Your 2016 Guide To The Best Female-Led Shows On TV

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This year is an amazing time for women on TV.
This year is an amazing time for women on TV.
CBS/TBS/Comedy Central/Stars/Fox/Getty

There's no doubt that the entertainment world has a long way to go before we can say it's completely inclusive of all stories, but the television landscape has proven through series like "Scandal," "Jessica Jones" and "Jane the Virgin" that interesting female characters on TV don't have to be the exception, they can be the rule.

In the past month alone, there have been compelling debuts of female-led comedies and dramas that offer up complex, nuanced portrayals of women from all backgrounds. It's incredibly exciting to see what's next.

Below are 35 shows, currently running, new and returning, that anyone who loves female-empowered TV shows should be watching:

"Angie Tribeca"
Rashida Jones is bringing back the slapstick and silly humor of "Airplane!" and "Naked Gun" with this new comedy where she stars as a hardened detective who takes her job super seriously.

Watch Mondays at 9p ET on TBS
It may sound like a weird premise: a zombie who is also a coroner eats the brains of the deceased in order to solve murders. Weird, but absolutely brilliant, thanks to the talented lead Rose McIver.

Watch Tuesdays at 9p ET on the CW
This is absolutely charming addition to TV's superhero landscape is also one of the few to center around a female heroine. Melissa Benoist brings a quirky humor to this empowering take on the Supergirl mythology.

Watch Mondays at 8p ET on CBS
"Sleepy Hollow"
FOX via Getty Images
Nicole Beharie plays a badass cop fighting alongside the time-traveling Ichabod Crane against the coming apocalypse. The show is one of the few genre series on TV that features women of color.

Season 3B Premieres February 5 at 8p ET on Fox
TV Land
Broadway queen Sutton Foster stars on this smart, funny comedy from TV Land about a 36-year-old woman who pretends to be 26 in order to break into the world of publishing.

Watch Wednesdays at 10p ET on TV Land
"Jane the Virgin"
The Washington Post via Getty Images
"Jane the Virgin" not only has a female showrunner, a Latina lead (Gina Rodriguez), and an amazingly diverse and talented cast -- it's also funny as hell.

Watch Mondays at 9p ET on CW
"Marvel's Agent Carter"
Richard Cartwright via Getty Images
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter is a brilliant 1940s spy who kicks ass and takes names while dealing with sexism from her male colleagues.

Watch Tuesdays at 9p ET on ABC
Comedy Central
This irreverent comedy about a woman who finds herself working as a babysitter for an out-of-control adult woman on house arrest stars Jillian Bell and Charlotte Newhouse.

Watch Thursdays at 10p ET on Comedy Central
"The Good Wife"
Julianna Margules has reigned as HBIC on this CBS drama for years, and if rumors about the show ending in its seventh season are true, she's going out on an incredibly high note.

Watch Sundays at 9p ET on CBS
TV Land
TV Land is taking further strides in its original programming with this hilarious ensemble comedy about elementary school teachers behaving badly.

Watch Wednesdays at 10:30p ET on TV Land
"American Crime"
Regina King won an Emmy for her brilliant performance in Season 1 of "American Crime," and now she's back alongside Andre Benjamin in the second series of the anthology series. This time, the story focuses on the fallout after a student at a prestigious private school accuses several classmates of sexually assaulting him.

Watch Wednesdays at 10p ET on ABC
"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"
The CW
Rachel Bloom won a Golden Globe for her quirky performance as a woman who travels halfway across the country for a man. While the premise and the title may seem to play into stereotypes about women, the show is actually a refreshing celebration of woman who get what they want.

Watch Mondays at 8p ET on CW
"Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"
Maarten de Boer via Getty Images
When it was first announced that Jon Stewart would be leaving "The Daily Show," comedienne and "Daily Show" correspondent Samantha Bee's name was suggested as a possible replacement. Of course, the job eventually went to Trevor Noah, keeping the all-male late night show landscape intact. Thankfully, Bee is gearing up for the premiere of her own show on TBS, which is sure to be a hilariously refreshing change to late night TV.

Premieres February 8 at 10:30p ET on TBS
Eric McCandless via Getty Images
Shonda's Thursday night block of twists and turns is back, with Kerry Washington once again coming to snatch edges as Olivia Pope. The midseason's powerful, subtle reveal of Olivia's decision to get an abortion, plus her epic breakup with Fitz, cemented the show as a leader in presenting a strong, but complex, female lead. Can't wait for more.

Returns February 11 at 9p ET on ABC
"How to Get Away with Murder"
Mitch Haaseth via Getty Images
The Shonda goodness continues with Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, a high-powered lawyer and law professor with a crazy personal life that just keeps getting crazier. Not only is "HTGWM" one of the most intense shows on TV right now, it's also one of the few stellar shows on that focuses on a middle-aged woman of color.

Returns February 11 at 10p ET on ABC
"Broad City"
Carolyn Cole via Getty Images
Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson return with a third season of their hit Comedy Central show, "Broad City." The show's frank, in-your-face humor is enough of a draw, but promos for the new season have also hinted at cameos from producer Amy Poehler and Hillary Clinton.

S3 premieres February 17 at 10p ET on Comedy Central
HBO/Craig Blankenhorn
Lena Dunham's HBO Comedy has had its ups and downs over the last few seasons, but it's remained a consistently honest portrait of four young women figuring out life in New York, starting conversations about body positivity and slut-shaming.

