Football season, Virgo season, back-to-school season, leather jacket season, the earliest pumpkin spice latte season on record—no matter what we think of when we free-associate about autumn, it’s safe to say that there’s something about this equinox that really makes us want to whip ourselves back into boss mode. How, you ask? Seeking inspiration from pop culture is always a good way to ignite our best—but perhaps more latent—qualities. And this season, of course, we’re focusing on kicking our inner Big Boss Energy into high gear.
To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of all the fall TV shows and movies to watch, the books to read, and the music and podcasts to listen to that will help you feel like the badass boss you already are.
Fall TV Shows
Premiere date: October 6th, The CW
Ruby Rose takes up Bruce Wayne’s Kevlar suit in the newest installment of the DC Comics franchise. Batwoman takes us back to the deep, dark world of Gotham, three years after the mysterious disappearance of its masked vigilante hero. (That would be Batman, for the few uninitiated.)
Rose plays Kate Kane, whose father’s security firm is now charged with protecting the crime-ridden city against the Alice in Wonderland gang, which, according to the trailer, is just as creepy as the name sounds. Oh, and did we mention that Kate is also Batman’s cousin? When the gang captures Kate’s girlfriend, the ex-soldier commissions a bespoke Batsuit and springs to action.
Premiere date: November 17th, Netflix
Put on the kettle and break out the digestive biscuits: The Crown is coming back to Netflix with a brand-new, star-powered cast taking on the royal roles. Oscar-winning actor Olivia Colman succeeds Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II; Tobias Menzies (whom you may recognize from Game of Thrones, Outlander, or Black Mirror) will replace Matt Smith as Prince Philip; and Helena Bonham Carter, who needs no introduction, will play Princess Margaret.
Season 3 picks up in 1964, about where Season 2 left off. Showrunner Peter Morgan told Entertainment Weekly that the new season will focus mainly on Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon’s rocky relationship, but it’ll also offer us a peek inside the Charles-Camilla-Diana love triangle. Personally, we hope the new season will offer us a look inside QEII’s infamous tiny handbags.
3The Morning Show
Premiere date: November (TBA), Apple TV Plus
In a series born in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, The Morning Show opens with a female news anchor (played by none other than Jennifer Aniston) delivering the “sad and upsetting news” that her male co-host (Steve Carrell) has been fired due to allegations of sexual misconduct. Sound familiar?
The all-star cast also boasts Reese Witherspoon as Bradley Jackson, a boldly outspoken field reporter, plus Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Crudup, and Mark Duplass. According to Variety, women take the lead behind the scenes of The Morning Show, too. The series is directed by Mimi Leder (On the Basis of Sex), written by Kerry Ehrin (who’s also written for Bates Motel, Friday Night Lights, and Parenthood), and executive produced by Aniston, Kristin Hahn, and Witherspoon, among other co-producers.
1Missy Elliott, Iconology
Release date: August 23rd
Missy Elliott may have released Iconology in August, but listen: We’ve been waiting 14 years for her to drop new music, so we’ll be playing this five-song EP on repeat until at least 2022. Elliott hasn’t stayed completely out of the spotlight—she’s released a few singles and collaborated with major players like Lizzo, Ariana Grande, and Pharrell—but Iconology is the first of the rapper-singer-producer’s entirely original work since 2005’s The Cookbook. And trust us, it’s worth the wait.
Pro tip: Watch the music video for “Throw it Back” to get you pumped for the gym. You’ll crush it.
2The Highwomen, The Highwomen
Release date: September 6th
Country music will get a major (and much-needed) boost of female-driven BBE this fall with The Highwomen, the first album from the brand-new supergroup of the same name. The four Highwomen—Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby—formed into a group when the artists listened to themselves singing a Hemby demo in unison and realized working together could make something special.
If you’re into country, you’ll probably notice that the band’s name is a play on the legendary supergroup The Highwaymen, which included Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson. We can’t wait to watch the women breeze past the dudes this fall.
3Kim Gordon, No Home Record
Release date: October 11th
Former Sonic Youth bass player and founding member Kim Gordon has been an icon for nearly 40 years, so it’s hard to believe that she hasn’t yet released an album under her own name. But we have good news for grunge lovers, messy bang wearers, and people who also believe that women invented punk rock, not England: On October 11th, Gordon will finally drop her first solo album, No Home Record.
Take a look at the video for the album’s first single, “Sketch Artist”—which stars “Broad City” actor Abbi Jacobsen and Gordon herself—to get you in a big moody mood ahead of its release.
Premiere date: September 13th
Hustlers was inspired by New York Magazine’s viral 2015 article “The Hustlers at Scores,” in which Jessica Pressler profiles the real-life strip club employees who stole from some of the club’s crazy-wealthy, “mostly asshole” male patrons, as the article says. And if the film’s insanely stacked cast is any indication, we think the Lorene Scafaria-directed comedy-drama will do justice to its source material.
Jennifer Lopez (who also produced the film alongside Will Ferrell and Adam McKay), Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, and Cardi B all star. It’s the ensemble cast we never knew we needed.
In the film, Lopez plays Ramona, a veteran dancer who enlists newbie Destiny (Wu) and the other dancers in a scheme to take cash from their Wall Street clients amid the 2008 financial crisis. Badass, much?
