BitchWatch: 11 TV Shows Feminists Should Watch This Summer

Michaela Coel as Arabella Essiedu in I May Destroy You (Photo credit: Natalie Seery/HBO)

This summer has been many things, but relaxing isn’t one of them. But, as we look for brief, much-needed distractions from the fresh hell that’s 2020, we’re grateful for the new worlds presented to us onscreen: worlds where queer women of color skateboard together or where Black women find love and support when they need it most. For those of us who crave a world that’s better or different from our own, here are 11 shows we recommend watching this summer. 

1. Betty

Betty (2020): Official Trailer | HBO

{ HBO }
Release Date: May 1, 2020

Betty is a continuation of the 2018 film Skate Kitchen (directed by Crystal Moselle), which follows a young woman who joins an all-female group of skateboarders in New York City. Betty expands upon the stories of these skateboarders, who are largely queer and women of color, as they fall, support one another, learn new tricks, fall in love, and fight the patriarchy—or, as Niko Stratis notes in a recent review of the show for Bitch, “start helping the matriarchy instead.” Betty is a breath of fresh air: We get to spend time with young women who are empowering themselves and relying on their friendships to pull them through tough moments.

2. I May Destroy You

I May Destroy You | Official Trailer | HBO

{ HBO }
Release Date: June 7, 2020

If you’re not already watching HBO’s I May Destroy You, you’ve probably at least heard about it as the buzz continues to grow. The 12-episode series was written, codirected, and executive produced by Michaela Coel, who previously created Chewing Gum, an incredible comedy that Vulture called a “hidden gem.” But I May Destroy You takes a different tone. Arabella (Coel) wakes up with little memory of the previous night, before remembering that she’d been drugged and possibly raped at a bar. The show beautifully ruminates on consent, autonomy, and self; it’s essential viewing, though the subject matter is sometimes difficult to watch.

3. The Chi, Season 3

The Chi Season 3 (2020) Official Teaser | SHOWTIME

{ Showtime }
Release Date: June 21, 2020

The Chi, an hourlong drama created by Lena Waithe, explores life on the South Side of Chicago. After premiering in 2018, the show got picked up for a third season this summer, and features a number of new characters, including Waithe herself who will portray a local politician. The Chi pushes back against stereotypes about Chicago, prioritizing distinctive storylines over tropes about the city’s murder rate and depicting the importance of love and growth over pessimism and hopelessness. Though Jason Mitchell’s character, Brandon, has been killed off the show because of controversy about his behavior on the show’s set, this season is still worth watching, especially because it has a compelling storyline about missing Black girls.

4. Adventure Time: Distant Lands: BMO

BMO Full Trailer | Adventure Time: Distant Lands

{ HBO Max }
Release Date: June 25, 2020

Adventure Time, created by Pendleton Ward, has brought us some of the best queer representation in animation, and some of the most empowering plotlines. Now the series is launching four new specials, each featuring different characters from the Land of Ooo, beginning with BMO (Niki Yang), who ends up on a space adventure that quickly becomes complicated. The other Distant Lands specials will feature Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch) and Marceline the Vampire Queen (Olivia Olson), Peppermint Butler (Steve Little), and Finn (Jeremy Shada) and Jake (John DiMaggio).

5. Warrior Nun

Warrior Nun | Official Trailer | Netflix

{ Netflix }
Release Date: July 2, 2020

Based on Warrior Nun Areala, Ben Dunn’s 1994 comic book, Warrior Nun revolves around a teen girl named Ava (Portuguese actor Alba Baptista), who dies and wakes up in a morgue with a massive responsibility to fight demons and save the world. Sometimes, violence is essential to a young woman finding her power, and this young woman is more than ready to do whatever it takes. It resonates with those of us who are feeling frustrated and incapable of changing our own worlds.

