Year after year we’re disappointed by “Game of Thrones,” an addictive and entertaining series that clearly prides itself on its depictions of powerful female characters yet doesn’t hire women to helm episodes. Happily a new show on HBO boasts a much more female-friendly directing roster. The first season of “Room 104” premieres on the premium cable network today, and women directed or co-directed eight of its 12 episodes, amounting to about 67 percent of the season. Helmers include So Yong Kim (“Transparent”), Megan Griffiths (“The Night Stalker”), and Anna Boden (“The Affair”) — the latter having co-directed with frequent collaborator Ryan Fleck. (The pair have signed on to direct Brie Larson-starrer “Captain Marvel.”)
Created by Mark and Jay Duplass, the anthology series is set in room 104 of a low-budget U.S. hotel and follows all of the drama that occurs therein. As great as it is to see so many women directors employed in a season of television, it’s especially noteworthy — and heartening — because “Room 104” is created by men.
Series that have made headlines for employing high numbers of women directors like “Call the Midwife,” “Transparent,” “Queen Sugar,” “Jessica Jones,” “Harlots,” and “Gypsy” all have something in common: they were created by women. “Regardless of platform, programs with at least one women creator and/or executive producer featured higher percentages of women in other key behind-the-scenes roles,” Dr. Martha Lauzen concluded in her study of the 2015–16 TV season. That same report found that women directors accounted for just eight percent of directors on cable and streaming shows.
So kudos to the Duplass brothers, who presumably made a conscious effort to ensure that “Room 104” wasn’t directed solely — or mostly — by men. And maybe they didn’t intentionally seek out women and just chose the best people for the job — that’s cool too. It shows that they don’t have narrow-minded views about what a director looks like.
See below for a list of “Room 104's” women directors.
Sarah Adina Smith (two episodes)
So Yong Kim
Megan Griffiths (two episodes)
Anna Boden (with Ryan Fleck)
The First Season of HBO’s “Room 104” is Over 50 Percent Women-Directed was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.