Over the past several years, we’ve seen an explosion of more complex characters being explored on the small screen. Imparticular, TV moms are thriving and their stories have gotten grander, bolder, and more complicated than dated storylines solely about domestic life. We all know that mom’s kick ass. Edie Falco‘s performance as Carmela in The Sopranos was one of the pioneers who carved out this space in TV dramas. Her character was tough as nails and felt closer to the actually lived experiences of many families whose matriarchs hold it all together even though flaws exist.
A few years later when Desperate Housewives premiered in 2004, the show felt subversive in all the right ways. The show featured juicier, more unconventional roles for women than many of us were accustomed to seeing on broadcast television. Ever since then, TV has been the place to see moms as more robust and three-dimensional characters. We love a badass mom! Here are 7 of our favorite TV moms who continued to break the mold over the last several years.
Lady Olenna – Game of Thrones
Love it or hate it, there was no denying that Lady Olenna from Game of Thrones was one of the smoothest and most ruthless political actors from the entire series. She fought for her children and their legacy at every turn including devising elaborate assassination plots, getting a seat at every table, and just telling it like it is. Cheers to this amazing TV mom who gave us more zingers than any other on the show.
Alicia Florrick – The Good Wife
After her husband, the state’s attorney is caught up in a sex/corruption scandal, Alicia Florrick is forced to return to practicing law to provide for her family. What ensues is a personal revolution that sees Alicia transform from being a “good wife” into one of the most powerful attornies in the city of Chicago. While she might not plot a poisoning like Lady Olenna, Alicia’s dedication as a parent and intrepidity as a lawyer prove that she definitely earns a spot on this list.
Rainbow Johnson – Black-ish
Black-ish is an extremely funny comedy, but every episode delivers a message about the joys and difficulties of parenting in modern America as a Black family. For Bow, who raises and captains the entire family, she’s got even more to contend with outside the home as an anesthesiologist. Her fierce loyalty to her family and her ability to always handle hard situations with wisdom is truly remarkable. We love this badass mom.
Catherine Cawood – Happy Valley
Woo! Happy Valley is one of the most intense crime dramas we’ve ever seen. The protagonist, Catherine Cawood is a police sergeant who stumbles into a crime with implications for her own dysfunctional family. This tough cop literally kicks butt and will stop at nothing to ensure the safety of her orphaned grandson. Although she cannot always put into words how deeply she feels for members of her family, her actions speak louder.
Maeve Millay – Westworld
Westworld, for all of its production valley and beautiful imagery, is often completely unhinged with various plot holes and complications that make it very hard to follow. However, Maeve’s devotion to her daughter is a constant that anchors the first seasons of the show. Maeve might be a robot, but she uses her machinery to her advantage to transcend the limitations of a human body. The character dismantles an entire power structure by orchestrating a robot uprising to ensure the safety and wellbeing of her child. She proves that even robot moms will stop at nothing for their children.
Angela Abar – Watchmen
We were pleasantly surprised by HBO’s Watchmen when it premiered last Fall. It features one of the most badass characters ever written: Angela Abar AKA Sister Knight. After becoming a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Angela and her partner were attacked in a massacre by a vigilante group. Her partner and his wife die as a result. Angela takes it upon herself to adopt his two orphaned children and raises them as her own. She kicks butt left and right! When she’s not unraveling a very knotty mystery. we are treated to tender moments of her with her kids, expertly explaining the realities of this world.
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Elizabeth Jennings – The Americans
Elizabeth Jennings’s relationship with her daughter, Paige has tremendous highs and lows over the course of the show’s six-season run. Elizabeth is a Russian spy, posing as an American whose missions often put her odds with her Americanized children. And boy, can she rock a disguise! Elizabeth rarely loses sight of a mission which makes it hard for her to convey her deeper feelings to Paige until Paige is an adult herself. Elizabeth Jennings is one of the greatest spy characters ever put on screen.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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