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Women-Centric TV Shows Dominate WGAs

Awards
by Inkoo Kang
December 10, 2013 11:19 AM
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Archie Panjabi and Julianna Margulies in 'The Good Wife'

If the so-called Golden Age of Television -- a cultural epoch that deconstructed traditional masculinity while reveling in violence and guilt (The SopranosBreaking Bad, and Mad Men) -- is now over, we appear to be living in a second Golden Age -- one for women on TV. 

As the recent career resurgences of The Good Wife's Julianne Margulies, Homeland's Claire Danes, Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Masters of Sex's Lizzy Caplan illustrate, television can often be a richer environment for actresses than film, especially those who have aged out of "ingenue" roles. 

The nominees for the Writers Guild Awards bear witness to that fact. Two of the five Best Drama nominees and four of the five Best Comedy WGA nominees feature a female protagonist. Among the Best New Series categories, three of the five recognized shows have a female lead or co-lead. 

Margulies (The Good Wife) and Danes (Homeland) star in the two Best Drama nominees, while Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), and Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black) head the Best Comedy shows. 

The Best New Shows suggest an equitable future, with Schilling (Orange is the New Black), Keri Russell (The Americans), and co-lead Caplan (Masters of Sex) headlining their respective series.

Unsurprisingly, many of these excellent female-centric shows have women showrunners in the background, such as Michelle Ashford (Masters of Sex), Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black), and Tina Fey (30 Rock). But just as many actress vehicles, like HomelandVeep, and Parks and Rec have male head writers. 

Interesting and complicated female protagonists can come from any writer wiling to create and explore them, and audiences won't care care whether a series is led by a woman or a man as long as it offers good writing and directing. That's a lesson the film industry is learning stunningly slowly. 

Scroll down for a list of the nominees in the three main WGA categories. The female-led shows are in bold. The shows with male leads are included in the list below so as to celebrate the contributions of those their female writers. 

TELEVISION NOMINEES

DRAMA SERIES

Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC

The Good Wife, Written by Meredith Averill, Leonard Dick, Keith Eisner, Jacqueline Hoyt, Ted Humphrey, Michelle King, Robert King, Erica Shelton Kodish, Matthew Montoya, J.C. Nolan, Luke Schelhaas, Nichelle Tramble Spellman, Craig Turk, Julie Wolfe; CBS

Homeland, Written by Henry Bromell, William E. Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Barbara Hall, Patrick Harbinson, Chip Johannessen, Meredith Stiehm, Charlotte Stoudt, James Yoshimura; Showtime

House Of Cards, Written by Kate Barnow, Rick Cleveland, Sam R. Forman, Gina Gionfriddo, Keith Huff, Sarah Treem, Beau Willimon; Netflix

Mad Men, Written by Lisa Albert, Semi Chellas, Jason Grote, Jonathan Igla, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Janet Leahy, Erin Levy, Michael Saltzman, Tom Smuts, Matthew Weiner, Carly Wray; AMC

COMEDY SERIES

30 Rock, Written by Jack Burditt, Robert Carlock, Tom Ceraulo, Luke Del Tredici, Tina Fey, Lang Fisher, Matt Hubbard, Colleen McGuinness, Sam Means, Dylan Morgan, Nina Pedrad, Josh Siegal, Tracey Wigfield; NBC

Modern Family, Written by Paul Corrigan, Bianca Douglas, Megan Ganz, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Audra Sielaff, Emily Spivey, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker; ABC

Parks And Recreation, Written by Megan Amram, Donick Cary, Greg Daniels, Nate DiMeo, Emma Fletcher, Rachna Fruchbom, Daniel J. Goor, Norm Hiscock, Matt Hubbard, Dave King, Greg Levine, Joe Mande, Sam Means, Aisha Muharrar, Matt Murray, Amy Poehler, Alexandra Rushfield, Michael Schur, Jen Statsky, Harris Wittels, Alan Yang; NBC

Orange Is The New Black, Written by Liz Friedman, Sian Heder, Tara Herrmann, Sara Hess, Nick Jones, Jenji Kohan, Gary Lennon, Lauren Morelli, Marco Ramirez; Netflix

Veep, Written by Simon Blackwell, Roger Drew, Sean Gray, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, Georgia Pritchett, David Quantick, Tony Roche, Will Smith; HBO

NEW SERIES

The Americans, Written by Michael Batistick, Joshua Brand, Joel Fields, Melissa James Gibson, Sneha Koorse, Joe Weisberg, Bradford Winters; FX

House Of Cards, Written by Kate Barnow, Rick Cleveland, Sam R. Forman, Gina Gionfriddo, Keith Huff, Sarah Treem, Beau Willimon; Netflix

Masters Of Sex, Written by Michelle Ashford, Tyler Bensinger, Michael Cunningham, Lyn Greene, Richard Levine, Amy Lippman, Sam Shaw, Noelle Valdivia; Showtime

Orange Is The New Black, Written by Liz Friedman, Sian Heder, Tara Herrmann, Sara Hess, Nick Jones, Jenji Kohan, Gary Lennon, Lauren Morelli, Marco Ramirez; Netflix

Ray Donovan, Written by Ann Biderman, Sean Conway, David Hollander, Brett Johnson, Ron Nyswaner; Showtime

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