The ways we watch TV and movies have evolved, and it's time for the talent in front of and behind the camera to do the same. Film Forward speaks on the initiatives to diversify the film industry and the stories it tells. New articles premiere every second Thursday of — and throughout — the month.
The new fall television season is officially upon us, and there are so many series we can't wait to check out. Not only are there plenty of reboots and interesting originals to watch, but there's also some good news about the people behind them. Refinery29 points out that several of the season's biggest new shows were created by women, about women.
"[Now,] the phrase 'woman-led show' isn't even discussed," Liz Meriwether, creator of New Girl and the upcoming show Single Parents, told the site. "At least with network TV, they're really not thinking about it in those terms anymore."
This kind of behind-the-scenes representation is important. A study by San Diego State University found that only 27 percent of creators during the 2017-2018 television season were women, a number which has hardly changed over the past several years.
The study also found that the presence of female creators actually has a significant effect on how women are represented elsewhere in the production. On shows with at least one female creator, 27 percent of directors and 45 percent of writers were women, compared to just 13 percent and 16 percent on shows with only male creators.
Below, learn about seven new series created by women that we're excited to watch this season.
1. "Sorry for Your Loss" (Facebook Watch)
This new show just premiered September 18 on Facebook Watch, the social media platform's video-on-demand service. It was created by Kit Steinkellner, a playwright and former Hello Giggles writer who was a staff writer for the Amazon series Z: The Beginning of Everything. The series, which recently showed at the Toronto International Film Festival and has received positive reviews, stars Elizabeth Olsen as a young woman coming to terms with the death of her husband.
"I just started thinking about who that woman was that could survive this impossible thing," Steinkellner told Deadline. "And the more I start to think about her, the more I fell in love with her, and the more I started to think about the people in her life, the more I fell in love with them, too. It just sort of burnt a hole in my gut and I knew I had to write it."
2. "Single Parents" (ABC)
This new comedy series, set to premiere September 26, follows a group of (you guessed it) single parents, played by such actors as Leighton Meester, Taran Killam, and Brad Garrett. It was co-created by two women — Liz Meriwether and J.J. Philbin, who has been a writer and producer for such shows as The O.C. and Meriwether's New Girl. She also wrote for Saturday Night Live.
Both Meriwether and Philbin are working moms. In fact, as Refinery29 reports, Meriwether was pregnant during the pilot production for Single Parents. "It turns out, you can do a lot on conference calls. I actually watched cuts when I had just given birth, too," she recalled. "Everyone the whole way was really supportive of me not wanting to do things and wanting to do things."
3. "Murphy Brown" (CBS)
Reboots of beloved series are taking the TV world by storm. The new season of Murphy Brown, premiering September 27, is a continuation of the original series starring Candice Bergen, which was created by Diane English in 1988. English, who also created such series as Love & War and Ink, returns as an executive producer on the 13 new episodes.
In the revival, journalist Murphy Brown is now the host of a morning cable news program called Murphy In the Morning, and is competing against her son's more conservative show. As English told The Hollywood Reporter of the feminist series' original run, "We just sort of acted like we belonged there. Nobody had really seen a character like Murphy in a comedy, and I was definitely a unicorn. It's the same now. She's a woman of a certain age, the lead on a network comedy, and I'm also a woman of a certain age running that comedy without a male partner."
4. "I Feel Bad" (NBC)
This new comedy, starring Sarayu Blue as the central mom, has a preview on September 19, with new episodes airing on Thursdays starting October 4. It was developed by Aseem Batra, based on the book by Orli Auslander about everyday guilt. The show is also executive produced by Amy Poehler.
Parts of the series were inspired by Batra's own life, including the idea of "having it all" as a working mother. "We're expected to be there. We're expected to have a certain role in our child's lives that many dads are forgiven if they miss," she told Variety. "Having it all seems to be a pressure that women put on themselves but also the world puts on us a little bit. That somehow nothing's going to give. I know guys that are juggling drug addictions and doing jobs, and no one ever goes 'Well, how do you do it all?' "
5. "Camping" (HBO)
Jennifer Garner stars in this new comedy series premiering October 14, which is based on a British show of the same name about a camping trip that doesn't go according to plan. The American version was created by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner. Dunham is best-known for creating the HBO series Girls, for which Konner was a showrunner and writer. Together, they founded the feminist newsletter Lenny Letter.
Dunham told Rolling Stone about how her own hysterectomy at age 31 influenced how she wrote the show's middle-aged characters. "The British version of Kathryn [Garner] is obsessed with her menopause and her body, so this was a natural extension," she said. "When we started writing, I was facing down the barrel of my hysterectomy, and when we finished, I had just had my hysterectomy."
6. "Charmed" (The CW)
Premiering October 14, this remake of the classic supernatural series was developed by three women — Jessica O'Toole, Amy Rardin, and Jennie Snyder Urman. It follows three sisters who discover they are witches after their mother's death. Urman is the showrunner for fellow CW series Jane the Virgin, for which O'Toole and Rardin are writers.
"The original was so much about female empowerment and sisterhood and strong women taking over the world, and I feel like that's what we needed right now," Urman said of the new series at Comic-Con earlier this year (per Deadline), adding that it was "important" for this updated version of the show to be more diverse. "It doesn't feel like the real world if we didn't have that."
7. "Legacies" (The CW)
This spin-off of The Originals will premiere on October 25, and focus on a school for supernatural beings such as vampires, werewolves, and witches. It was created by Julie Plec, who also created The Originals and co-created The Vampire Diaries. She has also worked on such series as Containment, The Tomorrow People, and Kyle XY.
"One of the very first decisions that we made for the show is that the vampires at the boarding school would actually be teenagers and not 100-year-old vampires," Plec said in an interview, contrasting it with the questionable age differences in stories such as Twilight. "I think that women don't need to be pursued in that way. I don't think they need to be the victims in that way. I don't think they need to be the pedestal, dainty ingenue while the big bad boy comes in and sweeps them off their feet. I think that they can carry the weight of their own strength and their own fierce power and not need to be the object of anyone's desire."