During 2017, our TV screens have been filled with compelling, harrowing, heart-breaking, and inspirational female characters. Mirroring the power of real life women, female characters have forced audiences to reckon with troubling realities in our world.
Here’s a look at some of best female TV characters from 2017, in no particular order.
1. Offred (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Offred exquisitely, and often wordlessly, paints a picture of the pain she endures as a sexual slave in Gilead, the dystopian, but eerily familiar, world depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale.
She is controlled and often trapped but finds a way to eek out a bit of joy and happiness.
Offred fights. Offred resists. And by the final episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, she holds her head high, walking in step with her fellow warriors.
Offred’s ability to still care about herself, her fellow handmaids, and even her love interest Nick, is a strong message about the power women have to overcome the depths of adversity.
2. Rosa Diaz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Rosa Diaz solves crimes with the 99 precinct on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
During Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 3, Rosa opens up her heart to her best friends in the office. She takes their advice when she is unsure of next steps in her romantic relationships, she has fun with Buttlympics, and she embraces her newfound appreciation of freedom.
It is difficult to overstate how fierce Rosa is. She takes control of her life and never makes excuses for being who she is.
Importantly, she is a very private bisexual woman of color whose coming out story matches her unique personality. The fact that Stephanie Beatriz is also a bisexual woman of color only solidifies her rightful place on all lists of best female characters of 2017.
3. Jules Thomas (Sweet/Vicious)
Jules looks like her life is easy. Blonde hair, sweet smile, a couple precious dimples.
What lies beneath the surface, though, is what makes Jules a top female character of 2017. She is a warrior on Sweet/Vicious, fighting to get justice after being raped by her best friend’s boyfriend.
Jules is an important character because her vigilante fighting is not the only, or even the strongest, thing about her.
Her character is developed as the series goes on. The trauma she has experienced impacts her, and she goes on a journey of discovering what heals and what is just vengeance, and how to know when those two things are different.
Jules is a complex, nuanced, and needed character, but sadly, Sweet/Vicious was canceled too soon.
4. Raven Reyes (The 100)
Raven saves her own life. Through the mechanic expertise she built while growing up on the ship, Raven figures out a way.
She stretches her mind to extraordinary heights to imagine that she can re-start her own heart after forcing herself to pseudo-die in order to rid her body of Allie’s control. The rest of us are barely making it over hump day.
The adventures on The 100 often take a delightfully science fiction route, but Raven Reyes continually gives us a rebellious, feminist, and sleek vision of survival against odds.
Importantly, Raven is also a depiction of managing the social and emotional impacts a disability can have on a person. Raven is an inter-sectional representation on our TV screens.
5. Officer Nicole Haught (Wynonna Earp)
Officer Nicole Haught inspires viewers with her romantic devotion to Waverly, her endless courage when fighting demons, and her cheeky banter with the sometimes overly serious characters on Wynonna Earp.
Even in the most dire of circumstances, when her very life is on the line, Officer Haught thinks of the people she loves over herself. She may know more and be more entwined in the Earp history than she lets on, but her true love for Waverly is obvious.
The mix of BAMF qualities and tenderness makes Officer Haught an admired and adored female character of 2017.
6. Jane Villanueva (Jane the Virgin)
Jane is the epitome of a well-rounded, complex character.
In Jane the Virgin Season 3, we have the opportunity to see her as a wife, a friend, a daughter, a granddaughter, a widow (sob!), a co-parent, a mom, and much more.
Gina Rodriguez deftly navigates the character of Jane such that each of her relationships is flushed out and well realized. We fall in love with Jane every time another Jane the Virgin character does, which in Jane the Virgin Season 3 seems to be about every other episode.