June 2021 Television Preview | Women and Hollywood


Summer TV kicks off in earnest this June — a boatload of new and returning projects by and about women are set to debut, including a comedy about an all-Muslim women punk band, a darkly funny deconstruction of the Sitcom Wife trope, and the long-awaited second season of “Tuca & Bertie.”

From creator, writer, and director Nida Manzoor, Peacock’s “We Are Lady Parts” (June 3) sees an unassuming PhD student becoming the lead guitarist of an anarchic punk band, which happens to be comprised of all Muslim women. Among the other new comedies to look forward to are STARZ’s “Blindspotting” (June 13), a continuation of the 2018 film of the same name that centers on Jasmine Cephas Jones’ character, a Black woman reeling when her white partner is incarcerated; Apple TV+’s ’80s-set “Physical” (June 18), a dramedy that stars Rose Byrne as a housewife who rediscovers her joie de vivre when she takes up aerobics; and AMC’s “Kevin Can F**k Himself” (June 20), which sees Annie Murphy’s sitcom wife realizing how unhappy she is and deciding to kill her loutish husband.

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On the dramatic side, Apple TV+’s Stephen King adaptation “Lisey’s Story” (June 4) follows a widow, played by Julianne Moore, as she reexamines her marriage and encounters supernatural phenomena. Creator Sophia Al-Maria and director Stacie Passon bring the erotic tales of Anaïs Nin to STARZ with miniseries “Little Birds” (June 6). Meanwhile, the newest Marvel TV project, Disney+’s “Loki” (June 9), is directed by Kate Herron.

We’ll get a new episode of HBO’s “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” a docuseries unpacking how Michelle McNamara help solve the mystery of the Golden State Killer, on June 21. Also returning this month are Mae Martin’s comedic portrait of love addiction and substance abuse, Netflix’s “Feel Good” (June 4); HBO’s series about an all-female skate crew, “Betty” (June 11); the beloved animated tale of two 30-something birdwomen, “Tuca & Bertie,” which is moving from Netflix to Adult Swim (June 13); and Paramount+’s (formerly CBS All Access) socially conscious legal drama “The Good Fight” (June 24).

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Here are June’s premiering and returning women-driven and women-created TV projects. All descriptions are from press materials unless otherwise noted.

TV and Episodic Premieres

“The Falconer” (Documentary) – Directed by Annie Kaempfer (Premieres June 1 on WORLD Channel)

One of only a handful of African American falconers in the country, Rodney Stotts is on a mission to build a bird sanctuary and provide access to nature for his stressed community. This is a story of second chances: for injured birds of prey, for an abandoned plot of land, for a group of teenagers who have dropped out of high school, and for Rodney himself.

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“We Are Lady Parts” – Created, Written, and Directed by Nida Manzoor (Premieres June 3 on Peacock)

“We Are Lady Parts”

Muslim female punk band Lady Parts is on a mission to find a lead guitarist and maybe, just maybe, get a proper gig. The music comedy series shows the highs and lows of the band as seen through the eyes of Amina Hussein (Anjana Vasan) – a geeky microbiology PhD student recruited to be their unlikely lead guitarist. Amina has never, ever met girls like this before, and soon gets swept up in their joyful, anarchic energy and punk spirit. Will she be the key to the band’s success? And – will she finally find a husband?

“Claressa Shields” (Docuseries) (Premieres June 3 on ESPN+)

“Claressa Shields” gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at Shields’ quest to become the greatest two-sport athlete of all time, maintaining her dominance in boxing while making her debut in mixed martial arts. A two-time boxing Olympic Gold Medalist and the first professional boxer – male or female – to win world titles in two separate weight divisions in the four-belt era, Shields has now set her sights on an MMA championship as part of her goal to be the undisputed greatest woman in combat sports.

“Lisey’s Story” (Miniseries) (Premieres June 4 on Apple TV+)

“Lisey’s Story”

Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, “Lisey’s Story” is a deeply personal thriller that follows Lisey Landon (Julianne Moore) two years after the death of her husband, famous novelist Scott Landon (Clive Owen). A series of unsettling events causes Lisey to face memories of her marriage to Scott that she has deliberately blocked out of her mind.

“Little Birds” (Miniseries) – Created by Sophia Al-Maria; Directed by Stacie Passon (Premieres June 6 on STARZ)

“Little Birds”: Sky Atlantic

A modern tale of a young ingénue abroad, losing and then finding herself. Lucy (Juno Temple) discovers a world in flux, a country quivering on the cusp of independence, and a provocative dominatrix (Yumna Marwan) who captures her imagination. Based on Anaïs Nin’s infamous collection of erotic short stories.

