INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: The 9 most badass women on Netflix
Here at TVGuide.co.uk, we’re lucky enough to have an all-female editorial team, and we know as well as anyone that women are pretty damn amazing. So today, in celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re tipping our hats to nine female characters on Netflix who pack a serious punch. Whether their area of expertise lies in law, politics, crime fighting, nursing, investigative journalism, or none of the above, these strong, intelligent, brave, sophisticated, compassionate and well-rounded humans are the reasons we love our favourite shows.
1. Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper)
The title Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt could not be more appropriate to this lady’s unfailingly positive attitude. Having spent the past fifteen years in false captivity by a dastardly (if incredibly handsome) Reverend, the newly liberated Kimmy is determined to be seen as something other than a victim, finding herself a job as a nanny, bravely adjusting to the unfamiliar modern world she’s been locked away from for all these years, and whole-heartedly embracing the life that was almost stolen entirely from her. Don’t underestimate her cute-as-a-button façade! It’s no wonder Kimmy’s been lauded with so many Emmy nominations and earned herself a third season.
2. Meg Rayburn (Linda Cardellini)
If you’re unfamiliar with Bloodline, it’s pretty much all about the repercussions of men’s stupid actions. The poor Rayburn family has been royally messed up by the deadly combination of an abusive father, the son who covers up for the abusive father, the other son whose childhood torment saw him become a drug dependant criminal, and the third son who’s… just not very intelligent. Then we have youngest family member Meg; a successful attorney with high paying job offers from New York and more sexy suitors than a woman can poke a stick at. Meg also acts as the family peacekeeper, along with her mother – who, played by force of nature Sissy Spacek, is also seriously awesome and stylish – making her the most badass character in a wholly badass show.
3. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter)
Created by Melissa Rosenberg, Marvel’s Jessica Jones is packed full of powerful women and awful, awful men. Leading lonely girl Jessica is a rude, no B.S. kind of badass, who’s not afraid of slamming doors in people’s faces, downing a bottle of Jack Daniels in bed, or using language that would make Captain America retreat in horror (I am referring in particular to her lovely phrase: “I don’t give a bag of dicks”) while ruthlessly taking no sh** from her abusive, manipulative ex-lover Kilgrave.
Other jewels in Jessica Jones’s crown include Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth, a ball-buster lawyer who manages to put even the insubordinate Jessica in her place, and the tremendous Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker (A.K.A The Defenders‘ Hellcat). Importantly, the women in Marvel’s Jessica Jones are sharp, assertive and powerful as they try to survive independently in a corrupted city, yet not without empathy or weakness, making for a female-led superhero show with characters who are refreshingly honest and relatable.
4. Claire Temple, A.K.A Night Nurse (Rosario Dawson)
Also flying the flag for awesome Marvel women is Daredevil‘s Claire Temple; the tireless Metro-General Hospital night shift nurse who had the unbelievable good fortune of finding a bloody and unconscious Matt Murdock (A.K.A Daredevil / A.K.A most beautiful human on the planet) in the dumpster outside her apartment one night. Claire’s not just sticking around to patch up some man’s wounds, though; far from it. Whether being questioned by malevolent police impersonators, captured by homicidal Russian gang members, or making a vital and life-saving cameo in the aforementioned Jessica Jones, this tough cookie has demonstrated more than a fair share of unflinching bravery, intelligence and initiative of her own.
5. Chelsea Handler
This gal’s not a fictional character. In fact, she actually exists in real life. World, rejoice! We can’t get enough of Handler’s ability to verbalise what we’re all thinking in a way that’s enviably witty, considered and concise, in her original documentary series Chelsea Does. Chelsea cracks us up with her deadpan, no holds barred mockery when speaking to racist bigots, vapid wedding planners, and even a BDSM ‘slaveowner’. Yet she also wins our devotion with her previously unrevealed sensitive side. When she speaks with the family of Walter Scott – the South Carolina African-American shot down by white police officer Michael Slager last year – Walter’s father notes that it’s one of the first times he’s laughed since his son was killed. Taking on important issues with real understanding, heart, and humour combined, Handler proves there’s a new queen on the documentary scene.
6. Mickey Dobbs (Gillian Jacobs)
Described by her school teachers as “a pretty girl with ugly physical habits”, Gillian Jacobs of Community fame now stars as high-enough-functioning sex and alcohol addict Mickey in Judd Apatow’s millennial rom com series Love – a show seemingly titled after our feelings towards this glorious trainwreck of a female character. This self-destructive, walking disaster of a twenty-something woman somehow becomes more hilarious the more dire her situation becomes, and her desperate need for comfort and stability sees Love take the turn from a one-dimensional ‘will they/won’t they‘ to a more insightful study of the 21st-century psyche. We just can’t get enough of her.
7. Denise (Lena Waithe)
Denise may not have the most screen time on Master of None, but Dev’s cooler-than-thou lesbian confidante is undoubtedly the show’s MVP. Whether delivering insightful wisdom on the reg, looking impossibly slick in tailored evening wear, or cracking us up with anecdotes of her fling with Lil’ Funyons, Denise steals every scene in the series. Even cooler is the fact that Denise was initially written to be a straight white woman, whose character was changed entirely once Waithe was cast to reflect her awesome, one of a kind personality. A queer woman of colour playing a queer woman of colour? Preeeeaaach!
8. Claire Underwood (Robin Wright)
One look from this House of Cards First Lady and we’re gone. I mean, anyone who can end an argument with “I am willing to let that child wither and die inside you” and still have our hearts is obviously a straight-up boss. Combine ice queen Claire’s super sharp intelligence (ahem.. scheming and manipulation) with her super sharp tailoring, throw in some environmental passion for good measure, and got yourself one heck of an alpha female. Who doesn’t want to be described as a woman “who will stop at nothing to conquer everything”? Power to Claire!
9. Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren (Uzo Aduba)
More than any other lady on Orange is the New Black, Crazy Eyes has let us in on the most impressive character development, transforming from a relatively one-note punchline provider to a deeply illustrated character. Knowing how she’s damaged by her history and is therefore desperate for affection and easily manipulated, we lovingly forgive all Suzanne’s transgressions, making her a woman who simultaneously evokes sympathy, shock, reproach and LOLs in equal measure. #Goals.