Goodbye, winter caps—hello, summer hats! It’s that glorious time of year where many of us can switch from content creators to content consumers. NYWIFT members Mellini Kantayya and Kathryn O’Kane have put together #SummerHours, a series of fun summer books, movies, and TV shows by or about women.
By Mellini Kantayya
The old advice in pitching TV shows is to liken it to two simple elements: “It’s like Cats, but with dogs” or “It’s Mad Men at an insurance company.” I suppose the idea is to provide a familiar context, but the most binge-able shows transcend the familiar and bend genres in unexpected ways. Here are four created by women that are guaranteed to put a you-shaped dent in your couch.
Jane the Virgin: Created by Jennie Snyder Urman and based loosely on a Venezuelan telenovela, critically acclaimed Jane the Virgin tells the story of Jane Villanueva, a woman in her early twenties who’s decided to remain a virgin until marriage at the urging of her religious grandmother—only to accidentally get pregnant through artificial insemination. The premise seems unsustainable, but Synder Urman craftily makes it work—in ways that surprise and delight. Jane the Virgin is a plot machine with three generations of strong women characters, an endearing narrator pulling us through the fourth wall, and just the right amount of camp. With this past season, I’ve especially appreciated how the show has deftly managed to acknowledge the current political climate while remaining much-needed escapist entertainment. It’s been renewed for season four, so now is the time to get up to speed. Available on Netflix. Season four will premiere on the CW in the fall.
One Mississippi: Created by Tig Nataro and Diablo Cody, One Mississippi is based on comedian Tig Nataro’s own experience recovering from a serious stomach infection, a double mastectomy after breast cancer, and her mother’s unexpected death—all within a shockingly short period of time. Tig’s character of the same name leaves Los Angeles to return to her hometown in Mississippi to say goodbye and put her mother’s affairs in order. She’s challenged with battling childhood ghosts, family dynamics, and juggling girlfriends past and present. This series wholly embodies the word “bittersweet.” I watched it in one sitting. Pro tip: keep the Kleenex close by. Available to stream on Amazon.
Jessica Jones: The hair, makeup and costume design team of Jessica Jones was awarded the Variety Ensemble Award at NYWIFT’s 2017 Designing Women event for their contribution to the unique aesthetic of the show. Created by Melissa Rosenberg, Jessica Jones is based on the Marvel comic of the same name. Keeping with most heroes within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jessica is a superhero with super-human struggles and super-human flaws. The show is so detailed and deliciously nuanced that I worry that almost anything I could say about it would be a spoiler. Krysten Ritter will be reprising her role as Jessica Jones in this summers’ The Defenders, premiering August 18th. Fun fact: as with Jessica Jones, the first two episodes of The Defenders are also directed by S. J. Clarkson. Available on Netflix.
Being Human: Developed by Anna Fricke with Jeremy Carver and based on the British series, Being Human is about three twenty-something roommates trying to live a normal life despite being a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost. It sounds farfetched, but not only is it successful within the supernatural and sci-fi genres, it plays as a solid drama with lots of humor thrown in for good measure. The cast has incredible chemistry, the dialogue is clever yet easy and unaffected, masterful cliffhangers abound, and you quickly become invested in the lives of these highly relatable characters. It’s a monster show that feels unexpectedly real. The pilot had me hooked in 30 seconds and after I was done with the series, I started over and watched the whole thing over again. Available on Netflix.
(Cover photo by Bridgette Matthews)
NYWIFT member and graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology Nikia Nelson has been working in the fashion and entertainment industries for several years. She started her career working in magazine publishing in the fashion and photo departments. She was able to parlay her experience into working as a stylist & costume designer for fashion, film, and television. Nikia recently worked as Assistant Costume Designer for the Amazon series The Horror of Dolores Roach. Based on the hit Spotify podcast series of the same name, The Horror of Dolores Roach is a contemporary Sweeney Todd-inspired urban legend of love, betrayal, weed, cannibalism, and survival of the fittest. The series will premiere at the 2023 Tribeca Festival.READ MORE
Jean Criss recently designed and wrote her first children’s book and self-published on Amazon Kindle. Once she realized this publishing platform was so simple, she decided to move all her book titles over. She learned how to publish e-books, paperbacks, white paper, articles, and/or other newsworthy information in a quick and easy way. Jean shares her step-by-step digital publishing guide with the NYWIFT community.READ MORE
Recap: NYWIFT Talks with Julie Taymor and Kimberly Guerrero About “The Glorias” and Getting Out the Vote
NYWIFT blogger Kristin Reiber Harris reflects on our powerful conversation with the team behind The Glorias, including Julie Taymor's creative process, the celebration of Native voices, and how we as women live in constant dialogue with our former selves.READ MORE
The second part of Christina Kiely's two-part interview with All In: The Fight for Democracy co-director Lisa Cortés, conducted on Zoom in anticipation of her participation at the NYWIFT 2020 Creative Workforce Summit: Documentary Makers, Industry and Funders in Conversation next week.READ MORE