Watchworthy

The Best Female-Led TV Shows 

Logan Rapp
Originally by
Updated June 5, 2020 29k votes 2.4k voters 39.2k views 292 items

List Rules Only shows with a recognizable main character who is a girl or woman.

While society has by no means reached actual equality, in the last few years television viewers have started to see an uptick in female-driven television series hitting the airwaves. These days it's easy for audiences to watch action or serious drama series with female leads in TV shows. This list ranks the best female-led television programs, both past and present - from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Inside Amy Schumer and everything in between - and needs your votes.

Women in TV have evolved incredibly over the decades. From the dutiful housewives, damsels in distress and temptress femme fatales of yesteryear to the flawed secret agents, high-powered attorneys, and twenty-somethings figuring it all out of today, the age of the Internet has allowed us to gain access to a whole host of women-driven dramas, comedies, and action sci-fi series. This list shows off the best women in TV series, from the black-and-white era to shows that are still airing new episodes today.

Whether you enjoy the period action of Agent Carter, the noir/teen-drama of Veronica Mars, or the biting satirical comedy of Veep, this list has all the top female-led TV shows. So vote up the best female shows below that you think all ladies (and gents!) should know about.

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list ordered by
1
Veronica Mars is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III, Teddy Dunn

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Teen drama, Mystery, Neo-noir, Drama

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Veronica Mars (UPN, 2004) is an American teen noir mystery drama television series created by Rob Thomas. After her best friend (Amanda Seyfried) is murdered, and her father (Enrico Colantoni) ...more
2
Buffy the Vampire Slayer... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, James Marsters

Premiered: 1997

Genres (Tv): Supernatural, Horror, Comedy-drama, Teen drama, Action, + more

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997) is an American supernatural drama television series created by Joss Whedon, based on the 1992 film. Destined to slay vampires, a young woman (Sarah ...more
3
Gilmore Girls is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson

Premiered: 2000

Genres (Tv): Comedy-drama

Gilmore Girls (The WB, 2000) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino. In the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, a thirty-something single mother ...more
4
Charmed is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
jenndubya added Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano

Premiered: 1998

Genres (Tv): Drama, Fantasy, Supernatural

Charmed (The WB, 1998) is an American fantasy drama television series created by Constance M. Burge. Sisters Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) discover ...more
5
The Handmaid's Tale is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
zoe-krainik added Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski

Premiered: 2017

Genres (Tv): Drama, Dystopian fiction

The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu, 2017) is an American web television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood. In a dystopian future where women are brutally ...more
6
The Golden Girls is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Umberhaven added Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan

Premiered: 1985

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Golden Girls is an American sitcom, created by Susan Harris, that originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, to May 9, 1992. Starring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and ...more
7
Parks and Recreation is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Amy Poehler, Jim O'Heir, Nick Offerman

Premiered: 2009

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Mockumentary, Satire, Romance TV, Comedy-drama, + more

Parks and Recreation (NBC, 2009) is an American television sitcom created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur. The series follows Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), a perky mid-level bureaucrat, and her ...more
8
I Love Lucy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance

Premiered: 1951

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. The black-and-white series originally ran from October 15, 1951, to May 6, ...more
9
Once Upon a Time is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
AlexandruOUAT added Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Drama, Mystery, Fairy tale, Comedy-drama, Fantasy

Once Upon a Time is an American fairy tale drama series that premiered on October 23, 2011, on ABC. The show takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, whose residents are ...more
10
The 100 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Andrea Middleton added Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco, Thomas McDonell

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Drama, Dystopian, Sci-fi, Action

The 100 (The CW, 2014) is an American post-apocalyptic science fiction drama television series developed by Jason Rothenberg, loosely based on the book by Kass Morgan. 97 years after a nuclear ...more
11
Jessica Jones is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Umberhaven added Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor

Premiered: 2015

Genres (Tv): Action, Crime, Drama

Jessica Jones (Netflix, 2015) is an American web television series created by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the Marvel Comics character. Following the tragic end of her brief superhero career, ...more
12
Dollhouse is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
jenndubya added Eliza Dushku, Harry Lennix, Fran Kranz

