31. Bernadette Rostenkowski and Amy Farrah Fowler - The Big Bang Theory
Played By: Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik
The addition of brilliant scientists Bernadette and Amy to the cast of The Big Bang Theory has only made the most popular comedy on TV better, and that’s saying something.
30. Temperance Brennan - Bones
Played By: Emily Deschanel
Brennan is a genius scientist who learns how to forge real human connections while also solving grisly murders using only bones. And she gets to marry Angel! That lucky duck.
29. Santana Lopez - Glee
Played By: Naya Rivera
Santana is one of the more positive and openly proud lesbian role-models currently on network television and not ABC Family, and we all thank her for keeping Rachel and Kurt in line.
28. Abby Sciuto - NCIS
Played By: Pauley Perrette
Abby’s perfect mix of forensic brilliance and bizarre behavior make her easily one of the most lovable and beloved characters on NCIS. And she is single-handedly keeping the “Caf-Pow” corporation alive.
27. Fiona Gallagher - Shameless
Played By: Emmy Rossum
Fiona may not be the nicest person in the world (no one is “nice” on Shameless), but you cannot deny her love of family - she dropped out of high school to care for her siblings and went to court to become their legal guardian.
26. Katherine Pierce - The Vampire Diaries
Played By: Nina Dobrev
How is it that Elena Gilbert can be so naive and useless while Katherine is always amazing? The fact Nina Dobrev plays both characters with such individuality is a testament to her immense acting skills. TEAM KATHERINE FOREVER.
25. Joan Holloway - Mad Men
Played By: Christina Hendricks
Starting as a secretary and working her way up the corporate ladder to partner of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Joan embodies the can-do attitude of a woman who knows exactly what she wants. And Roger Sterling is in love with her, which is just an added bonus.
24. Emily Thorne - Revenge
Played By: Emily VanCamp
Emily could be higher on this list if she stopped messing around with Aiden and got to the point of her entire plan, which was to destroy the Graysons. I understand it’s difficult and all, but wasn’t her whole mantra to leave no prisoners?
23. Kristina Braverman - Parenthood
Played By: Monica Potter
No one can say they watched Kristina battle cancer with dry eyes. No one.
22. Carrie Mathison - Homeland
Played By: Claire Danes
Carrie was such a strong, albeit medicated CIA agent during Homeland’s first two seasons, but then once she fell in love with Brody things started to fall off the wagon. Here’s hoping season 4 brings back the old Carrie.
21. Donna Meagle - Parks and Recreation
Played By: Retta
Donna is knows how to treat herself, hilarious and is related to rapper Ginuwine. She’s responsible for 50% of the awesomeness of the Pawnee Parks department on any given day, basically.
20. Jessica Pearson - Suits
Played By: Gina Torres
Yes, Zoe Washburne is a bad-ass corporate lawyer who is not afraid to break several major laws in order to keep her powerful law firm. She’s just as awesome as you think she’d be.
19. Selina Meyer - Veep
Played By: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss
Vice-President Selina Meyer isn’t always the kindest crayon in the box, but she wants something (the Presidency) she goes full-steam ahead. Selina 2016, Yes We Can (Maybe).
18. Virginia Johnson - Masters of Sex
Played By: Lizzy Caplan
Caplan brilliantly captures Virginia Johnson’s sexually liberated yet emotionally complex secretary to Michael Sheen’s William Masters in the repressed 1950s.
17. Melisandre - Game of Thrones
Played By: Carice Van Houten
Melisandre is one of George R.R. Martin’s most polarizing figures, as she is both incredibly powerful and also super untrustworthy. I mean she had a demon smoke baby? WHO DOES THAT?
16. The Dowager Countess - Downton Abbey
Played By: Dame Maggie Smith
The original B.A. I hope someone finally told her what a “weekend” was.
15. Elizabeth Jennings - The Americans
Played By: Keri Russell
Soviet spy Elizabeth Jennings has a hard life, she has to pretend to be a suburban American mother while spying on the U.S. government for her mother country, AND she has to be a travel agent. Yikes.
14. Red - Orange is the New Black
Played By: Kate Mulgrew
If you learn any lesson from Orange is the New Black, its that you don’t insult Red’s cooking. Ever.
13. Carol Peletier- The Walking Dead
Played By: Melissa Suzanne McBride
Carol is straight up the most ruthless person on this season’s The Walking Dead, and I only mean that in a positive way. She literally will kill anyone she thinks is a threat, and I would 100% want her in my “survive the apocalypse” group. Unless I got bitten, obviously.
12. Diane Lockhart - The Good Wife
Played By: Christine Baranski
Diane usually plays the fair, even-minded lawyer opposite fiery Will Gardner, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a total badass. From dating (and marrying) a gun-toting Tea Partier to helping Alicia be the best lawyer she can be, Diane is the total package.
11. Michonne - The Walking Dead
Played By: Danai Gurira
Michonne uses a katana, has a passion for art, and doesn’t talk too much (Andrea anyone?). She’s easily one of the best female characters on the Walking Dead who doesn’t murder people every other episode.
10. Peggy Olson - Mad Men
Played By: Elizabeth Moss
Mad Men, beyond detailing the life and times of ad man Don Draper, shows the growth and perseverance of Peggy Olson - the plucky secretary who becomes an ad salesman in her own right. Although she should really never drink at work.
9. Arya Stark - Game of Thrones
Played By: Maisie Williams
Arya Stark isn’t just a Game of Thrones fan favorite, she’s also a female character who is in no way defined by her relation to men, and who actively seeks out new challenges and adventures after the rest of her family meets a unfortunate fate. Valar Morghulis indeed.
8. Sarah and the other clones - Orphan Black
Played By: Tatiana Maslany
Sarah Manning is a troubled soul who wants to escape her dark past, Allison Hendrix watches her best friend choke in a kitchen sink, Helena is actually insane, and Cosima has great hair. What more do you need from your favorite clones?
7. Claire Underwood - House of Cards
Played By: Robin Wright
Claire has an icy exterior that only softens to reveal a more threatening interior than any woman in politics. She’s not afraid to threaten an unborn baby to get her way, and the way Season 2 ended, I’m not sure who can really stop her now.
6. Regina Mills/The Evil Queen - Once Upon A Time
Played By: Lana Parrilla
Regina has seen some of the best character development on Once Upon A Time, going from the storybook villain to a conflicted and troubled mother who just wants the best for her son. And she gets the best lines, which always helps.
5. Olivia Benson - Law & Order: SVU
Played By: Mariska Hargitay
Oh Olivia, if you didn’t grace our screens every week to put away another serial killer/rapist, I would have no faith left in humanity.
4. Leslie Knope - Parks and Recreation
Played By: Amy Poehler
Leslie Knope is one of the best TV characters of all time, and is played to perfection by Amy Pohler. Friends, work, waffles.
3. Olivia Pope - Scandal
Played By: Kerry Washington
I’m sorry, did Olivia Pope say something super inspiring and wear a knockout white pantsuit? Then it’s probably Thursday.
2. Alicia Florrick - The Good Wife
Played By: Julianna Margulies
The Good Wife is one of the best shows on television, and the main reason for that is the character of Alicia Florrick, who rose from an infidelity scandal to being partner at her own law firm. Truly the new modern mother.