It’s truly lamentable lately how big screen movies have lagged in bringing better roles and outlets for women. On TV, it’s been improving to a large degree, even if there’s still a long way to go. With summer TV frequently giving us better programming than what we see in the regular season, you might be surprised to learn that various new shows will be debuting with strong female leads. Some of them are regular series and others just “event” programming, despite all of them having a good chance at being successful.
Disney Channel’s Focus on Teenage Girl Leads
For the demographics that miss seeing a teenage girl lead on a Disney Channel series, they’ll be glad to know that two new shows with potential breakout stars will be starting this summer. The first is the spinoff series “Girl Meets World” that branches off the old 1990s ABC sitcom “Boy Meets World.” Here, Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) is married and now has a teenage daughter. As you might guess, it’s going to be a showcase for a new Disney teen star, and it’ll be a launching pad for newly discovered Rowan Blanchard who plays Cory’s daughter, Riley.
All we can ask for is that it isn’t the springboard toward a new Miley Cyrus. Then again, we can’t expect anybody will be like an adult Miley Cyrus again, right?
For those looking for more empowering shows with a teenage girl lead, you may want to check out “Zapped” showing a teenage girl using a dog-training app that can magically control boys. This also has a future Disney star in Zendaya who plays the lead, Zoey Stevens.
Based on a popular novel, “Zapped” could become the new “Lizzie McGuire”, unless “Girl Meets World” beats it to the punch. They both debut on the same night (June 27).
While intended as a temporary “event” miniseries (yet likely renewable if a hit), “Extant” brings another A-list female movie actor to the small screen. It happens to be Halle Berry who deals with existential issues, aliens, and somehow getting pregnant while residing up in a space station for a long period of time. When she comes back to earth, she apparently gives birth to a new human resembling something close to artificial intelligence.
It’s refreshing to see some thoughtful sci-fi on commercial TV this summer, let alone a strong female lead. However, there seems to be a penchant for creating events that show women giving birth to babies from literal or metaphorical hell.
“Lone Star Lady” (A&E)
Coming from A&E’s reality show department, this could be a little exploitive. Nevertheless, we need a reality show presenting a mother who’s trying to keep a sense of sanity rather than trying to instigate more insanity. In this show, a family from Texas has just earned a major fortune after an oil investment. The mother (Rochelle Carnes) attempts to keep herself and her kids grounded and living a normal life despite being a part of the nouveau riche.
This could be one of the best social experiments on reality TV, especially when it’s virtually impossible for most overly wealthy people to stay grounded. But seeing why that happens can help others learn a lot before they ever hit it rich on their own or through inheritance.
“The Astronaut Wives Club” (ABC)
Some might look at this as a lame attempt at creating a new “Desperate Housewives.” At least the wives here are supposedly a little classier. They’re based on the real-life wives of NASA’s Mercury astronauts in the early 1960s. And, yes, that means yet another show taking place in the 1960s, giving us a chance to see the ’60s through yet another prism as “Mad Men” slowly sunsets. Considering that many of those wives were left to attend to the household on their own for long periods of time while their husbands trained, you have to imagine the writers are going to get a little daring here.
With the series only based on a book that was written about these wives, let’s hope for a little more empowerment to these women rather than being capitulatory to their husbands’ every whim. Knowing ABC, these female leads aren’t going to be sitting around gossiping all day.
As an alternative, check out ABC Family’s “Chasing Life” that has a strong female lead who happens to be diagnosed with cancer while working the life as a journalist. Starring up-and-coming actress Italia Ricci, it’s already being accused of being melodramatic, despite the rarity of shows taking on a lead struggling with cancer for an entire season.