The most exciting thing this week is a new collection of documentaries on athletes by ESPN. All the athletes covered are women and a monthlong series of premieres kicked off with five short films. They’re calling the series “Fifty/50”.
Later in the month, they’ll be premiering “Dream On” (June 15), which chronicles the foundation of the WNBA. On June 18, eight more short documentaries will arrive. June 21 and 28 will see “37 Words”, a four-part documentary on Title IX, which legally codified equal rights for women in education and athletics.
College networks will also see new documentary debuts. June 23 sees “Catch98”, chronicling the career of basketball player Tamika Catchings on SEC Network. “Hidden Dynasty”covers North Carolina’s women’s soccer team, which won 22 national championships. It arrives June 23 on ACC Network.
A range of accompanying digital pieces, reporting, interviews, and podcasts are also part of the effort. ESPNU is also making 75% of their programming this month feature women’s athletics. All of this put together is a lot to choose from, and more than I can cover here, so take a look at the full list.
You can also find past documentaries on women athletes as part of their “30 for 30” and “Nine for IX” series. You need ESPN+ to watch them, but this comes bundled with Disney+, and can be bundled with Hulu. It’s also included in certain cable/satellite subscription plans. These are some of the best documentaries on TV. The “Fifty/50” shorts should also arrive on that page soon.
Let’s get into the new narrative series and films by women this week:
Surviving Summer (Netflix)
co-showrunner Joanna Werner
half-directed by Sian Davies, Charlotte George
Summer is a Brooklyn kid who acts out. She’s expelled from school and punished by her family to go live in Australia (I should have acted out more). Once there, she falls in love with surfing.
Joanna Werner showruns with Stuart Menzies. She’s produced on other Australian series such as “The Newsreader” and “Clickbait”.
You can watch “Surviving Summer” on Netflix. All 10 episodes are available immediately.
Tom Swift (CW)
co-showrunners Noga Landau, Melinda Hsu Taylor
“Tom Swift” spins off from the CW’s “Nancy Drew”, folowing a billionaire inventor who delves into a world of sci-fi conspiracies in search of his missing father.
“Nancy Drew” showrunners Noga Landau and Melinda Hsu Taylor are joined by “Empire” writer Cameron Johnson.
You can watch “Tom Swift” on the CW. The premiere is available, with a new episode arriving every Tuesday.
Hollywood Stargirl (Disney+)
directed by Julia Hart
The sequel to 2020 film “Stargirl” (not to be confused with the 2020 superhero series “Stargirl”) finds the free-spirited musician striking out on her own in Los Angeles. Grace VanderWaal reprises the lead role, with Judy Greer and Uma Thurman also starring.
Writer-director Julia Hart returns. Aside from the YA-oriented “Stargirl” films, she’s helmed some incredibly different movies at the start of her career. This includes a take on superheroes in “Fast Color” and one of my favorite films of 2020, the 70s crime drama “I’m Your Woman”.
You can watch “Hollywood Stargirl” on Disney+.
Nudo Mixteco (HBO Max)
directed by Angeles Cruz
As the Festival of San Mateo unfolds, three indigenous women navigate the restrictions of custom, religion, and tradition when it comes to their sexuality.
The Mexican film is the first feature from writer-director Angeles Cruz.
You can watch “Nudo Mixteco” on HBO Max.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
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