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Summertime must be the perfect season for hanging out with cool women — yes, in real life, but also, onscreen. While this should be a year-round activity, this summer in particular has a relatively massive amount of exciting female-focused movies and shows — projects that are not only starring women, but are also written and directed by women as well.
April and May already brought “Blockers,” “I Feel Pretty,” “Tully,“ “Overboard,” “Life of the Party,” “Breaking In,” “RBG“ and “Book Club” in movie theaters and “Killing Eve,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Vida,” “Sweetbitter,” “Queen Sugar,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and "The Tale” on television. To fill the summer months, The Lily is bringing you a list of every upcoming female-centric film and series that’s headed to a screen near you.
June 4, AMC
Based on Sarai Walker’s hit novel, the series from bold showrunner Marti Noxon stars Joy Nash as an obese woman who works at a fashion magazine (run by Julianna Margulies) and is about to get weight-loss surgery — until her world is turned upside-down by two rival feminist groups. Each episode is followed by the talk show “Unapologetic,” in which host Aisha Tyler leads a discussion around the broader issues explored in “Dietland.”
June 5, TV Land
Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor and Molly Bernard are back for the comedy’s fifth season, in which the 40-something Liza Miller (Foster) is finally tired of pretending to be in her 20s to work in the publishing industry. In addition to tackling topics related to ageism and sexism, the show (based on Pamela Redmond Satran’s book) will spotlight the #MeToo movement with a sexual harassment scandal involving the company’s most lucrative author.
June 5, TV Land
This underappreciated series is the brainchild of the improv group The Katydids — six women whose names all happen to derive from Katherine and also write and star in each episode. Returning for a third season, Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien and Kathryn Renee Thomas play misfit educators learning their own life lessons while teaching at a Chicago-area elementary school.
June 7, Paramount Network
Alicia Silverstone tries out television as a single mother raising two daughters in the ’70s, during the heat of the sexual revolution and the start of feminism. It’s all based on the lives of child actresses-turned-Real Housewives of Beverly Hills stars Kim and Kyle Richards (the latter co-executive produced). Mena Suvari is also in the show, which aims to bring female viewers to the rebranded channel, formerly the male-skewing Spike TV.
June 10, TNT
For its second season, Niecy Nash welcomes viewers back to her Florida nail salon, where her crew of hard-working manicurists (Carrie Preston, Judy Reyes, Jenna Lyon and Karrueche Tran) also partake in a bit of money-laundering to make ends meet. The dark comedy has become a critical darling, thanks to its diverse cast, incredibly bold female characters and authentic representation of the working class.
June 12, Freeform
The ambitious staff of Scarlet magazine is back for a second season, with showrunner Amanda Lasher taking over for creator Sarah Watson. Following the personal and professional adventures of three rising 20-somethings in New York City, the series is inspired by the adventures of Joanna Coles, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, who also executive produces the show and is represented onscreen by Melora Hardin.
June 14, Bravo
Lisa Edelstein, Beau Garrett, Alanna Ubach, Necar Zadegan and Retta return for the final season of Marti Noxon’s defiant dramedy, which doesn’t go easy on any of its newly single women on its way out. Over the years, the series has collected fans for its genuine portrayal of divorced women, tributes to female friendships and bravery to tackle storylines about sexual assault, reinvention and empowerment.
June 20, Freeform
It’s the final 10 episodes of the fun Freeform sitcom, in which Emily Osment plays a San Francisco-based food blogger who is hired as the personal chef of a tech entrepreneur. The last season will center on the two as a couple, and how that status change affects their friendships and workplaces. Executive produced by Ashley Tisdale, the end of the series will be followed by a TV movie for fans to properly bid farewell to the characters.
June 29, Netflix
After earning a ton of recognition at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the fictionalized take on the ’80s series Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling is back in the ring for a second season. Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch (and executive produced by Jenji Kohan), the bingeworthy and empowering ensemble series sees Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and the rest of the crew facing the realities of their newfound fame.
July 8, HBO
Amy Adams stars in this gripping new miniseries as a dysfunctional, alcoholic reporter who confronts the psychological demons from her past when she returns to her hometown to cover a violent murder. It’s another Marti Noxon show that explores the female capacity for self-destruction, and it’s also based on the hit book by “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn.
