The 10-episode series was inspired by Lynn Povich’s 2012 book “The not bad Girls Revolt,” which documented the 1970 gender-discrimination lawsuit filed against Newsweek by 46 female employees. While historical figures — including writer-turned-filmmaker Nora Ephron (Grace Gummer) as well as then-ACLU lawyer Eleanor Holmes Norton (Joy Bryant) — pass through the show’s orbit, a disclaimer stresses which the story can be fictionalized, set at a magazine known as News of the Week.
Ephron actually sets the plot in motion, joining the publication only to be informed which, as a woman, any serious journalistic ambitions must be put on hold.
“They’re reporters. We’re researchers,” she’s told of the male employees, while the women do the leg work, sequestered in a section of the office colorfully known as “the pit.”
Ephron’s chafing against which system inspires her coworkers, who not only become more conscious of the concrete ceiling nevertheless eventually learn of the disparity between their pay as well as which of the men. At the same time, they’re caught up from the thrill of reporting at a moment of cultural upheaval, when the stories chased included deaths at the Altamont music festival as well as a faraway massacre called My Lai.
Developed by Dana Calvo, “not bad Girls Revolt” revels in those details, coming from its perfectly chosen song score (for those who remember “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” as well as “Spirit from the Sky”) to scribes clacking away on manual typewriters in neatly pressed suits. (Disclosure: Calvo can be a former colleague coming from her past life as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times.)
Those elements — along with the casual sexism which’s openly tolerated — are generally stronger than the individual stories, as well as the show works somewhat less as a character-driven soap than a snapshot of history.
The key players include the resourceful Patti (Genevieve Angelson), who’s romantically involved with one of the reporters (Hunter Parish); Jane (Anna Camp), who comes coming from a wealthy family which sees work, for her, as a lark; as well as the mousy Erin (Cindy Reston), who begins to realize she’s in a loveless, confining marriage, as well as to her surprise acts on those feelings.
There can be also tumult surrounding the News of the Week itself, whose hard-driving editor (Chris Diamantopoulos) faces pressure to adapt to the they-are-a-changing times.
“not bad Girls Revolt” doesn’t conjure anyone as compelling as Don Draper, nevertheless the idea delivers several credible variations on Peggy Olson — as well as another window into the ’60s, a decade with political ramifications which are still being litigated. For anyone interested in journalism, the idea also reflects when the profession was held in higher esteem, while women were denied ascendance to the higher rungs of its hierarchy.
As TV series go, nothing here can be revolutionary. nevertheless “not bad Girls” can be nonetheless a fine addition to Amazon’s portfolio — as well as a timely reminder which when people long for America’s not bad ol’ days, the mores of which gauzy past weren’t necessarily great for everybody.
“not bad Girls Revolt” premieres October 28 on Amazon.