[Top Ten Tuesday] – #50 – Top Ten Anti-Heroines in Television

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I thought this would be a fun way to share a condensed version of potential rambles and thoughts that I have.


This Week’s Theme:
Top Ten Anti-Heroines In Television

Initial Thoughts:

A guy sways from his moral compass—typical.

A girl sways from her moral compass—huh?

There may be a disparity between the few anti-heroines in a vast sea of antiheros but times are a-changin’ and perhaps viewers now are more resilient and simply interested in complex characters than before. I mean, heroes are cool and all…but antiheros are somehow better.

The list below includes anti-heroines within the past year or so in moving pictures (not gonna lie, I’ve watched the Oscar opening too many times to count). I think I come across a lot more of these characters on television/film than I do in books. However, I could be completely confusing myself with some of these choices (in contrast to villains) so whether you agree with me or not, I’d like to hear it!

Anti-Heroines in Television

Do note that the gifs below may not be an accurate representation of their anti-heroism. I just wanted to put a face to a name.

Annalise Keating – How to Get Away With Murder


Claire Underwood – House of Cards


Kuvira – The Legend of Korra


Cersei Lannister – Game of Thrones


Olivia Pope – Scandal


Sarah Manning/Helena – Orphan Black


Catherine de Medici – Reign


Elsa Mars – American Horror Story: Freakshow


Jessica Pearson – Suits


Amanda Waller – Arrow


Lexa – The 100



I decided against writing up book heroines because my list is probably identical to many other’s this week. I also wanted to do 10 anti-heroines in movies but could only come up with Amy Dunne (Gone Girl) and Maleficent (…Maleficent).

But, seriously though, why was this list so difficult to create? It took me forever to think of some of these choices as I had to reason with myself as to their potential in being a morally ambiguous somewhat of a lead character interested in getting shit done at the price of ethics. Some of them might not be a guns-blazing anti-heroine but have moments where they do show characteristics of one.

Who are some of your favourite anti-heroines?

Have any comments on why there’s a spike in anti-heroines now than five years ago?


(Also: I do not take credit for any of the linked gifs above.)

29 thoughts on “[Top Ten Tuesday] – #50 – Top Ten Anti-Heroines in Television”

  1. Gotta disagree with you on Sarah Manning…I think she’s a flat-out hero, evolving from immoral/selfish/criminal behavior to a leader of clones. But I suppose heroes and anti-heroes can be different for every audience.

    All anti-heroines bow down before the throne of Annalise Keating. She is the queen.


    1. Perhaps I just saw Sarah Manning’s growth as a slow climb from anti-hero to hero (which I suppose she’s displaying more of come the second season). That’s just my take haha.

      But yes, did you watch the HTGAWM finale? Damn I have so many questions and Reddit isn’t helping resolve them at all.


      1. I’m STILL trying to process the HTGAWM finale. I was pretty sure by the end of the first half that the person who ultimately did die was going to…but I didn’t think she’d go out the way she did. (Then again…we barely know what happened. Flashback time for season 2!) I want to watch that crazy intense scene between Annalise and Oliver again. And I’m really upset about the HIV plot. But yeah…I think I will be processing this show until it comes back. (I also, obviously, have not had my traditional post-show text-fest with my bestie about this. Sorry for the word vomit, I haven’t had a chance yet to get out the flailing 🙂 )


  2. I love anti-heroes/heroines. I think people like them so much because they have so much depth and character and dynamic around them. We’re curious to know why they’ve become who they are, why they do the things that they do. I agree with some of these anti-heroines, but not all because I do not know all of them. Good spin on the Top Ten Tuesday post, I loved it.


  3. I love half these women specifically for their ruthlessness–erm, anti-heroiness, lol. The appeal for well-rounded characters is probably one reason why anti-heroes are popular these days, and a range of females not perpetuating some idea of a straight-and-true hero is always fun to see (I mean. Come on. They’re as fun to love as female villains!).

    Awesome twist, btw.


  4. Going against the grain, I like it. This reminds me that I need to get back on that Orphan Black series. I saw the first few and stopped just when it was getting interesting. Need to find the time!


  5. I watch too much tv… I know 8 out of your 10 ladies. Though, I no longer follow Suits, Scandal and Arrow, and DNFed Korra… Not sure if I can like Annalise or Claire (or Cersei!!), but they sure are interesting characters. And Sarah!! I do love her. In fact, I think she is my favorite from this list. Also, not exactly on the list, but I think Clarke (The 100) is more of an anti-heroine now than the “heroine” she was at the beginning.


  6. I love how half of your anti-heroines are on my heroines list. 😉 But yes, I agree. Complex characters are the new TV black. No one wants to see the crazy perfectly composed hero-types. We want characters that we can connect with, that struggle, that hurt, that feel. Just like we do.


      1. You can have authentic perfect characters, I do agree (Kepner from Grey’s being one that comes to mind). But even perfect characters have to wrestle with being/staying good at some point, which shows they are human s who struggle. I guess many viewers are wanting a puzzling character or a mysterious character or a challenging character. Maybe “perfect” is an old concept now. Also, that probably explains why Golden Boy was cancelled after 2 episodes lol.


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