Looking for something?

Only honestly creative criticism awaits. Pick your poison from the menu on the left.

Women to Watch: October New Releases in Film + Television

Women to Watch: October New Releases in Film + Television


Another month has passed, Fall is officially in full swing, and you know what time it is - time for October new releases! Honestly.

It feels like just yesterday (it was only a couple of weeks ago) that I was hammering out TWO separate lists to cover September's offerings in film and television. This month is a little less crazy, but no less full in terms of offerings from female creators.

October New Releases: Thin on Theatrical

In theaters this month is the adaptation of the hugely popular Paula Hawkins novel, The Girl on the Train. Looking a little bit Gone Girl with a little The Lady Vanishes thrown in for good measure.

No surprise to me, but what's truly lacking this month (October, really?) is an array of horror films written or directed by women. There is one, though! For those already enamored with the Underworld series, director Anna Forester takes her shot at directing the fifth film in the series; she'll be the first female director to do so.

October Television: Big on New Series, Docs

Television? The slam dunk that is Fall television for women continues into the October new releases, with 14 new series kicking off this month.

With the success of venues like Netflix and Hulu, you'll find more and more television networks acquiring first rights to feature films. For the sake of organization, I've gone ahead and created a separate category for made-for-tv movies and features releasing on television outlets. You're welcome ;-)

Documentaries are the clear standout this month - Ava Duvernay's anxiously awaited 13th will premiere on Netflix on the 7th, before making its way to theaters for a very limited time release. Festival favorites like 35 and Single and A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story have been picked up by the likes of Pivot and Lifetime. Executive producer and director Maura Mandt steps into the male dominated world of Showtime sports docs to offer One & Done/Ben Simmons on the #1 NBA draft pick.

My best bets?

-If Issa Rae's Insecure on HBO is half as funny as her RATCHETPIECE Theatre on YouTube, it's bound to be the best of the October new releases, and maybe even the best show of the year.

-Good Girls Revolt seems poised to be Amazon's answer to Mad Men, with women leading the charge. I'm in.

-Southwest of Salem is giving me creepy-good true crime vibes, as it covers one of my favorite (don't judge me) periods of American history, the "Satanic Panic" of the late eighties and nineties. Not to mention, its quest to liberate four latinas perhaps wrongly accused.

Women to Watch: October

Women to Watch: October New Releases | Television and Film Written, Directed, and Created by Women | See the whole list on

In Theaters

Films set for an October 2016 theatrical release

  • The Girl on the Train

    (mystery/thriller) - Screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson, based on the novel by Paula Hawkins, in theaters October 7 (Ambling/Dreamworks/Marc Platt Productions/Reliance/Storyteller Distribution)

"Rachel (Emily Blunt), who is devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds." [Official Site]

  • Underworld: Blood Wars

    (action/horror) - Directed by Anna Forester, in theaters October 14 (Lakeshore Entertainment/Screen Gems/Sketch Films)

"Vampire death dealer, Selene (Kate Beckinsale)... fends off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance), she must stop the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice." [imdb]

Brand New Series:

New shows premiering on television in October

  • Westworld

    (sci-fi/thriller/western) - Co-created by Lisa Joy Nolan, premieres October 2 on HBO

"a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin. Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, it explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged." [HBO]

  • Conviction

    (drama) - Created by Liz Friedlander, premieres October 3 on ABC

"A brilliant young attorney (Hayley Atwell), who is also the daughter of a former U.S. president, is blackmailed to head up NYC's new Conviction Integrity Unit. She and her team investigate cases where people may have been wrongly convicted." [imdb]

  • No Tomorrow

    (comedy) - Created by Corinne Brinkerhoff, premieres October 4 on The CW

"Evie, a risk-averse quality-control assessor who falls for free-spirited thrill seeker Xavier only to find out he lives his life that way because he believes the apocalypse is coming." [imdb]

  • Divorce

    (comedy) - Created by Sharon Horgan, premieres October 9 on HBO

"Sarah Jessica Parker stars as Frances, a woman who suddenly begins to reassess her life and her marriage, and finds that making a clean break and a fresh start is harder than she thought.'" [HBO]

  • Insecure

    (comedy) - Co-created by Issa Rae, premieres October 9 on HBO

"... two friends navigating the tricky professional and personal terrain of L.A." [HBO]

