25 Unforgettable Female TV Characters

female tv characters

Men mostly dominate and rule the world. Or at least it is considered that way. Male characters are most of the time the ones we read, write and listen about. They are courageous, fierce and strong. They protect the world, they fight for a better cause, they make us laugh and keep us safe. Yes, it is often like that. We should not and won’t forget an array of memorable male characters we grew up with or like to follow on television.

But, what’s a man without a woman? How many female characters have passed in front of our eyes during the years? We remember them for multiple things. They are also brave and funny. They are an essential, not only addition, but the main part in the majority of tv shows we love. They cannot be and must not be forgotten. These are 25 unforgettable female TV characters. I’m sure you’re gonna like to remember them.

Peggy Bundy – Married with Children

One of the most iconic tv shows ever. Talking about its characters and not mentioning all of them it’s definitely a sin. From Al Bundy to his first neighbours Marcy and Jefferson, there is simply not one character who we didn’t love or who didn’t get on our nerves here. 

Filmed in the eighties, Married With Children is a show which today would be completely differently looked at. There would be so many bans and analyses of their behaviour, beliefs and words they dared to utter. But at the time it was a recipe for something successful and unforgettable. 

And finally we come to the main female character, the one of a kind, the legendary Peggy Bundy. There wasn’t and will never be a character like her. Tall, slender and always talking, Peggy is a woman who was anything but a stereotypical suburban wife of that time. Played by the fantastic Katey Sagal, this character is so well portrayed that we even tend to ignore all her obnoxious habits and behaviour.

Elaine Benes – Seinfeld

Arrogant, never satisfied and always complaining, the cynical Elaine Benes is truly one of the most memorable and iconic female characters ever. Petite and chatty, she must find her place in all male company we watch her in. We adore expecting what she is going to say next, what she is going to complain or nag about. 

Although she can be quite annoying, we can’t get enough of her, since she is a very strong and independent character who always gets her own way. Julia Louis Dreyfuss is masterful in this role, with her eye rolling and charming smirk. 

The expression “Get Out” started to associate us to so much more after we’ve seen this show.

Edith Artois – Allo Allo

Somewhere in the heart of Burgundy, France, in the middle of the Second world war. A small, but loud and cheerful cafe, with its hilarious and quirky tenants and employers. A piano, red rose and a tone deaf singer. Edith Artois is remarkable and definitely unforgettable. 

A good natured, but pretty tiresome cafe owner, Edith belongs to those characters who get under our skin very fast. Although she can be pretty boring at times, especially when we listen to her husband Rene,  Edith is such a kind and good soul that we simply can’t have anything against her. We feel sorry for her very often and strongly believe that she will open her eyes and acknowledge what’s going on in front of them. 

Or is she maybe even more cunning than we thought she was and we need to give her more credit?

Phoebe Buffay, Rachel Green, Monica Geller – Friends

It would be a sin not to mention all three female Friends. They simply don’t go one without the other. 

Funny and quirky masseuse Phoebe, a former homeless girl who never seizes to amaze us her open minded views and hilarious statements. Is there anyone who doesn’t love her? Could that be possible? Lisa Kudrow was perfectly cast here and gave this character so much life and spark that we simply cannot forget her.

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Beautiful, naive and often spoiled Long Island rich girl, Rachel Green is maybe the character who evolved the most in this show. From a runaway bride who starts working in a cafe to a skillful executive in the fashion business, this female character is responsible for most of our tears and hopes in this show. And she made Jennifer Aniston one of the biggest tv stars ever.

And last, but not least, the strict and order obsessed Monica Geller, a chef who would do anything for her best friends and people around her, even bake cookies in the middle of the night. It is almost purifying to laugh at her obsessive behaviours and comfort ourselves for our occasional quirks.

Rose Tyler – Doctor Who

Being remembered as an iconic character in a tv show where the main character is so recognisable and long lasting is definitely a huge success. One of Doctor Who’s companions, Rose Tyler is a girl who won’t stop at anything. She is living such an invisible and unmemorable life that something simply had to happen to her.

