A few short thoughts about TV and movies in this issue of a brain dump. Today I’ll take pot shots at The Birdcage, Imposters, and Call the Midwife. Continue reading “Brain Dump: The Birdcage, Imposters, Call the Midwife”
A brain dump is a series of short thoughts on a variety of subjects. Today’s topic is the women of the new TV series for fall 2015.
I’m happy to see a short hair cut on Chyler Leigh in Supergirl. The trend toward super long hair like Melissa Benoist is wearing in the show has gone on too long. Let’s cut that hair, ladies. I know, this has nothing to do with the show, but I’m sick of long hair.
First, Melissa Benoist is fabulous as our newest super hero. She’s fresh and enthusiastic and naive and so damn cute. Super heroes are not supposed to be cute, but I’m voting to let this one be cute while she’s growing into her powers. She can be serious and adult later.
Secondly, Laura Benanti who is playing both Kara’s kind mother and evil aunt is killing it!
Finally, I was fearful from the previews that Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) would be a horrible, overwrought caricature. Refreshingly, Flockhart is playing her as a close to normal human.
Jaimie Alexander is starring in Blindspot and doing a fantastic job at it. However Ashley Johnson as the geeky Patterson has stolen my attention because of her relationship with her boyfriend David (Joe Dinicol). Patterson took home photos of all of Jane Doe’s tattoos and worked to decode the meaning of them with David’s help. It’s a huge security violation for her to do this and implies she might not be as smart as she should be when it comes to real life. I also worry that David is just with her because he’s a spy who is only there to see the tattoos.
This week her security lapse was discovered by the boss, Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). Patterson wasn’t fired, but she broke up with David. We’ll see how that works out in future episodes.
Who needs another medical show, right? Code Black turns out to be pulse pounding, crisis mode emergency room medicine. Everything is urgent and frantic. Amid all this chaos is Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Leanne Rorish who is calm and kind and dedicated to teaching her charges how to save lives. She’s the eye of a hurricane. She’s grieving the loss of her family while guiding the life savers she’s training.
Dr. Rorish is one of the most powerful and vulnerable characters to come along in a while. And she is flanked by several other interesting female characters. I’m digging Code Black.
At first it looked like Quantico was mainly a vehicle for Priyanka Chopra, but it’s turned out to be a true ensemble show with moments for many female characters including those played by Johanna Braddy, Yasmine Al Massri (who plays twins Orphan Black style), and Aunjanue Ellis. The male characters on the show are equally well done. The plot of this series is as complicated as How to Get Away with Murder. There are plenty of twists and turns and surprises to egg you along.
What are your thoughts about the women of the new fall TV shows?
There are a number of TV shows being announced now. Some star women in leading roles, some have more than one woman out in front, and some even boast women of a color other than white. Let’s have a look at them.
Supergirl begins this fall on CBS. We’ve been given a rather lengthy first look at the series. We may be able to skip ahead to the second episode, this trailer tells so much. As a bonus, if we start the season with episode 2, the whole wardrobe problem will be solved.
Melissa Benoist is Supergirl. Chyler Leigh plays her sister Alex. Mehcad Brooks is Jimmy (sorry, James) Olsen. Calista Flockhart plays Supergirl’s boss. The boss is some kind of horrible parody on every bitchy boss ever imagined by a male writer since the beginning of the Planet Krypton. (Really, fellas, can’t anyone do better than that?)
I’ve mentioned Supergirl a couple of times previously on this blog, if you want more in depth details check out Big Casting News for Supergirl and Brain Dump: Supergirl, Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Blacklist.
So here she is, the female superhero we’ve long awaited. If I were inclined to mangle famous poems, I might say,
so much depends
a red skirt
glazed with pop
beside the endless
Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers are behind The Catch, which was created by Jennifer Schuur. This is a thriller centered on the brilliant Alice Martin (Mireille Enos). She’s a fraud investigator who’s about to be the victim of fraud herself. It sounds like a season long hunt for the bad guy, mixed in with other cases.
The Catch also stars Alimi Ballard as Evan, Damon Dayoub, Jay Hayden, Jacky Ido, Bethany Joy Lenz, Rose Rollins and Elvy Yost. Props to The Catch – although the star is white, there is ample diversity in the rest of the cast.
Although Mareille Enos is capable of super intense acting, I’m most looking forward to seeing Rose Rollins on my TV again.
I think Quantico is going to take the lead on diversity. The main character is played by Priyanka Chopra, an award winning veteran of a number of Indian films. Aunjanue Ellis also has top billing on this FBI story. The plot centers around a number of recruits at the FBI training center in Quantico. Jake McLaughlin plays Ryan Booth.
Of all the previews shown in this post, I like this one the best simply because of the diversity issue. But why is there only one show like this? (I’ll mention Proof later, it helps.)
