Your feminist fall TV guide: 17 shows to watch this season
Now that Sharp Objects is over and Insecure is mid-way through Season 3, you might be wondering what fall TV shows are going to give you the much-needed escapism and nourishment your feminist heart desires. Though the media landscape still has a long way to go in terms of equality for women, these new and returning feminist TV shows are filled with all the empowered and complicated female characters you’ve been craving.
There’s still progress to be made, but with cable networks, streaming, and digital services now offering more content than ever, women have more opportunities to shine, escaping the tired girlfriend/wife roles and taking center stage. This fall’s shows have women playing doctors (real and extraterrestrial), reporters, witches, and everything in between.
Keep scrolling for all the feminist shows coming to a screen near you this fall.
1“Big Mouth” (Season 2 coming October 5th, Netflix)
Ever wish there were more stories on TV about puberty, told from a female perspective? Have you also wished that the female character’s pubescent inner-monologue was manifested as a Hormone Monstress voiced by Maya Rudolph? Big Mouth has got you covered.
2“Black-ish” (Season 5 coming October 16th, ABC)
Tracee Ellis Ross’ Dr. Rainbow Johnson is a doctor, wife, and one of TV’s most compelling moms, and she’s back this season along with her hilarious family members, including the adorable Diane (Marsai Martin) and her mother Ruby (Jenifer Lewis).
3“Black Lightning” (Season 2 coming October 9th, The CW)
The show is named after the comic book superhero, but the breakout stars are the superhero’s daughters, Jennifer (China Anne McClain) and Anissa (Nafessa Williams). Both Jennifer and Anissa inherited powers from their father and manage their supernatural abilities while, in Jennifer’s case, being a high schooler, and in Anissa’s case, being an activist and college student. Anissa’s also queer, making her one of the few QPOC characters on TV and TV’s first queer black superhero.
4“Charmed” (Season 1 coming October 14th, The CW)
The reboot of the classic ’90s show about a group of young witches, which now has a far more diverse cast, is at its core about sisterhood… and avenging the demonic force that killed their mother.
5“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” (Season 1 coming October 26th, Netflix)
If the new Charmed leaves you wanting more teenage witch content, the Sabrina reboot is here to help. Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka stars as the half-witch/half-human training as a sorceress while trying to navigate normal teenage life.
6“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (Season 4 coming October 12th, The CW)
The show’s protagonist is often less than admirable, but the show never shies away from difficult topics, often in song. Last season delved deep into Rebecca’s struggles with mental illness after she’s diagnosed with borderline personality disorder following a suicide attempt, and she finally decides to put her love life on hold to focus on herself.
7“Doctor Who” (Season 11—aka Season 37—coming October 7th, BBC America)
Jodie Whitaker plays the 13th (and first female) doctor in the upcoming season of the classic sci-fi show.
8“Fresh Off the Boat” (Season 5 coming October 5th, ABC)
Need more Constance Wu after seeing Crazy Rich Asians? She’s back as the Costco-obsessed Huang family matriarch.
9“Grey’s Anatomy” (Season 15 coming September 27th, ABC)
Seattle Grace is back for its 15th season, where the female characters, namely Miranda Bailey and Meredith Grey, rule the hospital.
10“I Feel Bad” (Season 1 coming October 4th, NBC)
The Amy Poehler-produced sitcom follows Emet as she juggles being a working mom, wife, and daughter who’s only human and occasionally (okay, very often) feels bad about the mistakes she inevitably makes along the way.
11“Law & Order: SVU” (Season 20 coming September 27th, NBC)
The classic show returns for a new season, which is sure to feature Lieutenant Olivia Benson taking names and solving sex crimes in a power blazer.
12“Madam Secretary” (Season 5 coming October 7th, CBS)
While it might be painful to watch a show where an overqualified female Secretary of State is in charge, Tia Leone’s strong performance offers some much-needed escapism.
13“Murphy Brown” (Season 1 coming September 27th, CBS)
The reboot of the iconic ’80s show starring the principled, self-assured star reporter comes at a time when a character like Murphy feels more essential than ever.
14“Riverdale” (Season 3 coming October 10th, The CW)
Is the show’s murder plot increasingly hard to follow? Sure. But beyond that, Riverdale’s young women are experiencing serious character development. Betty’s exploring her sexuality through her wig-wearing alter ego Dark Betty, Veronica’s starting to break away from her mobster family, and Cheryl, who came out last season, started dating Toni Topaz.
15“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” (Season 1 coming October 9th, Netflix)
The food world can be a bit of a boy’s club, but Samin Nostrat broke through with her bestselling book on the basics of cooking, which is now being adapted into a cooking show of the same name on Netflix.
16“Shameless” (Season 9 coming September 9th, Showtime)
Fiona Gallagher, whose alcoholic father and absentee mother force her to raise her five younger siblings, is one of TV’s most dynamic and complicated female characters. All the more reason to watch this season, Emmy Rossum has announced that she’s exiting the show and this season will be Fiona’s last.
17“Supergirl” (Season 4 coming October 14th, The CW)
The DC universe superhero drama features many supernaturally powerful women, and has garnered praise for its LGBT characters’ nuanced storylines.