It is the time for women on TV. They’ve got a chance to be difficult, wrong, fallible– even unlikable!– and surprisingly, those shows are making it on the air. Women have also started to embrace the love for other women, and lists like this one are a must in entertainment blogs. There is still a long road to walk, but we can be happy to say TV is making space for some of the best female characters in a long time. These are some of my personal favorites from this and last year.
Jessica Huang – Fresh Off the Boat
Jessica Huang manages to be a pretty amazing mother with a career of her own and she also gifts us with hitting teenagers with a car or dedicating a song to her best friend that’s not a duet. Not to mention, she is hilarious.
Peggy Carter – Agent Carter
A badass from head to toe, Peggy never stops feeling real. She is rough, she fights dirty and somehow she manages to do it without smearing her signature red lip all over her face. But most of all, she’s human and she is vulnerable, and the show makes sure to remind us that there is more to the woman that founded S.H.I.E.L.D. than her fighting skills.
Clara Oswald – Doctor Who
From (somehow) a plot device to a fully-fledged character that becomes so much like The Doctor that she is a danger to herself, to him, and to the entire Universe. Clara is complex, dark, a control freak and a risk-taker. She is also one of the best companions Doctor Who has given us so far.
Rebecca Bunch – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Rebecca makes some terrible decisions and even though they are terrible, you understand them. That’s because Crazy Ex-Girlfriend never tries to make you root for Rebecca, it just shows her to you as she really is: a woman that is dealing with mental illness, who is just seeking happiness in the best way she thinks she can. You cannot help but love her, and the fact that you still do despite her mistakes is what makes her so amazing. That and her imagination, that gives us pretty amazing musical numbers.
Jane, Xiomara and Alba Villanueva – Jane The Virgin
Each of these women would deserve their own post. The show’s main character, Jane, is a control freak, she is sometimes immature and flimsy. Rather frustrating sometimes, but she feels real. Xiomara is the mother all daughter would love to have. Supportive but honest, she is an amazing character on her own who also gets to make mistakes and whom we’ve grown to love. And Alba is simply one of the strongest characters on TV. She plays mom to both Xiomara and Jane, and she has so much pride inside of her for both of them. There is no episode of Jane the Virgin where you cannot feel how much these three women mean to each other and how they lift each other up.
Kate Fuller – From Dusk Till Dawn, The Series
A young preacher’s daughter that absolutely loses everything and somehow manages to come out stronger out of it. Kate has everyone she ever loved somehow betraying her or being taken away from her, and she ends the season angry and disappointed at every single person that brought her to where she is now. Kate was an amazing character through all of season 2, but I am really looking forward to how the show deals with her anger and darkness in season 3.
The women of The 100
There are so many amazing and complicated women in The 100 that it is kind of hard to write about all of them. Clarke is a leader forced to make some of the hardest decisions you’ll see on television, but she isn’t perfect. She can be selfish and blind. Octavia grew up completely sheltered and she has come into her own in her own terms. Raven has endured extreme pain and has managed to come out of it stronger. Lexa, Abby, Anya, Maya, etc. all have gotten their fair development and we have gotten to know them and see them be angry and make mistakes, even betray others. All these women are different, and to have a big cast so full of women where you can describe every character in a different way is a real rarity these day.
Melinda May, Daisy Johnson, Jemma Simmons and Bobbi Morse – Agents of SHIELD
All women in AOS have had their fair share of stories this season. Bobbi’s has had to endure physical recovery from Ward’s torture, as well as deal with the loss of confidence in her own abilities as an agent. May has had to choose between a life of her own and continuing to be an agent, losing her ex-husband in a way she didn’t expect to. Jemma literally got trapped in a different planet, dealt with PTSD and with the loss of someone she grew to love in Will, not to mention her complicated feelings for Fitz. Daisy has grown into her new identity and into the responsibility of taking over and supporting a new group of people with abilities just like her. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. always makes sure to give its women some good stories, and they are all amazing in their own way.
Jessica Jones and Trish Walker – Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones doesn’t only do well by her protagonist, she has an ample variety of women in it, from terrible and manipulative to downright crazy, but they are all different. The two standouts are of course, Jessica Jones herself and her best friend Trish Walker. These two women have endured abuse and pain, but they refuse to be victims. They take action. They take care of each other and lift each other up and they look out for other women. They’re in very different in paper, but their strengths are very similar, and although one has super powers and the other doesn’t, Jessica Jones would feel very different without Trish Walker in it.
