Renee Zellweger coming to television to headline the soapy Netflix drama What/If is a delicious development for 2019 TV. One of the most justly praised aspects of the Peak TV era is how often it has produced roles for actresses who haven't been served well in feature films in recent years. TV has been fertile ground for women since I Love Lucy, of course, but the boom on cable networks and eventually streaming really expanded the field for daring, challenging, rewarding roles. Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the City, Mary-Louise Parker on Weeds, Mary McDonnell on Battlestar Galactica, and Glenn Close and Rose Byrne on Damages are some of the earliest examples. Often, actresses who we never even knew had the chops finally got their moments to shine, like Jeanne Tripplehorn on Big Love, Gretchen Mol on Boardwalk Empire and Emmy Rossum on Shameless.
These days, the line between movie and TV actress is pretty much non-existent, and the line of recent Best Actress winners is block solid with women with TV in their past (Brie Larson on United States of Tara; Olivia Colman on Broadchurch) and/or their future (Emma Stone on Maniac). This summer, with Julia Roberts and Amy Adams poised to get Emmy nominations and Meryl Streep joining a Big Little Lies cast that already includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Dern, it truly seems like the idea of "too big for TV" is nonexistent. Bring it on, Renee.
SERIES PREMIERE: It's not just the Renee-ssance that has us teeming for What/If; it's that Netflix seems to be diving headfirst into soapy drama from the mind of Revenge creator Mike Kelley. And don't discount Jane Levy, who has been nailing it on Hulu's Castle Rock, and will headline Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist next season on NBC. Streaming on Netflix
SEASON FINALE: The second season finale of The CW's Dynasty sees various members of the Carrington family torn between preserving their legacies and protecting their personal relationships. Fallon (Elizabeth Gilles) is seemingly surrounded by enemies by season's end. 8:00 PM ET on The CW
NEW SEASON: In Netflix's typical "more is more" fashion, What/If isn't their only big TV season dropping today. The second year of the Spike Lee adaptation She's Gotta Have It is out, putting Fort Greene once again on the TV map. In the interval between seasons 1 and 2, star DeWanda Wise showed up in the Netflix original Someone Great as Gina Rodriguez's best friend, and she was excellent. That's reason enough to watch. Streaming on Netflix
SEASON PREMIERE: After a highly acclaimed first season that won awards from, among others, GLAAD and the SXSW film festival, the Starz series Vida is back for Season 2. The series drops in its entirety on Starz's on-demand platform today, and will also air two back-to-back episodes weekly, Sundays at 9 PM. The series follows Mexican-American sisters Emma and Lyn as they return to their old eastside Los Angeles neighborhood and learn some shocking family truths. Streaming on STARZ
Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.