The Top 50 greatest female TV characters of the 21st century
We watch a lot of telly at Digital Spy. Like, A LOT. It also happens to be Women's History Month. Put the two together, and what have you got? A celebration of the very best female characters of the 21st century, that's what. We could go on for pages and pages about the strong, complicated and incredible women that have broken barriers and ceilings, but here we've championed 50 of the greatest to grace our screens in the last 20 years.
[Note: this feature first appeared in Digital Spy's digital-only magazine edition in 2021]
50. Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
By Gabriella Geisinger
"You're being a bit intense" is one of those soft criticisms I often met with growing up. I can't help it – I'm loud and tall, I have big hair and a lot of energy, but all this is underpinned by deep anxiety that spans everything I do and am. All of these things culminate in what can sometimes be an onslaught of muchness. When I started watching Parks and Recreation, I instantly felt a kinship with the fictional Leslie Knope.
Yes, Leslie is a bit intense, but that muchness isn't something she feels she has to hide. Instead, she's unafraid to name what she wants and work hard to get it. She doesn't hide her anxieties and lets her devotion and loyalty to her friends shine in some of the oddest, sweetest ways. Her intensity and devotion to the things that bring her joy – even when others don't understand them – are what make her so endearing.
Leslie Knope is the best friend we all wish we had and the best friend we all want to be. And because she's a comedy character written and acted by the genius of Amy Poehler, she's funny as hell, too.
49. Emily Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
Gilmore Girls might technically be the Lorelai and Rory show but, for many, Emily Gilmore is the real star. With a savage no-f**ks-given attitude that teeters between rudeness and brilliance, she was truly one of the first queens of the one-liner. Whether putting her husband in his place or taking Shira Huntzberger down a peg or three, Emily is an icon and we have no choice but to stan.
48. Miranda Bailey, Grey's Anatomy
Many have argued that Miranda is the focal point of Grey's Anatomy. The glue that holds it all together. The beating heart. Miranda is strong and motherly, taking on the role of mentor for many of the newbies, but she also has her vulnerabilities. An OG of the beloved show, she's certainly a fan-favourite.
47. Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project
Like many sitcoms, The Mindy Project is led by someone who's crass, shallow, and not always likeable, but that's exactly why Mindy deserves a spot on this list. By flipping the script and centring these tropes around a second-generation woman of Indian heritage, Mindy Kaling has crafted the kind of character we know all too well but so rarely get to see triumph on screen.
46. Lana Winters, American Horror Story
Lana 'Banana' Winters isn't just the best character on American Horror Story – in a career full of unforgettable performances, Asylum's strongest survivor might also be Sarah Paulson's best role yet. Whether you agree or not, it's safe to say that Lana immediately propelled Paulson into the A-list, right where she belongs.
45. Jessica Huang, Fresh Off the Boat
When it premiered in 2015, Fresh Off the Boat became the first Asian American-led network sitcom to air in 20 years, but that's not the only reason why it resonated so much with fans. A huge part of the show's appeal is personified in Constance Wu's portrayal of Jessica Huang, who delivers some of TV's very best lines while subverting many of the painful stereotypes that traditional sitcoms once perpetuated.
44. Clare Devlin, Derry Girls
Clare is sweet and empathetic and has a heart of gold, but she's continually dragged into chaotic situations that exceed the limits of her restraint, which makes her an endlessly brilliant watch. She tries so hard to be the best version of herself, as we all do, and Clare's eternal struggle between expectation and reality, though heightened, is something that we can all relate to.
43. Carol Peletier, The Walking Dead
We first met her as an abused wife. Freed from her marriage by the zombiegeddon, Carol quickly grew into one of the strongest, most nuanced Walking Dead characters, one whose complex relationship with violence (and with Daryl, of course) lends the show such depth.
42. Clarissa Mullery, Silent Witness
What a refreshing sight in a flagship BBC crime show – a wheelchair user who is in no way defined by her disability but rather by her wry, snarky personality, a deliciously new take on what could have been just another nerd in a lab coat.
41. Nia Nal, Supergirl
Transgender activist Nicole Maines has long fought for trans visibility, so it was only fitting that this real-life hero became TV's first transgender superhero on Supergirl. Nia Nal is a 'Dreamer' in every sense of the word, and every time she wears her costume, she inspires others to help create a more inclusive world.