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6. Ju-On: Origins

Ju-On: Origins | Official Trailer | Netflix

{ Netflix }
Release Date: July 3, 2020

In Ju-On: Origins, a researcher digs deep into the story that began in the 2002 film Ju-On: The Grudge. A house is cursed because a woman was assaulted and found dead with her child missing. As the investigation uncovers new information and the truth is revealed, the story becomes even more terrifying, offering an even deeper perspective on the relationship between horror and motherhood.

7. The Baby-Sitters Club

The Baby-Sitters Club Official Trailer | Netflix Futures

{ Netflix }
Release Date: July 3, 2020

In 2019, Netflix announced its plan to adapt Ann Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club book series by Ann M. Martin into a TV show. Now, we’ll get to revisit the lives of the five teenage friends who create a babysitting business, Kristy Thomas (Sophie Grace), Mary Anne Spier (Malia Baker), Claudia Kishi (Momona Tamada), Stacey McGill (Shay Rudolph), and Dawn Schafer (Xochitl Gomez). While nostalgia will be the driving force behind us giving this reboot a shot, it’s the show’s willingness to take on topics like racism and privilege that’ll keep us watching.

8. Stateless

Stateless | Official Trailer | Netflix

{ Netflix }
Release Date: July 8, 2020

Stateless is a six-part drama that follows four strangers—a woman escaping a cult, a refugee and his family, a young father, and a bureaucrat—who meet at an immigration detention center in Australia. It was created by Cate Blanchett, Elise McCredie, and Tony Ayres, who explained in a statement, “Our hope is that Stateless will generate a global conversation around our systems of border protection and how our humanity has been affected by them.” I’ll be watching to see if it manages to do just that, considering the murkiness presented when majority-white creators take on the complicated, politicized nature of immigration.

9. Killer Camp

Killer Camp | Really Hurt | Season Trailer | The CW

{ CW }
Release Date: July 16, 2020

In Killer Camp, 11 participants are duped into attending a summer camp only to realize they’re participating in a series that calls out to the trope of the summer camp killer. It’s on the diverse group of campers to figure out who’s the killer among the group. But don’t worry: It’s not all blood, gore, and terror. The show is actually a comedy, with British comedian Bobby Mair at the helm. If you tend to find yourself strangely calmed by the bizarre likes of the Scary Movie series or humorous whodunnits, Killer Camp is the perfect summer distraction.

10. Wynonna Earp, Season 4

Wynonna Earp | Official Season 4 Trailer (UNCENSORED) | Premieres Sunday July 26 At 10/9c | SYFY

{ Syfy }
Release Date: July 26, 2020

An adaptation of Beau Smith’s comic book miniseries, Wynonna Earp is a beloved supernatural drama that combines the best elements of science fiction and fantasy while prioritizing queer narratives. The much-begged for fourth season follows the breaking of a pivotal curse, a diabolical enemy, portals, and the adventures of Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano) herself as she and her seek to rid her hometown, Purgatory, of demons. It’s a wild trip through the fictionalized wild west, making it a perfect distraction. 

11. The Umbrella Academy, Season 2

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY Season 2 Date Revealed Trailer (2019) Netflix Series HD

Starring Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Tom Hopper, Cameron Britton, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, and others, The Umbrella Academy’s second season takes place following an apocalypse. Still, there are many questions to be answered: Where have these superhero siblings disappeared to? What troubles will they face next? And will they succeed? The show, called “as good as it is weird,” is sure to be a worthy summer watch.

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by Rachel Charlene Lewis
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Rachel Charlene Lewis is the Senior Editor at Bitch. She has written about culture, identity, and the internet for publications including i-D, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Greatist, Glamour, Autostraddle, Ravishly, SELF, StyleCaster, The Frisky (RIP), The Mary Sue, and elsewhere. Her literary work, reviews, and interviews have been published in Catapult, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Normal School, Publisher’s Weekly, The Offing, and in several other magazines. She is on Twitter and Instagram, always.