Time and again, women have been portrayed as shallow, hollow skeletons that just aid the story of the male protagonist on television. From Penny in The Big Bang Theory to Irene Adler in Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock.
However, there are a few female-led shows, written by women, that truly captured the essence of the characters. These shows didn’t give us one dimensional characters, instead, these women had their own strong narratives and were relatable AF.
Made by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag is honest, raw and funny. It is the perfect representation of an angry and grief-riddled woman navigating through life with a hilarious monologue.
2. Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23
Created by Nahnatchka Khan and starring Krysten Ritter, this lighthearted comedy on Netflix will leave you laughing no matter how hard your day has been.
It is a show about the truth behind dating reality tv shows, from the point of view of two ruthless producers. Created by Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, the show focuses on everything that goes into creating scandalous content on screen.
Created by and starring Lena Dunham, this show follows the story of an aspiring writer and her three friends in New York as they figure out life, one mistake at a time.
5. Killing Eve
Another amazing show by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the story follows a spy and a serial killer who get obsessed with each other during their game of cat and mouse. Jodie Comer is brilliant as the Villanelle, the deceptive assassin. The second season was helmed by Emerald Fennell.
6. Orange Is the New Black
With seven successful seasons, this remains as one of creator Jenji Leslie Kohan’s most popular shows till date. Starring 15 strong women from different backgrounds as prisoners in a ward, it was quite a turning point for American television as it stood for queer representation and gave women of colour centre stage.
7. Sex Education
In this Netflix show Laurie Nunn gave us a strong, resilient and relatable high school student like Maeve. But that’s not all because this show is packed with some iconic social commentary, especially the bus scene which spoke about sexual assault and how women deal with it.
Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch for Netflix, this show is set in the world of 1980s syndicated women’s professional wrestling. Apart from being funny, it also tackles issues like sexism, rivalry and objectification.
9. 30 Rock
Created by and starring Tina Fey, this 2006 comedy follows the story of a head writer of a sketch comedy show. She deals with sexism, an arrogant boss and some unbelievable co-workers, all the while keeping her cool.
10. Chewing Gum
This Netflix comedy is about a religious, Beyoncé-obsessed 24-year-old. Starring and created by Michaela Coel, it’s funny, quirky and witty in all the right ways.
11. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
It is a satirical comedy about a woman who moves a thousand miles for her ex-boyfriend who she might still be in love with. Surprisingly, this show became one of the most feminist ones on television as it tackled everything that men think makes a woman ‘crazy.’ It also spoke about the protagonists’ mental health and focused on the fact that female characters aren’t just one-dimensional. Created by Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend keeps you on your toes.
12. Marvel’s Jessica Jones
One of the darker Marvel characters, the mysterious Jessica Jones was adapted to the screen by Melissa Rosenberg. Starring Krysten Ritter as the titular character, this is one of the first Marvel shows with a female lead.
13. Jane the Virgin
Created by Jennie Snyder Urman, the show follows the story of a young woman who gets artificially inseminated by mistake. The show ended in 2019 after 100 successful episodes.
14. The Mindy Project
Created by and starring Mindy Lahiri, it follows the life of a young obstetrician and gynaecologist in NYC who is trying to find romance. The show also tackles single motherhood, body stereotypes and gave representation to women of colour on television.
15. Russian Doll
In this Netflix comedy, Natasha Lyonne plays Nadia, a young woman who gets stuck in a time loop at a party. Created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, this show is a must watch. It talks about addiction, grief and trauma, without taking you down a dark rabbit hole.
16. The Good Wife
After her husband gets imprisoned in light of a sex and corruption scandal, a mother of two goes back to her law career to fix his mess. With 7 successful seasons, Michelle King created this TV show with her husband, Robert King.
Created by and starring comedian Whitney Cummings opposite Chris D’Elia, this show will leave you in splits as it follows the journey of a couple living together.
Shonda Rhimes, the woman behind The Princess Diaries 2, created this TV show where Olivia Pope, a former media consultant to the President, begins her own crisis management firm. Only to discover that her employees have mysterious pasts.
Which one will you be watching this weekend?
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