September 2021 Television Preview

Women-centric and made series premiering and returning this month.

By Mercedes Gonzales-Bazan and Divyani Sharma

It’s that time of the year again, where new shows premiere on every network and we’re reunited with some of our favorites as their new seasons begin. We’re seeing some exciting releases by and about women this month, including documentaries that give us a glimpse into the worlds of others, crime dramas that investigate fact and fiction, and animated shows that keep us laughing.

To kick off the month, Billie Eilish makes her Disney+ debut in her concert special “Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles” (September 3). It will cover her entire second studio album, track by track, from beginning to end. The film will also include animated elements that give viewers a look at Los Angeles, through Eilish’s eyes. 

On September 7, FX’s much-anticipated “American Crime Story: Impeachment,” starring Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky and Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp, examines a shocking moment in U.S. history. HBO/HBO Max has two docuseries arriving this month: “Nuclear Family” (September 26), which redefines family on the terms of director Ry Russo-Young, and “The Way Down” (September 30), which examines the life and death of famed wellness author and church leader Gwen Shamblin Lara.

A running theme across multiple genres this month is independent women taking control over their life narratives. “The Harper House” (September 16) is an animated show centered around a woman who moves her family into a fixer-upper home in order to escape the social pressures of socioeconomic status. “Our Kind of People” (September 21) tells the story of a single mother making moves with her haircare line and in reclaiming her family’s name.

Loads of shows are set to return this month, including OWN’s family drama “Queen Sugar” (September 7) and Showtime’s dark comedy “Back to Life” (September 13). It’s also time to gear up for the second season of Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show” (September 17) to see what’s next for the broadcast journalist leads played by Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Here are September’s premiering and returning women-driven and women-created TV projects. All descriptions are from press materials unless otherwise noted.

TV and Episodic Premieres

“Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles” (Concert Special) (Premieres September 3 on Disney+)

Billie Eilish makes her Disney+ debut with “Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles.” Featuring a performance of every song from “Happier Than Ever” and appearances from FINNEAS, the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

“Dive Club” (Premieres September 3 on Netflix)

“Dive Club” follows a group of skilled teenage divers as they strive to uncover a mysterious disappearance that will change their small town and each other, forever.

“Dounia” - Directed by Marya Zarif and André Kadi; Written by Marya Zarif (Premieres September 4 on Canada’s CBC Gem)

Forced to leave their homeland, Dounia (Rahaf Ataya) and her grandparents set off in search of a new home. Travelling the world in search of asylum, Dounia meets people and lives many adventures. And when she encounters an obstacle that seems insurmountable, the wisdom of the ancient world comes to her rescue in the form of the nigella seeds of her grandmother.

“8:46 Films” (Anthology) - Directed by Zoey Martinson, Camrus Johnson, Marshall Tyler, and Gibrey Allen; Written by Zoey Martinson, Julie Sharbutt, Camrus Johnson, Marshall Tyler, and Gibrey Allen (Premieres September 4 on CBS)

Eight minutes and 46 seconds took a Black man’s life. This collection of four narrative shorts -- “Cupids”; “She Dreams at Sunrise”; “Slow Pulse”; and “Pearl and Henry” -- reclaims that time to tell stories of Black love and joy, eight minutes and 46 seconds at a time.

“On the Verge” - Created by Julie Delpy (Premieres September 7 on Netflix)

Four women -- a chef, a single mom, an heiress, and a job seeker -- dig into love and work, with a generous side of midlife crises, in pre-pandemic LA.

“Impeachment: American Crime Story” (Miniseries) (Premieres September 7 on FX)

“Impeachment: American Crime Story” examines the national crisis that led to the first impeachment of a U.S. President in over a century. It tells this story through the eyes of the women at the center of the events: Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein), Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson), and Paula Jones (Annaleigh Ashford). All three were thrust into the public spotlight during a time of corrosive partisan rancor, shifting sexual politics, and a changing media landscape. The series shows how power lifts some and disposes of others in the halls of our most sacred institutions.

“Twice Bitten” (TV Movie) - Directed by Patricia Cuffie-Jones (Premieres September 7 on BET)

An unmitigated and sexy conman targets his next mark, the widowed Monique, for his latest swindle. But his routine scam hits a snag when suspicion mounts and his scheme quickly escalate into desperation, betrayal, and murder.

“Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” – Created by Kourtney Kang (Premieres September 8 on Disney+)

Set in modern-day Hawai‘i, “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” — a coming-of-age dramedy inspired by the hit medical series “Doogie Howser, M.D.” — follows Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a 16-year-old prodigy juggling a budding medical career and life as a teenager. With the support of her caring and comical ‘ohana (family) and friends, Lahela is determined to make the most of her teenage years and forge her own path.

“The Women of 9/11: A Special Edition of 20/20 with Robin Roberts” (Documentary Special) (Premieres September 8 on ABC)

For the first time, after two decades, the women whose lives changed forever on September 11, 2001, tell their stories of survival, pain, and redemption. From the heroic female first responders and workers who risked everything in dangerous jobs at Ground Zero to the miracle survivors, including Genelle Guzman-McMillan, the last person pulled out alive from the World Trade Center rubble after 27 hours, and the women who suffered heartbreaking loss; all of them bonded in trauma, grief, and after two decades, remarkable strength and resilience.

“Too Soon: Comedy After 9/11” (Documentary Special) – Directed by Julie Seabaugh and Nick Fituri Scown (Premieres September 8 on Vice)

This documentary features interviews with entertainers including David Cross, Nathan Lane, and Marc Maron about the struggle to re-establish humor’s place in the aftermath of the attacks that day. The documentary’s title takes its name from the response Gilbert Gottfried received after cracking a joke about the airline attacks shortly after they occurred. He will also appear in the documentary, along with Janeane Garofalo, Matthew Broderick, Aasif Mandvi, Rob Riggle, Cedric the Entertainer, Chris Kattan, Lewis Black, and Doug Stanhope. (Variety)

“All the Queen’s Men” (Premieres September 9 on BET+)

Madam (Eva Marcille), a vicious and unapologetic lady boss, rules a crew of male exotic dancers at a drama-ridden adult entertainment club in Atlanta. While problematic business predicaments play a predominant role at Club Eden, the real protagonist is their fearless female leader.

“LuLaRich” (Docuseries) – Directed by Julia Willoughby Nason and Jenner Furst (Premieres September 10 on Amazon Prime Video)

“LuLaRich” is a four-part docuseries that chronicles the unraveling of LuLaRoe. Known for their buttery soft leggings, the infamous multi-level marketing company went viral promising young mothers a work-from-home salvation. Capitalizing on the growing power of social media, LuLaRoe’s eccentric founders recruited an astonishing army of independent retailers to peddle its increasingly bizarre and defective clothing products. Through exclusive interviews, this series unveils how it all went wrong in a spectacularly weird and comedic fashion.

“Pretty Hard Cases” – Created by Sherry White and Tassie Cameron (Premieres September 10 on IMDb TV)

Guns and Gangs detective Samantha Wazowski (Meredith MacNeill) and Drugs Squad detective Kelly Duff (Adrienne C. Moore) must learn to work together to take down a Toronto street gang in this Canadian dramedy.

“SparkShorts: Twenty Something” (Short) – Directed by Aphton Corbin (Premieres September 10 on Disney+)

Created using hand-drawn animation, “Twenty Something” examines the challenges and insecurities of “adulting.” Some days you’re nailing it, while other days, you’re just a stack of kids hiding in a trench coat, hoping no one notices. The film’s protagonist is Gia, who finds herself in this exact scenario the night of her 21st birthday. (Deadline)

“Finding Alice” – Created by Keeley Hawes, Roger Goldby, and Simon Nye (Premieres September 13 on Acorn TV)

Keeley Hawes stars as Alice, a woman who finds her husband dead inside their new “smart house,” a place so foreign to her she can barely survive in it. Her life is turned upside-down, upended by the loss of her partner and the suspicion surrounding the night of his death. In addition, she is forced to cope with the revolving door of mourners, including her husband’s parents (Gemma Jones and Kenneth Cranham) and her own (Joanna Lumley and Nigel Havers), along with the grief of her daughter, Charlotte (Isabella Pappas).

