They’re funny. They’re complicated. They’re vulnerable. They can even wage a war if they want to. Television and web shows today are blessed with some strong women characters that we can all take inspiration from. From the invincible Khaleesi in Game of Thrones who commands an army, to the hilarious Mrs Maisel who commands the attention of her audience with her witty reportoire, here’s a round up of some of the best female characters on the telly right now.
by Nandita Ravi
Show: The Handmaid’s Tale
Actress: Elizabeth Moss
A dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale has June (played by Elizabeth Moss) as one of its central characters. She plays a handmaid, who is submitted to ritualised rape by her master to bear children. With Season Three in the works, the Golden Globe award-winning actress has much to look forward to. The Handmaid’s Tale streams on Sony LIV and AXN.
Actress: Thandie Newton
Westworld stretches one’s imagination in a way that only sci-fi can, telling the tale of the Wild-West-themed amusement park populated by android hosts, who ‘service’ clients. Newton is introduced to audiences as a brothel madam. She’s been described as an actress who can find multiple levels and psychological resonance in every dialogue, worthy of an Emmy, we think. On Hotstar.
Actress: Julia Roberts
A former caseworker with the Homecoming Transitional Support Center (that helps soldiers transition to civilian life), Heidi (played by Julia Roberts) is living a new life with her mother and working as a waitress. She, however, has difficulty remembering her past, and so, sets out on a quest to find out more. Roberts, in her TV debut, delivers an intense performance, slipping gracefully between paranoia, fear and vulner-ability. On Amazon Prime.
Show: Sex Education
Actress: Emma Mackey
She’s the quintessential personification of teenage angst. A rebel who sneaks in cigarettes to school and a social outcast, Maeve doesn’t fit into the usual high-school bad girl image. When she’s not defensive, the audience gets to see a side of her that is hopeful and even happy, albeit momentarily. Emma Mackey breathes life to Maeve. On Netflix.
Show: Killing Eve
Actress: Sandra Oh
Playing complex characters is like second nature now to Sandra Oh, who first shot to fame playing Christina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy. In Killing Eve, she plays a starkly different character — one of a bored spy agency bureaucrat, who is tasked with hunting down an assassin, she becomes obsessed with. Oh delivered this performance with such intensity, it earned her a Golden Globe this year. On Hulu.
Show: Game of Thrones
Actress: Emilia Clarke
The Mother of Dragons grew from a hesitant teenager to a Queen, who has armies to do her bidding. Playing Daenerys Targaryen, a frontrunner for the Iron Throne is Emilia Clarke, who makes her character arc nothing but a pleasure to watch. With the final season of the show due next month, we cannot help but root for her. On Star World and Hotstar.
Show: The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Actress: Rachel Brosnahan
A Jewish housewife in 1958 New York City discovers she has a knack for stand-up comedy, and goes against all odds to make it, while dealing with a broken marriage at the same time. Rachel Brosnahan plays Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel, a character that has been described as spontaneous, original and outrageous, which is perhaps why a two-time Golden Globe win doesn’t come as much of a surprise. All the world’s a stage for Mrs Maisel, and we cannot help but watch. On Amazon Prime.
Actress: Melissa Fumero
If there was someone who could make a character that’s a Type A personality and controlling, funny, it has to be Melissa Fumero. On Brooklyn Nine-Nine, she plays Amy Santiago, an uptight law enforcement officer with a heart of gold. While her chemistry with Andy Samberg has been hailed as crackling, what we really love is her dry humour. On Comedy Central.