Premiere date: November 1st
In this long-overdue biopic, Tony Award-winning actor Cynthia Erivo portrays Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave and abolitionist whose heroic efforts conducting the Underground Railroad freed an estimated 300 people from slavery. Janelle Monae, Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles, and Leslie Odom, Jr. also star. Harriet is helmed by director Kasi Lemmons, who also directed an episode of Madam C.J. Walker, Netflix’s upcoming series about America’s first black self-made millionaire (who so happens to be a woman). We’re hoping Lemmons’ new film is impactful enough to kickstart the stalled plan to put Tubman’s face on the new $20 bill.
Premiere date: November 15th
If you once identified as a Natalie, a Dylan, or an Alex, get ready to meet your brand new angel-heroes. In this rebooted version of the ’70s series and ’00s movies, Kristen Stewart plays wild-child Sabina Wilson; Ella Balinska takes on ex-MI6 agent Jane Kano; and Naomi Scott portrays scientist Elena Houghlin. Director Elizabeth Banks also takes a starring role as just one of the movie’s three Bosleys, a private investigator and the Angels’ manager/handler/liaison with the enigmatic Charlie.
Charlie’s Angels will pay homage to its original iterations, but Banks made a concerted effort to update the film to 2019 standards.
We can’t wait to watch the new Angels crack some codes, save the world, and probably take down the patriarchy.
1The Testaments: A Novel by Margaret Atwood
Release date: September 10th
Whether you’re a novel purist or a Hulu diehard, The Handmaid’s Tale fans will be thrilled to dive into The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s highly anticipated sequel to the groundbreaking feminist novel. In The Testaments, Atwood drops us off 15 years after (spoiler alert!) Offred escapes from Gilead, as seen in the final chapter of the original 1985 novel.
Reviews and details about The Testaments have been kept largely under wraps; but considering that it’s been long-listed for the 2019 Booker Prize ahead of its publication—and that it was written by Margaret Atwood—we’re confident that the legendary writer’s 17th novel (!) will not disappoint.
2Face It by Debbie Harry
Release date: October 1st
In Face It, her first memoir, singer/activist/icon/perennial cool-girl Debbie Harry recounts her decades-long career as the frontwoman of revolutionary band Blondie. This collection of essays, interviews, illustrations, and photographs also dives deep into New York’s gritty downtown scene in the 1970s, in which Harry was a fixture alongside icons like the Ramones, Television, and the Talking Heads.
If that doesn’t scream “woman seizing agency over her body, sexuality, and representation”…we really don’t know what to tell you.
3Grand Union by Zadie Smith
Release date: October 3rd
Since White Teeth—her debut novel published when she was just 25—Zadie Smith has become one of the most acclaimed writers of her generation. The novelist, essayist, editor, short story writer, and general genius’s most recent book release was last year’s essay collection Feel Free. But Grand Union will be her first fiction release since 2017’s Swing Time, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Seriously, what can’t this woman do?
Grand Union, which is Smith’s first story collection, aggregates 19 of the writer’s new and previously published short fiction. According to the publisher, the collection “[moves] exhilaratingly across genres and perspectives, from the historic to the vividly current to the slyly dystopian.”
1Dare I Say
In this activism-focused podcast from Harper’s Bazaar, host Olivia Wilde “sits in on unfiltered conversations between some of the most influential women of our time.” Among other guests, Season 1 features conversations between Jane Fonda and Patrisse Khan-Cullors on white supremacy; models Candice Huffine and Precious Lee on fashion’s diversity problem; Sarah Weddington, the attorney who represented “Jane Roe” in the Roe v. Wade case; and former Planned Parenthood president Dr. Leana Wen on the state of women’s reproductive rights. Season 1 of Dare I Say only has seven episodes, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a Season 2.
2Safe for Work
If you’re considered to be an “average human” (whatever that actually means), then it’s estimated that you’ll spend one-third of your life at work. So to really be able to call yourself your own boss, you have to make that sizable portion of your life as happy and fulfilling as possible. Easier said than done, we know, but the Safe for Work podcast can help you out.
Hosts Rico Gagliano and Liz Dolan (who was the former head of marketing at Nike, The Oprah Winfrey Network, and National Geographic) cover some of your most mulled-over work questions, like networking skills, handling the infamous “work-life balance,” and how introverts can navigate the social side of the office. Episodes clock in at under 40 minutes, which makes this the perfect complement for your daily commute.
It’s entirely acceptable to self-identify as a boss and still need a little help with this whole “being an adult” thing—so consider Adulting your PA in that department. In this podcast, comedians Michelle Buteau and Jordan Carlos address the questions and concerns that secretly plague most adults these days, like: “Are real adults allowed to cry on the subway?” And: “Do I have to wash new underpants before I wear them?” Or how about: “Is dating your weed dealer who’s in an open relationship #adulting?”
The short answers to these questions are: Yes, probably, and absolutely not. But with a seriously impressive roster of guests from the comedy world—think Samantha Bee, Jim Gaffigan, Aparna Nancherla, and Jaboukie Young-White—you’ll want to hang on to every hilarious word of this podcast’s 16 available episodes. At the very least, you’ll feel a little better about not having everything totally figured out, because, guess what? None of us do.
We hope this fresh crop of shows, movies, music, books, and podcasts encourage you to feel powerful and in control this season. Now get to work.