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Great TV Shows With a Female Lead

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

Are you waiting for your favourite TV show to come back from a lengthy hiatus? Are you having a hard time picking a new series to watch that will spark your interest? How much time can you really afford to spend watching episode after episode before your midterms and finals? Follow us through a list of eleven must-watch television shows with female leads! Many of the following are available for streaming on Netflix.

Orange is the New Black

Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), your average blonde-hair, blue eyed woman, has done nothing wrong in her life… except let herself be an accessory in a crime that her ex-girlfriend, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) orchestrated. Ten years after the fact, she turns herself in and is sentenced to spend fifteen months in a low-security women’s prison in Litchfield, New York. There she meets a colourful group of women, and to her surprise and discomfort, is reconnected with Alex. Jenji Kohan, creator of Weeds, writes an incredible story that is based on the real-life experiences of Piper Kerman. With a phenomenal cast, including Taryn Manning, Laverne Cox, Matt McGorry, Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba, and Samira Wiley, this Netflix original has been all anyone can talk about and we cannot wait until season three!

Orphan Black

Starring Tatiana Maslany in several lead roles, Orphan Black follows the interconnected lives of clones who are trying to regain power and ownership of their bodies and lives. Sarah, a woman with a troubled past, Cosima, a Ph.D. student in evolutionary biology, and Alison, a soccer mom, set out to defeat whoever is trying to monitor and control them.  Set and filmed in Toronto, this show features several well-known faces from Degrassi and a storyline like no other. Orphan Black currently has two seasons out, with the third returning to BBC America on April 18, 2015. 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Based on the movie released in 1992, Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Buffy, a teenaged girl chosen to fight off vampires, demons, and other dark and evil forces. With a little help from her friends, Buffy is able to maintain an active social life and a unique after-school hobby of slaying unwanted creatures. A cult classic, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the beginning for many prominent actors in today’s industry, including Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, David Boreanaz, and Michelle Trachtenberg. Watch Buffy and the cast grow through seven seasons of an emotional rollercoaster, all available on Netflix. If you liked this show, be sure to check out “Angel,” a spinoff based on one of the characters!

The Mindy Project

Mindy Kaling stars as Mindy Lahiri, an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) living in New York City. Surrounded by her colleagues and friends, Mindy tries her hardest to balance her work and personal life. Cast members Chris Messina, Ike Barinholtz, Zoe Jarman, Beth Grant, and many others, who are definitely going to leave you laughing! This romantic comedy television series is in its third season and can be watched on FOX and Netflix.

United States of Tara

Tara (Toni Collette), a middle-aged woman with a husband and two kids, struggles daily with her diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). With different alters taking over her body and mind on a regular basis, she has trouble living a normal life and is often faced with many obstacles. With only three seasons, this show is a must-watch for anyone who loves humour and drama. Make sure to check out Netflix to catch United States of Tara, featuring Brie Larson, Keir Gilchrist, and John Corbett.

Broad City

Abbi (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana (Ilana Glazer) are two relatable, twenty-something year old women living in New York. While working sub-par jobs to support themselves, the two best friends are realistic and likeable to any viewer. Currently on its second season and recently renewed for a third, Broad City is a show that showcases the ups and downs of early adulthood and providing viewers with (somewhat) realistic expectations of what the future can hold. This comedy will have you laughing and not wanting to stop watching. Make sure to check out these two hilarious women on the COMEDY channel!

Veronica Mars

Set in the fictional town of Neptune, California, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) is a teenage girl who is far from average. After her best friend, Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried) is murdered, and her father Keith (Enrico Colantoni) is removed as county Sherriff for accusing Lilly’s father, Veronica has a hard time getting back to her regular self. Joining her father at his job as a private investigator, Veronica begins to solve many crimes, including that of her best friend’s murder. Other great cast members include Tina Majorino, Ryan Hansen, and Max Greenfield. The three seasons of “V Mars” can be found on Netflix, and make sure to catch the Veronica Mars movie that was released in 2014!

Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23

June Colburn (Dreama Walker) has just received her MBA and sets out to New York City to live the life she has always wanted. There, she meets Chloe (Krysten Ritter) who is nothing but a party girl who loves to con people and have a good time. The two roommates are polar opposites yet somehow are able to forget their differences and create an unlikely bond. Along for the ride is James Van Der Beek, or as you and everyone else may know him, Dawson from Dawson’s Creek, who is trying to revamp his career and make a new name for himself. The two seasons of this hilarious, yet short-lived show, can be found on Netflix.


Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) is your average Californian suburban mother, until the day her husband unexpectedly dies. In order to support her family, Nancy begins to sell marijuana to the parents that live in her neighbourhood. Eventually, her business expands and goes in many unexpected directions, including New York and Europe. Nancy and her family face many obstacles, and through eight seasons, she has lived in more places, has married more men, and has kept more secrets than anyone else could imagine. Created by Jenji Kohan, there will be many familiar faces in this series, including Kevin Nealon, Allie Grant, and Elizabeth Perkins, who are sure to make you laugh. All eight seasons of Weeds can be found on Netflix for everyone to enjoy.

Gilmore Girls

Set in the small Connecticut town of Stars Hallow, this mother and daughter duo starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel will have you crying tears of laughter and sadness. With a top notch cast, including Melissa McCarthy, Jared Padalecki, and Liza Weil, Gilmore Girls will take you into the lives of several quirky characters and have you hooked instantly. This seven-season show is now available on Netflix for your viewing pleasure!


Following the lives of the Pfeffermans, Transparent is an Amazon original about a transgender woman named Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) who is struggling to come out to her children and ex-wife. With an incredible cast including Gaby Hoffman, Amy Landecker, and Jay Duplass as Maura’s kids, and Judith Light as Maura’s ex-wife, this show will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. While the show only has one season out (10 episodes), we are hoping that we will be seeing more of the Pfefferman’s and learning more about each of their lives.

This list of TV shows will surely take your procrastination to a new level. While we have only listed eleven shows, there are a number of series that feature women in lead roles. Others that may spark your interest include Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Bones, Jane the Virgin, and Dark Angel. Make sure to check out any of the shows that interest you, and don’t forget to binge-watch accordingly!

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Sonja Obradovic

Wilfrid Laurier

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Chelsea Birtch

Wilfrid Laurier

Chelsea is one of the Campus Correspondent's for the HC WLU chapter! She has a passion for writing and is an avid reader who aspires to be an elementary school teacher. As well as being involved with Her Campus, she is also a sister of the Iota Theta chapter of Alpha Phi.