Tag Archives: A League of Their Own

Early Thoughts on the Best TV of 2022

It’s early to look at the best of the year, but I always like to take stock of my choices before the deluge of awards-bait. For film awards cycles, most audiences won’t get a chance to see half the nominated movies for 2022 until months into 2023. (I’d argue that makes them 2023 films, but that’s another conversation.) Thankfully, series come out already as accessible as they’ll ever be. That means we’ve already seen (or at least had the opportunity to see) most of what’s come out this year.

When I look at the shows we’ve had in 2022, there are probably more that I like this year than in any other. I’m just not sure there are any I’ve unquestionably fallen for beyond multigenerational drama Pachinko. My top choices for 2021 – Arcane, Made for Love, Sonny Boy, Reservation Dogs, and Evil – would all vie for the top spot had those seasons come out this year. So there’s more that I like, less that I love.

I posted this article on my Patreon last Thursday, but it gets a lot more eyes here. If you read my work and enjoy it, subscribe to the Patreon. Any little bit helps me set aside time to write more. Throughout this early rundown, you’ll find articles I’ve written this year linked so you can read more when a show sounds interesting.


Of course, four of these five were renewed. Anime mind-trip Sonny Boy was designed as only one season, so what happened with the other four? Well, indigenous comedy Reservation Dogs is my #2 show this year behind Pachinko, so it hasn’t fallen off. It continues to take big risks, delivering satire alongside emotionally resonant experiential comedy, and its ensemble has only gelled more.

Evil is still in my top 10, it’s just that its second season last year was the best season of horror I’ve seen since early X-Files. It featured experimental episodes like the nearly dialogue-free “S is for Silence”, jaw-dropping social commentary like “C is for Cop” and scalding parodies like the Amazon metaphor “Z is for Zombie”. Katja Herbers was asked to deliver one of the most emotionally wide-ranging performances I can imagine. This year’s season 3 is even scarier and continues to show off just how much Aasif Mandvi has developed as an actor, but last year’s walked a nearly-impossible balance between the horrific and absurd that elevated both elements into something unnervingly new.

Made for Love is the only one of these five to get canceled after this year’s season, and I can see why. The show is still important to me and its unique blend of the comedic and disturbing is rare, but the second season’s focus shifted to characters and relationships that were not necessarily the first season’s strengths. I’d still strongly recommend it, and there are concepts that draw in beautifully even as they repulse, but the show works best when translating its ideas through the experiences of Cristin Milioti’s Hazel. The more it becomes an omnisciently-presented universe, the more it leaves her ability to emotionally anchor its most disturbing concepts.

That leaves Arcane, which I will continue to argue is one of the best seasons of anything ever made. Its experimental and exacting animation is built on years of development and production work, with exquisite writing that loops its ideas and concepts together to create interweaving metaphors and conceits. It’s an awe-inspiring amount of work conceptually and visually, and it’s been clear since its renewal that the next season may take years to develop.

So was everything better in 2021? Not necessarily. Like I said, there may not be as much that I love this year, but there’s a lot that I like. If 2022 had some rarely matched shows I’d rate as a 9 or 10 out of 10, then 2021 is overflowing with quality 7s and 8s. There’s not as much bowling me over, but I feel like there’s a lot more choice for whatever mood I’m in at a given moment.


Comedies in particular have excelled. I covered Reservation Dogs, an indigenous comedy that hops between the stories of a stellar ensemble cast led by Devery Jacobs. As outlandish as it can be, it also feels incredibly real and consequential. I’ve heard it compared to the 90s golden era of indie comedies, but I think this risks diminishing the cultural origins of its comedy.

When Black comedy fought its way into the mainstream in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, there were many comparisons to earlier white comedians. The reality was that it felt fresh because these were voices that many audiences had been discouraged from listening to before. They weren’t successful because they were somehow building on the work of white comedians, though, that was a myth. They were successful because Black comedy had always been successful – white audiences just hadn’t listened to it on a large scale before then.

The same concept applies to Reservation Dogs. It’s not successful because it’s building on earlier eras of comedy that saw white creators get the biggest platforms. It’s successful because indigenous comedy has always been successful – it’s just that now other audiences are bothering to pay attention. Re-writing the root of that success not only ignores an important lesson, it removes agency from the people creating that comedy. Reservation Dogs is funny and touching because it’s built on successful Native American and First Nations comedy before it. It feels fresh not because it reminds us of something familiar (how would that even make sense), but because it platforms something already successful that many audiences just haven’t thought to open ourselves up to before.