S5 premieres February 21 at 10p ET on HBO
"The Family"
Joan Allen returns to TV in ABC's latest political drama, "The Family." The series, executive produced by former Shondaland writer Jenna Bans, revolves around corrupt mayor Claire Warren (Allen), who announced a bid for Governor after the mysterious return of her youngest son -- 10 years after he was presumed dead.

Premieres March 6 at 9pm ET on ABC
Jonathan Wenk via Getty Images
Priyanka Chopra is the lead in this thrilling ABC drama about a diverse group of FBI trainees, one of whom is framed for orchestrating the biggest terrorist attack in New York since 9/11.

Season 1B Premieres March 6 at 10p ET on ABC
Jurnee Smollett-Bell stars in this new WGN original series alongside Aldis Hodge, Christopher Meloni, and Jussie Smollett. The 10-episode period-drama will center on the stories of slaves attempting to secure their freedom via the Underground Railroad.

Premieres March 9 at 10p ET on WGN
"The Catch"
From Shonda Rhimes comes a new show for us to obsess over -- "The Catch." Starring Mirelle Enos as fraud investigator Alice Vaughan, the thriller follows Vaughan as she solves cases and tries to hunt down the man attempting to ruin her life and career.

Premieres March 24 at 10p ET on ABC
FOX via Getty Images
"Empire" may have had a few hiccups during its second season, but there's no denying that Cookie Lyon is still one of the most exciting and entertaining heroines on TV right now. And after her awesome Golden Globes speech earlier this month, how can anyone not be rooting for Taraji P. Henson to shine?

Returns March 30 at 9p ET on Fox
"Orphan Black"
BBC America
Every season of "Orphan Black" is worth watching just for the sheer brilliance of actress Tatiana Maslany, who plays several different clones who get further and further wrapped up into a shady conspiracy.

Season 4 premieres April on BBC America
Last season of "Outlander" pushed viewers to the brink as Claire and Jamie battled both physically and psychologically against the sadistic captain Black Jack Randall. In the new season, we follow the time-traveling Claire from Scotland to France for more adventures.

Season 3 premieres April on Starz
"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"
Steve Sands via Getty Images
Tina Fey comedy received some valid criticism for this Netflix series, due to a few off-color jokes and a tone-deaf Native American storyline. Hopefully, the show will have less of that in Season 2 and more of Ellie Kemper's wonderful and dynamic comedic turn as the titular character, Kimmy Schmidt.

S2 premieres April 15 on Netflix
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss flaunts her comedy genius season after season on this HBO comedy about a woman trying to keep it together as vice president (President as of season 4) of the United States.

Season 5 premieres April 24 at 10:30p ET on HBO
"Penny Dreadful"
Eva Green is absolutely stellar in this dark gothic series that uses monsters and ghouls as metaphors for the darker elements of human nature.

Premieres May 1st at 9p ET on Showtime
"Grace and Frankie"
Amanda Edwards via Getty Images
Starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, Netflix's "Grace and Frankie" is one of the first shows in recent years that has focused on older women. Grace and Frankie are vibrant, sexual, gloriously nuanced characters -- the kinds of women in TV we'd like to see more of.

S2 premieres May 6 on Netflix
"Orange is the New Black"
Jenji Kohan changed the game when she created "Orange is the New Black," which returns for its fourth season this summer. The show follows women of different ages, races, sexual orientations, and economic backgrounds, enriching the Hollywood landscape with stellar actresses like Uzo Aduba and Laverne Cox. Oh, and it's entertaining as hell.

S4 premieres July 17 on Netflix
Anne Cusack via Getty Images
There's no word yet on an official premiere date for Issa Rae's highly anticipated HBO show, but it's reported to debut sometime this year. Rae, known for her viral "Awkward Black Girl" series, will star alongside Yvonne Orji in this comedy about two modern black women navigating the awkward moments of life.

Premiere date TBA
"Search Party"
Alia Shawkat is finally getting her own show! The "Arrested Development" actress will play Dory, a bored 20-something who suddenly becomes obsessed with finding a missing girl who she went to college with but barely knew. The dark comedy is set to premiere on TBS sometime this year.

Premiere date TBA
"Gilmore Girls"
Warner Bros
A Netflix-produced reunion of "Gilmore Girls" is slated to premiere sometime later this year, with most of the old gang (Luke, Lorelai, Dean and Rory) reportedly returning. Get ready for all the feels.

Premiere date TBA
Craig Blankenhorn/HBO
Over a decade after the finale of "Sex and the City," Sarah Jessica Parker is returning to television for a new HBO series, "Divorce." Parker is executive producer of the comedy series, described as “the story of a very, very long divorce.” The show will make its debut in the spring or summer of 2016.

Premiere date TBA
"The Crown"
The trailer for this upcoming Netflix series is enough to get us hooked already -- Claire Foy plays a young Princess Elizabeth, just as she prepares to take on the role as the ruling monarch of the United Kingdom.

Premiere date TBA
"Stranger Things"
James Coldrey via Getty Images
Not much is yet known about this sci-fi Netflix series about a boy who mysteriously disappears in a small town in 1980s Indiana. But with the wonderful Winona Ryder set to star, it's sure to be eerie and awesome.

Premiere date TBA

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