“Sandra Day O’Connor: The First” (Documentary) (Premieres September 13 on PBS)

When Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor as the Supreme Court’s first female justice in 1981, the announcement dominated the news. Time Magazine’s cover proclaimed “Justice At Last,” and she received unanimous Senate approval. Born in 1930 in El Paso, Texas, O’Connor grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona in an era when women were expected to become homemakers. After graduating near the top of her class at Stanford Law School, she could not convince a single law firm to interview her, so she turned to volunteer work and public service. A Republican, she served two terms in the Arizona state senate, then became a judge on the state court of appeals. During her 25 years on the Supreme Court, O’Connor was the critical swing vote on cases involving some of the 20th century’s most controversial issues, including race, gender, and reproductive rights — and she was the tiebreaker on Bush v. Gore. Forty years after her confirmation, this biography recounts the life of a pioneering woman who both reflected and shaped an era.

“Y: The Last Man” – Developed by Eliza Clark (Premieres September 13 on FX on Hulu)

A drama based on DC Comics’ acclaimed series, “Y: The Last Man” traverses a post-apocalyptic world in which a cataclysmic event decimates every mammal with a Y chromosome but for one cisgender man and his pet monkey. The series follows the survivors in this new world as they struggle with their efforts to restore what was lost and the opportunity to build something better. The ensemble cast features Diane Lane, Ashley Romans, Olivia Thirlby, Amber Tamblyn, Marin Ireland, Diana Bang, Elliot Fletcher, Juliana Canfield, and Missi Pyle. All episodes of the season will be directed by women.

“The Harper House” (Premieres September 16 on Paramount+)

The adult animated comedy centers on Debbie Harper (Rhea Seehorn), the overconfident female head of a household, who struggles to regain a higher status for herself and for her family of oddballs after losing her job and moving from the rich side to the poor side of a small town in Arkansas. To save money, they’ve moved into their inherited Victorian fixer-upper — a historic residence known as the Harper House.

“Chicago Party Aunt” – Created by Katie Rich, Chris Witaske, and Jon Barinholtz (Premieres September 17 on Netflix)

Chicago Party Aunt Diane (Lauren Ash) is an idolized troublemaker with a talent for avoiding adulthood — and a soft spot for her soul-searching nephew.

“SparkShorts: Nona” (Short) (Premieres September 17 on Disney+)

“Nona” centers on a grandmother who plans to spend her day off by shutting out the world to watch her favorite TV show, “E.W.W. Smashdown Wrestling.” However, when her five-year-old granddaughter Renee is unexpectedly dropped off, Nona is caught between her two favorite things. Renee wants to play, while the normally-doting Nona wrestles with wanting to watch the Smashdown, leading to a decisive showdown between the two, and a loving compromise. (Deadline)

“Teenage Euthanasia” – Created by Alissa Nutting and Alyson Levy (Premieres September 19 on Adult Swim)

Set in near-future inland Florida, “Teenage Euthanasia” centers around the owners of Tender Endings funeral home, the Fantasy Family: Grandma Baba (Bebe Neuwirth), her adult children Uncle Pete (Tim Robinson) and Trophy (Maria Bamford), and Trophy’s teenage daughter, Euthanasia aka Annie (Jo Firestone), a name accidentally given to her during the time of Trophy’s own unbearable suffering. Back when Trophy was a teen herself, she ran away from home after giving birth to Annie, leaving her newborn to be raised by Baba and Uncle Pete. Now, 15 years later, Trophy returns to Tender Endings — as a corpse, for burial. When a bolt of lightning strikes Baba’s homemade embalming fluid and one of Annie’s tears, Trophy comes back from the dead. As a resurrected woman, Trophy has a variety of quasi-useful death powers. But more importantly, she has a second chance at unplanned parenthood.

“Muhammad Ali” (Docuseries) – Directed by Sarah Burns, Ken Burns, and David McMahon (Premieres September 19 on PBS)

This four-part documentary follows the life of one of the most consequential men of the 20th century, a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated billions of fans with his combination of speed, agility, and power in the ring, and his charm, wit, and outspokenness outside of it. At the height of his fame, Ali challenged Americans’ racial prejudices, religious biases, and notions about what roles celebrities and athletes play in our society, and inspired people all over the world with his message of pride and self-affirmation.

