Amy Sherman-Palladino sure knows how to write a strong female character. She gained fame creating the insanely popular Gilmore Girls, a show built around the memorable titular mother and daughter duo. She most recently won multiple Emmys for her Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which stars Rachel Brosnahan as a pioneering female comedian in the 1950s. And now, Amy Sherman-Palladino's new Amazon show tells the story of a whole new group of inspiring women.
Sherman-Palladino is developing this new show with her husband and creative partner Daniel Palladino, who created Gilmore Girls, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and other series alongside Sherman-Palladino. The new series is based on Mary Gabriel's 2019 book Ninth Street Women. The book tells the real-life story of five female artists Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler who became abstract painters in the male-dominated field in the mid-20th century. According to the official description of the book, "These women changed American art and society, tearing up the prevailing social code and replacing it with a doctrine of liberation."
The description of the book definitely has a few similarities to the plot of Maisel. Both are period pieces set in New York, and both focus on women making a mark for themselves in creative fields that traditionally don't include women. If the success of Maisel, which just began production on its third season, is any indicator, then the Ninth Street Women series will have no trouble finding an audience.
While the series will obviously focus on the five women at its center, there's a good chance it will also feature prominent male artists of the time. Krasner was the wife of Jackson Pollack, the artist famous for his massive splatter paintings, while Elaine de Kooning was married to Willem de Kooning. The other women were also in relationships with notable abstract expressionist painters. Grace Hartigan was married to artist Harry Jackson, Helen Frankenthaler was married to artist Robert Motherwell, and Joan Mitchell had a long and tumultuous relationship with Canadian artist Jean-Paul Riopelle. It could be interesting to see how the women's relationships play out amidst their painting careers.
While Sherman-Palladino loves to create TV shows that focus on women's stories, she also loves to put nuanced male characters into all her series. In a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone, Sherman-Palladino talked about wanting to present characters that grow instead of remaining one-note bad or good, especially when it comes to men. She said:
Sometimes people who have the biggest journey to take are the most interesting characters in the end. What I don’t like about a lot of shows that center on woman is, they tend to make the men universal villains.
The Ninth Street Women series is part of the Palladinos' producing deal with Amazon, so the series is sure to premiere on the streaming site. There's no word yet on when production will begin on the series, but it'll likely premiere after the third season of Maisel hits Amazon next year.