Women in Television

Fall TV Preview: The Best New Female-Fronted Shows

DAME waded through the lineup so you don’t have to. Here are three new shows worth watching.

We urgently need your help.  DAME reports the stories that need to be told, from perspectives that aren’t heard enough. In times of crisis it is even more critical that these voices are not overlooked, but COVID-19 has impacted our ability to keep publishing. Please support our mission by joining today to help us keep reporting.

Thanks to Breaking Bad, Orange Is the New Black, and the magic of TV on demand, we’ve managed to stay entertained throughout television’s off-season. But with fall TV kicking off this week, we’re itching to reunite with our favorite lady-fronted shows (Parks and Recreation, Nashville, Scandal) and get acquainted with some new ones. It’s clear that women in television are having a moment—but just focusing on female characters doesn’t make a show good. After screening some early episodes, here are three new series we think are most promising.

Trophy Wife

premieres Tuesday, September 24, 9:30 p.m.

A few new fall comedies put ladies front and center (Mom, Super Fun Night), but this ABC sitcom—despite its unfortunate title—is the one we have the highest hopes for. It helps to have female writers portraying women’s lives, and this show’s got two: creators Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins (the writer-star of Current TV’s “Target Women” series). The fact that the premise is inspired by Haskins’ own marriage to a much-older man, lends an extra-funny dose of authenticity. Malin Akerman, who’s been hilariously off-beat in shows like Childrens Hospital and films including The Proposal and Wanderlust, plays “reformed party girl” Kate. When she gets hitched to a dude quite her senior with two ex-wives (Marcia Gay Harden and SNL-alum Michaela Watkins) and several children, Kate tries cobbling together a contemporary Brady Bunch situation. As for the show’s name? Lee Eisenberg, one of the show’s producers, swears it’s completely ironic.


Masters of Sex

premieres Sunday, September 29, 10 p.m.

We’ve had our eye on this Showtime drama since we caught word of it last year, and the pilot does not disappoint. Based on the lives of sexuality researchers—and eventual lovers—Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) and William Masters (Michael Sheen), the 1956-set show has it all: mid-century panache, early feminism, and plenty of sex in the name of science. The duo’s studies are often referred to as the genesis of the sexual revolution; watching Caplan pioneer that path as Johnson in the realms of both research and personal life will make you appreciate your own between-the-sheets freedom. Of course, her pencil skirts and pin curls are certainly worth coveting. Watch the first episode in advance.


Witches of East End

premieres Sunday, October 6, 10 p.m.

This Lifetime show, based on the book of the same name by Melissa de la Cruz, is poised to become our next guilty pleasure. With the supernatural camp of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a mother-daughter dynamic reminiscent of Gilmore Girls, and enough magic to feel like a sexed-up, modern-day Bewitched, the series hits a number of soft spots. Julia Ormond is Joanna Beauchamp, the witchy mother of two daughters (Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Rachel Boston) who are unaware of their powers until strange things begin to happen. Mädchen Amick, of Twin Peaks pie-shilling fame (she played Shelly Johnson on the David Lynch cult classic), is the sassy, tarot card–reading aunt with a penchant for taking the form of a black cat. The pilot alone features Latin-esque spells, cheesy effects (exploding roses, glowing eyes), and illicit trysts, while setting the stage for a supernatural-murder mystery that has us hooked. It’s hard to take this spooky show seriously. But that’s entirely the point.

We urgently need your help! 

Covid-19 has dramatically impacted our ability to keep publishing. DAME is 100% reader funded and without additional support, we can’t keep publishing. Become a member at DAME today to help us continue reporting and shining a light on the stories that need to be told, from perspectives that aren’t heard enough. Every dollar we receive from readers goes directly into funding our journalism.   Please become a member today!

(If you liked this article and just want to make a one-time donation, you can do that here)

Become a member!