I’m also a big fan of small-town, community-building comedy Somebody Somewhere. It deals with concepts of loss, depression, and othering in unique ways that feel particularly timely given where the U.S. is at. It also throws in the occasional hauntingly beautiful musical performance. Bridget Everett and Jeff Hiller offer an off-kilter, rocky but loyal friendship.

Knife-sharp gig-satire Killing It features Claudia O’Doherty and Craig Robinson as an odd couple of snake hunters. The series is a biting class comedy that depicts how late-stage capitalism weighs on workers, with characters living out of cars, 24-hour-gyms, and fusing together odd gigs. The most memorable episode becomes a modern cyberpunk take on “Cyrano de Bergerac”, a comedy of manners both uproarious and hideous.

Abbott Elementary has become my favorite of the mockumentary sitcoms, combining the precise banter of a Modern Family with the workplace focus of The Office. It solves what I’ve always viewed as the biggest pitfall of the format: mockumentaries tend to develop comedy by making their characters awful, ignorant, and inhumane. That can work for What We Do in the Shadows, which continues to be a strong show where most of the lead characters are vampires and their inhumanity is the joke, but even there the thing that keeps us returning is the bond of their found family.

When a mockumentary is about people in an office being horribly passive-aggressive to each other, I’ve always wondered why I would spend my free time in that if I’d spent my day in it already. Modern Family might be one of the best written comedies of our time, but even there you’ve got a lot of the situational comedy arising from characters’ toxicity toward each other. Abbott Elementary finds a way to deliver a near-perfect mockumentary while doing it with characters I actually like, admire, and want to spend time with.

Komi Can’t Communicate might get overlooked by audiences who don’t watch anime, and that’s a shame. It started as an emotive slice-of-life anime with streaks of lightning-fast visual humor. Its second season has elevated it into one of the best things on TV, doubling down on its irreverent satire of some of the weirdest parts of slice-of-life anime, while filling the screen with visual gags. Yet through it all, the show also acts as a profoundly peaceful and accepting safe space for neurodivergence.

Our Flag Means Death starts slow and a bit broad in its comedy, but when it gets going it delivers an incredibly touching story without giving up its punchy pirate parody. It has some of the best improvised elements on TV, largely thanks to Taika Waititi’s performance as Blackbeard. The best episodes are directed by Bert and Bertie, and I hope they ask the duo back to helm a greater portion of the second season.

I’d also mention Angelyne, which uses its comedy to describe the appeal of those who are famous simply for being famous, and how this mirrors the rise of the con artist celebrity. Does 80s icon Angelyne fit only into that mold, or does she extend into the territory of feminist icon and pioneer of the camp aesthetic that offers marginalized people acceptance? That’s the central question of a series that offers several answers from several conflicting perspectives – all of them holding degrees of truth and untruth. It’s a complex portrayal within a series of heightened realities, none of which you can be sure are accurate, and Emmy Rossum’s performance as Angelyne is one of the best of the year.

A League of Their Own encapsulates a lot of what I want to see on TV, recounting the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of the 1940s. You can criticize it for being a remake of the 1992 film starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, and Madonna, but a film made 30 years ago couldn’t honestly tell the stories of how the league served as a space for LGBTQ+ members to be themselves at a time when they found acceptance nowhere else. It’s one of the best reasons I’ve seen for remaking something, and the remake is both funny and poignant.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is one of the best things out of the MCU. I’ll confess, like its main character Jennifer I also hoped for more of a legal comedy than a superhero one, but She-Hulk hardly has to answer to me. What it does become is the most successful comedy in the MCU alongside Thor: Ragnarok. It’s also a drastically needed change-up for a cinematic universe that is far too often repeating its ideas and plot structures.


The MCU as a whole has had an extremely good year, regardless of what incel tupperware parties want to whine about. Moon Knight delivered some really different elements into the MCU, crafting a supernatural archaeological adventure around a few brilliant Oscar Isaac performances.

