I have a lot to say about the first series and its creator’s history. It’s important for me to share as much as I can find, but when something intersects with racism, that’s also important to highlight. A big part of the way I write this feature is to highlight the names of women behind these shows and movies, but when one of these names has a history with a racist project, I find myself not always knowing what to do. I also find myself nervous about the specific kind of racism. If I talk about someone being racist toward Black or Asian people, I’m not Black or Asian. I don’t feel doubtful for saying something’s racist because there’s no internal monologue telling me I shouldn’t. There are Black or Asian voices I can point to; I can follow their lead.
When a creator has been racist toward Mexican people in their work, that is something I’ve endured. It is something that has targeted me. It’s a pain I know and have inhabited. Discussing it opens up vulnerability and trauma I’ve experienced. Because I’ve so often been told by the people applying that racism that I’m overreacting or that it doesn’t exist, even bringing it up makes me terrified that no one will take it seriously. I can’t follow someone else’s lead because it’s my lead. My work as a Latino writer isn’t just in reckoning with it, it’s in proving to others that it exists, proving to others that my voice is legitimate to talk about its existence. I have to prove to all that vulnerability and trauma stacked up in me that I’m able to do it even as that ingrained self-doubt tells me in countless ways I can’t possibly do it right. I’m supposed to be one of those voices. If I don’t speak, I know I’m repeating the marginalization that expects me as a Latino to be too exhausted and afraid to do so. If I do speak, I have to wade through all that marginalization I’ve internalized to just get to the first word.
It’s like this with all marginalizations; this moment it’s just my turn. But whoever’s ‘turn’ it is, realize they’re terrified to be taking it. It’s unfair that the work of proving it – whether for Black, Asian, Latine, indigenous, women, disabled, LGBTQ+ writers, the list goes on – that the burden of all that work is on the shoulders of whoever is facing the bigotry aimed at them in that moment. It is an unfair critical structure that our culture assumes as its default. To speak is needed, and the burden of that is it demands repeating the internal experience of violence. To not speak may avoid that direct pressure point, but asks the quieted to live inside and legitimize their marginalization. Men need to understand that for women. White people need to understand that for people of color. Enabled people need to understand that for disabled people. Cis het people need to understand that for LGBTQ+ people.
The purpose of this feature is to highlight work by women and to help make the women doing that work better known. I don’t always know how to call something out when the history of that person’s work itself platforms racism, misogyny, ableism, or other forms of bigotry. I’ve cut things before because they’re blatantly, explicitly hateful. I won’t platform bigotry, but there’s a lot that rides the line, or that comes from someone who featured bigotry in one project…but perhaps not this one.
I’m sure there are some things I don’t see – especially with not being able to watch everything that’s featured here. I specifically want to make this article series as informational as possible because that helps me mitigate potential forms of implicit bias I may not recognize I hold. When a creator has made racist work before, I hope readers realize bringing it up is about the racism, and that does have a place being discussed when that work is featured for another reason. I hope to see the creator I’m about to highlight surpass that racism, to isolate it to a prior point in her career, but without seeing some kind of reckoning with that prior work, the only other option is to talk about the nature of it and the impact it has.
Minx (HBO Max)
showrunner Ellen Rapoport
“Minx” follows Joyce as she creates the first erotic magazine for women in the U.S. “Minx” takes its inspiration from a number of similar magazines that started publishing in the 70s. Ophelia Lovibond and Jake Johnson star.
Ellen Rapoport previously wrote and produced on “Three Moons Over Milford”. She got her start as a writer on “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment”.
I’m trying to figure out the right way to say this because the moment I looked at Rapoport’s project history my heart sank. She wrote a film called “Desperados” which was incredibly racist toward Mexicans in an era when that racism is even more dangerous than usual. When a creator has done that before, I can’t feature something from them without noting it.
Like I said, I strive to keep this feature informational, but that is information to me because that kind of racism is dangerous in general and it’s specifically dangerous to me and my family. What makes us safer is other people realizing that is information as well, and not some kneejerk or emotional interpretation. When someone is racist, the fact that they are racist and have done something racist is information we need other people to understand instead of dismiss. The kind of things Rapoport wrote in “Desperados” are the kind of things that make people feel legitimized in dehumanizing or threatening Latine people. I wrestled with whether I should even feature this project or not, but there’s nothing that immediately points to “Minx” sharing that racism. That doesn’t make me feel immediately safer because “Desperados” didn’t look racist from its press releases and trailer either.
This isn’t a case of me harping on something minor; “Desperados” was repetitively racist and dehumanizing. To share another project from the same creator without talking about that would be to participate in my own dehumanization and marginalization. I’m hoping it was isolated to that one project because I’m genuinely interested in “Minx”, but I know from experience that hope is not often sustained.
