This week I went to a focus group for an upcoming TV show. The show was filled with male characters full of depth and intrigue… The same could not be said for the female characters. We are introduced to Annabelle, a woman with no layers and only there for the men to use. She barely beats out the only other female, a dead corpse.
I was floored by the fact that these types of characters are still being written. Another member of the focus group even said ” I thought we were passed the age of women not having a voice in TV.” That phrase has stayed with me and inspired me to write this article. Even though that pilot episode didn’t accurately portray women there are television shows that do. Here is a list of current running television shows with strong female characters.
Game of Thrones
I know, I know, this one was a giveaway. However I would be doing a disservice to this brilliant HBO show if I didn’t mention it. GOT showcases strength and character depth all across the board. A female knight, queens pursuing the iron throne, women maneuvering around others’ games just to stay alive and a teenage girl becoming a lethal assassin. GOT shows women are far more than just damsel’s in distress, they are a force to be reckoned with.
House of Cards
While following Frank Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey) rise to power he needs a strong partner by his side. Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) is perfect for the job and embodies a career driven diplomat. Being First Lady is a full time position, but Mrs. Underwood has her own goals and isn’t content to just stand behind her man.While navigating the political world, the women of this show prove they’re more than just a pawn in a man’s world. They may just end up controlling it.
Orange is the New Black
A show set in an all female prison definitely provides interesting narratives and a bounty of rich characters. While sold as a comedy, the show has deep underlying themes and has developed through the seasons into an important social commentary. You get to see what the inmates go through on a day to day basis. Pat downs bordering on harassment and women being treated like animals are just the tip of the iceberg. However degrading this treatment is, it’s important to see. Another wonderful part of the show is the relationships between the inmates. They are many and they are layered. The show also does a great job interlacing flashbacks of the characters before prison. You will find yourself relating to their outside life and wondering how you would act if you were the one behind bars.
The Handmaids Tale
In a show where the female population has absolutely no power, it’s hard to see how this show could fall onto this list. But, it is this conflict and survival instinct that makes this dystopian series a must-watch. Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is a handmaid, a woman who once lived as an American woman with all the rights of an American woman until they were stripped from her in a religious revolution. She is now used as a baby incubator for wealthy families.
When stepping out of line means a public hanging, stoning, or limbs being cut off, most do as they’re told. In this new world, saying the wrong word or not bowing is a sign of rebellion. Offred breaks the rules in the simplest ways, whether it be reading or talking about her past life. With the help of other handmaids, Offred and the female population stand a chance to rise up. And believe me, when the handmaids work together you want nothing more than to see a rebellion of their own.
GLOW is an acronym for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, but in this series, the ladies are so much more than that. The audience is introduced to a group of misfit women trying to make their mark in 1980’s Hollywood. This diverse group of women find themselves maneuvering to make it in a newly found wrestling world. Each female has an incredible story to become invested in. With a stand out performance from Allison Brie (Community, Mad Men) you will want to lace up your spandex and start swinging.
Writing this was therapeutic for me. I’m reminded of the great characters we have today. These are only a fraction of the shows that are currently running with compelling female characters. Each of these women are strong in different ways and have a depth of character that is mesmerizing. Watch these shows, become inspired. Whether they are in politics, wrestling, prison or working a nine to five, females have an important place on television.