Ms. Marvel returned the MCU to the YA space, which is dearly overdue three years after you have Spider-Man shouting “Activate instant kill” so he can somersault his blade suit to gut dozens of henchfolk. I do feel like Ms. Marvel felt a little condensed and could’ve paced itself better with two additional episodes, but that’s true of most MCU series, and wanting more is pretty favorable as criticisms go. Ms. Marvel also boasted some stellar setpieces – including what might be the single best sequence in the MCU to date: a searing and heartbreaking portrayal of the last train out during the Partition of India.

Outside the MCU, sci-fi and fantasy are also at high points, depending on what you’re looking for from the genres. Andor is the best piece of Star Wars we’ve had in years, rejoining the franchise with a 70s storytelling ethic that asks the audience to be patient with a slowly unfolding, atmospherically dense story about complicated, morally gray characters.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds stands as the best of the new Treks. They’re all pretty high quality, but Strange New Worlds features strong episodic writing and directing that cleverly foreshadows longer arcs without needing you to take notes on them. That shouldn’t seem too difficult, but given that very few other series can balance episodic writing with such a soft touch for arcs, maybe it is. Either way, SNW gets it done and its ability to swap between the storytelling approaches of different eras and styles of Trek is a treat for fans. It shifts smoothly between speculative sci-fi original Trek stories, DS9 cultural critiques, Next Generation diplomacy quandaries, DS9 and Voyager comedy, Voyager and Enterprise action, Discovery emotional connection, some good old submarine episodes, and adds in better horror than we’ve seen in the franchise previously. It manages to do everything that every other Trek was able to do, while reinforcing it all as part of a cohesive whole.

In fantasy, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power might be the single most overwrought series I’ve ever watched, but damn does it earn it. If you don’t like flowery monologues melodramatically captured in front of bazillions of dollars of set design, costuming, and CGI backdrops, you might not like it. If you want fantasy to be grim and gritty betrayal-incestatheater you can’t see half the time because apparently no one invented torches just yet, other options are available. On the other hand, if you want some achingly designed classical fantasy that actually uses its fantastical elements to world-build and argue for notions of hope, perseverance, and equality, The Rings of Power is a beautiful option.

For modern gothic fantasy, let me recommend Polish series Cracow Monsters. It’s informed by the same cultural folklore that shapes the world of The Witcher, but the contemporary series also recalls the intimate aspects of early 90s horror like Flatliners and Jacob’s Ladder. Its sumptuously gothic aesthetic continues a uniquely Eastern European view on horror that reflects and refines the Prague horror boom of the 2000s. Its shadows are deep, pops of color rich, and it’s always either raining or muddy in Cracow.

I’d also mention Turkish series Midnight at the Pera Palace. What starts out as a comedic light mystery builds out an intriguing and consequential time travel lore that intersects with a key moment of Turkish independence and leadership. While there are many Turkish series that serve partly as propaganda for its autocracy, there are several that creatively argue for racial equality, feminist values, and recognition of its full history. Midnight at the Pera Palace fits into this, perhaps not as outspokenly as something like The Club, but in a way that is unmistakable nonetheless. As someone who far prefers outright mysteries to light mysteries, I’m surprised how much I like Midnight at the Pera Palace and its ability to bridge into well-developed time travel sci-fi and some social commentary.


This doesn’t leave a ton of room for more traditional drama, but I don’t want to overlook that Pachinko is still my series of the year thus far. Its directed about as exactly as something can be, yet without ever feeling like it’s aesthetically suffocated. Often, highly designed and precisely planned images can reroute our emotional connection away from actors and through the director’s vision. It’s an approach that can evoke some unique things, but often introduces a certain distance from the story. We begin to observe rather than feel in the moment. Instead, the emotion of Pachinko feels released by finely honed direction that puts performances first. Its gorgeously realized and acted, and I’m endlessly impressed by how breathtakingly cinematic its direction is without ever taking away from the actors for a visual.

Under the Banner of Heaven is also in my top 10. It’s been compared to True Detective, but its focus on how fanaticism can feed on religious history for its justification – and on how organized religion can in turn aid, abet, and even participate in that fanaticism – goes beyond some of what the HBO show does. There’s a unique sense of escalation and rhythm in Under the Banner of Heaven, a surge that accelerates into pacing crescendos.