After being offered the chance of her lifetime, she embarks on a journey she will never forget. And we will never forget her. We will remember the sacrifices she endured for the Doctor. We won’t forget her relationship to her absent mother and the bravery she showed in every new adventure. Rose Tyler is also responsible for one of the most emotional and heartbreaking scenes in the whole show.

Gemma Teller Morrow – Sons of Anarchy

Second time on the list, but this time in a completely different role, Katey Sagal delivered once again an unforgettable performance. Almost twenty years later, we are moving from Chicago to Northern California and from a giggly redhead housewife to a merciless and strong, but very complicated Gemma Teller.

It is uncanny how realistically Katey Sagal portrayed this character. From a single mother in charge of one of the biggest motorbike gangs in California, to a ruthless woman who would do anything to maintain her family safe and unharmed. Even lie and kill. 

It is not so common to see such a strong and powerful female character in a tv show and Gemma Teller showed us that there are women who can go hand in hand with men and do all kinds of activities. Although we don’t approve of most of her decisions in this excellent tv show, Gemma is a character which stays in our minds long after its final episode.

Roseanne Conner – Roseanne

A character that so many times got on our nerves. Loud and obnoxious, with a laughter that we had the urge to silence so many times. Roseanne Conner is a television icon, a mum and wife who has never been at loss for words. Always having something to say, with advice which most of the time didn’t have anything to do with logic. 

What we loved about this show and this character is the normality we were faced with. A working class American family which didn’t differ from any other family in any part of the world. With a mum who was always somewhere, lurking and ready for yelling and trying to educate her entire family. 

Brenda Walsh – Beverly Hills

A tv show many of us grew up with and will never forget. A group of teenage boys and girls, facing their first love problems and health and mental issues. Weačthy youngsters who showed us that money doesn’t mean much. We are all the same when we have to deal with similar things. We remember all of them, we can recall most of their names, but there is one that we love to mention a bit more.

Brenda Walsh, played by then Hollywood bad girl Shannon Doherty is a character that didn’t stay longest in the show, but was definitely the one who we loved following the most. Spoiled and very often rude, she was this example of what we should avoid. And that’s why she was so appealing to most of us. There is something about those twisted characters that we love to watch on television.

Buffy – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The nineties were such a goldmine of iconic tv shows. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had it all. Teenagers, cheerleaders, love triangles and vampires. Lots of vampires. And a heroine who would slay them on a daily basis. Who didn’t want to be Buffy at that time. If you were a teenager and nothing really happened to you, this was the character you would most likely want as your good friend.

Sarah Michelle Geller was the perfect choice for this role. Blonde beauty who at first seems pretty vulnerable, but in a few seconds becomes the most lethal weapon in a fight against human’s greatest enemies. A hilarious show, with numerous good lines, a lot of sarcasm and even criticism of the American way of thinking and living.

Angela Chase – My So Called Life

One of the first teenage tv shows of that kind, My So Called Life dealt with all those adolescent topics that had to be mentioned on the big screen. Alcohol and drug addiction, eating disorders, delinquency and so much more. A show that should be shown to many young people who lose their way.

And there was this girl who found herself in the midst of all these problems. Young and naive Angela Chase played by the wonderful Claire Danes is a character which gathered all these outcasts and misunderstood characters who needed someone who will listen to them and just see them for what they are. An unforgettable character, the one which gives us hope and proves that the most invisible individuals can very often be the ones who will save your life.

Cersei Lannister – Game of Thrones

There hasn’t long been a character we loved to hate that much as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. One of the most unlovable characters ever to be featured in a tv show. Mean and cold, always thinking about herself, Cersei’s only good side is the love she has for her children.

It is very often painful to watch such a character. There have been times we hoped she would have a change of heart and show she was a human being, but it never happened. And still we love to talk about her and analyse her. It is such a complex character, with so many issues that psychiatrists all around the world would have a lot to examine and discuss.

Lena Headey gave a performance of a lifetime and, according to me, proved that she is a great actress who can deal with everything given to her. 

Daenerys Targaryen – Game of Thrones

One more Game of Thrones beauty and a strong, independent and unforgettable character. Daenerys is proof of what a woman can do. How a woman can reinvent herself and become so much more than she was expected to be.