  • Freakish

    (horror) - Created by Beth Szymkowski, premieres October 10 on Hulu

"A group of students trapped in a high school must fight for survival when predatory mutant freaks take over after a meltdown at the local chemical plant." [Hulu]

  • American Housewife

    (comedy) - Created by Sarah Dunn, premieres October 11 on ABC

"Katie Otto, a confident, unapologetic wife and mother of three, raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with "perfect" mommies and their "perfect" offspring. Katie's perfectly imperfect world is upended when her neighbor's decision to move notches her up from her ideal social standing and sets her on a path to ensure that doesn't happen, regardless of the consequences." [ABC]

  • The Letter

    (reality/unscripted) - Executive produced by Rebecca Toth Dieffenbach, Valerie Haselton, and Lucilla D'agostino, premieres October 11 on Freeform

"... a bold, new relationship show that asks the simple question: "If you could anonymously tell your best friend in a letter the things that he or she really needed to hear, would you do it?" In each stand-alone episode, four friends draw names and anonymously write to the selected person a thoughtful, yet totally honest letter outlining their opinion of what needs to be changed in order to improve and transform their friend's life for the better." [Freeform]

  • Bajillion Dollar Propertie$

    (comedy) - Created by Kulap Vilaysack, premieres October 13 on Seeso

"A half-hour, semi-scripted comedy with an ensemble of seven real estate agents set against the backdrop of a luxury, cut throat LA real estate firm." [Seeso]

  • Haters Back Off

    (comedy) - Created by Colleen Ballinger, premieres October 14 on Netflix

"The odd ball family life of Miranda Sings, an incredibly confident, totally untalented star on the rise who continues to fail upward by the power of her belief that she was born famous, it's just no one knows it yet." [imdb]

  • Chance

    (thriller) -Co-created by Alexandra Cunningham, premieres October 19 on Hulu

"a provocative psychological thriller that focuses on Eldon Chance (Hugh Laurie), a San Francisco-based forensic neuropsychiatrist who reluctantly gets sucked into a violent and dangerous world of mistaken identity, police corruption and mental illness. After an ill-advised decision regarding an alluring patient who may or may not be struggling with a multiple personality disorder, Chance finds himself in the crosshairs of her abusive spouse, who also happens to be a ruthless police detective." [Hulu]

  • Man with a Plan

    (sitcom) - Co-created by Jackie Filgo, premieres October 24 on CBS

"... a comedy about a contractor who starts spending more time with his kids when his wife goes back to work and discovers the truth all parents eventually realize: Their little angels are maniacs." [CBS]

  • The Living and the Dead

    (drama/supernatural) - Created by Ashley Pharoah, premieres October 27 on BBC

"When a young couple inherit a farm, they are determined to turn it into a success, but strange supernatural forces soon intervene, threatening their marriage and their lives." [imdb]

  • Good Girls Revolt

    (drama) - Created by Dana Calvo, based on the book by Lynn Povich premieres October 28 on Amazon

"In 1969, while a cultural revolution swept through the free world, there was still one place that refused to change with the times: newsrooms. Good Girls Revolt follows a group of young female researchers at "News of the Week," who ask to be treated fairly. Their revolutionary request sparks convulsive changes and upends marriages, careers, sex lives, love lives, and friendships." [Amazon]


Made for TV or feature films with a debut release by a television outlet in October

  • The 13th

    (documentary) - Directed by Ava Duvernay, premieres October 7 on Netflix

"In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists, and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom." [Netflix]

  • The Swap

    (comedy) - Co-written by Shari Simpson and based on the book by Megan Shull, premieres October 7 on Disney

"A magical app causes two friends to switch bodies when they both wish they had each other's lives." [Wikipedia]

  • 35 and Single

    (documentary) - Directed by Paula Schargorodsky, premieres October 8 on Pivot

"As an Argentine and Jewish woman, Paula tackles the issue of marriage - it's acceptable to do what you want in your 20s but in your 30s, women feel society's pressure to marry. Paula wonders why 'female freedom has an expiration date.'" [BroadwayWorld]

Watch the NY Times Op-Doc this feature is based on:

