For decades, there’s been an under=representation of women in TV and entertainment. They’ve been there, but it’s usually been relegated to a nominal, more often than not objectified role. In the recent past however, we’ve been noticing some really great shows and standout characters coming out of the woodwork, all led by strong, inspiring women. The women depicted in shows like Scandal or 30 Rock really are changing the game, and people should really give them a watch.

Read on.  

1. Parks and Recreation

Chronically optimistic Leslie Knope leads her bizarro band of employees as deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department in the fictional town of Pawnee. The cast is perfect and the laughs are constant, and Amy Poehler is as usual, brilliant.

2. 30 Rock

If Amy Poehler’s the first on this list, Tina Fey’s gotta come next. She plays Liz Lemon, head writer of a sketch show dealing with a bunch of wackos and an infuriatingly charming boss. It was inspired from her time working at Saturday Night Live.

3. Veep

Seinfeld standout Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, Vice President of the United States in this political satire. She navigates her way through the confusing web of American politics, and keeps us laughing while doing it.

4. Grey’s Anatomy

A team of doctors show the kind of heartbreaking decisions they have to make in the medical workspace on a day to day basis. It features some outstanding performances by Ellen Pompeo and Sandra Oh.

5. Scandal

Another Washington based political drama, this one stars Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a former media consultant to the US president who starts her own crisis management firm. This political thriller will keep you hooked.

6. The Mindy Project

The effervescent Mindy Kaling plays Mindy Lahiri, an NYC based obstetrician-gynaecologist in this wacky comedy. If you’ve seen her in The Office or Parks and Recreation, you know she’s got it, and by ‘it’, I mean oodles of comedic, as well as romantic prowess.

7. How to Get Away With Murder

Academy award winner and all-around intensity queen Viola Davis stars in this drama. She plays Annalise Keating, a lawyer who also teaches a class called ‘How to Get Away with Murder’.

8. Angie Tribeca

The lovable Rashida Jones stars in this show as Angie Tribeca, a detective working different (and completely crazy) cases with a bunch of even crazier comrades. This police-show satire has been getting some rave reviews!

9. The Crown

This Netflix original follows the life and times of Queen Elizabeth II, who is played by Claire Foy. It chronicles the shifting political environments around her, her romances and the kind of intrigues common in the lives of the British Crown.

10. Suits

Jessica Pearson, portrayed by the great Gina Torres, is a pleasure to watch in this law drama. Her strong, no-nonsense demeanour and on-scren presence even tends to overshadow the show’s lead, Harvey Spector.

11. Ugly Betty

Who can forget the show that inspired Jassi Jaise Koi Nahin, with America Ferrera in her breakout role as Betty Suarez. The show follows her struggle to find footing in the cut-throat world of a high fashion magazine.

12. Ally McBeal

The show that started it all. Calista Flockhart stars as the talented but haywired lawyer Ally McBeal, alongside a host of other strong ladies as well, namely Portia de Rossi, Lucy Liu and Jane Krakowsi.

13. The Good Wife

Julianna Margulies plays Alicia Florrick, wife of a disgraced State attorney trying to pick up the shambles of her life after her husband is imprisoned for a sex scandal. This legal/political drama sees her working as a litigator in a law firm.

14. Political Animals

This mini-series starring Sigourney Weaver (what what!) sees her play a former First Lady currently serving as the Secretary of State. It’s a funny, soulful, all around great show.

15. Bomb Girls

This Canadian TV show is about the role women played during World War II. While men were fighting overseas, women held key positions in jobs at munitions factories, risking their lives to support the cause.

16. Girl Boss 

Releasing on April 21st on Netflix, this show is based on the book of the same name by Sophia Amoruso, founder of the fashion brand Nasty Gal. It looks promising!  

These aren’t just inspiring women, they’re great shows too!