The Bear doesn’t approach things in a traditional dramatic sense – it feels very new. The story of a chef trying to save his late brother’s restaurant features one of the best ensembles of the year. I have to admit, I only watch it one episode at a time. While brilliant, it presses on some triggers that make it something I appreciate in measured doses rather than as a binge watch. In a curious way, its focus on the connection and community-building aspects of food remind me of Pig, last year’s Nicolas Cage feature. The two couldn’t be more different in terms of energy or storytelling approach, but they plumb similar territory on a subject that isn’t often portrayed with appropriate depth in drama. They make a very appropriate pairing in my mind, Pig seeing with patience and consideration what The Bear sees through frenzy and chaos.

Bel-Air also stands out as an incredibly smart re-invention of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It’s another remake with a point, and with a depth that seems to have gotten overlooked. In particular, the retelling of Carlton’s story delves more deeply into the internalized racism and impostor syndrome Carlton puts himself through (never being accepted as white no matter how much he rejects his Blackness). The original is one of the best sitcoms ever made, but in the 90s it could only touch on these themes briefly, and made them an easy joke as much as it ever explored them. Beyond this, Jabari Banks’ Will is as accomplished a portrayal of Will Smith’s Will as we could possibly ask for.


There are a number of other shows I’d recommend this year. The animated Harley Quinn has become more focused and consistent without losing its moments of chaotic absurdity. Alien-out-of-water Resident Alien features some great comedic acting. Shows like Reacher and Heartstopper are good binge-watching choices even if I feel they could have gotten more breathing room by reaching beyond their choice aesthetics.

That’s not everything, and there’s obviously some series I haven’t mentioned. I still need to finish one or two like Severance, and I haven’t found the time to get started on Trinity of Shadows, The Essex Serpent, Irma Vep, Dark Winds, or The Peripheral. I’ve been saving The Sandman for one of the holiday breaks so I can just absorb into it without having to come back out for a time. I haven’t watched the second season of Only Murders in the Building yet.

I’m also woefully behind on this year’s anime. If Sonny Boy director Natsume Shingo’s Tatami Time Machine Blues is anything like his longing and melancholic masterpiece last year, I’ll watch it late at night when everything’s quiet and I have time to reflect and process it. It’s part of a incredibly strong, introspective universe of adapted Morimi Tomihiko novels that also include The Tatami Galaxy and the phenomenally animated The Night is Short, Walk on Girl.

I’ve heard great things about Spy x Family, and need to make time for it. While Akebi’s Sailor Uniform isn’t my kind of show, I think Komi Can’t Communicate made me open up a bit to slice-of-life stories, and its stunning animation of nature does have me wanting to see if it echoes that peacefulness. And of course, I need to finish this year’s continuation of Pacific Rim: The Black, whose first part was one of the most unexpected surprises last year.

I’m also behind on Korean shows, such as the musical The Sound of Magic, and the contemporary crime adaptation of Little Women. I’ve been holding off on All of Us Are Dead because zombie series have felt too…dire and on-the-nose for me to watch in our current political environment. Maybe if the election goes well I’ll watch it, and if it doesn’t I’ll make a Best Show I Didn’t Watch award. I’m also excited mystery Flower of Evil just finally made it stateside. One of the most qualitative television industries in the world, two Korean series made my top 10 last year: Squid Game is obvious, but I felt vengeance actioner My Name was even better.

Remember to VOTE, encourage others to VOTE, and help them get to their polling places if you can.

If you enjoy articles like this, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon! It helps with the time and resources to write more like it.

“A League of Their Own” is the Storytelling I Want in the World

“A League of Their Own” feels momentous. I didn’t expect that going in. My read was that it would be a familiar property hauled out of storage for a quick cash-in. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I judge an adaptation or remake by the same question as I judge something original: does it have a reason for being? Does it succeed at that reason? “A League of Their Own” has more reason for being than the vast, vast majority of what’s out there.

You might know the story from the original 1992 movie starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Lori Petty, and Madonna. It follows the the women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a league founded in 1943 to keep baseball going during World War II. The biggest difference between the movie and the series is that the subtext isn’t subtext anymore. Many players have spoken about how the AAGPBL had a number of queer players. What wasn’t allowed to feature in the 40s, or the 90s, can finally become the central story in 2022.

