10 Female Characters Who Kicked Butt on TV in 2017

2017 is going to go down as the year of the woman and the entertainment industry is no exception. Another great year for female characters and female-led series on TV! In fact, three of my favorite shows featured primarily female casts (Handmaid's Tale, Better Things, Big Little Lies). 

Here they are in no particular order:

1. Alexis Bledel as "Ofglen," Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Handmaid's Tale has its share of awesome performances. We'll get to Elizabeth Moss but for now, let's celebrate Alexis Bledel's award-winning portrayal of "Ofglen." One of her best scenes (below) doesn't even have any dialogue! Catch up on Hulu before the second season is released in 2018.

2. Alison Brie as "Ruth," GLOW (Netflix)
I had no intention of liking this show but it sucked me right in! Ruth's story is actually the core of the show and Alison Brie morphs right in to the character, 80s style and all. And of course there's the wrestling. Catch up on Netflix.

3. Retta as "Barbara," Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce (Bravo)
Retta's "Barbara" was one of the best additions to an already great show. She brought some diversity and an every-woman perspective to Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, a show full of skinny, rich, white women with fabulous careers and wardrobes to match. Barbara puts the snark in GGTD! Catch up on Bravo Now or Netflix.  

4. Jessica Biel as "Cora," The Sinner (USA)
The Sinner had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish and a lot of it had to do with Jessica Biel's amazing performance. Where has she been hiding? In JT's shadow? Catch up on USA's app.

5. Danielle Brooks as "Taystee," Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Danielle played a more prominent role in the story lines of seasons 4 and 5 of Orange is the New Black and took full advantage of her screen time. Her portrayal of Taystee mourning her best friend's death was unforgettable. Catch up on Netflix.

6. Reese Witherspoon as "Madeline," Big Little Lies (HBO)
Sure, you could argue that Nicole Kidman really had the meatiest role and the award-winning performance of Big Little Lies, but I'm sticking with Reese Witherspoon. Her portrayal of Madeline was at times pompous, at other times introspective and emotional. Either way I believed it. Catch up on HBO GO. 

7. Sarah Gadon as "Grace," Alias Grace (Netflix)
Alias Grace is a Canadian mini-series (based on the 1996 book by Margaret Atwood) that tells the story of Grace Marks, Canada’s “most notorious murderess.” Sarah Gadon, a Canadian actress who mastered a Northern Ireland accent for the role, told Vanity Fair that she often psychologically profiles her characters before she plays them. It shows! Watch on Netflix.

8. Andrea Savage as "Andrea," I'm Sorry (TruTV)
Andrea Savage is a comedian who thrives on regular-woman commentary and a good ole fashioned potty mouth (my favorites!). In I'm Sorry she portrays a comedy writer who navigates awkward moments with her hubbie as adults and parents. Hilarity ensues. Catch up on Hulu.

9. & 10. Elizabeth Moss as both "Offred," Handmaid's Tale (Hulu) and "Robin," Top of the Lake: China Girl (BBC/Sundance TV)
This one's a two-fer: Elizabeth Moss has found her groove! Coming off a great run as "Peggy" on Mad Men, she went on to land juicy roles in Top of the Lake and my personal favorite this year, Handmaid's Tale. I think it's safe to say she's #winning in 2017. Catch up on both shows on Hulu.

BONUS Pamela Adlon as "Sam," Better Things (FX)
I included Pamela on my list last year, but since the Better Things' second season was even more amazing than the first, she deserves to be here again. Here is the final scene from the beautiful second season finale. Catch up on FX Now.