40. Eleven, Stranger Things
By Abby Robinson
Stranger Things is one of Netflix's best-performing titles ever, and much of that can be attributed to Millie Bobby Brown's Eleven. Over the course of the sci-fi thriller's three seasons, she's rattled through a whole gamut of emotions and experiences that both resonate with me and act as an escape from the world outside my own front door, from battling monsters to experiencing her first crush to flipping vans with her mind to grappling with her identity and everything in between. Whatever the occasion, whether it's shopping for new threads or going toe to toe with the Mind Flayer, she's utterly compelling, like a Catherine wheel fizzing before my eyes, continually driving the narrative forwards.
Without her, the town of Hawkins would have been toast long ago, and who doesn't love a strong, capable woman saving the day when all hope seems lost? But that alone does not maketh Eleven. It's her power combined with her vulnerabilities and wide-eyed wonder as she navigates the fantastical (the Upside Down) and the mundane (an overprotective dad) that make her a character you not only root for, but wholeheartedly believe.
From the moment I first met Eleven, I was fully invested in her story and as we head into the home straight, I hope that her ending, whatever it entails, is a fitting conclusion for one of telly's all-time greats.
39. Michael Burnham, Star Trek Discovery
Michael Burnham is a Starfleet officer like no other. As a Science Officer she leads expeditions across alien worlds, and as the heart of Star Trek: Discovery she won over viewers of all kinds. Sonequa Martin-Green faces down countless betrayals and world ending events by imbuing Michael with equal measures of confidence and humanity, an attribute that handily mirrors the character's dual Vulcan/Human upbringing.
38. Polly Gray, Peaky Blinders
The only woman to ever give Tommy Shelby a run for his money without becoming besotted with him, which is definitely for the best as they were related. Polly was cunning, strong, and the essential matriarch of the Shelby clan, rightfully having dominance in an era where women were too often silenced. RIP, the great Helen McCrory.
37. Elektra Abundance, Pose
"I know our presence threatens you... We fought for our place at this table, and that has made us stronger than you will ever be." Elektra's epic comeback to a transphobic white woman isn't the only reason that she's made this list, but it sure is a phenomenal one.
36. Brooke Davis, One Tree Hill
You've seen one popular high-school party girl, you've seen them all, right? Wrong. There was so much more to Brooke Davis, and she did not want to be defined by the labels that others assigned her. Brooke taught streams of young people that there's strength in vulnerability, and that they should have faith in their own convictions.
35. The 13th Doctor, Doctor Who
Being the first female incarnation of the Doctor (or so we thought at the time...) was a heavy burden for Jodie Whittaker, but she carried it off with all the energy, charm and baffled alien genius that we've come to expect from the Time Lord.
34. Ahsoka Tano, Star Wars
By Ali Griffiths
First introduced as Anakin's new padawan, Ahsoka Tano's journey from irritating sidekick to confident and commanding rebel leader is one of Star Wars' greatest character arcs.
Initially working solely as a foil to Anakin, we watched young Ahsoka get tested repeatedly over five seasons of The Clone Wars, not only her fighting ability (shout out to twin lightsabers – which are never not cool), but also her allegiances. Her status as an audience cipher allowed her to poke and prod at the edges of the Star Wars universe, questioning the methods and intention of the Republic, wondering about the ethics of the Clones, and ultimately finding the rule of the Jedi ineffective.
All this character work was then masterfully paid off at the end of Clone Wars season five, when she finally walked away from her masters to forge her own path. If that wasn't enough, when Disney+ revived the show for one final season, she ended up in her rightful place at the heart of its epic conclusion.
The space that Ahsoka is given here (and also across her appearances in Star Wars Rebels and ultimately The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett) make her a unique character in the wider SW universe. We watch her grow from naive teenager to frighteningly competent adult, all while remaining the charming and compassionate person we first met. She also presents a view of the Star Wars universe, and particularly the Jedi, that we rarely see anywhere else. The "what if the Jedi are bad guys" conversation is certainly well-trodden, but Ahsoka's careful and introspective analysis on the topic lends her a complexity that all other Star Wars characters could benefit from.
33. Anne Lister, Gentleman Jack
Lesbians are mostly invisible to history; thanks be then for Anne Lister, whose secret diary revealed a rich and extraordinary life, made vivid by the charismatic Suranne Jones, who plays her as a tough, passionate woman whose superpower is her incredible mind and indefatigable self-belief.
