How To Get Away With Murder
I loved this show from the very first episode; mostly due to Viola Davis’s bloody amazing performance as Annalise Keating. I cannot tell you how happy I am that she won that Emmy. She is a strong black woman who doesn’t take any shit, has imperfections and is very complex. I also praise the writers of this show for showing an inter-racial couple as a legit couple.
There are many strong women in this show, but Annalise, who is morally ambiguous at best, stand out above them all. We get to see her be emotionally vulnerable. She makes mistakes. Plus we get to see her as a sexual being without it being comical. Also, the scene where she de-wigs? Probably the most important moment in television in 2015. Yeah, I said it.
Hear me out. Yes, it’s about two co-dependent women who chain smoke, drink too much, and use recreational drugs, but they are both damn interesting. They have aspirational jobs – Eddie owns her own PR company and Patsy does something do to with a magazine. The relationship between Saffron and Eddie is completely dysfunctional, but is still somehow relatable. Also, it’s great to see a middle-aged women who isn’t completely maternal, or working five jobs to support her kids.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The ‘90s was a great time for television, and an even better time for strong female characters. Girl Power! Dealing with being a teenage girl (we all know this isn’t easy), high school, an active social life and hunting vampires isn’t easy, but Buffy did it all in skin tight leather pants nogal. And she actually has a personality: a multi-faceted personality. She’s actually human!
The sci-fi genre has always been more female-friendly than most. The show centres around the journey of not just one female protagonist, but several (they’re all clones) – and they’re all played by the amazing Tatiana Maslany. And she often gets to save the day (no knight in shining armour needed, thank you very much).
Liz Lemon, what would TV have been without you? Liz is a head writer of a sketch show (this is based on Tina Fey’s time with SNL) who tries to juggle her career, dating, and possibly having children while dealing with the crazy antics of her colleagues and friends. The show explores feminist themes and also critiques it. It’s funny and smart, but also doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t.
Scandal (The Fixer)
Another powerful career woman who has obvious flaws but still knows how to slay both the fashion and corporate world. Her character is clever, charming and captivating. She commands a room without even lifting a finger, because she’s a boss.
Lena Dunham is not afraid to show her unconventionally beautiful body in her art - and she also loves to stick it to the haters. The most important, however, is that she shows unlikeable characters. I mean, really, who actually likes Marni? Especially after the crap she pulled in Season 3. And Hannah is a self-absorbed twenty-something who relies on her parents’ money and the opinions of her friends far too much. But they all feel real, don’t they? It’s as if you know them. Because they’re more than one dimensional party girls.
If you haven’t seen Miranda Hart’s semi-autobiographical comedy series, you need to get your hands on it right away! The main character, also named Miranda, lives above her joke shop which is managed by her best friend, Stevie. She often gets herself into completely bizarre situations and embarrasses herself, her “what I call” (it’s a fan-girl joke) mother, and everyone else in a 20 meter radius. But not only is she completely relatable (I swear she’s the slightly taller, British version of me), she has a great way of using humour against her mother’s outdated premise of settling down and finding a husband. Plus, at just over 1.8 m tall, she proves that you don’t have to fit into (pardon the pun) gender or beauty norms to be found attractive.
Orange Is The New Black
A show that covers a host of issues in and out of prison. It tracks the various female leads – all from different walks of life – showing how they deal with being incarcerated. And while Piper is the main character, each episode gives you a glimpse into the life of a different prisoner. Each story has its own merits and tells you more about the crimes committed by each inmate. The show has also done amazing things for the LGBTQ community with one particular episode focusing on Sophia, the prison’s transgender hairdresser, and her struggle with her transition.
An all-female, all over 60 cast? No wonder this show is so historic! On air at a time when women were only good enough for supporting roles, Golden Girls took the norm and turned it on its head. It told the world that women aren’t just good enough for supporting roles, but can hold their own as lead actresses. The show was also way before it’s time, tackling issues like interracial marriage, AIDS, gay rights, ageism and sexism. Plus, it’s really great to see a group of women who are friends, and there for each other no matter what, but who are not afraid to call each other out on their nonsense.
Sex and The City
Like it or not, Samantha, Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte opened doors for women in TV. Yes, many of the characters were vapid and Carrie needed to check her privilege so hard, but there was a lot of good stuff too. Sex was never taboo – something women are taught never to speak about because it’s not “ladylike” (eye roll). The obsession with men was a bit much, but the show did have good themes, from sexual experimentation, to motherhood, to breast cancer awareness and beyond.
While there were still the usual tropes (the career woman who has to be organised, the sassy black friend, the mixed race hippy, and the black girl who wants a man to look after her) it also pushed against them from time to time. Most importantly, it showed us that women of colour also need to be seen and capable of being funny without having to resort to being a token in a series among a mainly white cast.
Parks and Recreation
When you first meet Leslie Knope, you don’t quite get her. She just seems like another ditzy blonde who got into local government because she thought it would be easy. But then you realise Leslie is a whole lot more than anyone bargained for, reminding you not to judge a book by its cover. While the show is goofy, silly and fun, it also made major statements. It showed that women can have cool and fun-filled relationships with other women without being backstabbing and bitchy.