It’s officially Fall which means two things: Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back and our weeknights will once gain be filled by brand new episodes of delicious prime time television. This fall is about to see some #GirlPower dominate the small screen, and these 18 ladies are at the top of the heap.
1. Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW)
In this musical dramedy/critical darling on The CW, Rachel Bloom shines as an anxious, uptight New York lawyer who takes a leap of faith and moves to West Covina, CA for a lower paying (but much less stressful) job at a small law firm. She sings, dances, and schemes her way into the hearts of Josh, an old flame, Greg, his best friend, and Paula, her new work BFF.
Why is she a badass? Rebecca grapples with depression and anxiety in a light hearted but realistic way that television has never seen, all the while dropping killer one liners and belting out solos. Did I mention show stopping dream dance sequences? Oh yeah, that too.
2. Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) on Pitch (FOX)
This new series, the first of its kind fully backed by the MLB, focuses on a young female pitcher who, after being signed to the San Diego Padres, becomes the first woman to play on a MLB team.
Why is she a badass? Not only does Ginny have a mean screwball, she’s mentally tough and will confront major backlash from teammates and media alike who don’t think a girl is ready for the “boys club” of major league baseball. If that’s not reason enough to watch the show, Mark-Paul Gosselaar of Saved By The Bell fame will costar as a seasoned catcher and new friend to Ginny.
3. Paige & Jordan (Jessica Rothe and Scout Durwood) on Mary + Jane (MTV)
In this new Broad City-esque MTV comedy, hyper-organized Paige and bisexual party girl Jordan compete with some spliff – er, stiff – competition to become the top “mostly legal prescription service” in the hipster-y east side.
Why are they badasses? Not only are these girls businesswomen and hustlers, they confront sexism on the daily. In the pilot, for example, they discover rumors that their business also offers ~other~ types of services for lonely men who are willing to tip extra…
4. Mia DiMeo (Minnie Driver) on Speechless (ABC)
Mia is NOT to be trifled with in this new ABC sitcom about a no-holds-barred mother who will stop at nothing to give her eldest son, who has cerebral palsy, a normal life.
Why is she a badass? Mia will not take no for answer, especially when it comes to her kids. She refuses to compromises because of her son’s condition. Behind her tough exterior, she cares deeply for her family and, like all moms, hits bumps along the way and is still learning how to be the best mother she can be.
5. The ladies of Strut (Oxygen)
Strut is a new transgender reality series focusing on the lives and challenges facing the personal and professional lives of several trans fashion models – including fierce goddesses Ren Spriggs, Dominique Jackson, Arisce Wanzer and Isis King (yes, that Isis from ANTM).
Why are they badasses? Um, did you read the description? They are trans women who are not only making it as models but busting industry beauty standards and all around slaying life. Come through QUEENS.
6. Frances (Sarah Jessica Parker) on Divorce (HBO)
Sarah Jessica Parker makes a grand return to HBO as Frances, a woman attempting to start a new life after years of living with a stagnant marriage. Her gal pals, played by Molly Shannon and Talia Balsom, help her gear up for a wild ride of douche bag lawyers, petty behavior and attempting to maintain normalcy in her children’s lives.
Why is she a badass? Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to make a change, and Frances was brave enough to do what was right for her, even if it meant dealing with major fallout. In her own words, “I want to save my life while I still care about it.” If admitting that isn’t badass, I don’t know what is.
7. Jessica Huang (Constance Wu) on Fresh Off The Boat (ABC)
Jessica, a proud 1st generation Chinese-American, rules the Huang family with an iron fist. In the past two seasons, we’ve seen Jessica make friends with fellow neighborhood outcast Honey, start her own real estate business, and constantly get her kids (and husband) out of trouble.
Why is she a badass? Jessica believes firmly in her values and traditions, and won’t let the confines of 1990s suburban Florida affect her self confidence and the way she feels her kids should be raised.
8. Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer) on Timeless (NBC)
In one of many new time travel shows, Timeless stars Abigail Spencer as historian and anthropologist Lucy Preston, a civilian chosen by Homeland Security as part of a small three-person team to go back to the 1930s to stop a time traveling criminal.
Why is she a badass? Between nervous pilot Rufus and brash soldier Wyatt, Lucy is lined up to be the voice of reason for the team, not to mention her deep knowledge and passion for historical moments both big and small. The trailer hints that she is the key that unlocks a greater mystery that will unfold as the season goes on.
9. Amy Dubanowski (America Ferrera) on Superstore (NBC)
Amy has literally no patience for the antics of cluelessly privileged new employee Jonah. In fact, she doesn’t have much patience for any of the chaos that seems to always surround her at Cloud 9 (basically fictional Walmart). Underneath her hard exterior is dedication to her work and compassion for her coworkers, as much as she hates to admit it.
Why is she a badass? As a single mother working for an honest wage, Amy represents a reality familiar to many Americans working in the service industry today. She may get exhausted with her larger-than-life coworkers, but she also grounds them and at the end of the day, her dedication to her work doesn’t go unnoticed.
