These lists might be annoying, but there were three phenomenal things I watched in 2015 that were so perfect I couldn’t end the year without talking about how great they were, so here we go. As should be expected, they all feature strong female lead characters, and as shouldn’t be expected, they’re all English TV (or, uh, Hulu/Netflix) shows.
Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin is literally the most perfect show that has ever existed. Yes, there is the obvious beautiful-people-with-absurd-melodrama that I clearly LOVED, but this show is more than that. JTV not only has a ton of leading strong Hispanic and female characters which is amazing for representation, it also perfectly blends Spanish and English dialogues which is a first for mainstream American TV, I’m pretty sure. Literally anyone can relate to this show despite it having an extremely girly-seeming title and female lead character, so if any of your male friends tell you they can’t watch it because it’s a “girl show”, tell them to fuck off because my dad’s the one who recommended this show to me and he has a penis, too (I assume, since I exist). There also is a surprising dearth of shows/books/fictional material that uses technology in the same way actual real people use it in their daily lives, and Jane the Virgin is a really notable exception because it uses technology perfectly. From Rogelio’s tweets to his fans, to Jane and Michael’s sextual tension, to just so many other things, this is the ONLY show in the universe that has really mastered incorporating this aspect of our daily lives into its characters’ daily lives, which is really surprising. Also, Jane is an actual female hero, something we see so infrequently. She’s perfect and doesn’t ever do anything wrong, and it’s not annoying like Priyanka Chopra’s character in Quantico, it’s just genuinely who she is: a good person stuck in a lot of really shitty situations.
Jessica Jones is so much more badass/so much better of a show than Daredevil that I just don’t even know how to deal with it. Both of these Netflix Marvel shows have gratuitous violence that makes me literally cringe every episode and are just generally really similar because they stem from the same Marvel universe, but Jessica Jones comes out as so much more watchable, because her problems are just so much more interesting. While not quite a “hero” like Jane the Virgin, Jessica Jones is still just a generally good person who gets caught up in a lot of bad situations, they just affect her way differently, and it’s amazing to see those affects. The general liberation Jessica feels when she finally gets to have good sex for the first time because she’s found someone she won’t literally destroy in the process is possibly the most attractive depiction of female sexuality I have ever seen on television (despite not being on television, I know). She’s not made to be any worse of a person for it, and at the same time she isn’t being used as a sexual object or using anyone else as a sexual object, she’s just a woman having sex which shouldn’t be ground-breaking, but sort of is. Plus, Kilgrave is SUCH a good villain. You know a show/film is doing something right if you know that someone is evil and yet still empathize with him. They try to make Fisk empathetic too, but it really doesn’t work like Kilgrave’s empathy. The sexual abuse Jessica experienced at his hand was SO REAL – in fact, tons of victims of abuse have said that Kilgrave’s words were at times exactly those of their abusers – and yet there are times when you sort of feel for him and think that maybe a part of what he has done was right. It’s even more amazing given the circumstances of the whole sexual abuse thing, because so many rapists are told by society that what they’re doing is right and made empathetic in the SAME WAY Kilgrave is – which only makes his character more terrifying and realistic.
Supergirl can’t be compared with Jessica Jones, but since everyone’s going to compare them anyway, what I like about Supergirl over Jessica Jones is that it isn’t realistic at all – i.e. I can watch the fight scenes without cringing and turning away, because most of them involve laser-eyes and freeze beams. Supergirl, like Jane the Virgin, is an actual hero character, and since the whole premise is that she’s an alien it doesn’t even come across as fake when she’s too perfect to deal with (insert another side-glare at Priyanka’s character in Quantico). No one else thinks she’s perfect, though, which is probably my favorite aspect of the show. This is the ONLY time I have EVER, in real life or fake life, seen a woman get torn down so much by society and still come out on the other side shooting fire out of her eyes screaming “what’d you say I couldn’t do again, bitch?” Despite none of us actually being aliens with super-powers, Kara is an inspiration to all women in the way she gets criticized by literally everyone and still comes out thinking she’s the fucking best. That, plus a cast of generally beautiful people (even Jimmy Olsen is hot), makes this show worth watching past the mediocre first episode.