“NCIS: Hawaii” (Premieres September 20 on CBS)

The world’s most successful television series continues on the seductive shores of Hawai’i as the first female Special Agent in Charge of NCIS Pearl Harbor (Vanessa Lachey) takes command. She and her team balance duty to family and country, investigating high-stakes crimes involving military personnel, national security, and the mysteries of the island itself. This NCIS: Hawai’i team is a skilled mix of mainland transplants who’ve re-located to the tranquility of the Pacific and wizened locals who know their mahalo from kapu.

“The Big Leap” – Created by Liz Heldens (Premieres September 20 on Fox)

“The Big Leap” is a modern tale about second chances, chasing your dreams, and taking back what’s yours. The show revolves around a group of diverse, down-on-their-luck characters attempting to change their lives by participating in a potentially life-ruining reality dance show featuring a modern reimagining of “Swan Lake.”

“Our Kind of People” – Created by Karin Gist (Premieres September 21 on Fox)

Inspired by Lawrence Otis Graham’s provocative, critically acclaimed book, “Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class,” the series takes place in the aspirational world of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, a historical stronghold where the rich and powerful Black elite have come to play for over 50 years. “Our Kind of People” follows a strong-willed single mom as she sets out to reclaim her family’s name and make an impact with her revolutionary haircare line that highlights the innate, natural beauty of Black women. But she soon discovers a dark secret about her own mother’s past that will turn her world upside-down and shake up this community forever.

“Jaguar” – Created by Gema R. Neira and Ramón Campos (Premieres September 22 on Netflix)

In the 1960s, Spain became a home to hundreds of survivors of the Mauthausen camp. Isabel (Blanca Suárez), a young Spanish woman, is one of them. She is looking for Skorzeny, Europe’s most dangerous man, but she is not alone.

“Nuclear Family” (Docuseries) – Directed by Ry Russo-Young (Premieres September 26 on HBO and HBO Max)

“Nuclear Family” is a three-part documentary series following filmmaker Ry Russo-Young as she turns the camera on her own past to explore the meaning of family. In the late ’70s/early ’80s, when the concept of a gay family was inconceivable to most, Ry and her sister Cade were born to two lesbian mothers through sperm donors. Ry’s idyllic childhood was threatened by an unexpected lawsuit which sent shockwaves through her family’s lives and continues to reverberate today. 

“The Way Down” (Docuseries) – Directed by Marina Zenovich (Premieres September 30 on HBO Max)

This five-part documentary series explores the Tennessee-based Remnant Fellowship Church and its charismatic leader Gwen Shamblin Lara, author and founder of the Christian weight loss program “The Weigh Down Workshop.” The series explores Lara’s rise to fame and power as a diet guru and church leader, revealing the surprising truth behind her carefully curated image and detailing the controversial practices of the church, including stories of abuse and exploitation as told by former members and others who were personally impacted.

“Cheyenne & Lola” – Created by Virginie Brac (Premieres September 30 on Sundance Now and AMC+)

Cheyenne (Veerle Baetens), 35, recently released from prison, is a tattoo artist who cleans the ferries between France and the U.K. to save money for a future life. Lola (Charlotte Le Bon), 25, is a beautiful Parisian woman, selfish and ruthless, who has just arrived in the North of France to move in with her lover. The past catches up with Cheyenne when she witnesses Lola killing her lover’s wife. Cheyenne assumes she’s going to be accused of the crime and Cheyenne and Lola ripen into a ruthless duo.

Returning Series

“Queen Sugar” – Created by Ava DuVernay (OWN, September 7)

“Back to Life” – Created by Daisy Haggard (Showtime, September 13)

“The Morning Show” – Created by Kerry Ehrin and Jay Carson (Apple TV+, September 17)

“Sex Education” – Created by Laurie Nunn (Netflix, September 17)

“The Resident” – Created by Amy Holden Jones, Hayley Schore, and Roshan Sethi (Fox, September 21)

“The Great North” – Created by Minty Lewis, Wendy Molyneux, and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin (Fox, September 26)

“Grey’s Anatomy” – Created by Shonda Rhimes (ABC, September 30)

“Station 19” – Created by Stacy McKee (ABC, September 30)

“Big Sky” (ABC, September 30)

Follow Women and Hollywood on Twitter @WomenaHollywood and Melissa Silverstein @melsil

To contact Women and Hollywood, email