July 11, Hulu
Created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman and featuring only female directors, the acclaimed drama series offers a realistic look at the lives of London’s 18th-century courtesans, led by rival madams played by Samantha Morton and Lesley Manville. For its second season — again inspired by the stories of real women — the group is joined by a new cast member: Liv Tyler.
July 11, The CW
Kristin Kreuk returns to television (and her longtime network The CW) as an accomplished lawyer who goes back to her hometown to take what she initially assumes will be a simple case, but finds herself in a fight for justice for a group of girls suffering from a mysterious illness. The legal drama premiered in January on Canada’s CBC network.
July 19, NBC
The second season of the comedy anthology series welcomes the hilarious Kristin Chenoweth as a new addition. She plays a small Southern town’s local first lady who is, yes, known for her fabulously loud outfits and oddly hairless cat, and is also suddenly accused of the bizarre murder of her beloved husband. Sherri Shepherd and Jayma Mays are also among the cast.
July 20, Syfy
Yes, of course girls should star in genre TV, and it’s a shame that it’s still a rarity. Praised over the years for its feminist angle, the supernatural Western series is back with more demon-fighting adventures for Melanie Scrofano as the titular great granddaughter of Wyatt Earp. What’s even better is that Megan Follows, Zoie Palmer and Anna Silk will appear in the third season of Emily Andras’s paranormal outlaw series.
July 20, Syfy
The acclaimed sci-fi series stars Hannah John-Kamen as the leader of a group of space bounty hunters. The fourth season will, of course, continue to spotlight multidimensional female characters, as showrunner Michelle Lovretta has previously explained, “Honestly, I just don’t know any other way to write women. There’s nothing about my gender I am ashamed of or apologetic for.”
Aug. 1, USA
Initially, this limited series — adapting Petra Hammesfahr’s 1999 novel and featuring Jessica Biel’s standout performance as a surprisingly murderous mother — was set to only last a season. But thanks to a flood of strong reviews, this second season centers on a new crime and stars a conflicted Carrie Coon (Biel won’t appear in these episodes, but she and her producing partner Michelle Purple are still part of the creative team).
Aug. 12, HBO
Co-creator and star Issa Rae is back with a third season of the critically-acclaimed comedy, following the awkward encounters and racy tribulations of a modern-day African Americans. Its first two seasons authentically portrayed what it’s like to date and maintain friendships in Los Angeles today, while boldly tackling themes like pay disparity and racism. Also, epic bathroom mirror rants, of course.
Aug. 17, Netflix
Abbi Jacobson leads the voice cast of the adult-skewing animated series, playing a hard-drinking young princess in a crumbling medieval kingdom. With her feisty elf friend and her personal demon by her side, she goes on a few medieval misadventures and meets ogres, sprites, harpies, imps, trolls, walruses and what Netflix describes as “human fools.”
Photos by AMC, Bravo, Freeform, Hulu, HBO, NBC, Netflix, Paramount Network, The CW, TNT, TV Land, Syfy, Universal, USA Network
June 8, in theaters
Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina unite for a female-centric take on the Ocean’s franchise, the hit ensemble crime movies led by George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon up until now. This time, Debbie Ocean (Bullock, as the estranged sister of Clooney’s Danny Ocean) attempts to upend the star-studded (and highly bejeweled) Met Gala. First-time screenwriter Olivia Milch wrote the script with director Gary Ross.
June 8, in theaters
Hailed as “The Exorcist” for a new generation, this horror flick stars Toni Collette as a mother who must protect her family from a supernatural force that was left behind when the family’s matriarch passes away. The emotionally-driven genre film, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, has generated a bit of Oscar buzz about Collette’s “staggering” performance as Annie, a woman overtaken by guilt and rage.
June 15, Netflix
Let us rejoice for the return of the romantic comedy. Zoey Deutch stars in the film as an overworked executive assistant who hatches a plan to trick her demanding boss (Lucy Liu) into falling in love, all with the hopes of making her life just a little bit easier. Claire Scanlon directed the movie from a script by Katie Silberman.
June 22, in limited theaters
Vera Farmiga stars in the comedy as a single mother whose estranged, pot-dealing father is kicked out of a nursing home. Along with her son, the three of them then embark on a road trip across the country. Written and directed by Shana Feste, the movie made its debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this year.