32. She-Ra, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Queer kids everywhere were inspired to live out their own happy ending when She-Ra finally found hers in the arms of Catra, signalling a major and vital shift in both animation and TV as a whole.
31. Poussey Washington, Orange Is the New Black
By Shyvonne Thomas
There are many great characters in Orange Is the New Black, but none made quite an impact like Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley). She was intelligent, loved by all who met her, and someone we as viewers saw so much potential in and rooted for. We wanted to see Poussey succeed outside of the prison walls. She challenged the stereotypical ideologies of Black women caught up in the prison system and proved that she was more than just 'another ghetto prisoner'.
Her accidental suffocation and premature death in the penultimate episode of the fourth season – caused by white Correctional Officer Baxter 'Gerber' Bayley (Alan Aisenberg) – took place during an initially peaceful demonstration in the cafeteria of the prison, where the inmates were protesting against unfair treatment.
Poussey's death not only ignited the flames and arguably the stories of the remaining characters, but more importantly she highlighted the issues around police brutality towards Black people at the time and up until this day.
30. Fleabag, Fleabag
Fleabag shouldn't have felt revolutionary, but it turns out we hadn't really seen an awful lot of women masturbating on telly before 2016. Phoebe Waller-Bridge flipped the script, and not through voodoo magic, but simply by delivering a character that countless women recognised. What could be more powerful than that?
29. Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
Lauren Graham makes the complicated, sometimes selfish, deeply emotional, caffeine-addicted, fast-talking Lorelai. Rewatch after rewatch, her captivating and nuanced performance proves the inner lives of women, even regular women, are as worth exploring as anything else. Lorelai teaches us to take no shit, and Graham is still one of the most underappreciated, talented actresses on television.
28. Rosa Diaz, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Rosa Diaz is an F-you to the 'badass woman' trope; yes she's badass, but she's also kind and a loyal friend. Her coming-out arc was an important moment for bisexual folks whose representation is often the butt of a joke. Instead, Rosa is a well-rounded, complex, funny, and loveable bi character.
27. Eve Polastri, Killing Eve
How do you provide a foil to a character as flamboyantly eyeball-grabbing as Villanelle? Sandra Oh does it in a hundred different ways, lending the weary, bruised Eve believable heart and brain power, and in her sighs and frustrations all the humanity that Villanelle lacks.
26. June/Offred, The Handmaid's Tale
June Osborne could easily have been an empty symbol, a stand-in for women's suffering with no depth of her own, but her heroism lies in the fact that she's nobody's representative – she's herself to the core. Even as the patriarchy strips her of her name, her freedom and her dignity, she remains defiantly alive inside.
25. Rue, Euphoria
Zendaya's performance as Rue is a portrait of what can happen if you don't confront your trauma, and given that Euphoria is a show with a sizeable teen audience, this character will undoubtedly have been the jolt that many needed to confront their own emotions and ask for help.
24. DSI Stella Gibson, The Fall
Holding her own in a male-dominated space, Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson was the definition of a boss. More importantly, she never toned down her femininity in order to make her authority more palatable – on the contrary, Gibson owned her sexuality and her appearance, and was not apologetic about either.
23. Villanelle, Killing Eve
From the accents to fashion, erratic assassin Villanelle has rightfully become a global obsession and masterfully walks the line between surreal humour and ice cold killer. Jodie Comer is a multi-talented superstar, it's just a shame the show can't seem to commit to her character's queer love story.
22. Cristina Yang, Grey's Anatomy
Talk about layers! With wit by the bucketload, Cristina was never afraid to tell us all exactly what she was thinking – and we loved her for it. Her fierce friendship with Meredith was one of support and protection, and fans continued to root for Cristina even after her emotional farewell in the season 10 finale.
21. Jill Baxter, It's a Sin
By David Opie
Both the queer community and society at large would be much better off with more Jill Baxters in the world. Russell T Davies knew this all too well, which is why he incorporated his own real-life Jill into It's a Sin, giving a face to the women who have selflessly helped so many gay men over the years, whether it's by campaigning during the '80s AIDS crisis or just by simply showing their support on a more intimate, personal level.
In a world that was clearly not made for me, I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the Jill Baxters in my life who not only accepted who I was at a time when I couldn't, but also helped me thrive. Seeing Lydia West bring those friends to life on screen with such sensitivity and nuance is just one of many reasons why It's a Sin is a vital story, one which will go down in history as one of the most important shows ever made by queer people, for queer people.