“Domina” (Miniseries) (Premieres June 6 on Epix)

Filmed in Rome, “Domina” follows the extraordinary rise of Emperor Augustus Caesar’s third wife, Livia Drusilla (Kasia Smutniak). The series will bring to life the exploits, affairs, and battles for political clout that surrounded this power couple who sat at the heart of the Roman Empire.

“Meltdown in Dixie” (Documentary) – Directed by Emily Harrold (Premieres June 8 on WORLD Channel)

In the wake of the 2015 Charleston Massacre, a battle erupts in Orangeburg, South Carolina between the Sons of Confederate Veterans and an ice cream shop owner forced to fly the Confederate flag in his parking lot. “Meltdown in Dixie” explores the broader role of Confederate symbolism in 21st century America and the lingering racial oppression which these symbols help maintain.

“Loki” – Directed by Kate Herron (Premieres June 9 on Disney+)

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a new series that takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”

“Trese” (Premieres June 10 on Netflix)

In Manila, where dark supernatural forces pervade the criminal underworld, it’s up to Alexandra Trese to keep the peace — but there’s a storm brewing.

“Blindspotting” (Premieres June 13 on STARZ)

“Blindspotting”

“Blindspotting” centers on Ashley (Jasmine Cephas Jones), who is living in Oakland until her partner and father of their son is incarcerated, leaving her to navigate an existential crisis.

“The Republic of Sarah” (Premieres June 14 on The CW)

The bucolic tranquility of Greylock, New Hampshire is upended when a massive vein of coltan – an incredibly valuable mineral used in tech – is discovered under the town. State-backed mining company Lydon Industries swoops in with plans to extract the mineral — plans that include wiping Greylock off the map. With her friends and family in danger of losing their homes, rebellious high school teacher Sarah Cooper (Stella Baker) vows to stop Lydon’s bulldozers. It won’t be easy. Leading Lydon’s efforts is Sarah’s estranged brother, Danny Cooper (Luke Mitchell). After enduring a difficult childhood at the hands of his mother, former state senator Ellen Cooper (Megan Follows), Danny is eager to exact his revenge on a community he feels abandoned him. Sarah enlists her friends in the fight against Danny, but there seems to be no way to stop the town’s impending demise — until Sarah proposes an oddly intriguing solution: Greylock could declare independence.

“iCarly” (Premieres June 17 on Paramount+)

The 13-episode season picks up nearly 10 years after the original show ended, and finds Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove), the original influencer, and her friends navigating work, love, and family in their 20s. In addition to Cosgrove, it will feature original series stars Jerry Trainor (Spencer Shay) and Nathan Kress (Freddie Benson). The trio will be joined by new additions Laci Mosley, who plays Carly’s roommate and best friend, and Jaidyn Triplett, who portrays Freddie’s social media-obsessed stepdaughter.

“Physical” – Created by Annie Weisman (Premieres June 18 on Apple TV+)

“Physical”

Set in the idyllic but fragile beach paradise of sunny 1980s San Diego, “Physical” is a half-hour dark comedy following Sheila Rubin, a quietly tortured, seemingly dutiful housewife supporting her smart but controversial husband’s bid for state assembly. But behind closed doors, Sheila has her own darkly funny take on life she rarely lets the world see. She’s also battling a complex set of personal demons relating to her self-image — that is, until she finds release through the unlikeliest source: the world of aerobics. At first hooked on the exercise itself, Sheila’s real road to empowerment comes when she discovers a way to merge this newfound passion with the burgeoning technology of videotape to start a revolutionary business. The series tracks her epic journey from a stifled, overlooked enabler to a powerful, confident economic force, as Sheila transforms into someone we take for granted today but was entirely radical at the time: the female lifestyle guru.

“The Rational Life” (Premieres June 18 on Netflix)

A career-driven 30-something must contend with a cutthroat workplace, a love triangle, and her nagging mom.

“Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer” (Documentary) – Directed by Dawn Porter (Premieres June 18 on National Geographic)

“Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer”: National Geographic/Christopher Creese

“Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer” comes 100 from the two-day Tulsa Massacre in 1921 that led to the murder of hundreds of Black people and left thousands homeless and displaced. Award-winning Washington Post journalist and Oklahoma native DeNeen Brown is at the heart of the film, reporting on the search for a mass grave in her native state. Digging into the events that led to one of the worst episodes of racial violence in America’s history, Brown reveals insights into racial conflict incidents that erupted in the early 20th century. Between 1917 and 1923, when Jim Crow laws were at their height and the Ku Klux Klan was resurging across the nation, scores of Black homes and businesses were razed, and hundreds of Black people were lynched and massacred with impunity. Brown’s reporting highlights the revived call for justice for victims and survivors. Following a 2018 investigative report, Brown explores the current new anti-racism movement in the context of the Tulsa Massacre and the Red Summer. With access to family members of those killed, city officials, archeologists, and historians, the film reveals the decades-long effort by descendants and community members to find victims’ bodies and unearth truths that have been suppressed for nearly a century. “Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer” also untangles the role the media played in covering events at the time in order to reveal the full extent of the nation’s buried past.

“Kevin Can F**k Himself” – Created by Valerie Armstrong (Premieres June 20 on AMC)

“Kevin Can F**k Himself”: Jojo Whilden/AMC

Allison McRoberts (Annie Murphy), is a woman we all grew up believing we knew: the prototypical Sitcom Wife. She’s beautiful and can take a joke — though she’s usually the butt of them. And she’s married to a guy who must’ve won some sort of marriage lottery, because she looks the way she does and he’s… funny. But what happens when we follow Allison out of her husband’s domain? When she finally wakes up to — and revolts against — the injustices in her life?

“Jack & Yaya” (Documentary) – Directed by Mary Hewey (Premieres June 22 on WORLD Channel)

From a young age, Yaya and Jack saw each other as they truly were, a girl and a boy, even though most of the world didn’t see them that way. As they grew older, they supported each other as they both came out as transgender. “Jack & Yaya” follows these two friends for a year and explores their unique, 30-year relationship.

“Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell” (Docuseries) – Directed by Barbara Shearer (Premieres June 24 on Peacock)

In this three-hour documentary, we investigate the powerful, connected, and mysterious Ghislaine Maxwell, who was once the heiress to the Maxwell fortune but whose life takes a sordid downturn when she meets Jeffrey Epstein, the serial sex offender. An investigative series that reveals a complicated story of power, sex, and money and leads to Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest awaiting trial in the fall of 2021.

“Sex/Life” – Created by Stacy Rukeyser (Premieres June 25 on Netflix)

A woman’s (Sarah Shahi) daring sexual past collides with her married-with-kids present when the bad-boy ex she can’t stop fantasizing about crashes back into her life.

“The Legend of the Underground” (Documentary) – Directed by Nneka Onuorah and Giselle Bailey (Premieres June 29 on HBO and HBO Max)

“The Legend of the Underground” is a searing and timely look at the struggle against rampant discrimination in Nigeria today, as seen through the lens of several bold and charismatic non-conformist youth who fight to live life out loud. Through social media, celebrity, and creative expression, they spark a cultural debate that challenges the ideals of gender conformity and human rights in Nigeria.

Returning Series

“Tuca & Bertie”: Netflix

“Why Women Kill” (Anthology) (Paramount+, June 3)

“Feel Good” – Created and Written by Mae Martin and Joe Hampson (Netflix, June 4)

“Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries” – Created by Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger (Acorn TV, June 7)

“Betty” – Directed by Crystal Moselle (HBO and HBO Max, June 11)

“Flack” (Amazon Prime Video, June 11)

“Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce)” – Created by Phoebe Lim, Yu Jun, and Lee Seung-hoon (Netflix, June 11)

“Home Before Dark” – Created by Dana Fox and Dara Resnik (Apple TV+, June 11)

“Love, Victor” – Created by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker (Hulu, June 11)

“Tuca & Bertie” – Created by Lisa Hanawalt (Adult Swim, June 13)

“Workin’ Moms” – Created by Catherine Reitman (Netflix, June 15)

“The Gift” (Netflix, June 17)

“Hospital Playlist” – Created by Lee Woo-jung and Shin Won-ho (Netflix, June 17)

“Evil” – Created by Michelle King and Robert King (Paramount+, June 20)

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” (Docuseries) – Directed by Elizabeth Wolff (HBO and HBO Max, June 21)

“Motherland: Fort Salem” (Freeform, June 22)

“In the Dark” – Created by Corinne Kingsbury (The CW, June 23)

“The Good Fight” – Created by Michelle King, Robert King, and Phil Alden Robinson (Paramount+, June 24)

“Central Park” – Created by Nora Smith, Loren Bouchard, and Josh Gad (Apple TV+, June 25)

“The A List” – Created by Nina Metivier and Dan Berlinka (Netflix, June 25)

“A Discovery of Witches” (AMC, June 27)

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