June 22, Netflix
Chloe Grace Moretz stars in the onscreen adaptation of Susannah Cahalan’s unique memoir, which recounts how the journalist suffered a slew of scary symptoms (memory lapses, hallucinations and major mood swings, just to name a few) and was mysteriously diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder. Charlize Theron optioned the 2012 bestselling book and also produced the movie.
June 29, in limited theaters
Ruth Wilson stars in the thriller as a woman who, following the death of her father, returns to her hometown for the first time in 15 years to claim the tenancy to the family farm she believes is rightfully hers. The mysterious movie, written and directed by Clio Bernard, centers on the themes of sibling rivalry and childhood trauma.
June 29, in limited theaters
Jessica Chastain portrays a widowed artist who, in the 1880s, traveled alone from New York to North Dakota to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull. Though her arrival at Standing Rock is openly opposed by local Army officers who undermine Native American claims to the land, she and Sitting Bull develop a strong friendship, despite threats to both of their lives. Susanna White directed the empowering drama, which is based on true events.
July 6, in limited theaters
It’s not the first documentary to focus on Whitney Houston, but it’s the first one to be officially backed by her family. It features over 70 interviewers with the late singer’s friends and family members and recounts allegations of abuse against Houston’s cousin, Dee Dee Warwick — an onscreen reveal that made headlines when it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
July 20, in theaters
The sequel to the 2008 movie-musical centers on Amanda Seyfried as a expectant mother who learns about how her mother faced her current situations: running a business while raising a child. In addition to the cast of the original movie, Lily James plays a young version of the matriarch (Meryl Streep) and Cher joins the Abba-singing family as the grandmother.
Aug. 3, in theaters
Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon join forces for this action-comedy, playing best friends who suddenly get dragged into an international conspiracy when one of them is dumped by a spy. Susanna Fogel, who co-wrote and directed the movie, describes it as “Broad City meets Bourne” — which means it’s packed with espionage hijinks while still authentically spotlighting female friendship.
Aug. 3, in limited theaters
The Sundance Grand Jury prize winner sees Chloe Grace Moretz getting sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl on prom night. Rather than being “cured,” she bonds with the center’s other teens in the face of intolerance and denial. Desiree Akhavan directed the adaptation of Emily M. Danforth’s beloved novel from a script she co-wrote with Cecilia Frugiuele.
Aug. 3, in limited theaters
Augustine Frizzell makes her directorial debut with this irreverent dramedy, which stars Maia Mitchell and Camila Morrone as young women who dream of escaping their diner waitressing jobs, even if it’s only to a neighboring town for a few days. Their various misadventures of trying to nab a little cash in suburban Dallas land in a sweet spot between “Spring Breakers” and “Superbad.”
Aug. 15, in theaters
Constance Wu stars in the anticipated rom-com as a native New Yorker who goes to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s relatives, only to go toe-to-toe with the wealthy family’s immovable matriarch (Michelle Yeoh). Awkwafina and Gemma Chan are also part of the all-Asian cast of the movie, which also marks the feature screenwriting debut of Adele Lim, who co-wrote the script.
Aug. 17, in theaters
Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph, Fortune Feimster and Cynthy Wu are among the cast of the very unique R-rated comedy. It’s set in a version of Los Angeles where humans and puppets coexist but puppets are viewed as second-class citizens. However, two clashing detectives — one human and the other a puppet — are forced to work together to solve a mysterious murder.
Aug. 17, in limited theaters
Glenn Close delivers an award-worthy performance as the titular spouse who, after years of being faithfully married and ignoring her own ambitions, is on the brink of leaving her husband, a highly accomplished novelist. The acclaimed — and coincidentally timely — adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s novel features a script by Jane Anderson and also includes Elizabeth McGovern and Annie Starke in the cast.
Aug. 17, Netflix
Lana Condor leads the adaptation of Jenny Han’s hit YA novel, directed by Susan Johnson and scripted by Sofia Alvarez. She plays a high school student whose secret stash of love letters is unexpectedly delivered to all the boys she’s crushed on over the years. Janel Parrish and Anna Cathcart are also part of the cast.
Aug. 24, in limited theaters
This period drama stars Emily Mortimer as a free-spirited widow who, despite local opposition, decides to open a bookshop in her small (and small-minded) English town in 1959 — a decision that becomes a political minefield. Isabel Coixet wrote and directed the adaptation of Penelope Fitzgerald’s still-too-timely novel. Patricia Clarkson is also part of the cast of the literary-minded movie.