A Note on Remakes

Let’s get one thing out of the way. There are a dozen specials, features, and documentaries on Tom Brady. ESPN just ran a 10-part, 10-hour special on the dude, advertised every commercial break. More than 600 women played in the progenitor of women’s professional sports in the U.S. They’ve got two films and a smattering of documentaries. “A League of Their Own” was unlikely to be greenlit by any other name.

We salivate at rebooted Spider-Men from 20 years ago re-appearing, and get angry that Michael Keaton’s return as Batman after 30 years got shelved by HBO’s new ownership. But two “A League of Their Own” stories, how could we? What horror! And why? Is “Top Gun” or “Jurassic Park 6: Jurassic World 3” or “The Batman: Still Not the One from Red Son” or “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” making a statement that couldn’t be made 30 years ago? I like some of those films; I’ll watch dinosaurs read a phone book…but their reasons for being aren’t particularly strong.

It’s 2022. A series about the AAGPBL couldn’t be told honestly in 1992. Republicans and half of Democrats still couldn’t get over 80s rock music lyrics, let alone Hollywood bankrolling an honest, star-studded film about queer people. “A League of Their Own” is one of the few remakes out there that can take advantage of the 30 years that have passed since the original film. It’s one of the few reboots that can do more than simply make a statement – it can tell stories that we didn’t allow to be told except as coded, buried subtext 30 years ago.

On with the Review

We follow two stories, sometimes intersecting but more often parallel. Abbi Jacobson of “Broad City” plays Carson Shaw, a catcher recruited from Idaho who runs away from home while her husband is overseas fighting in the war. What she’s running away from may not be home so much as the perceptions of what’s normal for her. The team is its own bubble and, even if she didn’t plan for it, it’s a place for her to explore parts of herself she’s repressed most of her life.

We also follow Max Chapman, a pitcher who isn’t allowed to try out for the league because she’s Black. She wants to play more than anything, and brainstorms a way to join the local company team instead – which means getting a job there first.

The ensemble is excellent – Gbemisola Ikumelo is Max’s best friend Clance, who’s obsessed with comic books and their lessons. Max’s mother and father, played by Saidah Arrika Ekulona and Alex Desert, are realized beautifully.

On Carson’s team, the Rockford Peaches, the supporting cast similarly runs the comedic and dramatic gamut. D’arcy Carden’s Greta stands out because she stands out to Carson, and Roberta Colindrez’s Lupe, Melanie Field’s Jo, and Kelly McCormack’s Jess are also highlights.

I like the depth of representation apparent in “A League of Their Own”. The major experiences of focus are those of LGBTQ+ and Black characters, but there’s room for a range of characters. Clance’s husband deals with social anxiety. Kate Berlant’s Shirley Cohen copes with OCD and, even if we’re still at a point where it’s played for laughs at points, there are expressions of it I recognize and share that mean a lot to see on-screen without judgment attached.

There’s a running subplot of racism toward Latines that isn’t forgotten either, as Colindrez’s pitcher Lupe is announced as ‘Spanish’ so the crowd isn’t repulsed by her being Mexican (I’ve had ‘friends’ do this), is passed over for a job (got told it to my face), and is socially blamed for a fight she didn’t start (ah, junior high). That these are all still common show some things haven’t come very far.

To see these other experiences folded in so organically, as parts of the world that are acknowledged, that hurt and that characters we care about legitimately work their way through – it feels real. In between the comedic set-ups and often lighthearted banter, there’s a depth of realness at play in “A League of Their Own” that many shows don’t achieve.

I think this is aided by the crew being fairly diverse as well. If you’re writing something as if you know it, it helps to know it. Lead and co-showrunner Jacobson is bi. Ikumelo is one of the primary writers.

Jamie Babbit directs the first three episodes. Known for biting satire like “But I’m a Cheerleader”, her experience on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” equipped her to bring another era to life with texture and detail. The production elements – design, set, costume, they’re all top-notch. Babbit also knows how to present these experiences, being one of the earlier out lesbian directors in the industry.

Episode directors Anya Adams, Ayoka Chenzira, and Katrelle Kindred are all Black. The four writers who worked on seven of the eight episodes include Black, Iranian-American, and trans writers. Those brought in for an episode are two Black writers and a Latina writer. That’s not to give you a checklist of diversity; it’s certainly not the only thing that matters about them. It’s to say the stories being told are largely coming from the people who have lived them. That’s crucial, and it delivers a veracity that stories tackling these issues can sometimes miss.

