TV and media can be powerful vehicles when it comes to moving the needle on issues confronting women. As Women’s History Month wraps up at the end of March, we’ve got our eye on four new and upcoming television shows that spotlight women in unique and creative ways. These TV shows not only empower women, but also unearth their perspectives and defy the traditional status quo. And as showrunners and producers revealed at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour in February 2021, there is an abundance of strong female characters and women-driven plots that audiences can look forward to this spring and summer.
Here’s Beyond’s sneak peak of some great entertainment on the horizon!
1. “Delilah” with Maahra Hill
“Delilah” premiered earlier this month on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The legal drama centers on a Black female lawyer who is fighting for justice and equality on behalf of her clients while juggling her various commitments to her family, friends and community. At TCA, the producers and cast behind “Delilah” explained that the show was created to inform viewers of the issues and challenges facing Black women and the Black community today, which are not always seen on a consistent basis on television.
“I do think that there is probably a little bit more to be said for being Black and a woman and the things that you have to do,” said Maahra Hill, who plays Delilah. “The fight is a little bit harder. I think the drive has to be a little bit harder. You have to push a little bit harder in ways that I think you just kind of grow up doing.”
2. “Impact” from Gal Gadot
When Wonder Woman herself produces a film, you know it will send a powerful message to girls and women all over the world. In National Geographic’s documentary, “Impact,” due in mid-April, Executive Producer Gal Gadot takes viewers on a journey to find real women who are making a difference in the communities where they live. Whether it’s in a favela in Brazil or the city of Detroit, “Impact” hones-in on women who are helping young, underprivileged girls overcome their circumstances of poverty and violence through mentorship and leading by example.
Gadot remarked about the film, “All of these women are just incredible, and they are the real heroes. I keep on calling them my Women of Wonder, because they are the true heroes. I go to set and I get dressed and I get my costume and sword and everything, and I fight but it’s make believe. They are actually there on the ground, you know, sweating and doing all they can to really make the world a better place.”
3. “Jean Smart Original” on HBO Max
While this HBO Max original remains untitled, Jean Smart is all you need to hear to tune in to the dark comedy series due later this spring. Smart, previously known for her leading role in the sitcom, “Designing Women,” plays a comedian who hires a younger female comedian to help her expand her audience and freshen up her act. Throughout the series, the women clash in humorous ways and generational differences cause tension and strife between them. At the same time, they learn and grow from one another and find common ground despite their differences, such as the challenges that actresses in Hollywood and female comedians face because of their gender.
“Unfortunately, our business is a very subjective business, so you can’t really put some of the same rules and expectations on it as other parts of society where I think fairness in the workplace to women has come a long way and has still got some ways to go. But it’s very hard to put those same expectations on a business that is, as I said, so completely subjective,” said Smart.
4. “Kevin Can F**k Himself” by Annie Murphy
If you’re a “Schitt’s Creek” fan, you will see a whole new side to Annie Murphy in AMC’s new dark comedy series, “Kevin Can F**k Himself,” due this summer. Murphy stars as a sitcom wife, but the dramedy takes it one step further and goes between single camera realism and multi-camera comedy scenes to show an up close and personal view of what she is actually feeling and experiencing when she is the butt of her husband’s jokes on the show. The show essentially “deconstructs the trope of the passive, agreeable sitcom wife,” as AMC President of Original Programming Dan McDermott described. In addition, the show reveals the ways in which traditional sitcoms set up female characters as props in order for the male characters to shine.
“I think stories about women being overlooked are sadly going to be relevant for a while, and it’s going to connect deeply with people for a long time … So many women are fed up and not going to take it anymore, and I am so excited to have those people feel heard,” said Creator and Executive Producer Valerie Armstrong. The concept for the show even predated the “Me Too” movement and remains just as relevant today than ever before.
While it’s important to honor the women who came before us and who helped pave the way towards a more equal and just society, it’s also important to celebrate the progress to come. We’re definitely adding these shows to our queue and will celebrate the many more women-centered shows that will follow later this year.
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