In the words of Amy Santiago’s Melissa Fumero, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a comedy about “a band of strange, but good, Brooklyn detectives [who] get a new captain determined to whip them into shape. Hilarity ensues. Crap, that’s two sentences. Fail.”
Hilarity ensues, indeed. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of our favorite comedies currently airing and a lot of that has to do with Amy, Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), and Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti). Amy is the typical Type-A teacher’s pet of the precinct, but rather than be that no-nonsense killjoy that ruins everyone’s fun, Amy’s very willing to participate in hijinks (though she might require a little nudging at first). Fumero’s facial expressions are a thing to behold, as well.
Rosa is the resident badass, and more than a little terrifying, but she’s also a really great and supportive friend, and is now heading a task force of her own. Gina, meanwhile… well, Gina is a very unique little parakeet whose life dream is to dance, is going back to school to get her bachelor’s degree, and who constantly drops gems like, “my mother cried the day I was born because she knew she’d never be prettier than me.” Priceless.
The 100 (The CW)
I only recently started getting into The CW’s sci-fi series The 100 and am just a few episodes shy of completing season one, but so far it’s been an excellent watch, and the show’s female characters are by and far the best out of everyone. 97 years after a nuclear holocaust wiped out nearly all life on Earth, the remainder of humanity lives on a giant space station called The Ark. Resources are scarce so any crimes committed by those over the age of 18 are punishable by death. Those under 18 are imprisoned. When The Ark’s life support system starts failing, those prisoners — the eponymous 100 — are forced down to a potentially-still-radioactive Earth to see if it’s viable for the rest of humanity.
The show’s main female lead, Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor), quickly takes up a position of leadership amongst the 100, using equal parts kindness and strength to help her people. Despite her initial very moral black-and-white life philosophy, she soon proves herself willing to do whatever is necessary to protect them; in this way she’s a lot like her mother, Abby Griffin. Raven Reyes (Lindsey Morgan) happens to be the youngest mechanic in 52 years – an amazing feat in and of itself – and add to that her compassion and badassery. Octavia Blake is also fantastic and, as season one reviewer Sara Linn describes, “a fantasy YA princess trapped in an apocalypse YA novel.”
Orange Is the New Black
Orange Is the New Black is maybe the most female-centric ongoing TV show right now (Once Upon A Time is a close second) and maybe that’s why it ended up on Netflix, because no other network was willing to take a chance on a story about a women’s prison consisting of a very diverse and colorful group of people. You have Poussey (“Accent à droit, bitch!”), a transgender firefighter busted for credit card fraud, a Russian woman with red hair, a former Upper East Side girl with a drug problem, and a nun who was arrested during a protest. And who doesn’t love Suzanne a.k.a. Crazy Eyes?
Everyone’s a character and everyone has a unique and complicated backstory. We got to see even more from these characters — many of whom didn’t get that much screen-time in season 1 — this year. Morello’s flashback episode was one of the most memorable all series and it was executed in such a flawless way. Poussey became one of the more standout characters when her friendship with Taystee was tested with the introduction of a new villain, Vee (played impeccably by Lorraine Toussaint).
Hopefully, Jason Biggs will be out of the picture come next season.
Orphan Black is undeniable in its diverse portrayal of women. Tatiana Maslany is one woman playing several different women, and none of them are the same. It’s a testament to the diversity of female stories and personalities that is often overlooked in pop culture. Sarah is a drifter and a con woman who becomes inadvertently involved in one of the biggest science conspiracies of all-time when she finds out she’s a clone. She meets soccer mom Allison and scientist Cosima, two women who look exactly like her but come from very different backgrounds. Allison is a tightly wound perfectionist who knows how to shoot a gun, while Cosima is a laid back PhD student always searching for answers. There’s also crazy, murderous Helena, of course, and the ruthless Rachel Duncan.
Much can be said about the other women in Sarah’s life — her daughter Kira and foster mom Siobhan. Kira is a brilliant little girl with a big heart who has, on occassion, helped the adults in her life escape trouble. Siobhan, a.k.a. Mrs. S, seemed harmless until the show revealed that she knew about the clones all along and knows a thing or two about weapons and fighting.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Count me in as one of the people who didn’t care for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when it first started. Ever since the back half of the first season, however, the show has definitely improved — proving Marvel’s venture into TV isn’t a completely lost cause. It also stands out as having a very female heavy cast with ER’s Ming-Na Wen as the stoic “bus driver” Melinda May, computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet), biochemist Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), and newcomer Bobbi Morse a.k.a. Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki) –– a character that comic book fans will be familiar with.
Melinda May has always been the unstoppable badass of the group. While Skye hasn’t always been the most compelling character in this cast, she’s getting a big storyarc this season involving her estranged father (played by Kyle MacLachlan) and her mysterious origins. Jemma Simmons and her partner-in-science Leo Fitz have been the heart of the series, but forcing them to be apart this season has done wonders for both of their development and given complexity to that relationship. Simmons going undercover at Hydra showed that she could be a skillful field agent. Meanwhile, Adrianne Palicki has been killing it as Mockingbird. The character feels larger than life, thanks to the actress, and she very much looks like a superheroine, towering above almost everyone else in the cast.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a well-rounded cast of female characters that the writers have taken the time to develop, thus giving them importance in the Marvel TV universe. Next year, we’ll get a female-led Marvel show with Agent Carter, starring Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, first introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger.
Abbie and Jenny Mills are great, and it’s really easy to root for their relationship, which is wrought with feelings of betrayal, anger, and guilt. Despite their years of estrangement, Abbie and Jenny have come a long way on the show.
Unfortunately, Sleepy Hollow stumbles a little when it comes to Katrina Crane. We’re told she’s an all-powerful witch but most of the time all she’s been is a damsel-in-distress and a mildly useless spy/excellent pawn in Moloch’s plans. It still feels like Sleepy Hollow isn’t quite sure how to utilize Katrina, and here’s hoping they figure that out soon.