Friday, September 09, 2011

Sexism is so '90s (by Suzie)

It's hard to imagine that a female TV detective in 2011 would face sexism ...
So begins Natalie Abrams' article in TV Guide about the American version of "Prime Suspect," premiering at 10 p.m. EDT Sept. 22. The BBC series started in 1991, and 20 years later, Abrams finds it surprising that NBC would show any sexism in the NYPD. also found readers who couldn't believe that any policeman might discriminate against a woman. (But they will return to the apartment of an intoxicated woman multiple times.)

The NYT describes the original series, with Helen Mirren:
The series ... painted a cruel and cautionary portrait of the seven ages of a career woman. Jane began as a smart, abrasive junior detective so determined to prove herself that she lost the man in her life. She went through a lonely but gratifying reign as the boss, mottled by unsatisfactory love affairs and an abortion. There was no last-minute redemption or happily ever after. In the final act Jane was forced into retirement while struggling with alcoholism and decline.

Maria Bello, who stars in the new show, says she will not be punished for being a "career woman," and I'm relieved. Alexandra Cunningham is the showrunner.

TV writers are talking about the year of strong women on TV, just like last year. Melissa Silverstein injects some reality. She analyzes statistics from the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film and finds that only 25 percent of the creative people behind the scenes of network TV were women last season, and only 15 percent of the writers were. Both numbers are down from the previous season.

In addition to "Prime Suspect," I'm going to check out these new shows:
  • "Pan Am," debuting at 10 p.m. EDT Sept. 25 on ABC. Despite my doubts, I love to fly, and I like Christina Ricci.
  • "Ringer," 9 p.m. Sept. 13 CW. I adore "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and feel compelled to watch alumna Sarah Michelle Gellar, who also is one of several female executive producers.
  • "Up All Night," 10 p.m. Sept. 14 NBC. It has a female showrunner, and two actors I find hilarious.
  • "New Girl," 9 p.m. Sept. 20 Fox. It stars Zooey Deschanel, with a female writer and showrunner. Plus, I moved in with three guys when I was a senior in college.
  • "2 Broke Girls," 9:30 p.m. Sept. 19 CBS, with a female producer.
Among the returning shows that I watch, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (10 p.m. Sept. 21 NBC) is going through major changes: Chris Meloni, who played the detective always on the verge of brutality, has quit. Mariska Hargitay will remain, but two new detectives will be added. The new woman will be played by Kelli Giddish, whom I enjoyed in "Chase."

For those of you who watch TV, what new shows will you try?
ETA: I forgot to mention that the first new SVU episode is "inspired" by the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape case. You may remember the news stories that kept repeating the claim that the maid had told some lies in her life, but didn't repeat the reports that DSK had been accused of assault before, that an employee accused him of coercion in their brief "affair," and that people thought he couldn't be trusted alone with a woman.