10. Hales Morrison (Haley Atwell) on Conviction (ABC)
Hot off the heels of Marvel’s Agent Carter (RIP), Atwell stars in a new legal drama as the former first daughter of the United States and party girl Hales Morrison who, in a family PR effort to clean up her image, is forced to lead New York City’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which examines cases where there is credible evidence of a wrongful conviction.
Why is she a badass? Though not an admirable character at first glance, aimless and reluctant Hales will find purpose and passion in her new calling to right wrongs of the criminal justice system. She’s fiery, passionate, and is willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants.
11. Tig (Tig Notaro) on One Mississippi (Amazon Prime)
Comedian Tig Notaro stars in (and executive produces) new Amazon dark comedy, based on real life experiences, about an openly gay cancer survivor returning to her hometown in Mississippi to come to terms with the death of her mother.
Why she’s a badass: Tig’s struggle to understand her relationship with cold step-father is a stark contrast to her relationship with self-absorbed girlfriend Brooke. Notaro portrays love and loss with honesty and complexity that more closely mirrors real life than any other show on television.
11. Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) on Shameless (Showtime)
In six seasons of Shameless, Fiona has dealt with death, addiction, poverty, marriage, and as always, the dangerous antics of her dysfunctional father and siblings. First looks at Season 7 show Fiona starting to worry about herself for a change and set higher expectations for her siblings (to mixed success).
Why is she a badass? Fiona is a deeply flawed young woman with a free spirit but a harsh edge. But when shit gets real, Fiona has her family’s back and is always working to better herself and correct her mistakes.
12. Daisy Johnson / Quake / Skye (Chloe Bennet) on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Chloe Bennet gets yet another makeover (closer to her emo Michelle Branch look from Season 1) as she takes her comic-destined identity as Quake and is pursued by her former teammates at S.H.I.E.L.D.
Why is she a badass? Constantly reinventing herself not only in name, Daisy continues to search for her calling in life and where in the world she, and her ever-growing earthquake powers, belong.
13. Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) on Quantico (ABC)
International it-girl Priyanka Chopra made waves with last year’s premier of Quantico as a FBI trainee who gets framed for a bombing of Grand Central Station. This season sees newly cleared Alex Parrish as a trainee for the CIA now, which is sure to come with its own hoops to jump through and spider web of political intrigue.
Why is she a badass? Alex dealt with a double dose of racism and sexism both from the FBI training academy and later from the American public, but neither wavered her dedication to her country and passion for justice.
14. Issa Dee (Issa Rae) on Insecure (HBO)
This sleeper hit web series hits the big leagues with HBO’s Insecure, where in the words of star and creator Issa Rae, they will examine “the complexities of ‘blackness’ and the reality that you can’t escape being black.”
Why is she a badass? Issa, both the creator and character, is giving a critical lens to the subtle ins and outs of race in America in ways that TV – which has seen years of one dimensional sassy black friends – has never seen before.
15. Eileen O’Neal (Martha Plimpton) on The Real O’Neals (ABC)
Truly #YearOfTVMoms this season, we have yet another powerful matriarch on this list. Eileen spent most of season 1 recovering from her family’s “fall from grace” after her son’s accidental and very public coming out at a church potluck.
Why is she a badass? At first glance, Eileen is a narrow minded religious nut who refuses to accept a modernizing society. When you look closer, you will see a relentless and caring mother who is overcoming years of bone-deep Catholic guilt for the sake of accepting her gay son and her equally flawed family.
16. Kara Zor-El / Kara Danvers / Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) on Supergirl (The CW)
Titular Supergirl is the most charming and convincing superhero on TV right now, bar none. As Kara, she is a shy but ambitious executive assistant at a massive media conglomerate who juggles her complicated job, family life, and Super responsibilities while searching for answers about where she came from.
Why is she a badass? Melissa Benoist brings charisma and charm to Supergirl that no DC Comics show has seen since the early days of Smallville. Like all of us, Kara is rarely sure of herself and is often overwhelmed by high expectation of her, but is willing to put on a brave face and fight for what she believes in.
17. Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) on Jane The Virgin (The CW)
Golden Globe-winner Gina Rodriguez brings a third season of grace to her role as Jane, a hardworking Latina hotel employee who, despite being a virgin, is accidentally artificially inseminated by her gynecologist and decides to keep the baby.
Why is she a badass? Like many of the women on this list, and all women in real life, Jane deals with constant stress and juggles a million different roles: mother, daughter, friend, graduate student, girlfriend, and employee. However, Jane remains relentlessly positive and her firm morals keep her grounded and sane.
18. Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) on How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)
No list of badass TV women would be complete without Shondaland’s brightest star, Viola Davis as Dr. Annalise Keating, high profile defense attorney and law professor who continues to get her 5 star pupils (“The Keating Five”) out of trouble.
Why is she a badass? Annalise literally oozes badass with every steely glance, last minute evidence reveal, smart quip, and even tearful make-up removal. As fiercely intelligent as she is flawed and complicated, Annalise’s wit and experience is valued by both her staff and her long list of acquitted clients.