20. Michonne Hawthorne, The Walking Dead
Out from the woods she came, samurai sword in one hand, two amputee zombies on a chain in the other. Pretty sure we've got a badass here. Watching Michonne gradually drop the emotional armour and reclaim her humanity (while still chopping up the dead like a bacon slicer) was one of the most rewarding of The Walking Dead's arcs.
19. Jessica Jones, Jessica Jones
Netflix's Jessica Jones was a welcome departure for the MCU, made all the more noticeable by the deeply complicated performance at its centre. Krysten Ritter delivers a superhero performance like no other as the titular PI, battling with her mental health, addiction issues and the ghost of past trauma in a way that lent her character vulnerability and ferocity at the same time.
18. Amy Farrah Fowler, The Big Bang Theory
While most might have expected to see Penny on this list, it was Amy that left the biggest impression from sitcom juggernaut The Big Bang Theory – and that's largely because we'd not really seen a female character quite like her before. A legit genius, the straight-talking neuroscientist went from awkward newcomer to the beating heart of the group, in one of the show's most predominant character arcs.
17. Betty Suarez, Ugly Betty
Real talk: no-one ever thought Betty was actually ugly. The point was that she felt ugly because she didn't conform to the tall, thin, blonde cultural standard, and that's what made her relatable: none of us feel like we match society's expectations, and it was a delight to see Betty succeed in life without changing herself to fit in.
16. Olivia Pope, Scandal
Kerry Washington's Olivia is a strong, successful and powerful Black woman, and one of very few indeed to lead their own show. Everything from Pope's strut to her glamorous attire and her natural ability to lead, made her a force to be reckoned with. Yet her character had vulnerabilities and knew the world had its eyes on her with every move she made.
15. Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars
On paper, Veronica Mars shouldn't have worked. A surprisingly gritty noir serial set within a Californian high school, equal parts The OC and Raymond Chandler, is a bit far-fetched even for us. Luckily, devilishly smart dialogue and an exceptional lead performance from Kristen Bell elevated it beyond a novelty premise. Bell was a joy on screen and utterly believable as the uber-smart Veronica, high school student by day and hard-boiled PI by night.
14. Jules, Euphoria
Jules is transgender, but Euphoria wants you to understand that that's not all that she is. The drama is first and foremost a piece of entertainment, but its ability to humanise her has received vast praise from the community itself, particularly younger viewers who feel seen in ways that they haven't before.
13. Sophia Burset, Orange Is the New Black
Laverne Cox's trailblazing OITNB character is an homage to LGBTQ+ activist and transgender woman CeCe McDonald, who was thrown in a men's prison after defending herself from a transphobic and racist attack. Sophia's journey on the show tackled misgendering, the importance of access to hormones, assault and violence – shining a light on the very real experiences that Black trans women still face today. Her perseverance made her truly inspiring to watch, leaving us all wanting more.
12. Angela Abar/Sister Night, Watchmen
Angela Abar is a loving wife and mother who busts down door, throws punches and sprints towards danger. She's the perfect illustration of how those two disparate strands of her character are not mutually exclusive, but part of the same whole. Women don't have to be one or the other. They can be both.
11. Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons
By Christian Tobin
The Simpsons has no shortage of clowns to carry the laughs, and I don't just mean Krusty. There are precious few characters, however, who actually feel like real-world people, and far fewer we'd ever want to hang out with. Lisa Simpson is one of those few.
Lisa offers a voice that is unique in Springfield (quite literally – Yeardley Smith is the only main cast member who voices just one regular character). Only Lisa would have the courage to call out political corruption at all levels, be it Congress or Quimby, and only Lisa would take on the type of big corporations that churn out sexist Malibu Stacy dolls and sell cigarettes to kids.
Homer famously lives his life by the mantra that "if something's hard to do, then it's not worth doing" – Lisa is the necessary counter-balance to that and it's telling that the show always turns to her to cut through the comedy as the writers' mouthpiece.
But she's more than that, of course. She's also been at the heart of some of the most moving moments in the entire show – connecting all too briefly with her fugitive grandmother, sharing a surprisingly sweet romance with Nelson, trekking up Mount Springfield with Homer, and jamming with her late jazz hero Bleeding Gums Murphy.