Premiered: 2009

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Psychological thriller, Thriller, Adventure film, + more

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Dollhouse is an American science fiction television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon under Mutant Enemy Productions. It premiered on February 13, 2009, on the Fox network and ...more
13
30 Rock is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Satire

30 Rock (NBC, 2006) is an American satirical sitcom television series created by Tina Fey. Head writer Liz Lemon (Fey) tries to run her sketch comedy show, while dealing with an arrogant boss ...more
14
Orange Is the New Black ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Comedy, Drama

Orange Is the New Black (Netflix, 2013) is an American comedy-drama web television series created by Jenji Kohan, based on the memoir by Piper Kerman. Convicted of a decade old crime of ...more
15
The Nanny is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Dimos Dicoudis added Fran Drescher, Charles Shaughnessy, Daniel Davis

Premiered: 1993

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Nanny is an American television sitcom originally aired on CBS from 1993 to 1999, starring Fran Drescher as Fran Fine, a Jewish Queens native who becomes the nanny of three children from the ...more
16
Bewitched is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Dimos Dicoudis added Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Dick Sargent

Premiered: 1964

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Sitcom, Comedy, Family Film, Fantasy

Bewitched is an American TV situation comedy fantasy which was broadcast for eight seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1972. It was created by Sol Saks under executive director Harry Ackerman, and ...more
17
Sabrina, the Teenage Wit... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
jenndubya added Melissa Joan Hart, Caroline Rhea, Beth Broderick

Premiered: 1996

Genres (Tv): Supernatural, Sitcom, Children's television series, Comedy, Fantasy television, + more

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is an American sitcom based on the Archie comic book series of the same name. The show premiered on September 27, 1996, on ABC to over 17 million viewers in its ...more
18
Agent Carter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy, Enver Gjokaj
Marvel's Agent Carter, or simply Agent Carter, is an American television series created for ABC. The series features the Marvel Comics character Peggy Carter, with Hayley Atwell reprising her ...more
19
Supergirl is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Umberhaven added Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh

Premiered: 2015

Genres (Tv): Superhero, Drama, Action, Adventure, Sci-fi

Supergirl (The CW, 2015) is an American superhero action-adventure television series developed by Ali Adler, Greg Berlanti, and Andrew Kreisberg, based on the DC Comics character. The adventures ...more
20
Wonder Woman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
ColinBoddy added Lynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner, Tom Kratochvil

Premiered: 1975

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action, Fantasy

Wonder Woman is an American television series based on the DC Comics comic book superheroine of the same name. Starring Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and Lyle Waggoner as Steve ...more
21
Alias is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin, Michael Vartan

Premiered: 2001

Genres (Tv): Action, Thriller, Espionage, Drama

Alias (ABC, 2001) is an American action thriller television series created by J. J. Abrams. CIA double agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) poses as an operative for a worldwide criminal and ...more
22
Dark Angel is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
jenndubya added Jessica Alba, Michael Weatherly, Richard Gunn

Premiered: 2000

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action, Science Fiction, + more

Dark Angel is an American biopunk/cyberpunk science fiction television series created by James Cameron and Charles H. Eglee and starring Jessica Alba in her breakthrough role. The show premiered ...more
23
Sex and the City is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis

Premiered: 1998

Genres (Tv): Romantic comedy

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Sex and the City (HBO, 1998) is an American romantic comedy-drama television series created by Darren Star, based on the 1997 book by Candace Bushnell. Four female New Yorkers (Sarah Jessica ...more
24
Wentworth is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
ColinBoddy added Danielle Cormack, Nicole da Silva, Kate Atkinson

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Drama

Wentworth is an Australian television drama series. It was first broadcast on SoHo on 1 May 2013. The series serves as a contemporary reimagining of Prisoner, which ran on Network Ten from 1979 ...more
25
New Girl is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Female-Led TV Shows
Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Sitcom

New Girl (Fox, 2011) is an American sitcom television series created by Elizabeth Meriwether. A quirky teacher (Zooey Deschanel) moves into a Los Angeles loft with three men (Jake Johnson, Max ...more