Female directors wouldn’t be making such significant strides in television if it weren’t for those who set the stage.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Episode: “Chuckles Bites the Dust” (1975). The death of the WJM clown triggers gallows humor and a giggle fit for the ages.
Director: Joan Darling.
Where to stream: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu.
Cagney & Lacey
Episode: “Turn, Turn Turn” (1987). Christine Cagney faces her ultimate adversary — alcoholism — in this powerful two-parter.
Director: Sharron Miller.
Where: Amazon, iTunes.
Episode: “Love’s Labor Lost” (1995). A seemingly routine procedure turns into a Shakespearean tragedy in the long-running series’ most devastating hour.
Director: Mimi Leder.
Where: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, DVD.
Episode: “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency” (2009). The one with the lawn mower.
Director: Lesli Linka Glatter.
Where: AMC.com, Amazon, Vudu, Netflix.
Episode: “Do You Know What It Means.” (2010) The pilot episode revolves around the first parade in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, establishing that this underappreciated series would be more about music than plot.
Director: Agnieszka Holland.
Where: HBO Go, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.