Many films and series still tackling these experiences are still told by those who haven’t lived them, or by those who bring in a writer from a specific background for that episode in what’s still a largely straight, white, male writers room. You may have LGBTQ+ or Black voices as part of the mix, but that doesn’t often mean featuring them at the fore, and that’s what makes something unique in a landscape that’s always required those voices to be coded at best.

There are some hiccups, but none seem major. There are brief moments here or there where the pacing or rhythm of dialogue seems like it’s not settling into its groove right, but this is pretty common early on in period ensemble pieces. It’s usually ironed out over the first few episodes as the cast finds each others’ rhythms, and that’s the case here, too.

The approach to dialogue here is to meld speech of the era to modern ways of speaking that people can identify with more readily. The dialogue isn’t meant to be accurate to the time, but rather a meld and I think it works well once you realize this is the approach. The most important thing for a comedy is that it’s funny, and the lines almost entirely hit the mark while the personalities always do. There’s something more here, too, and that’s a sense of joy I’ll talk about in a minute.

The parallel stories “A League of Their Own” tells follow different paces. Carson’s story with the team is filled with interweaving arcs of her will they/won’t they relationship, power dynamics with their egotist coach, wins and losses, injuries, and the league’s attempt to make them “palatable” for men.

By contrast, Max’s story is one of not playing. She’s more isolated, and while she shares scenes with others, the fast-paced ensemble nature of the team’s storytelling slows here to a more isolated and singularly driven story. The slower nature of her arc, at least initially, means that the pacing can lurch between the two a bit.

Carson’s story can feel lean and efficient, evoking a whirlwind pace at times, while Max’s feels expansive and thoughtful, often settling into its longer moments. These ways of doing things are what each story needs, and they’re both done well. You do have to adjust to the pace of things accelerating or decelerating back and forth as the stories switch.

I’m a cishet man – I’m not qualified to be the judge of how important this is or how much it gets right when it comes to representing LGBTQ+ people or history. To me, it feels important. It feels momentous. It feels like it goes further than a lot out there is still allowed to because these characters are allowed to be fully human, complex, making mistakes and regretting missed opportunities. It doesn’t feel like we’re in an era yet where every LGBTQ+ character is allowed to be as complex as cishet characters have enjoyed for the entire history of film. Many are still emblems, there to represent something as much as they are to exist within the characters’ lives. That can be aspirational and important in many ways, but it’s also important to have enough out there, enough stories being told, enough characters represented that there are those who are realistic and imperfect and flawed as well, told by the beautifully real people whose history this is.

The characters in “A League of Their Own” feel deep, full, rich, complex, so real. They feel like they’re given the storytelling freedom that cishet characters have always enjoyed, and I wish that weren’t so rare as to be remarkable. This is beautiful queer storytelling about LGBTQ+ people and queer history.

The people who are given the financing and platforming to make series and films in the U.S. are still overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly male, and overwhelmingly straight. At the same time, we complain about feeling like the same stories are told over and over again. That’s not because of adaptations or remakes like this. It’s because we see the same perspectives over and over again, the same storytelling priorities from the same narrow band of culture that’s dominated the stories that get marketed, the same narrow range of cultural touchstones.

“A League of Their Own” feels like a breath of fresh air because that’s exactly what it is. It’s told from a perspective that couldn’t have gotten a story this expansive or expensive on a major streaming service even 10 years ago. We know the story, we know the history, we know the framework of “A League of Their Own”, but much of what’s meaningful inside of it, the elements of substance inside of it and stories like it, have been watered down up until these last few years. We have culturally bottled up and forced entire histories to be subtext, allusion, metaphor, code.

“A League of Their Own” is beautiful because it gets to tell this story openly, bluntly, joyfully, and even if the era it addresses was the height of subtext and code, and it must address that fear and alienation, the perspective of how the story is told, of what is prioritized, of how it’s spoken into being feels so overdue. If you want something new, look for the voices that have always been there, but have only just now been given the platforms to tell their stories bluntly. Become enrapt in someone else’s joy for their histories never taught that can finally be told.

You can watch “A League of Their Own” on Amazon.

