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The Best Female-Led TV Shows

Updated January 20, 2021 38.2k votes 2.8k voters 47.3k views337 items

List RulesOnly 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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  • The Golden Girls1
    423
    236

    The Golden Girls

    Bea Arthur, Betty White

    Premiered1985

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    The Golden Girls is an American sitcom, created by Susan Harris, that originally aired on NBC... more on Wikipedia
  • Veronica Mars2
    569
    356

    Veronica Mars

    Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III

    Premiered2004

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

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    Veronica Mars (UPN, 2004) is an American teen noir mystery drama television series created by... more on Wikipedia
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer3
    654
    478

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan

    Premiered1997

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

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997) is an American supernatural drama television series... more on Wikipedia
  • The Handmaid's Tale4
    430
    204

    The Handmaid's Tale

    Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes

    Premiered2017

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Dystopian fiction

    The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu, 2017) is an American web television series created by Bruce Miller,... more on Wikipedia
  • Bewitched5
    156
    82

    Bewitched

    Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York

    Premiered1964

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

    Bewitched is an American TV situation comedy fantasy which was broadcast for eight seasons on... more on Wikipedia
  • The Nanny6
    181
    118

    The Nanny

    Fran Drescher, Charles Shaughnessy

    Premiered1993

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    The Nanny is an American television sitcom originally aired on CBS from 1993 to 1999, starring... more on Wikipedia
  • Charmed7
    449
    347

    Charmed

    Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs

    Premiered1998

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Fantasy, Supernatural

    Charmed (The WB, 1998) is an American fantasy drama television series created by Constance M.... more on Wikipedia
  • I Love Lucy8
    265
    202

    I Love Lucy

    Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz

    Premiered1951

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance,... more on Wikipedia
  • Sabrina, the Teenage Witch9
    285
    200

    Sabrina, the Teenage Witch

    Melissa Joan Hart, Caroline Rhea

    Premiered1996

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

    Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is an American sitcom based on the Archie comic book series of the... more on Wikipedia
  • Parks and Recreation10
    323
    256

    Parks and Recreation

    Amy Poehler, Jim O'Heir

    Premiered2009

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

    Parks and Recreation (NBC, 2009) is an American television sitcom created by Greg Daniels and... more on Wikipedia
  • 30 Rock11
    255
    176

    30 Rock

    Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin

    Premiered2006

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Satire

    30 Rock (NBC, 2006) is an American satirical sitcom television series created by Tina Fey.... more on Wikipedia
  • Murder, She Wrote12
    168
    114

    Murder, She Wrote

    Angela Lansbury, William Windom

    Premiered1984

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Crime, Procedural drama, Drama, Cozy mystery

    This show is a television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and... more on Wikipedia
  • Gilmore Girls13
    547
    446

    Gilmore Girls

    Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel

    Premiered2000

    Genres (Tv)Comedy-drama

    Gilmore Girls (The WB, 2000) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Amy... more on Wikipedia
  • Jessica Jones14
    357
    241

    Jessica Jones

    Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter

    Premiered2015

    Genres (Tv)Action, Crime, Drama

    Jessica Jones (Netflix, 2015) is an American web television series created by Melissa... more on Wikipedia
  • Once Upon a Time15
    294
    237

    Once Upon a Time

    Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison

    Premiered2011

    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... more on Wikipedia
  • How to Get Away with Murder16
    208
    146

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Viola Davis, Billy Brown

    Premiered2014

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Crime, Legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder (ABC, 2014) is an American legal thriller television series... more on Wikipedia
  • Xena: Warrior Princess17
    149
    64

    Xena: Warrior Princess

    Lucy Lawless, Renée O'Connor

    Premiered1995

    Genres (Tv)Supernatural, Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Comedy-drama

    Xena: Warrior Princess is an American/New Zealand television series filmed in New Zealand. The... more on Wikipedia
  • Agent Carter18
    279
    239

    Agent Carter

    Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy

    Premiered2016

    Genres (Tv)Action, Adventure, Spy-Fi, Superhero

    Marvel's Agent Carter, or simply Agent Carter, is an American television series created for... more on Wikipedia
  • The 10019
    441
    320

    The 100

    Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco

    Premiered2013

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

    The 100 (The CW, 2014) is an American post-apocalyptic science fiction drama television series... more on Wikipedia
  • Alias20
    230
    167

    Alias

    Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin

    Premiered2001

    Genres (Tv)Action, Thriller, Espionage, Drama

    Alias (ABC, 2001) is an American action thriller television series created by J. J. Abrams.... more on Wikipedia
  • Wonder Woman21
    174
    127

    Wonder Woman

    Lynda Carter, Lyle Waggoner

    Premiered1975

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

    Wonder Woman is an American television series based on the DC Comics comic book superheroine... more on Wikipedia
  • Dollhouse22
    250
    227

    Dollhouse

    Eliza Dushku, Harry Lennix

    Premiered2009

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

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    Dollhouse is an American science fiction television series created by writer and director Joss... more on Wikipedia
  • Sex and the City23
    215
    198

    Sex and the City

    Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall

    Premiered1998

    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... more on Wikipedia
  • Revenge24
    144
    87

    Revenge

    Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe

    Premiered2011

    Genres (Tv)Soap opera, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Serial drama

    Revenge (ABC, 2011) is an American drama television series created by Mike Kelley, inspired by... more on Wikipedia
  • Wentworth25
    183
    124

    Wentworth

    Danielle Cormack, Nicole da Silva

    Premiered2013

    Genres (Tv)Drama

    Wentworth is an Australian television drama series. It was first broadcast on SoHo on 1 May... more on Wikipedia