The depiction of female characters on screen has changed drastically over the years. In the past, the only role a female character had in tv or movie was to be the arm candy of the more interesting and complex male protagonist. Or they were to be the damsel in distress that our brave male protagonist can save. Female characters had no story arch of their own. For a long time, they had no complexities and were reduced to being the wishy-washy love interests.
But time has fortunately changed. We now see complex, strong, intelligent female characters on screen who don’t need a man to rescue them anymore. The damsel is no longer distressed. Over the years, we have gotten many such female characters who have made an impact on us. Characters like Princess Leia from Star Wars, Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, and Hermione Granger from Harry Potter are a few of the iconic female characters who come to my mind when I hear the word game-changing female characters on screen.
But there are some amazing ladies on screen who I think are overlooked by the mainstream media. These ladies deserve just as hype as the others. These characters are flawed, independent, complex, and strong in every sense of the word.
These are my favorite underrated ladies who deserve way more hype than they get:
(P.S. There might be major spoilers for some of the shows mentioned)
ALLISON ARGENT (TEEN WOLF)
Teen Wolf was one of the most hyped shows around the early 2010s. Everyone was very into the whole supernatural teen drama scene and Teen Wolf thrived off of that popularity. But rarely do I see any hype for my girl Allison Argent. Allison, hands down, was my favorite character of the show.
Even though she had a bit of an ‘I’m not like other girls’ complex in the earlier seasons, she quickly grew out of it. When she was first introduced, she was the girl next door love interest who had no idea about the supernatural, but Allison became an integral part of the pack beyond just being the love interest as the story went on. She became a skilled hunter and a leader for her family legacy. Allison’s character always felt very real.
She was flawed and she made big mistakes. But she learned from her mistakes and more than made up for them. She defied her corrupt family code and created one for her own: “We protect those who can’t protect themselves.” Her desperation to help her friends and be strong for them is what made her the badass character she was. Although she died at the end of the third season, she died saving her friends and being a hero. Her character remained one of the most memorable ones of the show even after being killed off.
MIRIAM ‘MIDGE’ MAISEL (THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL)
Another flawed complex female character that I love with my whole heart is Midge Maisel. One thing is for sure, Amy Sherman knows how to make a female character that you will instantly fall in love with. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. And the main reason for that is Mrs. Maisel AKA Midge herself. Even though it’s one of the best comedies of recent times, I rarely see any hype around it.
Midge Maisel is a housewife from the ’50s, who is starting a comedy career in New York after her husband leaves her for his assistant. It becomes glaringly obvious to the viewers that the real reason her husband left her was that she was much more talented & smarter than he could ever be.
After losing her husband, Midge didn’t fall apart. She picked herself up and made a name for herself which for a woman in the 1950s was a near-impossible thing to do.
At the start of the show, she’s a product of her time. She was raised with a belief system that told her to be the perfect mother and housewife. That being perfect and having a family is the only goal for a woman in society. But as the story went on she learned that there are other things out there for her. That she can choose herself, that having a family is not everything. Midge Maisel is truly one of the most persevering and aspiring characters on screen for me.
THEO CRAIN (THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE)
The Haunting of Hill House is the first horror show I’ve watched by my own will. It will probably be the only one too. This show is not underrated at all. It took Netflix by storm when it came out but I still think my favorite Crain sibling, Theo Crain, didn’t get as much appreciation as she deserves.
Each of the five Crain siblings represents one of the stages of grief. And Theo being the middle child represents Bargaining. Theodora Crain or Theo clearly has her walls up. She is very careful about who she lets in and who she lets out. Born with the ability to sense emotions or know things just by touching someone, it soon becomes more of a curse to her than a gift. She wears gloves to put a stop to this.
Theo is guarded, sharp-tongued, and reckless. Her character seemed like a loose cannon who’s on the path of self-destruction. But after Theo touched her younger sister’s dead body, she could no longer feel anything. This spurred her to realize she actually yearns for connection.
I find Theo to be an incredibly strong and complex character. I loved seeing her go from the cold black sheep of the family to finally letting her guards down and being there for her siblings.
THE SCARLET TRIO (THE BOLD TYPE)
I could not pick just one character from the phenomenon show that is The Bold Type. All three main characters Jane Sloan, Sutton Brady & Kat Edison have my whole heart. And what makes the show so incredible is the friendship between these three young women. All three of these ladies are talented, independent, and bold in their own way. Whether it be Jane’s integrity or Sutton’s determination or Kat’s bravery, they never failed to inspire me. All three have different struggles they go through and all three persevere at the end of the day in their own way. These three ladies show us such a great example of how powerful female friendship can be. They learn from their mistakes, they grow through their pain, and they never give up. All three of these amazing ladies deserve so much more appreciation than they get.
RAVEN REYES (THE 100)
I was a big fan of The 100 in my teen years but I stopped watching it after the 4th season. One of my favorite parts of the whole show was the character of Raven Reyes. But I’ve never seen her get the recognition she deserves in fandom.
Raven Reyes was first featured in the series as a Mechanic sent to Earth to join 100. Right from the start, Raven proved to be the best Mechanic in the Ark. She is charismatic and confident and she often uses humor to defend herself. But as the story progressed, we got to see more of her emotional and vulnerable side as well.
Raven has been through hell and back throughout the show. She was wounded, paralyzed on her left side, possessed and tortured. Her character has been dragged through the mud more times than I can count, but every time she stands up. She survived and thrived.
Raven Reyes is so many things. She is intelligent, emotional, strong, vulnerable, compassionate, and stubborn. Her character, in my opinion, is the definition of a strong female character. None of the main characters would’ve survived if it wasn’t for Raven and her beautiful mind.
ELEANOR SHELLSTROP (THE GOOD PLACE)
The Good Place is, no doubt, a brilliant series. One thing in particular that stands out about ‘The Good Place’ and makes it a modern-day classic is its main character, Eleanor Shellstrop.
Eleanor Shellstrop, at the start of the show, gets put into the Good Place (a utopian afterlife) by mistake. Even though sh tries to blend in with the rest of the people of the good place with the help of Chidi who is said to be her soulmate.
Eleanor was shown to be the worst person imaginable, at the start of the show. She was disrespectful, selfish, and just mean to everyone in general. Despite all that, the showrunner still managed to make her likable. Her dry humor and charisma somehow made us forget how bad of a person she actually is.
And as the show progressed, Eleanor’s character grew in ways that were impossible to even think of. She realizes throughout the show how bad of a person she was. She constantly tried to better herself to deserve a spot in the Good Place. Her character had a lot of depth and complexities. And you can’t help rooting for her to succeed.
There are also a lot of other female characters that I feel are not hyped enough. For example, Mazikeen from Lucifer, Rebekah Mikaelson from The Originals, Juliana Crain from The Man in The High Castle are a few that come to mind.
But these ladies mentioned above are all characters that are way too close to my heart. And I would love to see more appreciation and hype around them because they deserve it.