In an age where it often feels like we're surrounded by Homers, we could all do with being a little more Lisa.
10. Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. Or DSOTHTFOHNTUQOTAATFMKOTGGSBOCAMOD for short.
Daenerys' CV doesn't just stop with her massive name – she has one of the most powerful arcs in Game of Thrones, from innocent early days manipulated at the whims of evil men, to taming the savage Khal Drogo, choosing lovers on her terms, freeing slaves, winning hearts and minds and converting her sworn enemies – and naturally, becoming the only woman for Jon Snow, despite being his aunt. Yuck.
Yet the higher they fly, the further they fall. After everyone fell in love with Daenerys over seven seasons, in retrospect, it was inevitable that her heel turn was coming. We all wish it could have ended differently for her, or at least had longer to play out, but that's only a sign of quality – wanting more.
9. Rachel Green, Friends
Rachel Green's journey across 10 seasons of Friends, from spoiled runaway bride to confident single mum is not one to be scoffed at. Rachel's legacy is absolutely down to an outrageously charming performance from Jennifer Aniston. The actress became a beloved superstar for an entire generation, gracing thousands of magazine covers and bedroom walls, thanks to her undeniable chemistry with co-stars and perfect comic timing.
Ultimately it's hard to undersell the impact of Rachel Green, whose wardrobe spawned a million lookalikes and whose hilarious dialogue transcended the lifespan of the show. If you take a closer look however, beneath the memes and one-liners and will-they-won't-theys, you'll find a surprisingly complex character whose growth across the show's decade-long run far outpaced her other 'friends'.
Some aspects of the show have aged poorly, like all things, but Rachel's development and, particularly, her commitment to having a career and raising her daughter alone have withstood the test of time.
8. Diane Nguyen, BoJack Horseman
As a Vietnamese American, Diane's character was mishandled by the show with the casting of a white voice actor, however they did try to go some way towards addressing this in the later seasons.
In a sea of bright colours and "Hollywoo" glitz and glamour, you may have overlooked Diane – but that was kind of the point. Introduced as the ghost writer for washed-up sitcom star BoJack Horseman, the pair soon embarked on a dysfunctional and codependent friendship that would carry on through the show's six seasons. Diane was essentially BoJack's shadow self in a lot of ways – as he put it, she was "the not-cool version of me", the parts detangled from his celebrity that he couldn't quite face up to.
But instead of existing simply as a plot device to advance the growth of the protagonist, Diane broke the trope and held importance that was all her own. Her #MeToo-inspired storyline took on the insidiousness of rich, powerful male privilege, but it was her personal battle with depression that really pushed boundaries. Tackling some of the stigmas and misconceptions that can be attached to taking medication for your mental health, viewers saw Diane ultimately taking the help that she needed. A side effect of antidepressants – weight gain – was also depicted, and it's one of the only times that we can think of when a cartoon character has been drawn bigger, without it being the butt of a joke. Instead, Diane's change in appearance is barely talked about on the show, and it's just quietly accepted that she's healthier and happier now that she's taking care of her own wellbeing.
7. Arabella, I May Destroy You
Michaela Coel's much-heralded show will stand the test of time as one of the best series TV has to offer. Exploring the trauma of sexual assault, specifically through the lens of a Black woman's experience, I May Destroy You's lead is simply one of the most compelling, complex characters written for TV.
Coel proves she's an actor (and writer) of depth, humour, and complexity both in how she writes and performs. Equal parts crushing, infuriating, cathartic and joyous, Arabella's journey reminds us that there is no straight line through grief and trauma, and everyone has their own journey in finding their way to something like peace. Through this role and this show, Coel proves she's a creative force to be reckoned with and we can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
6. Willow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy Summers is the best female character ever written for TV – spoilers! – but would she have made this much of an impact without her best friend, Willow, by her side?
If Buffy represents the strength and fighting spirit of this show, then Willow is undoubtedly its heart. And that's why it was so painful to see her lose that empathy when she lost Tara, the love of her life, in season six. But even when Willow turned to the Dark Side, we couldn't help but root for her.
Look back across the best TV shows ever made, fantasy or otherwise, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more complex character, regardless of gender. Not only did Willow unite the Scooby Gang with support and kindness, but her growth from shy bookworm to a queer witch of untold power inspired us more than words could ever say. The hardest thing in this world is to live in it, but characters like Willow helped make it that much easier for those of us who first fell in love with her all those years ago.
