Now that the upfronts – the events at which television networks announce their schedules for the coming season and then try to sell advertising slots to advertisers – are over, we’ve got a good sense of what’s hot and what’s not in TV right now. Hot includes cop shows, throwbacks like Michael J. Fox and James Spader, and characters with disabilities (at least on NBC), while after the booms of the last two years, comedies created by women have cooled off. But even if there are fewer female-driven projects on the roster this year, there are a still a lot of women we’re excited to have on our television schedules, including these five favorites.
1. Betsy Brandt, “The Michael J. Fox Show”: It breaks my heart that “Breaking Bad,” on which Brandt stars as the wife of good-guy cop Hank Schrader, is coming to a close, but the good news is that she won’t be off our TV sets for long. I cannot wait to see Brandt play opposite Michael J. Fox in his show about a news anchor with Parkinson’s disease who decides to return to the airwaves. She looks like she’ll be handling her onscreen husband’s disease with practicality and mordant wit.
2. Chloe Bennet, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”: The Marvel superhero movies have been skewed toward the dudely, relegating women to peripheral roles as girlfriends, scientists or secret agents. But with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC’s ensemble drama about the people who have to deal with the fallout caused by the superheroic, the gender balance is getting a little bit better. I’m particularly excited to see Chloe Bennet as Skye, a character who’s suspicious of government efforts to keep the lid on our brave new world.
3. Rebel Wilson, “Super Fun Night”: In a year when the bloom seemed to be off the rose for female-created comedy, I’m excited to see Rebel Wilson play one of a trio of nerdy girls who spend weekend nights “always together, always inside” – until they are inspired to venture out into the utter ridiculousness of New York nightlife. Carrie Bradshaw may have ruled the Big Apple’s hottest restaurants and bars, but for everyone on the outside looking in – or wondering why you’d spend that kind of money on Manolos only to ruin them on downtown cobblestones – this could be the show for us.
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4. Sophie Lowe, “Once Upon A Time In Wonderland”: I’m always down for revisionist fairy tales, and this spin-off of ABC’s family hit “Once Upon A Time” has promise. Even better, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” veteran Jane Espenson is working on the project, and she knows a thing or two about women profoundly out of place in their environments and up against powerful institutional forces.
5. Alexis Bledel, “Us & Them”: If only for Bledel’s reference to New York Club denizens as “Angry Giraffe Women” – and, if I’m being honest, for the chance to see Jason Ritter be adorable and confused – I’m willing to give this romantic comedy a shot. We watched Rory Gilmore grow up. This is our shot to watch her navigate New York, dating and a seriously overprotective family.