Film & Television

Fall’s New Series Line Up: But, Where Are the Women?


The CW Network (which launched 11 years ago as a joint venture of CBS and Warner Brothers) has two series with women in lead roles or costarring with male counterparts. The first is Valor, a drama about one of the first female army helicopter pilots, played by Spanish-born Christina Ochoa. After a failed mission, her character Nora struggles to reconcile her duty and her feelings. She and a fellow pilot (who happens to be her love interest) accidentally uncover critical military secrets as they attempt to rescue a group of missing soldiers. Valor is one of multiple new series this fall that focus on military teams and operations. But, it’s the only one with a woman at its center.

The other CW series you may want to sample is a remake of the 1980s most over-the-top nighttime soap, Dynasty. In the previews the network has released, it seems that there’s more emphasis on the Carrington kids and less on the family’s patriarch this time around. In a more significant twist, new Carrington wife Crystal (originally Krystle, played by breathy Linda Evans in the world’s most exaggerated shoulder pads, compliments of Bob Mackie) is the conniving gold-digger that ex-wife/arch-villain Alexis always accused her of being. Alas, if I were a betting woman, I would wager against the success of this new Dynasty. But, I’ll definitely give it a try. For old times’ sake if nothing else.

As I warned, the new fall line-up offers grownup, thinking women slim pickings indeed. Thank heavens for PBS and its enduring Masterpiece programs! This fall’s schedule offers The Collection, a family drama set in post-World War II Paris. The Sabines, including two brothers Paul and Claude, are charged with restoring the city to its former glory by reestablishing it as the world’s fashion capital. Accomplished Mamie Gummer (daughter of Meryl Streep) plays Paul’s American wife and the company’s bankroller. The series doesn’t have a woman as its main star, per se. It also didn’t receive the best reviews when it was shown on demand last year (Amazon was a co-producer).

However, the subject matter and gorgeous costumes and scenery make it a promising option in an otherwise bleak — not to mention, masculine — season.

In case any of these have whet your appetite, here are premiere dates. Ten Days in the Valley: Sunday, October 1st. Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders: Tuesday, September 26th. Will and Grace: Thursday, September 28th. Valor: Monday, October 9th. Dynasty: Wednesday, October 11th. The Collection: Sunday, October 1st.

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  • Leslie in Oregon August 30, 2017 at 3:05 am

    “Ten Days in the Valley is currently scheduled against Madam Secretary:” with so little on broadcast television that is worth watching, why are these two scheduled against each other? (In other words, why can’t both series, one promising and the other excellent) survive and thrive?)

  • Diane Dettmann August 29, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Alexandra, I agree the lack of strong female lead characters in the upcoming season is definitely grim news. Men tend to dominate in television, movies, politics and sports. Women in America, myself included, need to have strong female role models in the media. We may think “we’ve come along way baby” but we’ve got a long way to go! Thanks for keeping our eyes open to this ongoing issue.