The fall TV season is upon us. The major networks and cable stations will now vie for our attention, pitting drama against comedy, long-runners against newcomers. Why they can’t all agree to stagger their offerings, I don’t know. But, hey, that’s what VCRs, DVRs, and the Intarwebz are for.
Here’s a quick rundown of some shows I feel include some great female roles, explore the female dynamic, and are just plain enjoyable.
Thriller writer Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion) is embedded with the NYPD’s Det. Kate Beckett, originally so he could conduct research for his next book. Beckett is always in control of herself, even when she’s worried or afraid. She is utterly competent, but doesn’t feel a need to throw her weight around. She is the sort of woman little girls should want to be when they grow up. Bonus: Nathan Fillion is gorgeous and hilarious, especially when dealing with his mother, ex-wife, and teenage daughter.
Get ready for some new gender/power dynamics this season. The very sexy promos for this season make it clear that House and Cuddy will finally be acting on decades of attraction. It was already complicated, what with her being a hospital administrator and him being the Dirty Harry of doctors, but now it’ll be… even more complicated? Can’t wait to see him with her baby girl.
Lone Star (FOX)
This is a newbie, already getting rave reviews. I got to see the first episode in my hotel this summer. Our protagonist is a con man, currently embroiled in two cons, each with a different woman. He’s in love with both, and has made a decision to end his career as a con man, as painlessly as possible for all involved. (Har.) In one of his lives he’s married to the daughter of an energy tycoon. Let’s see if she’s Daddy’s Little Girl, or if he acknowledges that she is, in fact, her own person.
I fell out of watching this a few years back but I always wish I hadn’t. Ziva is an ex-Mossad agent now working with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. She is a trained assassin, used to working in the most dangerous of scenarios. She has a mischievous sense of humor and never misses and opportunity to tease Tony DiNozzo. If you’re looking for a character who cuts to the chase, you want Ziva.
The Good Wife (CBS)
I haven’t watched this, but F has, and she swears it’s excellent. Inspired by all those politicians who cheat on their wives and then have said wives stand next to them, calm and composed, while they tearfully apologize to their constituents. TGW follows a woman who breaks out of that confining role to re-establish herself as her own person.
Nikita (The CW)
Two episodes in and I’m impressed. You probably know of Nikita as a notorious assassin who uses her feminine wiles to get close to her targets. Previous iterations have told the story of her escape from the government agency that trained her. Here, she’s been on the lam for two years and is now ready to take them down. The agency keeps demanding, “Who is she working for!?” But that’s the wrong question to ask. Nikita isn’t working for anybody anymore. She is the boss.
Hooray for girls in science! Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) is a forensic anthropologist, one of the best in her field. Alas, with great brain power comes great social retardation–she’s not so good with people. Luckily, she has her best friend Angela, an artist who knows how to use a computer, and the patience of her boss, Dr. Cam Saroyan. Patricia Belcher plays the hardass federal prosecutor who depends on Bones’ team for evidence. No one ever questions that these highly skilled ladies are able to do their jobs.
This is the one show that invades my mind when I’m far away from the TV. Fringe is sci fy, melding every weird and bizarre thing you can come up with into one unified theory of awesome. Anna Torv plays Agent Olivia Dunham, a soft-spoken but determined agent in the Fringe Division trying to piece together what’s really happening. This season, she’ll be playing the original Olivia and Olivia-from-an-alternate-universe, which is so full of win my vocabulary shuts down. You’ll also want to keep an eye on Astrid, an agent assigned to Olivia’s team to help babysit the mentally unstable Dr. Walter Bishop. Astrid has evolved from a body in the background to a sympathetic character vital to the team.
Desperate Housewives (ABC)
I love Desperate Housewives and have from the beginning, because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The women of Wisteria Lane can all laugh at themselves, and they are frequently laughable. Sure, everyone in Fairview looks like they just came from the salon, but their struggles are very real, particularly those of the the Scavo family (too many kids, cancer, running a business, money troubles, etc.). The wonderful Vanessa Williams will be joining the cast this year, and though she won’t be transplanting the divine Wilhelmina Slater, she will still be fabulous.
American Dad (FOX)
Didn’t expect to see this one on the list, did you? Stan Smith is a CIA agent, and he thinks the world revolves around him (AND AMERICA) but it really doesn’t. His wife, Francine, is not your typical bottle blond. She was an orphan adopted by a Chinese couple here in America. She has, uh, control issues. And their daughter, Haley, is as liberal as they come, driving her dad crazy by demanding equal rights for all, dating useless hippies and illegal immigrants, and attending community college instead of, well, anything else. Seth MacFarlane’s humor can veer toward the crude, but AD is one of his smarter offerings, its political bent allowing it to freely comment on society.
What shows do you watch? What are you looking forward to this fall?