House of Cards: Claire Underwood
Greed for power, corruption and intrigues: no other show has presented these hallmarks of most political thrillers as the uncontested number one – House of Cards. After five outstanding seasons, tracing the ascent of power-hungry couple Frank and Clair Underwood all the way to the top of the US political system. Then sixth season is now under way, but without Frank Underwood aka Kevin Spacey – who was fired by Netflix following the MeToo allegations against him. What does that mean? Claire Underwood is taking center stage and assumes full power. Finally we get to see a woman at the very top, even if it‘s only still in a fictional setting…
Homeland: Carrie Mathison
Talking about political thrillers – Claire Danes in the leading role as bipolar CIA analyst Carrie Mathison, a strong woman standing her ground in a men‘s world. Homeland doesn‘t only deal with the war on terror, it also focuses on the independent woman herself. The drama series breaks role clichés wide open. It‘s a real eye-opener, and justly showered with praise and awards.
The Crown: Queen Elizabeth II.
The queen is not only the basis of countless memes, she‘s probably the oldest girl-boss among us. At a tender 92 years of age, the popularity of Queen Elizabeth II is rising from peak to peak. The Crown, produced by Netflix, tells the story of the British head of state, starting in 1947. From her coronation to the aftermath of the second world war all the way to the dissolution of the colonial empire, the Queen is living history. No list about strong women in TV can go without The Crown!
Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Jessica Jones
With all these testosterone-laden superhero flics clamoring for attention, it is more than refreshing to see a female superhero. Marvel‘s Jessica Jones tells the story of a private investigator with superpowers. Next to Wonderwoman, Jessica Jones is one of the very few female superheros on the screen. Netflix is taking International Women‘s Day as an opportunity to launch the second season in March, and I‘m excited for Jessica Jones‘ new adventures.
The Good Wife: Alicia Florrick
The Good Wife tells the story of Alicia Florrick, a former law-student, who has played the role of mother, housewife as well as caring and loyal spouse of Chicago state attorney Peter Florrick. But when she, along with the whole world, suddenly finds out that her husband has to go to jail for many years (he embezzled public money and had countless affairs with prostitutes), Alicia Florrick files for divorce. After 13 years of living the existence of a housewife, she returns to her profession as lawyer. The former „Good Wife“ gradually transforms into a tough business lady, who proves her strength of character and her resilience on more than one occasion.
Suits: Jessica Pearson
Ok, so Suits definitely packs its doseof testosterone with Harvey Specter and Mike Ross. That said, my clear favorite is female, afro-american, and the definition of a girl-boss in her role as head of a law firm. Who I‘m talking about? Jessica Pearson, of course. Pearson, who aces the business-chic and poker-face combo, also convinces with her emotional, empathetic side. It really doesn‘t come as much of a surprise that, just recently, the production of a Suits spin-off has been announced. You can probably guess who will take the lead there…
How to get away with Murder: Annalise Keating
The mysterious law professor Annalise Keating teaches legal practice. Or, as she calls it: How to get away with Murder. In her role as lecturer and defence lawyer, Annalise Keatings direct, resilient and persistent attitude, mixed with her charisma, is kind of her personal superpower. She exerts her spell not only on her co-stars, but also on us, the audience, to the point that I find myself wanting to know more and more about her line of work.
Orange is the New Black
Orange is the new Black started out as a comedy series, but the tone gets darker and rougher with every season. Comedy has given way to social criticism, told through the stories of the inmates of Litchfield women‘s prison. Apart from the personal, very individual stories each of the women tell, the show touches on a range of wider socio-political aspects: the questionable conditions of the US penal system (violence, sorruption, lack of monetary resources), the treatment of minorities, LGBTQ-rights, and discrimination as a structural problem. Thus, Orange is the new Black tackles a multitude of problems, and voices them through a host a strong, female characters.
Gilmore Girls: Lorelai Gilmore
After this broad selection of courtroom dramas and political thrillers, as well as a little excursion into the world of comedy, it‘s time for a more light-hearted note. One character, especially, can‘t be missing in a list like this: Lorelai Gilmore. Many of you, like myself, grew up with the Gilmore Girls, and some of you may have wondered how Lorelai does what she does. She‘s a role model of positivity and good energy, professionally successful and a single mother since she was 16. A strong woman and (fictitious) role model, if I‘ve ever seen one, and an image of female empowerment we should see more of, in my humble opinion!
Grace & Frankie
Talking about comedy and strong women, there‘s no way around the popular Netflix series Grace and Frankie. Starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, the two acting-legends play women who were left by their husbands after 40 years of marriage. It turned out that their husbands were partners not only in business but also in bed. With the rug pulled from under her, snobbish Grace moves in with hippie-esque Frankie, and thus the most unusual flat-share in TV history is created (with the exception of Friends, maybe). The women support each other in their grief. The show breaks the taboo of talking about homosexuality among the elderly population, and conveys the message that it‘s never too late for a fresh start. It‘s a family show of a very different kind.