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Bold, very often merciless, but still fair, goodhearted and therefore beloved, this character is an example that a woman can lead and have so many men follow her. As if she cast a spell on them, Daenerys is someone who men love to spend time with and are very often afraid of her company and wise words, not to mention her actions.

Lucy Ricardo – I Love Lucy

One of the first tv shows ever and definitely one of the first with a female lead character. Lucy Ricardo was one of the most watched shows in the fifties. It was something new and refreshing. Lucy gathered so many families in front of the television and brought smiles on their faces. 

What happens when the wife of a band leader also wants to be a star? She gets herself in so many humorous and unforgettable situations that people still mention her as one of the most famous and lovable tv characters and shows of all time.

Edina and Patsy – Absolutely Fabulous

To everyone who loves and follows British tv shows, these two characters are probably the first who come to mind when asked about unforgettable female characters. They are simply hilarious. Often so rude and on the edge of good taste, Edina and Patsy are not for everyone’s taste, as is not British humour. But for the ones who love it, they are one of the best.

Irritated and annoyed Edina and her totally crazy best friend Patsy spend their days drinking alcohol and complaining about everything and everyone. They are never satisfied and always in search of gossip. They are responsible for so many memorable situations and good laughs and two most atypical female characters in sitcoms

Liz Lemon – 30 Rock

Fans of this newer Hollywood type of humour were definitely more than satisfied when 30 Rock started airing. Full of quirky characters, this show was a huge success between 2006 and 2013.

It has a female lead character who finds herself among spoiled and eccentric colleagues and has to deal with their constant wishes and crazy behaviour. Tina Fey proved to be one of the best U.S. female comedians and gained huge popularity and success through this memorable show.

Joan Holloway – Mad Men

Although a dominantly male show, in a mostly male business, Mad Men offered us a few female characters that will always be mentioned. But there is one that will be remembered a bit more. Tall and beautiful, Christina Hendricks delivered an unforgettable performance as a smart and confident Joan Holloway.

She showed us that women in the fifties and sixties had so much more than good looks. They had to offer not only their domestic skills and good housewife manners, but also their smarts. She is an excellent example of how men sometimes cannot function without a good organisation hand. Joan is a combination of everything. 

She will firstly leave you breathless when you look at her and then blow your minds with her resourcefulness and capabilities.

Vanessa Ives – Penny Dreadful

It is almost impossible not to mention a character which has the whole show named after her. Vanessa Ives is a character which you will never forget. She has so much to show us, to teach us, but also to learn to sometimes stay away from the things we don’t understand.

Eva Green is remarkable and outstanding in this role. It seems as if it has been written for her. Dark and mysterious, just as Vanessa, Green perfectly delivered the story of a young girl who has to deal with all kinds of paranormal creatures in this gothic tale.

Aunt Polly – Peaky Blinders

From her very first scene, from the look in her eyes, the tone of her voice and her posture, aunt Polly will get under your skin. And you will without any doubt always put her on the list of the most remarkable female characters ever. Not only in shows. She is just so charismatic that she very often steals the show.

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A strong character, who fights for women rights and equality in business somewhere at the beginning of the 20th century. Aunt Polly is and should be a role model for many women who might think that they are not capable of succeeding in a predominantly man’s world. Polly is very often rude and seems coldhearted, but deep inside she is a person we all would love to have next to us.

Ally McBeal – Ally McBeal

Who didn’t want to become a lawyer while watching this tv show! It certainly moves you away from reality and gives you a completely crooked view of the law system anywhere. But it is such a feel good show, with an impeccable soundtrack and memorable characters. It is maybe a bit too much, but we don’t care. 

And this is mainly due to the main female character who can be described in so many ways. She will get on your nerves, probably irritate you but you will also laugh and cry with her and sympathise with her problems. Ally McBeal is not for everyone. She is annoying, changes her mood too often, but on the other hand she is so lovable with all these insecurities and craziness that you can’t forget her.

