The whole premise of Season 1 centered on her trying to figure out what she wanted after realizing how bored she was with her married life in quiet Connecticut, and having the main focus of her world turn to mothering her young children. She makes lots of mistakes (which continued into Sex/Life Season 2) and may have angered some viewers with her choices, but no one can say that she didn’t fully embrace her journey.

What Did Sex/Life’s Creator Say About Sarah Shahi’s Importance To The Series?

Speaking about Billie, it’s hard not to talk about star Sarah Shahi, who brings the character to life. Rukeyser also praised what she’s brought to the table, and noted:

Sarah Shahi is such a huge part of Sex/Life, and without her, I don't know that it would have had the success that it's had...She was dissatisfied with her first audition, and so on her own, she called the casting director and asked to come back and went back and went on tape, I think a couple more times. So she really fought for it, and that was because she said that the story spoke to her on such a personal level and that it was incredibly meaningful to her as a wife, and a mom, and just as a woman. I was fortunate enough that that is the case for many of the people in our cast, that they said that they get this, they feel this, they understand this, and it really means something to them. That's been really exciting; that you're working with people who are so invested. It's not just like a job.

It really is good to know that so many people who are involved with the series are fully on board with trying to make sure that women’s viewpoints are shown on screen more often, and I think many fans would agree that it comes across in the finished product.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.