The Twenty-Five Best TV Roles For Women
From The Bionic Woman to Alexis Carrington to Liz Lemon, we count down the top roles for women on television.
5. Maude Findlay from “Maude”
Played by Beatrice Arthur, Maude was a liberal outspoken upper middle class woman who handled tough situations with panache. Originally a spin-off of “All in the Family” the show quickly became a success on its own terms due in part to Maude’s ability to face challenges with a dash of sarcasm and an iron will. Maude forced national conversations on controversial subjects like abortion, alcoholism, and suicide and she did it all with humor, grace, and intellect.
4. Lucille Ball from “I Love Lucy”
Played by Lucille Ball, Lucy is the grandmother of comedians. Each week audiences tuned in to watch Lucy’s antics and to see what wacky hijinks she would get up to next. Aided and abetted by her trusty accomplice, Ethel (Vivian Vance), Lucy got into all kinds of trouble that usually required her mostly patient husband, Desi Arnaz, to bail her out. “I Love Lucy” was the most watched show in the United States for four years and sixty years later the re-runs can still be seen on air.
3. Wonder Woman from “Wonder Woman”
Played by Lynda Carter, Wonder Woman was fighting for her rights and the red, white, and blue. Emboldened by her divine mission and her trusty lasso of truth, Wonder Woman flew the globe in her invisible jet fighting crime and working for justice. The fact that she did it all in go-go boots and star-spangled underwear just made it all the more wonderful. Now fans must wait and see if the impending re-boot of the show can compare.
2. Clair Huxtable from “The Cosby Show”
Played by Phylicia Rashad, Clair Huxtable managed to do it all: Successful lawyer, mother of five, patient wife to Cliff. She is equal parts silly, smart, and strict. She could deliver eloquent lectures on everything from discipline to dancing to secret chili recipes. She had an easy elegance about her that made all she did look simple and plausible. Her ability to juggle a partnership in a New York City law firm with caring for her rambunctious children and husband, makes her a role model for working mothers everywhere.
1. Buffy Summers from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy was strong, sassy, smart, and stylish. Sure she killed vampires, demons, and monsters, but she was also a teenage girl who struggled with friendship, family ties, love, loss, betrayal, and growing up as The Slayer. She accepted her fate and went from cheerleading to walking fearlessly into battle against the forces of evil again and again. She saved the world from the Apocalypse (frequently), fell in love, was fiercely loyal, died twice, and survived going to high school on the Hell Mouth. She was an understated proponent of girl power, who knew that one girl was strong, but with some help from her friends, she could save the world over and over again and still make a smart-mouth when almost certain doom was avoided. Over the course of the show’s seven season, Buffy proved that an action show with a girl as the action star could earn devoted and lifelong fans. While the clip below isn’t traditional, it does sum up everything we love about Buffy’s no-nonsense approach to life and slaying.
Kim Kelly from “Freaks and Geeks,” played by Busy Phillips
Ellen from “Ellen,” played by Ellen DeGeneres
Tami Taylor from “Friday Night Lights,” played by Connie Britton
Peggy Olson from “Mad Men,” played by Elisabeth Moss
Agent Olivia Dunham from “Fringe,” played by Anna Torv
Florida Evans from “Good Times,” played by Esther Rolle
Mary Cherry from “Popular”
Leslie Knope from “Parks and Recreation,” played by Amy Poehler
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