American Woman premiered on Paramount Network earlier this month, delivering viewers into a meticulously recreated 1970s Los Angeles, where emerging women’s empowerment clashed with the stubborn and smothering traditions of an old-guard patriarchy.
The series, starring Alicia Silverstone as a bold divorcée who struggles to raise two daughters after dumping her cheating husband, resonated immediately, drawing in more than one million viewers and establishing itself as the year’s highest-rated half-hour scripted series on cable in the key women’s 18-49 and 25-54 demographics. It was also the top social comedy series on Thursday night (per Nielsen).
That American Woman debuted to stellar reviews didn’t hurt. Silverstone especially has been a critical favorite.
“Plain and simple, Silverstone is perfect casting here, and she is great in this role,” wrote Decider’s Lea Palmieri. “She nails the humor, she looks fantastic, and she delivers the intended message and that go-getter attitude in her signature, captivating style. It’s enjoyable to see this woman in particular portray another woman who is as determined to start a new life as she once was to help a classmate become cool.”
Working alongside co-stars Mena Suvari and Jennifer Bartels, Silverstone struggles through a 1970s world that, in its musical score, its publicly abrasive treatment of women, its clothes and its cars, is as convincing as it is alien to an observer from 2018.
“The success of a period piece like American Woman, which deals with an era that at least some of its audience will have known in person, depends greatly on the quality of the atmosphere it creates,” writes MediaPost’s Adam Buckman, who counts himself among those who experienced the 1970s IRL. “This show gets an A+ in this department, including wardrobe, locations, cars and interior décor.”
American Woman, which is inspired by the real-life childhood of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kyle Richards, marks the second scripted original to debut on Paramount Network. Waco, a six-part miniseries recounting the 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian’s Texas compound in 1993, premiered in January as the highest-rated drama series premiere on cable since July 2017.
Last night, Paramount Network launched its first hour-long scripted drama, Yellowstone, a 10-episode exploration of the tensions wearing against the owner of America’s largest ranch. Kevin Costner stars in this series, which is written and directed by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Taylor Sheridan.
New episodes of American Woman air Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.