You can watch “Minx” on HBO Max. Two new episodes arrive every Thursday, for a total of 10.
Standing Up (Netflix)
showrunner Fanny Herrero
In this French comedy, four young Parisians juggle stressful lives and jobs while trying to make it as stand up comedians.
Showrunner Fanny Herrero also created French comedy “Call My Agent!”.
You can watch “Standing Up” on Netflix.
The Newsreader (Roku)
directed by Emma Freeman
Anna Torv plays a news anchor who takes a reporter under her wing and trains him. They develop a bond as they cover the whirlwind of news the mid-80s brought. The series is set behind-the-scenes at an Australian broadcast news program.
Emma Freeman has directed on “Stateless” and “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”, among other Australian series.
You can watch “The Newsreader” on Roku. All six episodes are available immediately.
Cracow Monsters (Netflix)
showrunner Kasia Adamik
In this Polish fantasy series, a medical student is pulled into a circle of investigators who hunt monsters and gods from Slavic mythology.
Kasia Adamik’s shows regularly contend at the Polish Film Awards, with “Wataha” winning two of its three best series nominations, and “1983” being nominated. For “Pokot”, she was also nominated for Best Film and Best Director alongside her mother and co-director, the great Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland.
You can watch “Cracow Monsters” on Netflix. All eight episodes are available immediately.
The Paradise (Acorn TV)
directed by Marja Pyykko
In this Finnish-Spanish mystery series, a Finnish family is found murdered in Spain’s Costa del Sol. They send an investigator to bridge the Finnish community and Spanish investigators there. The series is told in Finnish, Spanish, and English.
Director Marja Pyykko is a fairly prolific director of Finnish TV.
You can watch “The Paradise” on Acorn TV. All eight episodes are available immediately.
Welcome to Flatch (Fox)
showrunner Jenny Bicks
A U.S. remake of BBC mockumentary series “This Country”, “Welcome to Flatch” sees a documentary crew film the young adults of a small town.
Showrunner Jenny Bicks was a producer on “Sex and the City”, and wrote and produced on “The Big C” and “Men in Trees”.
You can watch “Welcome to Flatch” on Fox. New episodes arrive every Friday.
Lust (HBO Max)
directed by Emma Lemhagen
No English trailer available, but in this Swedish series, Anette takes part in a government study about the sex lives of women in their 40s. This evokes her and her friends to reflect on how the study’s questions play into their lives.
Emma Lemhagen directs. She’s helmed films in Sweden since the 90s.
You can watch “Lust” on HBO Max. All episodes are available now.
Love After Love (MUBI)
directed by Ann Hui
In the 1940s, a girl is sent from Shanghai to Hong Kong so she can continue her education. Instead, she starts working for her aunt to seduce the rich and powerful.
Ann Hui is a legendary Hong Kong director who’s won Best Director at the Golden Horse Awards three times and at the Hong Kong Film Awards six times.
This is the third time Hui has directed an adaptation of Eileen Chang’s writing. Chang was a feminist writer of the 1940s who fled the Communist regime. Another adaptation of her work that might be familiar to Western audiences is Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution”.
You can watch “Love After Love” on MUBI.
directed by Mariama Diallo
Three Black women at a college in New England begin to share strange experiences. Regina Hall and Zoe Renee star.
Writer-director Mariama Diallo wrote and directed on experimental series “Random Acts of Flyness”. This is her first feature film.
You can watch “Master” on Amazon.
directed by Justine Bateman
Violet suffers anxiety. Knowing she makes her decisions out of fear, she puts herself in fearful situations in order to break the cycle. Olivia Munn stars.
Justine Bateman is best known as an actress going as far back as “Family Ties”. This is her first feature as writer or director.
You can watch “Violet” on Showtime.
Cheaper by the Dozen (Disney+)
directed by Gail Lerner
Zach Braff and Gabrielle Union star in this remake of the 2003 Steve Martin/Bonnie Hunt comedy. It centers on a chaotic family of 12.
Director Gail Lerner has helmed episodes of “Grace and Frankie” and “Black-ish”. This is her first feature.
You can watch “Cheaper by the Dozen” on Disney+.
Rescued by Ruby (Netflix)
directed by Katt Shea
A state trooper partners with a rescued shelter dog in an attempt to get into the K-9 Search and Rescue unit.
Director Katt Shea started out as an actress in the 80s, but was soon directing films for legendary B-movie maker Roger Corman. Her big break came in 1992 with the infamous “Poison Ivy”. After 18 years away (since 2001), she returned with “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” and seems to be focusing on the family genre. (In a weird twist, this also stars Scott Wolf, an actor on Melinda Hsu Taylor’s very different “Nancy Drew” series, which I highly recommend. I look forward to winning a pub quiz with this trivia several years from now.)
You can watch “Rescued by Ruby” on Netflix.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.