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New Shows + Movies by Women — August 12, 2022

August can be the start of a slow-down period in movie release calendars. Of course, every time domestic releases slow in the U.S., it becomes a good period for international films to shine through. These slower periods are when studios look for international and genre films to catch on with audiences that may have had their fill of summer blockbusters. This week boasts movies from France, Greece, India, Mexico, and Taiwan, as well as the U.S.

Let’s get to new series by women first, where we find an adaptation of a 90s classic, and a visually arresting anime spin-off.


A League of Their Own (Amazon)
co-showrunner Abbi Jacobson

An adaptation of the 1992 film directed by Penny Marshall, “A League of Their Own” centers on the players in a women’s pro baseball team during World War 2.

Abbi Jacobson showruns with Will Graham, as well as starring. You’ll likely recognize Jacobson as the creator and co-star of “Broad City” (with Ilana Glazer). “A League of Their Own” has the blessing of original director Marshall and star Geena Davis, and seeks to expand the storytelling to tackle issues of race and sexuality in the league.

You can watch “A League of Their Own” on Amazon. All 8 hourlong episodes are available immediately.

Kakegurui Twin (Netflix)
directed by Makita Kaori

The new series shares its world with Netflix’s visually striking original anime “Kakegurui”. The prequel shows how certain characters made their name at the high school for high stakes gamblers.

Makita Kaori also directed “Twittering Birds Never Fly”. She started out as a design manager on “Terror in Resonance” and “Space Dandy”.

You can watch “Kakegurui Twin” on Netflix. All 6 half-hour episodes are available now.


Reclaim (Netflix)
directed by CJ Wang

A woman managing work, family, and caring for her mother with dementia doesn’t have the time to take care of herself. She looks at buying a larger house so that everyone can have their own space, but this opens up questions of money and splitting the family up.

Director CJ Wang won Taiwan’s Golden Harvest Award for short films in 2015 for “Rowboat”. This is her first feature.

You can watch “Reclaim” on Netflix.

CW for “Holy Emy”: disturbing images, even for horror

Holy Emy (MUBI)
directed by Araceli Lemos

In this Greek horror, a Filipina girl named Emy hides a condition she thinks is supernatural. She wonders if it has to do with her mother, who has healing powers but was forced to return to the Philippines.

The film scored 15 nominations at the Greek Academy Awards, winning for best director and supporting actress (Hasmine Killip). It’s the first narrative feature for writer-director Araceli Lemos, who got her start doing sound and later editing for documentaries.

You can watch “Holy Emy” on MUBI.

Darlings (Netflix)
directed by Jasmeet K. Reen

This Indian film joins stars Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah in a dark comedy about Badru and her mother taking revenge on Badru’s violent husband.

Jasmeet K. Reen has written on a number of Hindi-language screenplays, and this is her first feature as director.

You can watch “Darlings” on Netflix.

Our Eternal Summer (MUBI)
directed by Emilie Aussel

In this French film, Lise immerses herself in a carefree summer at 18, while coping with the loss of her best friend.

This is the first feature from director and co-writer Emilie Aussel.

You can watch “Our Eternal Summer” on MUBI.

Don’t Blame Karma (Netflix)
directed by Elisa Miller

In this Mexican film, Sara wonders if bad luck is real when her sister and a former crush get engaged. (No English translation for this trailer, but the film on Netflix will have them available.)

Director Elisa Miller has twice been nominated for her short films at Mexico’s Ariel Awards (akin to the Oscars in the U.S.), including one win.

You can watch “Don’t Blame Karma” on Netflix.

Luck (Apple TV+)
directed by Peggy Holmes

Magical organizations that support good luck and bad luck compete against each other in this animated film.

Director Peggy Holmes started as a choreographer on films ranging from “Newsies” to “Wayne’s World” and “Hocus Pocus”.

You can watch “Luck” on Apple TV+.

13: The Musical (Netflix)
directed by Tamra Davis

Evan moves from New York City to rural Indiana after his parents’ divorce. His plan to establish himself at his new school is to throw the best Bar Mitzvah in history.

Tamra Davis has also directed on “Miracle Workers” and “Future Man”, among countless other series and films (such as “Half Baked”.) She got her start as a music video director in the 80s for Depeche Mode and The Smiths, continuing on to work with Faith No More, Sonic Youth, Indigo Girls, Bonnie Raitt, and Veruca Salt.

You can watch “13: The Musical” on Netflix.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

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