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DID YOU READ

The Twenty-Five Best TV Roles For Women

The Twenty-Five Best TV Roles For Women (photo)

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Picking the 25 best television roles for women wasn’t easy. Television has been around for long enough that women have played thousands of characters ranging from presidents to gods, mothers to strippers, aliens to stripper aliens and pretty much everything in between. In devising this list, we wanted to choose women we admired, or who were pioneers (not literally, sorry Ma Ingalls), or had stories that stuck with you for years. The female characters who ended up on the list come from the Upper East Side, California, Baltimore, distant futures, and other worlds. These women are strong, sassy, determined, ambitious. They were trailblazers for women both on television and off. They tackled hot-button issues head on and changed the course of national political conversations by virtue of plot lines on their shows. These women range from savvy to devilish to forthright and true. They were career women, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, leaders, cheerleaders, and some of them were just having more fun than anyone else in the room. They are the women we would like to be, or the women we would just like to get a drink with sometime, and, in some cases, the women we wouldn’t want to be caught with alone in a room. In short, these are the 25 best characters played by women on television:

25. Jaime Sommers from “The Bionic Woman”
Played by Lindsay Wagner, the Bionic Woman was crafted by the same team who brought us Steve Austin a.k.a. “The Six Million Dollar Man”. Austin begged his boss to save his critically-injured girlfriend after she was hurt in a skydiving accident immediately after their engagement. The result was a woman stronger, faster, and with better hearing than almost anyone on earth. The cost? Amnesia and a job as an agent for a branch of the CIA. She and her bionic dog, Maximillion, fought crime, including the FemBots, and saved the world over and over again.

24. Captain Kathryn Janeway on “Star Trek: Voyager”
Played by Kate Mulgrew, Captain Janeway was the first woman to helm a Star Trek series and she did it with skill and grace. (Think less Kirk, more Jean-Luc Picard.) As captain of the Starfleet starship USS Voyager, Janeway faced life or death decisions almost daily and faced down such adversaries as The Borg and the Q Continuum with fearless resilience. She was so good at her job that she eventually rose to the rank of Admiral in the film, “Star Trek: Nemesis.”

23. Blair Waldorf from “Gossip Girl”
Played by Leighton Meester, Blair is the Upper East Side’s resident Queen Bee. She’s a schemer, a dreamer, and always knows everyone’s business. No one would ever mistake her for nice, but everyone wants to be her friend. She is an unapologetic fashion plate with a big brain under all that shiny hair. She has no tolerance for anyone not up to her standards, which is most of the world.

22. Felicia “Snoop” Pearson from “The Wire”
Played by a woman of the same name, Snoop was an enforcer for Marlo Stanfield’s drug ring. The only girl in the crew, Snoop was fearsome as a street tough soldier with no fear of getting her hands dirty. Horror master Stephen King called her character “perhaps the most terrifying female villain to ever appear in a television series.”

21. Patsy Stone from “Absolutely Fabulous”
Played by Joanna Lumley, Patsy was always having more fun than anyone else. She claimed to have blocked out everything before 1968, but her life since then was filled with modeling jobs, time spent as a Bond girl, and harassing Saffron, her best friend Edina’s dour daughter. Adamantly immature, firmly alcoholic, and devastatingly fashion forward and fad obsessed, Patsy is no role model, but you definitely want her at your party. Propped against a wall perhaps. Word is that new episodes of the show are in production, which is ab fab, because the more Patsy, the better.

20. Angela Chase from “My So-Called Life”
Played by Claire Danes, Angela was very much a regular high school girl. As she entered adolescence, she struggled to find her own identity, leaving her old best friend for new ones and pulling away from her parents as she took tentative steps toward adulthood. Of course, there was a boy, Jordan Catalano, who Angela desperately wanted to notice her. The emotional ups and downs of the slow crawl to adulthood were narrated by Angela, which created one of the most painfully emotionally honest portrayals of adolescence ever.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.