When we watch television shows, it is easy to root for the characters portrayed as heroes. They are fighting for good and we can typically get behind whatever their specific battle or challenge may be. There have been plenty of female heroes in television shows over the years. But there is another character type that many may not as easily celebrate: the anti-heroine. The anti-heroine is not always strictly good or bad. She takes us out of the black and white space of hero or villain. She makes questionable decisions that potentially put her in a moral gray area, but does so in a way that makes us think critically about our stance on tough topics. These types of characters present a different perspective on what it means to be a powerful female, and challenges the conventional stereotypes we have traditionally employed when depicting female heroes. To learn more about some of the best characters in this lane, check out these 8 TV shows that feature an anti-heroine.
Euphoria is full of questionable decisions and female characters who are constantly trying to maneuver gray area situations. Rue, Maddy, Jules, Cassie, Lexi and Kat are the anti-heroines of Euphoria and they are all powerful in their own ways. They make mistakes, get themselves into seemingly impossible situations, but continue to transcend and become better on the other side.
This Netflix hit series about a woman caught in a time loop who can also time travel is the epitome of an anti-heroine narrative we can all relate to. The relentless nature of Nadia’s recurring predicament is reflective of the true human condition. Sometimes we have to continuously find new ways to approach long, hard-fought challenges, and keep at it until we come out victorious.
Big Little Lies
The entire storyline of Big Little Lies is a pulsating undertone of building suspense powered by a million small questionable, uncomfortable decisions and plot twists. The main characters make up a tangled web of women who are all confronted with hard situations that force them to make tough calls and deal with the consequences of those decisions.
House of Cards
While many may consider Frank Underwood the main character of House of Cards, Claire Underwood is really the showstopper in this series. Claire definitely makes questionable decisions and frequently has less than admirable motives. But there is a redeeming quality about her, that makes us root for her and forward progression on the show.
How to Get Away With Murder
One of the most notable anti-heroines in current television is Annalise Keating in How To Get Away With Murder, which has earned actor Viola Davis an Emmy for the role. What makes her so lovable but also so controversial is the unorthodox approach she takes to teach her students how to teach her students law.
Everything about Killing Eve exists in the moral gray area. While one of the main characters is essentially an assassin and murderer and the other a secret agent, the audience can’t help but root for their shared challenges once they team up together.
VEEP is an interesting take on a female politician who ultimately wants to do the right thing, but must maneuver through the political arena while doing so. Because of the nature of politics, she finds herself in sticky situations where she ends up making some morally questionable decisions.
Game of Thrones
There are many anti-heroines in Game of Thrones, who all rise and fall in the fight for respect, power, love and wealth. This series shows how women of a different era had to use their wits and cunning intellect to protect themselves and advance their own interests.