Summertime is typically known for reruns, but I am happy that some of my favorite shows premiered late enough in the year so that I can get in some quality time binge-watching. As I look back on some of my favorite shows that released new episodes in 2018, I started to really think about how incredible it is to see so many empowered female TV characters emerging on a daily basis. These women are strong, fearless, passionate, and loyal.
They stand out because they aren’t perfect. They make mistakes just like everyone else, but they are able to turn things around and make the right call to save the people they care about the most. For today’s list, I am looking at female characters that can kick some serious ass and save the day without compromising who they are in the process. Please note that supernatural abilities need not apply, as I want to focus on female characters that do not have any special powers or gifts. Please also note that some spoilers may be ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch any of the series mentioned below. My top 5 Empowered TV Female Characters of 2018 are:
Claire Novak from Supernatural.
“I saved Sam and Dean…WE saved Sam and Dean.”
If you haven’t caught up on Supernatural, Claire Novak is the daughter of Jimmy, who is Castiel’s vessel, and she is played by Kathryn Love Newton. Claire has appeared several times on Supernatural and Jody Mills looks after her. In 2018, fans got a look at the “Wayward Sisters” backdoor pilot and Claire has grown up to be quite the bad-ass. She is comically referred to as “Biker Barbie,” which I have to admit is spot on, as she sports some serious leather and a tough attitude, but still has an element of sweetness to her. In the backdoor pilot to “Wayward Sisters,” Sam and Dean are trapped in “The Bad Place,” and Claire works with Jody and the others to help save them. She has fully embraced her identity as a hunter and proves to be quite resourceful. It is absolutely fantastic to watch her take down her enemies and she is not afraid to improvise and even uses a flame thrower to really make an entrance. While Claire initially tends to swing her fists first and ask questions later, she soon learns from Jody and from her own mistakes that this is not always the best plan. When Sam and Dean are rescued, Claire finally realizes the importance of family and teamwork, proving that she has grown even further as a character that one can truly count on.
Al from Fear the Walking Dead.
“Cause I’m a chick with layers.”
If you haven’t caught up yet on Fear the Walking Dead, now is the time. This season has introduced us to some really compelling characters like John Dorie, Morgan Jones, and Naomi/Laura/June. Al, played by Maggie Grace, has truly captured my attention, however. Al is focused completely on gathering the stories of others and she records them on camera so that she is able to keep the story going as long as she can. Even though Al drives a tank, she initially stays on the sidelines and tries not to get herself too involved. However, after John Dorie is shot, Morgan gets through to her and she realizes that she may need to put the camera down from time to time and help save the day. Al is fully capable of taking care of herself and is extremely resourceful and knowledgeable. When she makes the decision to help John and the others, she proves to be an asset. Al can also kick some serious ass, as we see an epic fight between her and Alicia that will have you on the edge of your seat. I’m looking forward to seeing further development of her character, but I am definitely seeing some real potential for a new heroine to emerge on the series.
Octavia Blake from The 100.
“You are Wonkru or you’re the enemy of Wonkru.”
The 100 is one of my absolute favorite shows on television right now and the female characters on the show really prove to be strong, intelligent, and valuable. Characters like Clarke, Lexa, Raven, and Abby really elevate the show, but I have to admire Octavia Blake’s breakout in 2018. Octavia, played by Marie Avgeropoulos, was known as “the girl under the floor,” always hiding behind her brother, Bellamy. When Octavia meets her true love, Lincoln, she was able to tap into her potential and learn how to fight and stand up for herself. After “Praimfaya,” struck the world, Octavia made the brave decision to allow all crews inside the bunker to save them, but this was no easy task to maintain. In 2018, we see Octavia’s struggle to hold on to her power as “The Red Queen” or “Blodreina,” as each crew became agitated with the others and the reality set in that not everyone in the bunker would be able to survive. Octavia was hesitant at first about being a leader, but fully embraced it after Jaha died, taking his words of wisdom to heart. Octavia recognized that not everyone would agree with her decisions; but that they would all need to stand together in order to have a chance at survival. In a heroic moment, Octavia begins fighting anyone who rebels and repeats, “You are Wonkru or you’re the enemy of Wonkru,” over and over again, until she finally makes her point. Even though her decisions as a leader are somewhat questionable and perhaps no longer appropriate in their current situation, you can’t help but root for Octavia in this pivotal moment. The girl under the floor is no more and a true queen has emerged.
Cheryl Blossom from Riverdale.
“Untie her, you serpent hag!”
While there are many empowered female characters on Riverdale, Cheryl, played by Madelaine Petsch, showed the most promise for me in 2018. We have seen Cheryl grow as a character and take on quite a lot. While she may initially seem like an ice queen, Cheryl eventually learns to let her walls down and to open up to those around her. Cheryl has a lot to deal with and her mother doesn’t make her life any easier. When Cheryl begins confiding in Toni about how her mother stifled her feelings toward other girls, it starts to make a lot of sense why Cheryl kept everyone at a distance. After Cheryl’s mother has her locked away in a mental institution, Toni and Veronica come to her rescue, but Cheryl refuses to be broken in this moment. Cheryl rises from the ashes and stands up to her mother and I have to say it’s about time. Cheryl’s growing feelings for Toni also help her realize the importance of love and loyalty. When Penny kidnaps Toni, Cheryl heroically shows up with a red hood and her bow and arrow to save her “Cherie.” One can’t help but cheer for her in this moment, as she is no longer a scared little girl. Rather, she has blossomed into a fearless and sensational woman. Cheryl continuously shows her courage, as she stands up to the adults around her and even takes on “The Black Hood.” Look out world, here comes “Cheryl Bombshell.”
Kelly Maxwell from Ash vs Evil Dead.
“It’s Gladiator time, bitch.”
So my number one pick for the most empowered TV female character of 2018 has to go to the beautiful and hilarious Kelly Maxwell, played by Dana DeLorenzo. Kelly proves that you don’t need to be “The Chosen One” or “El Brujo Especial” in order to save the day. Kelly is tough and loyal, proving to be a “ghost beater” for life. After teaming up with Dalton from the “Knights of Sumeria,” Kelly makes the courageous decision to take on the villain, Ruby, all by herself with the Kandarian Dagger. Ruby is pretty much the queen of hell and is almost indestructible, but Kelly actually puts up quite a fight against her. You can’t help rooting for her in this moment and when Ruby stabs her with the Kandarian Dagger, she even tells her that she was her favorite. I remember being shocked and heartbroken in this moment, but Kelly was able to survive in the world through the rift and is ultimately rescued by Pablo toward the end of the series. In the series finale, Kelly reminds us why we love her so much. She kicks some serious ass and begins screaming while shooting as many deadites as she can, proving that she is fully capable of saving the day. When Ash ultimately goes to fight the big bad, he tells Kelly that she is the leader now and I have to agree with his choice. Kelly is strong and fearless and refuses to compromise herself for anyone. She’s not afraid to express her opinion and use as much colorful and foul language as possible to get her point across, but that’s why we adore her so much. Kelly is someone you could genuinely see yourself being friends with. She tells you the harsh truth whether you want to hear it or not, but she is there for you no matter what, which is something that makes her truly stand out as a good friend and an even better heroine.
I hope you enjoyed the list and please feel free to post your thoughts on some of your own favorite empowered TV Female Characters of 2018 in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!
Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl
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