HEROINES TAKE CENTER STAGE
Ghosts and darkness haunt a good many recent TV revivals and retellings. Though arguably none cast as dark a shadow as Roseanne Barr's Twitter comments over The Conners; horror, shock, murder and terror are in abundance in new¬†programming.
Sometimes, the culture has a void. Shows get canceled. Stars exit high-profile TV projects. Uncertainty spreads about the future. And then change comes around to fill that void. In these times, a new sort of hero will rise. And lately, that new sort of hero has been a¬†heroine.
DOCTOR WHO (BBC)
When it was announced last year, after years of speculation, that the Thirteenth Doctor in the long-running sci-fi franchise would finally be a woman, some fans were skeptical yet Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker has been delightful as the rejuvenated, time-traveling alien hero.
Replacing Peter Capaldi, Whittaker is resourceful, zany and warm. Given three companions, the new Doctor hasn't been burdened with a love story or forced into a maternal role. Instead, she's assisted other historic trailblazers like Rosa Parks and battled a new, belligerent race of warrior aliens. Though the lead role is different, the sensibilities of the series remain the same.
THE CONNERS (ABC)
Without Roseanne Barr, whose racist tweets led to the quick cancellation of her titular sitcom, the show has continued as The Conners, showing how the family continues and copes after the death of a matriarch. Still funny and more of an ensemble showcase, The Conners is as solid a show as the Roseanne revival was.
Emerging as the new female lead in the show is the character Darlene, played by the always great Sara Gilbert. We've now watched Darlene from the time she was 12, but now she is a single mom of two very unique kids. She's also taking care of her widowed dad Dan (John Goodman) and placing herself firmly at the center of the¬†family.
Though the transition behind the scenes was chaotic, the story has been seamless and compelling. Though it has a new name, the show feels refreshingly familiar.
SHE-RA AND THE PRINCESSES OF POWER (Netflix)
An inspired reboot of the 1980s cartoon, itself a spinoff of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, this new She-Ra emerges alone, on her own strength and with her own story. It is a delightful, savvy female-first approach to the material, and it deserves¬†applause.
In this series, Adora is an orphaned girl on the planet Etheria, raised to be a soldier by an oppressive, dark coalition called the Horde. Fate intervenes when Adora finds a magic sword, which transforms her into a giant, superstrong heroine who rides a flying unicorn. Quickly, she realizes that she was allied with evil. So she breaks free and joins the cause for good, heading an alliance of magic princesses, while also seeking answers about her past. In the process, she turns against her closest friend Catra, a minor villain in the original series who has now been promoted into the role of complicated¬†nemesis.
It's a fun, colorful show that hopefully shows all children who watch it that anyone can be a hero, no matter who they are or where they started.