Iris West – The Flash
The Flash has an amazing character in its hands and sometimes it makes the huge mistake of sidelining it in favor of others. I absolutely love Iris West: she is smart, supportive, kind, courageous, a bit reckless, but in the right ways. She was offered a platform to be mad and to cry and be angry and that honors the writers, the problem is they seem to have forgotten about all of that and they’ve had her take a step back in season 2. This is a huge mistake, and even though I’ve given up on the show, the only way it could get me back these days is to hear that Iris West is getting her deserved screen time and some time to shine.
Madalena and Isabella – Galavant
A kind townwoman kidnapped by an evil king that turned her life around and then became even more evil (and hilarious) than him and a princess forced to lie her way into Galavant’s life to save her parents’ life. These two women couldn’t be any more different, but they’re both amazing in their own way. Galavant isn’t just a vehicle for these two women to be hilarious, but also vulnerable and badass.
Kimmy Schmidt – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
When you think too deep about Kimmy Schmidt, her story is actually so sad you cannot believe this positive, innocent, ray-of-sunshine of a woman came out of a situation as horrible as being kidnapped by a post-apocalyptic cult. But she did, and she managed to get her life back on track with childish wonder while learning everything about the world again. Females are strong as hell.
Abbie Mills and Jenny Mills – Sleepy Hollow
Abbie Mills remains the beating heart of Sleepy Hollow, not just because she literally brings the heart to the show, but because she is an amazing woman who overcame loss and made of herself the person she wanted to be. And she did it while recovering the love of her sister, who she had lost in terror. The relationship growth between the two of them, Abbie’s ultimate sacrifice and the fact that she finally got to have a storyline of her own this season place her on this list. Jenny Mills is the perfect complement to Abbie, a bit more reckless, but just as caring.
Amy Santiago, Rosa Díaz and Gina Linetti – Brooklyn 99
Brooklyn Nine-Nine can pride itself on having some of the best women in sitcoms we have seen in a long time. These women are not only hilarious, they’re accomplished and complicated and we see them deal with more than their relationships (even if they also have relationships, because they’re human).
Grace and Frankie – Grace and Frankie
If you are a woman who thinks she won’t find anything in common with two seventy-year olds or that you won’t be able to understand them, think again. These two women, a posh type-A personality and a hippie, are both struck with the reality that their husbands have had an affair with each other for over 20 years and are forced to live together and befriend each other despite their differences. They both deal with the news in very different ways and it is such a joy to watch them.
The Widow and Veil – Into the Badlands
Into the Badlands takes us into a post-apocalyptic world in which women are mostly wives, handiwork or madams, so to see The Widow as a Baron and to see her being feared by all the men in the show is rather amazing. She wants to build a world where the women she has taken charge of are more than what the men ruling want them to be. And she kicks so much ass. Veil is an accomplished woman with strength to boot, looking for a better life beyond the badlands who tries to be smart about her every movement in the search for her freedom.
Leslie Knope, April Ludgate and Donna Meagle – Parks and Recreation
We might have said goodbye to Parks and Recreation in 2015, but the wonderful women in it (and those that have left, like Ann) were again a highlight. April’s quarterlife crisis, Donna’s new business endeavors and husband and Leslie Knope’s path to her life-long dreams took a big chunk of the show’s last season and reminded of why they loved each other and those around them. And it reminded us of how much we love them.
Liv Moore – iZombie
Liv Moore had it all together: she had a career, a fiance and a great best friend. Then she got bitten by a zombie and her life changed. I have always taken iZombie as a metaphor for a quarterlife crisis, if not as a wonderful allegory to surviving trauma. Liv has taken such an horrifying event and built herself up. And she has managed to salvage her relationships (though sometimes are doomed, like her and Major’s, and I wish the show would give up on it) and create some new ones. She is a new person every week, not just because she acquires the personality of each brain she eats, but because she learns something new about herself, about who she is post-zombie bite, and she is pretty great.
Of course, there are A LOT of great women missing (I haven’t yet met Cookie Lyon, who so many love, among others), so please take it to the comments to write odes to them and I’ll make sure to make a list of all the TV I still need to watch!