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Skyler White – Breaking Bad

Possibly one of the most irritating female characters in a tv show ever. Even though she was faced with numerous shocking revelations, we simply have a hard time understanding her or justifying her decisions. She is cold and distant, rarely smiles and doesn’t give us the opportunity to try and like her. 

Excellently played by Anna Gunn (poor woman will always be associated with Skyler), she is a character which is so memorable because of the way she dealt with the negative in her life. And we definitely applaud her for that. She didn’t cave in, she took the matter in her hands and adapted to the situation. Maybe even too much. But she is an example of a strong and independent woman who doesn’t allow to be crossed and played with.

Wendy Byrde – Ozark

When you become an icon during the filming and airing of a tv show, you are definitely a character that will never be forgotten. Wendy Byrde is a mastermind, a completely equal part in a marriage which has long ago stopped being happy. From the very beginning of this phenomenal show, we know who we met. A coldhearted, manipulative and very often completely emotionless woman who will do anything to stay on top.

There couldn’t be a more perfect choice for Wendy than Laura Linney. Absolutely magnificent and flawless in her interpretation of this fierce and frightening woman who is a good proof that women can overpower men so easily and more often than believed. An unforgettable character and one which will be discussed in these coming months since we cannot wait to see these few last episodes of this smart and unique tv show.

Eleven – Stranger Things

From the minute this show was announced and then published, we knew we were getting something original and memorable. With its fantastic story, a soundtrack and setting which took us back to the eighties and reminded us of all those shows and movies we loved to watch, it is definitely a gem among all of them. And the cast with these talented young actors and actresses who became their characters.

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But we must not forget to mention the only girl among them. Millie Bobby Brown played the role of Eleven so effortlessly and naturally. She is responsible for the iconic status this character already has. A shy and introverted little girl who slowly becomes one of the most powerful female characters ever. We are so amused and delighted to have a teenager who became a female role model for all the insecure girls who need to see that they can and need to be strong and independent.

Carmela Soprano – The Sopranos

Being one of the most important characters in a show which is full of important, moody and very dangerous men proves that you are a legend. Eddie Falcos’ Carmela is an icon on screen, but also brought Falco many appraisals and awards. She is simply a character which needs to be mentioned.

A housewife and a mother, one which doesn’t allow her walls to be shattered and her beliefs to be broken. She knows who she has under her roof but plays her part and gives many women hope and wind in their backs. Backing up her children, but never forgetting her mob-wife status, she uses all the luxuries and benefits this criminal life had to offer. Knowing that she can’t change much, she decides to embrace her fate and get as much of it as possible.

Lorelai Gilmore – Gilmore Girls

Never stops talking, drinks too much coffee, does not obey the rules and always has something to say. This and so much more is hidden in Lorelai Gilmore, the tv mum we all wanted to have. Open minded and funny, but also very protective of her only daughter. We grew up with Lorelai and Rory, followed their struggles and fights, because even though everything was shown in a light and fluffy manner, it was also obvious that it is not so easy being a young single mother who also wants a career. 

Lorelai is a feminist role, a tough cookie who wants to do everything on her own. She is stubborn and doesn’t like authority. Which one of us didn’t find themselves in her? I most certainly did. This is a show that many probably didn’t like, due to its endless dialogues and let’s face, sometimes a bit annoying characters, but it’s so worth mentioning since it delivered one of the strongest female characters ever.

Dana Scully – X – Files

Unforgettable without any doubt, Dana Scully is an icon among everyone. Among female detectives, among single women who want to stay single and among a dominantly male population in her field of work. Thrown into a SF story, she is maybe even more important in this show than the show itself. Along with her partner, agent Mulder. They are one of the most iconic tv duos ever.

Dana Scully is brave and strict, sometimes a bit too stiff for her own good. But she shows us that women can get anywhere if they show their abilities and are not afraid to speak their minds. Gillian Anderson became a legend with this role and gave her character this much wanted seriousness and aloofness. A really unforgettable character from the beginning till the very end.

  • Tamara is a big movie, music and book fan since always and writes a blog about all these things. Loves psychological thrillers, noir movies and mysteries of all kind. Enjoys discussing and talking about movies and tv series.