These Are TV's Most Empowering New Female Characters

It’s a good time to be a woman on television right now. In fact, as the 2018 Golden Globes proved earlier this month, it’s actually the best time to be a woman in television.

Whether we’re talking about comedy, drama, or the increasingly popular limited series, it’s likely the pinnacle of the genre is currently exploring the depths of some complex, amazing lady. As we’ve seen, for every perfectly petty, overachieving Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) there’s an optimistic motormouth like Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), both of whom were introduced last year.

Thankfully, this year will give us even more complicated, empowering women on television. And, many of them will be played by movie stars like Dakota Fanning and Tiffany Haddish, meaning these characters will probably be obsession-worthy — it's not like anyone is luring true A-listers to the small screen with sub-par stories. So, before you start hearing about these new television characters everywhere, we decided to track them down early. Keep reading to learn out which TV denizens are helping to smash the patriarchy in 2018.

At this point, how will we even decide who gets a Golden Globe in 2019?

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Alyssa, The End Of The F***ing World

We might be barely into 2018, but, TEOTFW ’s Alyssa (Jessica Barden) is already one of the year’s best characters. Although the teen originally comes off as a brash wisecracker, her black comedy takes great pains to reveal Alyssa’s vulnerable, thoughtful side over eight episodes, too.

So, not only does Alyssa encourage viewers to say exactly what they’re thinking — including “I will have a great big banana shit with extra fucking cherries all on top of it” — she also proves sharing your honest feelings with the people around you is an obstacle worth overcoming.

Sara Howard, The Alienist

There is a scene in the upcoming Alienist series premiere, “The Boy On The Bridge,” where Sara (Dakota Fanning) and one of her maids talk about society’s views on women. “They believe us to be delicate creatures,” the maid says. “Then, to hell with them,” Howard replies. And, that’s Sara in a badass nutshell.

The young 1800s woman knows how men see her, but doesn’t give a flying flip, since she’s far too busy making police history and solving gruesome crimes. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl) might be the titular alienist (or, criminal psychologist) in here, but no one should be surprised if Sara ends up catching the serial killer at the heart of TNT’s newest thriller.

Zoey Johnson, grown-ish

Zoey (Yara Shahidi) is exactly the kind of person we need to see on television right now. She’s young, a person of color, and political — what more could we want? As grown-ish continues to explore topics that actually effect millennials and gen Z-ers on the regular, like sex and prescription pill abuse, it will continue to remind viewers just how normal their own experiences actually are.

Heather Chandler, Heathers

While it's simply rare to see plus-size characters on television at all, it’s especially rare to see a plus-size character as the queen bee of a high school clique. Yet, Heathers pink-highlighted, crop top-wearing mean girl Heather Chandler (Melanie Field) will upend all of that with a single barbed insult when the black comedy arrives on the Paramount Network.

Heather No. 1 might be the villain of this story, but she is punching the greatest ill of society in the metaphorical face along the way.

Serena, UnReal

The reason UnReal originally became a breakout hit back in 2015 is thanks to its many complex, difficult women, chief among them, Rachel Goldberg (Shiri Appleby) and Quinn King (Constance Zimmer). After a shaky sophomore season, it seems the Lifetime drama's third season will return to what made it so great in the first place by handing the all-important suitor role to a suitress, Serena (Caitlin Fitzgerald).

From what we know ahead of the upcoming new episodes, Serena is already a business titian in her pre- Everlasting life. When she arrives on set, she has the chops to go head-to-head against Rachel and Quinn, which all viewers know takes a lot of chutzpah. Serena is no shrinking violet.

Donatella Versace, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Darren Criss might be getting all the attention for his portrayal of infamous serial killer Andrew Cunanan, but it’s Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace who will gut you. Cruz perfectly captures the mettle of a woman who has to save a corporate empire in the midst of a horrific crisis, the murder of figurehead Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramírez), while also mourning the shocking death of her brother.

The tough-as-nails Donatella is who we should aspire to be in the office.

The Good Girls Women

A show revolving around a bunch of women who band together to rob a bank and save their respective families? Yes, please. Good Girls feels especially exciting when you take into consideration our unexpected criminal enterprise is led by Mad Men ’s true boss Christina Hendricks, Parks and Recreation MVP Retta, and national treasure Mae Whitman.

Shay, The Last O.G.

Details about Shay, of TBS’s Tracy Morgan-produced comedy The Last O.G, are scant. But, we do know Shay is played by the great Tiffany Haddish, so she will be the most empowering, no matter what.

Rose McGowan, Citizen Rose

No, Rose McGowan isn't a ficitional character, but she does seriously deserve to be on this list.

The Charmed star's radical, fearless honesty about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged predatory operation is a big reason the #MeToo movement took hold of the world, eventually giving rise to the Time’s Up initiative. Now, we’ll be able get an unfiltered look at the women’s rights advocate's life in docuseries Citizen Rose.

Bibiana Julian, The Bachelor

After years of watching women rudely poach time with the Bachelor of the moment, new Bachelor contestant Bibiana Julian finally stood up against the ridiculousness. Bibiana informed Krystal Nielson, who is slowly getting set up for a villain arc, she would mind if her competitor slipped in during the Miami native’s first real interaction with lead Arie Luyendyk Jr.

When in doubt, ask yourself WWBD? The answer will usually be a mic drop of a speech and a speedy exit.

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