  • Autumn in the Vineyard

    (drama) - Written by Suzette Couture, premieres October 15 on Hallmark

"When Frankie and Nate both have a claim to ownership of Sorrento Farm, they are forced to divide the vineyard right down the middle and work the fields alongside each other to bring in the harvest leading up to the Best Wine competition at the annual Autumn Harvest Festival -- only this rivalry won't be settled in the fields. Stars Rachael Leigh Cook and Brendan Penny." [Hallmark]

  • Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

    (documentary) - Directed by Deborah Esquenazi, premieres October 15 on ID

"After being wrongfully convicted of gang-raping two little girls during the Satanic Panic witch-hunt era of the 80s and 90s, four Latina lesbians fight against mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor in their struggle for exoneration in this riveting 'True Crime' tale." [Official Site]

  • Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le

    (drama) - Directed by Janice Cooke, premieres October 15 on Lifetime

"Discovered at a young age, the shy, squeaky-voiced Michel'le was plucked straight from South Central, Los Angeles and catapulted into the spotlight while riding N.W.A.'s rocket ride of early success... A nearly decade-long romance with the infamous Dr. Dre pushed her into a life tarnished by alcohol, drugs and violence until her savior came in the unlikely form of Suge Knight, co-founder of Death Row Records and Dre's business partner." [Lifetime]

  • A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story

    (documentary) - Directed by Sara Hirsh Bordo, premieres October 17 on Lifetime

"Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Velazquez was first bullied as a child in school for looking different and, later online, as a teenager when she discovered a YouTube video labeling her "the world's ugliest woman." The film chronicles unheard stories and details of Lizzie's physical and emotional journey up to her multi-million viewed Ted X Talk, and follows her pursuit from a motivational speaker to Capitol Hill as she lobbies for the first federal anti-bullying bill." [Official Site]

  • One & Done/Ben Simmons

    (documentary) -  Co-directed by Maura Mandt, premieres October 21 on Showtime

"From a relatively anonymous Australian upbringing to high school and college in America to the top of the rookie class in the world's foremost basketball league, ONE & DONE chronicles a pivotal period in a young man's life, capturing Simmons and his inner circle as they realize a lifelong dream in the limelight of an exclusive fraternity of top NBA draft picks." [Showtime]

  • Death of a Vegas Showgirl

    (crime) - Directed by Penelope Buitenhuis, premieres October 22 on Lifetime

"based on the true story of Debbie Flores, a professional dancer who went missing the night before she was set to make her debut as the lead in a major stage production." [TVLine]

  • Jean of the Joneses

    (comedy) - Written and directed by Stella Meghie, premieres October 23 on TV One

"Chaos ensues after the estranged patriarch of the Jones family dies on their doorstep. When the paramedic who answers their 911 call tries to win over acerbic Jean Jones, his attempts are disrupted by old conflicts that come to a boil at the funeral." [imdb]

New Seasons:

Madam Secretary: Season 3 (drama) - Created by Barbara Hall, premieres October 2 on CBS

The Mindy Project: Season 5 (comedy) - Created by Mindy Kaling, premieres October 4 on Hulu

2 Broke Girls: Season 6 (sitcom) - Co-created by Whitney Cummings, premieres October 10 on CBS

Supergirl: Season 2 (action/adventure) - Co-created by Ali Adler, premieres October 10 on CW (moving from CBS)

Fresh Off The Boat: Season 3 (comedy) - Created by Nahnatchka Kahn, premieres October 11 on ABC

The Middle: Season 8 (sitcom) - Created by Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, premieres October 11 on ABC

Jane the Virgin: Season 3 (comedy) - Created by Jennie Snyder Urman, premieres October 17 on The CW

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 2 (comedy) - Created by Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, premieres October 21 on The CW

The Vampire Diaries: Season 8 (final) (drama/supernatural) - Co-created by Julie Plec, premieres October 21 on The CW


If you've somehow burned through all the October new releases before next month (?!!?), see last month's Fall TV list for more shows continuing all season long. And don't forget September's film list - you can still catch many of them in theaters now.

What are watching in October?

What's on your queue this month? I definitely can't watch ALL of these by my lonesome this time around. Leave your recommendations and reviews in the comments, please!

Halloween and Halloween II

How Black Lives Matter in Sidney Lumet's The Wiz

How Black Lives Matter in Sidney Lumet's The Wiz