5. Samantha Jones, Sex and the City
Let's start by naming the elephant in the room; Sex and the City has not aged well. Casual transphobia, blatant biphobia and racist stereotypes are among its many sins. Thanks to the progress that has been made on screen, it would be easy to forget just how much of a stir the HBO series – which centred on four single women as they navigated city life – made when it first premiered in the late '90s. And Samantha Jones is the absolute embodiment of that.
While Carrie, Charlotte and (to a slightly lesser extent) Miranda all spent much of their time obsessing over trying to meet and marry a man, Samantha was not only unapologetically open about her sexual freedom but she actively flaunted it for all to see. The antithesis to society's expectations of what women should aspire to, Samantha embraced her independence and preached about the joys of casual hook-ups and putting yourself first.
4. Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista, Pose
There are still too few LGBTQ+ stories on television, particularly ones that champion the rich history of the community. In this regard and then some, Ryan Murphy's Pose is a beacon, holding a lens up to the ballroom culture that took over the underground of New York in the '80s and '90s. It was a safe space for queer communities and gender-nonconforming people, and one that encouraged freedom of expression.
The importance and power of ballroom is perfectly encapsulated by the character of Blanca Rodriguez (played by Mj Rodriguez). The mother of House Evangelista, she nurtured and looked out for her children when nobody else would. Coming face-to-face with bigotry, transphobia and the stigma of being HIV-positive at a time when the virus was still so unknown, Blanca's fighting spirit would radiate off of the screen, inspiring and educating audiences in equal measure.
Pose tackles some heavy themes, including violence against Black trans women (sadly, still relevant to a contemporary audience) and the injustice of the AIDS epidemic, but through Blanca – and the liberation of the ballroom floor – we're also given a sense of hope.
3. Arya Stark, Game of Thrones
You can keep your Dragon Queens and your fancy Dornish princesses – give us Arya Stark any day. She knew from the beginning she wasn't meant to be a pampered aristocrat despite being born into one of Westeros' greatest families. So through the sweat of her brow – and the patronage of some extremely tough and scary mentors – she learned how to fight, how to nullify her ego, and how to overcome even her headlong rush towards death to become a cool, controlled master assassin.
And when the moment came, with no less than the entire future of humankind balancing on a knife's edge as the Night King held her off the ground by her throat, who better to drop that knife, catch it in her other hand and do the deed that saved the world of the living from the world of the dead? We can even forgive her for breaking poor Gendry's heart.
2. Annalise Keating, How to Get Away with Murder
You don't need to be squeaky clean to be inspirational, and never has that been clearer than in the case of Professor Annalise Keating. TV has seen countless male antiheroes over the years, all of whom have been celebrated, but this is one of the few instances where that same treatment has been afforded to a complicated, flawed and yet totally badass woman.
Not only did Annalise – brilliantly embodied by the powerhouse that is Viola Davis – push the envelope when it came to complexity and nuance, but she was also a groundbreaking character in terms of Black female representation on screen.
On the face of it, the twisty-turny melodrama might have seemed like trash TV at its absolute finest. But, whether commenting on systemic racism in the United States (and the ways in which it is intertwined with the justice system), exploring her bisexuality or embracing her natural hair, there was plenty of importance to be found in Annalise's storylines too.
To top all that, Annalise was just so much fun to watch. And isn't that what you want from one of your favourite TV characters of the 21st century?
1. Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
By Laura Jane Turner
"Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness... She is the Slayer."
We all hit that time in our lives when we realise that the world is not all warm and fuzzy and filled with kittens. When care-free days felt like a distant memory, and the innocence that surrounded us started to fall away. It was around then that Buffy the Vampire Slayer backflipped into my life – and I felt seen. At that age, everything feels like the end of the world, and for Buffy it literally was.
Sure, I wasn't climbing out of my bedroom window to kick vampire butt, but you don't need me to tell you that the '90s show was one big metaphor for teenage life. Demons come in many guises, whether a school bully, an unrequited crush or the overwhelming and confusing feeling of being different.
But Buffy Summers was the hero in her own story. And if she could be, then I could be too. Throughout its seven-season run, audiences grew along with Buffy and many of its most impactful moments can apply to all sorts of things that real life might throw at you – whatever your age, or your struggle.
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