13 New TV Shows With Women in Lead Roles That Totally Rule

Anne Meadows | Sep 2, 2016 TV

If you're anything like us, more than once you've spent longer looking for something good to watch on Netflix than you did actually watching something on Netflix. You paged through countless rows of action, comedy, drama, and new release selections. And you're all too familiar with the recommendations section titled "New Releases Featuring a Strong Female Lead." 

What if you could get a preview of new series coming to regular ol' broadcast TV that fit into this badass-lady-centric bucket? Lucky for you, this fall and winter the networks are offering up several sassy, wise, funny, strong, and inspiring women worth watching. We've got the list of the most promising upcoming TV heroines -- the choice of tuning in as they premiere or saving all the shows to binge later is totally up to you.


Image via Bob D'Amico/ABC

  • Doubt

    Image via JoJo Whilden/CBS

    Falling in love with a client can be a seriously dangerous workplace pitfall. When your client hired you to defend him against murder accusations, that might make the love affair just a little more ... complicated. So goes the premise of Katherine Heigl's return to broadcast TV in CBS's Doubt. The real reason to watch though, isn't Heigl. It's Orange Is the New Black alum Laverne Cox kicking down TV barriers with her perfectly heeled shoe. She costars in the series as legal mentor Cameron Wirth, marking the first time on broadcast TV that a transgender character is played by a transgender actor. Now that's a premise we can get behind.

    Premieres midseason (date TBD) on CBS

  • Great News

    Image via NBCUniversal

    The only thing more embarrassing than your overbearing mom showing up unexpectedly at school is your mom showing up unexpectedly ... at work. In NBC's new show Great News, TV news producer Katie (Briga Heelan) has to live that scenario when her mom (Andrea Martin) comes to intern at her station. Rest assured there will be plenty of awkward laughs and witty banter -- Tina Fey is executive producing. We're not sure yet whether we'll be rooting for the daughter or the mom in this show -- but the female-led cast will definitely have our attention.

    Premieres midseason on NBC
  • Pitch

    Image via FOX

    Pitch legit looks like an exciting show -- even for those who consider themselves more "indoorsy" than sporty. As the trailer says, the true story -- "on the verge of happening" -- follows the first baseball season of pitcher Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) with the MLB team the San Diego Padres. Overcoming personal and physical limitations is the core of any heartwarming sports tale -- but overcoming gender bias is (sadly) still a new and scandalous feat. We're so pumped for this -- we might even watch some IRL baseball to prep. 

    Premieres Thursday, September 22, on FOX

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  • The Blacklist: Redemption

    Image via Virginia Sherwood/NBC

    The spy drama The Blacklist was a hit for NBC mainly due to the fascinating chemistry between its main characters, FBI agent Elizabeth Keen and her criminal informant, Raymond Reddington. This new spin-off focuses on Tom Keen, Elizabeth's estranged husband, as he struggles to figure out who the heck he is (apparently his past is pretty shady). When he discovers the leader of a covert mercenary organization (Famke Janssen) is actually his mother, they team up to do their spy stuff together. Hey, not all family reunions have to involve backyard picnics, you know?

    Premieres midseason on NBC

  • The Good Place


    Eleanor Shellstrop is dead. But she's actually not too bummed about her new situation -- especially once she learns that she's somehow made it into "The Good Place." Problem is, she actually belongs in the bad place, and she knows it. Those of us with a mean streak and an insuppressible foul tongue will totally relate as Eleanor (played by Kristen Bell) tries to rein it in and hide her true nature in the afterlife. If you've got nothing nice to say, come sit with us while we watch this show.

    Premieres Monday, September 19, on NBC.