Blindspot is going to be one of those season long searches for the truth like Blacklist or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It’s about a woman who “wakes up” with no memory of her past life. She’s completely covered with fresh tattoos.
Jaimie Alexander stars as Jane Doe, with Ashley Johnson and Sullivan Stapleton backing her up in this tale about a vast international conspiracy.
Heartbreaker is a medical drama starring Melissa George. Other doctors surrounding the brilliant heart surgeon are played by Dave Annable, Don Hany, Shelley Conn and D.L. Hughley.
Jill Gordon and Amy Brenneman are among the producers for Heartbreaker.
Angel from Hell
Angel from Hell starts on CBS this fall. Jane Lynch looks happy about it, judging from her Twitter feed.
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) May 14, 2015
The show will be on Thursday evenings, a tough slot for any show of interest to women, especially a half hour comedy. It stars Jane Lynch, Maggie Lawson, Kevin Pollak and Kyle Bornheimer. Other information is a little skimpy at this point, but the only names I can find for writers and directors are male names.
Angel from Hell doesn’t premier until November, so there will be plenty of time to fill in the details.
I love that wild hair on Jane Lynch. Perfect.
Elsewhere on Old Ain’t Dead
There are other female-led series I’ve talked about before on the blog. If you missed those posts, here they are.
- I’ve mentioned Proof several times: here, here, and here. The star of that show is biracial.
- Here’s the preview for Dark Matter.
- You’ll find the first look at Stitchers here.
I don’t think this is a complete list of the new shows with female leads, but it gives you some female-led shows to consider for your next few months of TV watching.
The Diversity Countdown
Looking just at the starring role in these women’s series, how do we stack up on diversity?
- Melissa Benoist
- Mireille Enos
- Priyanka Chopra
- Jaimie Alexander
- Melissa George
- Jane Lynch
- Jennifer Beals
- Dark Matter names the men first, so I’m not listing anyone from it
- Emma Ishta
I’d say that is a less than outstanding rundown if you’re counting diversity points.
It’s not that I don’t want Melissa Benoist or Jaimie Alexander or the other white women on the list to have great parts. I do. Lots of great parts. I also want lots of great parts for the rest of the female human race.
DC Comics is not going to sit still and let Marvel get all the big bucks from female characters such as Agent Carter, the upcoming Jessica Jones, and the female crew of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nope, DC Comics is bringing Supergirl to CBS. Casting announcements appearing for the pilot are making news daily. I’m amped about the female actors who have been cast in this show.
Melissa Benoist will be Supergirl or Kara Danvers. Her character is called Kara Zor-El on planet Krypton. She is Superman’s cousin, has the same super powers he does, and is vulnerable to kryptonite. She’s now 24 years old and decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she always was meant to be.
Supergirl’s mom Alura, back on Krypton, will be played by Tony Award winner Laura Benanti. I’m wondering if there will be singing, because Benanti and Benoist are both excellent singers. It would be a shame to waste that, but it’s probably too much to hope for from a story based on a comic book. Here’s Alura’s character description: “A strong noblewoman, Alura sends Kara to Earth to escape Krypton’s destruction. Her wisdom and guidance echoes across space and time, proving invaluable on Kara’s journey toward becoming Supergirl.”
Supergirl’s boss, Cat Grant, will be played by Calista Flockhart. Cat Grant is described thus: “Grant, a self-made media magnate and founder of CatCo who started her career as a reporter and has built her company into a global powerhouse.” This is the first role Calista Flockhart has accepted since Brothers and Sisters ended, so I’m thinking it must be a juicy part.
Chyler Leigh will be Alexandra “Alex” Danvers, Kara’s foster sister. Her character is describe like this: “Fascinated by Kara’s powers from a young age, Alex developed a lifelong obsession with science which inspired her to become a doctor.” Chyler Leigh playing a doctor – hmm, that sounds sort of familiar, doesn’t it?
Male characters do exist on Supergirl. Casting announcements to date are David Harewood as Hank Henshaw. Hank runs the Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO), which tracks extraterrestrial threats on the planet Earth. Fans of the comics will also know that Hank Henshaw is known as Cyborg Superman. Mehcad Brooks will play Jimmy Olsen, who in this series is a photographer at CatCo.
Scheduled for the pilot episode (at least) is Dean Cain, who played Superman in the 1990s TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman. I had a major crush on Dean Cain when he was Superman (or maybe it was Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane – the memory is a bit blurry) so I’m eager to see what he’ll end up doing on the show.
Also scheduled in the pilot is Helen Slater, who played Supergirl in the 1984 film Supergirl. Cain and Slater’s parts are described only as “mystery roles.”
So far I haven’t seen any announcements as to who will play the villains, bad guys, and crooks with lead-lined boxes full of kryptonite who want to bring down Supergirl.
I’m super excited about the main female cast. What do you think?