Big-name women no longer hesitate when it comes to signing up for television shows, where parts richer than typical female movie characters await. Here are 12 roles showcasing powerful, complicated women.
The actor: Emilia Clarke. The show: “Game of Thrones,” returning 8 p.m. April 14, HBO. The character: She’s a big favorite to wind up on the Iron Throne, thanks to her steely determination and bedside manner with dragons.
The actor: Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The show: “Veep,” 9:30 p.m. Sundays, HBO. The character: Politics has never been so ugly or hilarious. If vulgarity and narcissism were selling points, Meyer would be president for life.
The actor: Sandra Oh. The show: “Killing Eve,” 7 p.m. Sundays, BBC America and AMC. The character: This MI5 security operative may not be great with a knife, but cut in front of her in the buffet line at your own peril.
The actor: Alison Brie. The show: “GLOW,” Netflix. The character: Hulk Hogan has nothing on this plucky ’80s wrestler who keeps proving to be a heavyweight inside and outside the ring.
Miriam “Midge” Maisel
The actor: Rachel Brosnahan. The show: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amazon Prime. The character: This promising stand-up comic may look demure on the outside, but sexist hecklers quickly learn she’s no doormat.
The actor: Kristen Bell. The show: “The Good Place,” nbc.com, Hulu, Netflix. The character: It’s unclear whether purgatory’s most radiant resident will end up in heaven or hell. Either way, she’s forking amazing.
The actor: Laura Dern. The show: “F Is for Family,” Netflix. The character: Hubby does most of the ranting in this '70s-set animated show, but steer clear of this desperate housewife when a corporation steals her invention.
The actor: Stephanie Beatriz. The show: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” 8 p.m. Thursdays, KARE, Ch. 11. The character: Crime doesn’t pay — and neither does disrespect — when this no-nonsense, intimidating detective is on the case.
The actor: Constance Wu. The show: “Fresh Off the Boat,” 7 p.m. Fridays, KSTP, Ch. 5. The character: Mother knows best in this enduring sitcom — and anyone who disagrees is subjected to her steely glare. Or worse.
The actor: Pamela Adlon. The show: “Better Things,” 9 p.m. Thursdays, FX. The character: Her approach to parenting may not earn Emily Post’s approval, but her three daughters are lucky to have her. So are we.
The actor: Taraji P. Henson. The show: “Empire,” 7 p.m. Wednesdays, KMSP, Ch. 9. The character: Prison did nothing to soften this record-label executive, a mashup of Berry Gordy, Alexis Carrington and Lady Macbeth.
The actor: Thandie Newton. The show: “Westworld,” HBO Now. The character: She may be an android, but there’s nothing mechanical about this brothel madam determined to lead her own #MeToo movement.