  • Imaginary Mary

    Image via Ed Herrera/ABC

    Imaginary Mary is a CGI-character/live action hybrid comedy starring Rachel Dratch as the titular imaginary friend, and Jenna Elfman as her human buddy Alice. The show looks goofy (well, it is Jenna Elfman, after all), but deals with some serious family issues that women face -- not least of which is the daunting prospect of becoming a stepmother. Although reducing Alice's concerns regarding a real upheaval of her life to the squirming sass of an invisible little monster is cheesy, the show could be a fun poke at the change-hating inner children we all share. Whether the concept has legs for a full season is TBD

    Premieres midseason on ABC 

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  • Conviction


    For a law drama on ABC, the premise of Conviction is pretty out there. Wild-child lawyer Hayes Morrison (played by Agent Carter's Hayley Atwell) is given a top job via blackmail (since when is that even a thing?) and is forced to head up a new special unit of lawyers working with the district attorney to examine past cases for any potential wrongful convictions (which is definitely NOT a thing). The story hinges on Hayes's redemption, which comes when she finally puts some skin in the game and starts to care. Although her character starts out pretty unlikable, it's our bet that by the end of the first episode her charms will win over us all.

    Premieres Monday, October 3, on ABC

  • Notorious


    We love behind-the-scenes shows, especially ones filled with juicy gossip and scandals. Inspired by a real-life criminal defense lawyer and cable news producer couple, Notorious promises to hit all these marks. We love that it looks like Piper Perabo really digs into her take-no-prisoners career woman character; she’s even described in the show's trailer as a 'tough-ass bitch' who can do anything. And we're excited to see Daniel Sunjata ... in any role!  

    Premieres Thursday, September 22, on ABC

  • Powerless

    Image via NBC

    If you're one of the billions of people who's ever seen a superhero movie, you've probably been struck by the cavalier attitude with which towns and cities where epic superhero battles happen are treated. That's where NBC's new show Powerless comes in. It's a new comedy set in the DC universe revolving around an insurance agent who covers damages caused by superheros. Starring Vanessa Hudgens as a woman who's not afraid to stand up to either the destructive so-called superheros or her penny-pinching boss (Alan Tudyk), the show looks like it could be the workplace comedy of our nerdy dreams.

    Premieres midseason on NBC

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  • Shots Fired


    With a supporting cast so all-star it sparkles (Helen Hunt, Richard Dreyfuss, Stephen Moyer, and Bill Patton, to name a few), Shots Fired is the event drama to watch on Fox this fall. The show follows lead investigator Ashe Akino (Sanaa Lathan) who teams up with special prosecutor Preston Terry to look into what really happened following a racially charged officer-involved shooting in a fictional small town in North Carolina. It probably will be a pretty tough watch, but we're glad that the issues within our criminal justice system and police force are staying in the national conversation.

    Premieres midseason on Fox

  • Speechless


    Every mom is a hero. But moms to special needs kids are a special kind of hero. ABC's new show Speechless revolves around the Dimeo family, lead by headstrong mom Maya (Minnie Driver). She's committed to going to any length for her son with cerebral palsy (played by Micah Fowler, who has CP in real life). Her determination to make the best life for her family is something we can all relate to, and the show's focus on parenting a family of mixed abilities will def pull on a few heartstrings. 

    Premieres Wednesday, September 21, on ABC

  • Star


    Everyone get ready because Queen Latifah is back on broadcast TV -- in a role that will have her signing and will have us fangirling! The producers of the hit Fox show Empire have a new show set in the music business world, and this time it's a girl group fighting to make its dreams come true. Queen Latifah stars as a godmother and mentor; Benjamin Bratt plays an agent with an eye for talent (and girls) ... and did we mention that Lenny Kravitz has a small role in the series, too? The three girls who play the main girl group characters are all relatively unknown actors -- but we doubt that will be the case for long.

    Premieres midseason on Fox

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  • This Is Us


    If the emotional trailer is any indication, NBC's new ensemble drama will have us grabbing for the Kleenex (and pouring a second glass of wine) pretty much from the get-go. Although the premise is flimsy (everyone has the same birthday, plus some secret connection), This Is Us comes from the writer and directors of Crazy, Stupid, Love -- one of our fave romantic dramedies. Mandy Moore stars as a multiples-mom-to-be with Milo Ventimiglia by her side; Susan Kelechi Watson (Louie) and Sterling K. Brown (American Crime Story) are cast as a couple who get in touch with lost roots; while Chrissy Metz (American Horror Story) and Justin Hartley (The Young and the Restless) play characters who try to figure out just what it is they want out of life. Yep, two glasses of wine should do it.

    Premieres Tuesday, September 20, on NBC

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