Film & Television

TV Preview: The Small Screen Offers Big Roles for Women

I often bemoan the number of (or rather, lack of) women on the big screen. For every movie that centers around an intelligent, interesting female lead, there seem to be ten in which actresses are relegated to playing the leading man’s girlfriend, wife or bimbo — or they’re missing in action altogether.

That’s why a quick look at the TV shows premiering this fall is so encouraging. On the small screen, at least, women are being given more opportunities. While there are still plenty of macho new series, like action thrillers 24: Legacy, Designated Survivor, Lethal Weapon and sit-com Man With a Plan, the broadcast networks have stepped up with several new titles that center around a female protagonist.

From time travelers to determined mothers, lawyers, detectives, athletes, and accidental angels, here are some of the shows you may want to test-drive this season . . .


In The Good Place, funny girl Kristen Bell plays a less-than-angelic, recently deceased young woman who ends up in “the good place” through a heavenly clerical error. After getting a taste of paradise (“Thirty glasses of wine and no hangover!”), she’s determined to become a better person — before someone realizes the mistake and sends her to “the bad place.”

The Good Place premieres Mon., Sep. 19th at 10 pm EST on NBC.


This Is Us is an innovative ensemble series, in the tradition of movie favorite Love Actually. Starring Mandy Moore, Chrissy Metz and Susan Kalechi Watson, among many others, the show follows a group of people who happen to have been born on the same day and have more in common than you might think. Their stories intertwine in often surprising ways.

This is Us premieres Tue., Sep. 20th at 10 pm EST on NBC.


Speechless focuses on the colorful DiMeo family, led by a take-no-prisoners mother, played by Oscar- and Emmy-nominee Minnie Driver. In an effort to build a better life for her teenage son, who has cerebral palsy, she’ll mow down anything in her way: her community, the school system, and — at times — the rest of her family.

Speechless premieres Wed., Sep. 21st at 8:30 pm EST on ABC.


In Pitch, Kylie Bunbury plays Ginny, a gifted but troubled young athlete and the first woman to be recruited by a major league baseball team. A one-woman game-changer, Ginny has to prove herself to the fans, the media, her teammates and, especially, her father. The network is promoting Pitch as “A true story … on the verge of happening.”

Pitch premieres Thu., Sep. 22nd at 9 pm EST on FOX.

Read More »

Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Susanna Gaertner September 5, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    What I’m thinking is that not one of these shows explores or even reveals—much less revels in—the lives of people over 50. How about a show about second half careers? Rebooting after retirement? Has no one read the stats on the number of Boomers in their second prime, all the middle-oldies with grit and grooming who would make such good subjects?

  • Andrea August 30, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Thanks for these great reviews! Hope the shows are as good as the trailers! Will have to watch some on the elliptical so as not to become a complete couch potato!