Let’s not get all political — but we need shows that star and give prominence to strong, fierce, and incredible, badass women now more than ever. And dramas particularly lend themselves to this type of character from the stone cold bitch who isn’t afraid to be herself and accept the labels that comes along with that, to the lovable and powerful heroine who isn’t afraid to fight the patriarchy. With so many of us binging Netflix with any downtime we’re given, these are the ladies who are teaching us women some valuable life lessons.
So if you’re looking for your next TV obsession and you’d prefer to watch a show with a strong female character as opposed to one who’s only defined by her romantic relationships — here are 18 dramas you can watch right now on Netflix that just might do the trick.
1. House of Cards
House of Cards has seen Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) do more sinister things than one could imagine in his climb to the top. But Frank would be nothing without his wife, Claire (Robin Wright), and the show finally seems to be reflecting this truth. So curl up with an episode and speculate wildly on what the sixth season will be like under *spoiler* the reign of President Claire…
2. Stranger Things
Stranger Things captivated audiences in 2016 with its 1980s feel and story about a young boy’s disappearance. While the show does focus quite a bit on the male characters, we all know it would be nothing without Winona Ryder‘s Joyce Byers or of course Millie Bobby Brown‘s Eleven. (But, seriously, though… #JusticeforBarb)
3. Dear White People
Dear White People was based on the 2014 movie of the same name and follows a group of students attending an Ivy League school who are fed up and frustrated with the way their fellow pupils act. Leading the ensemble is the exceptionally badass Samantha White (Logan Browning) who has given us some of the most powerful quotes of 2017, including, “So because I call it out, racism is my fault?”
A legal drama, Damages runs through guest stars like most of us run through paper towels, and the episode-to-episode details are often exciting and usually crazy. But the best part of the show is watching the dynamic between two total badasses: Rose Byrne‘s Ellen Parsons and Glenn Close‘s Patty Hewes. Bring it on!
Glow was released June 23rd, and already, binge watchers are jumping on this title that revolves around the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling from the 1980s. In a week or so, it’ll almost assuredly have secured its place in the Badass Ladies of Television Hall of Fame, so we thought we’d jump on it early.
Technically more of a comedy-drama, Girlboss is loosely based on the life story of Sophia Amoruso. When Sophia (Britt Robertson) discovers her love of fashion, she soon jumps headfirst into the world of being her own boss, a world filled with pitfalls where only the strong survive. (Okay, cheesy, but definitely badass.) Despite Britt’s phenomenal portrayal, it was canceled after only one season.
7. Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a superhero with insane ass-kicking powers and PTSD. The show always makes sure to remind its audience of this fact, and it in no way diminishes her strength as she grapples with this issue. Now that’s cool.
8. Call the Midwife
Whether you’re trying to deliver or have a baby in the 1950s in the poorest section of London, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Here’s a fun drinking game for this show: take a shot every time a doctor shows up late and the midwife already has everything under control so he just stands in the corner. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
9. Friday Night Lights
Another show that seems like it’s about the men, Friday Night Lights is really a show about people who grow and change with the years and the challenges they come up against. The show’s matriarch Tami Taylor (played by the incredible Connie Britton) is just one example of an exceptional female character on FNL who feels as real as anyone else you know.
10. Gossip Girl
Looking for something fun and trashy to watch this Saturday night? Throw on Gossip Girl and go back to 2007 when Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) reigned supreme and nothing hurt. Hail to the queen.
11. Orange Is the New Black
When it comes to shows featuring badass women, this one might just take the cake. The ensemble is one of the best in television (if not the best) with so many different races, ethnicities, sexualities, and types of strength represented in so many women. When it first came out on Netflix, people hailed the show for being something we’d never seen before, and in many ways, we haven’t seen anything like it since.
12. Mad Men
Mad Men isn’t just a show about advertising or, even for that matter, just about Don Draper. If it were, we wouldn’t get the kind of lasting performances from women like Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks who play characters we can still see ourselves in, even 50 years down the road.
Quantico has a diverse cast of female characters who are all training to be in the FBI. But it’s their teacher Miranda (Aunjanue Ellis) who provides some of the most badass moments in the show. Case in point: “The FBI is still a man’s world. And in a man’s world, men get away with murder.”
14. Penny Dreadful
Does anything quite say “badass” like Vanessa Ives’ (Eva Green) rage-glare in Penny Dreadful? She wears it a lot in this supernatural drama set in Victorian London, and it’s awesome every time.
15. Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin is a sharp and enjoyable dramady that has featured badass female characters in all of its three seasons. But none shine as bright as Gina Rodriguez, the titular character and the heart of the show. Though it may stray into some weird territory—and boy does it ever—Jane viewers continue to grow because of Rodriguez’s incredible performance of a well-rounded, flawed, and incredibly lovable character.
Fiona (Emmy Rossum) has been the long-suffering mother figure of the Gallagher household for a long time now on the American version of Shameless, but in season 7, she turns a new corner that makes her an even more dynamic and powerful character. What’s more, Rossum recently demanded a pay raise because she had been making substantially less than her co-star William H. Macy for years. Go, girl.
17. The Crown
It’s incredibly difficult to portray a living person in television, especially one whom people know extremely well. And one who is also the Queen of England. But Claire Foy‘s performance as Queen Elizabeth II is flawless. She’s not your typical badass heroine, but she can do more with a stern look than most can do with their fists.
18. Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks has some of television’s most timeless characters, and it’s where a lot of today’s most prominent actors got their start. While there are loads of great female characters on this show, from Linda Cardellini‘s starring character Lindsay Weir to Sarah Hagan‘s memorable Millie Kentner, when it comes to badasses, nobody messes with Kim Kelly (Busy Phillips).