With meaty roles on network television shows like Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) on How to Get Away With Murder or Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) on Game of Thrones, it’s safe to say we are living in the golden age of female characters on television. This is even more apparent when you look at the rich characters that fill the CW’s lineup.
The teen-focused network may not have an Olivia Pope or a Liz Lemon, but it’s doing just fine with strong women like Camille and Davina on The Originals, or Raven and Octavia from The 100.
As we head into the winter season, it’s time look back at the women who made last season worth watching. These are the 12 Most Awesome Women From The CW In 2015.
12 Bonnie Bennett – The Vampire Diaries
At the start of season 6, things were not looking good for Bonnie Bennett. She was trapped in a prison world with enemy-turned-ally Damon Salvatore and creepy lurker Kai Parker, with little-to-no hope of ever escaping. Her situation reached a dire point when the others found a way out using her magic, and she was left to live the rest of her days completely alone.
When she attempted to end her own life, it looked like we had seen the last of the Bennett witches. However, Bonnie picked herself back up and found a way to not only live, but escape from the prison world with a little help from her friends. It took some time to adjust back to the real world, but the last Bennett witch came out of it stronger and much more assertive. The Bonnie of previous seasons probably wouldn’t have set someone on fire for not respecting her personal space, nor would she have been able to convince a usually arrogant and stubborn Damon to adhere to her wishes and allow her to recover on her own terms.
11 Hayley Marshall – The Originals
There are few people with enough brass to stand up to Klaus Mikaelson, but Hayley is certainly one of them. After the vindictive hybrid cursed her pack to live full-time as wolves (with the exception of each full moon), she retreated with her people to the bayou and missed vital time with her daughter. Thanks to Davina’s help, she returned to the French Quarter as her normal self and ripped into Klaus for robbing her of that precious time. This is the same guy who describes himself as “the thing that men fear.”
Hayley could have easily fallen into the love triangle trap that has destroyed many a strong female character before her. However, rather than losing herself in relationship drama, the hybrid chooses to do what’s best for her daughter. She made the final steps to move on from Elijah by committing to her marriage with Jackson and even came clean about those complicated feelings. Love woes aside, she also has a pretty mean werewolf bite.
10 Caroline Forbes – The Vampire Diaries
Caroline has had a rough year. The usually perky and obsessively organized vampire shut off her humanity after her mom died and she was destined to become a ripper. Aside from nearly killing one of Stefan’s descendants (and threatening the lives of college students if her friends tried to stop her), Caroline’s evil deeds weren’t that… evil. Her most devious acts included compelling a bar to go along with her karaoke bash and going to war with Stefan Salvatore by dismantling his beloved motorcycle. Harsh.
After regaining her humanity, even the overly prepared optimist could not have foreseen the events in season 6 which find her carrying the twins of her former high school history teacher and current college professor. In a cosmically freaky turn of events, the family of Alaric Saltzman’s murdered fiancée transferred her unborn children into Caroline’s womb just before she died. Now the former Miss Mystic Falls is acting as a surrogate mother and she’s handling it the only way she can—by reading every baby book known to man, attending birthing classes, fighting the urge to kill annoying classmates who think she slept with her professor and caving in to those late night cravings of blood mixed with marshmallows.
9 Catherine de Medici – Reign
Being the mother of the King of France has its perks—unless you lied to make him believe his infant child had died and he locks you away for treason. After consorting with Mary’s enemy, Queen Elizabeth of England, Catherine was branded a traitor and held captive in a tower while Francis ruminated over her fate.
They say desperate times call for desperate measures and the impending death of a king is a truly dire situation. An ailing Francis saved his mother because he realized she is the only one with the intellect and the power to ensure the safety and survival of their family after he is gone. One might write her off as a conniving, power thirsty monarch and, yes, that is partly true. However, she is also a woman who would strike down any threat to her family.
8 Clarke Griffin – The 100
The Walking Dead has Rick Grimes, but for The 100, Clarke Griffin is the brave leader fighting for her group’s survival. Unlike Rick, however, the former medical apprentice had support in her co-leader Bellamy Blake. Relying on one another, the two made the difficult choices that would protect their group—the Delinquents—from outside threats as well as ominous inside forces.
When the group is captured by Mount Weather, Clarke makes an effort to form an alliance with former enemies in order to ensure the safety of her people. And since protecting others is in her blood, the ex-juvenile delinquent takes on another leadership role at Camp Jaha—where her mother is chancellor. It’s hard not to root for a leader who continually strives to do what’s best for her people. Even Rick Grimes would approve.
7 Felicity Smoak – Arrow
Hackers who claim to be the best in the world probably haven’t met Felicity. With just a few strokes on the keyboard, she can shut down power grids, locate practically anyone on the planet and even save Green Arrow’s life, which has happened on more than one occasion. Undoubtedly confident in her genius-level tech skills while maintaining the social awkwardness that finds her blurting out unfortunate innuendos, it’s easy to see why Oliver Queen (and audiences) are so smitten with her.
Audiences weren’t so smitten when she finally got together with Oliver Queen and her character took a turn in a different direction. Despite all of the tears this year (which is what humans tend to do when bad things happen), Felicity is still a key member of Team Arrow and not meant to sit on the sidelines. She even managed to help the gang—joined by Team Flash—figure out a weapon to take down Vandal Savage. She’s still in there, guys.
6 Mary, Queen of Scots – Reign
History favors Queen Elizabeth I as possibly the greatest female monarch that ever lived, but it is Mary who reigns supreme over our hearts on Reign. Prince Conde missteps aside, the Queen of Scots walks the fine line of championing for her husband and his country, while fighting to keep her land out of the clutches of her cousin, Elizabeth.
The young monarch has survived multiple murder plots and a sexual assault, and now she must cope with the loss of her husband. Unlike her subjects, she can’t be seen crying in the halls and must carry her grief privately while plotting her next move to protect her rule over Scotland. Most people would have given up after, “you will be a queen one day, here’s a long list of rules to follow.” But to be fair, Mary doesn’t always follow the rules.
5 Jane Villanueva – Jane the Virgin
Now this is a TV show all about how a virgin’s life got flipped, turned upside when a mix up with gynecologist left her knocked up and unwed. Jane Villanueva was on track to become a teacher and marry the love of her life before her life morphed into a messy soap opera. Now, she finds herself struggling to balance grad school work, raising her newborn son, dealing with her family’s individual struggles, and trying to do decide between her baby’s father and ex-fiancée. Exhausted yet?
Even with all the drama, Jane still manages to stay true to herself while doing what’s best for son. She enters therapy with Rafael so they can work together to raise their son, takes on a teaching assistant position to pay for her schooling, remains ever the attentive parent and even helps out with her grandmother’s quest to get a green card. She might not have super powers, but she is a force to be reckoned with.
4 Olivia Moore – iZombie
If The Walking Dead and World War Z have taught us anything, it’s that zombies are horrific creatures who are not to be reasoned with—just cut off their heads and keep it moving. But Liv is not like a regular zombie, she’s a cool one. The former medical resident secured a job at the King County Medical Examiner's Office so she can eat brains without killing people since they’re already dead when they arrive.
With each brain that she eats, she absorbs that person’s memories and characteristics, and risks losing herself in the process. Still, Liv uses this as an opportunity to be a detective consultant not named Sherlock Holmes and helps the police solve crimes. Even as the undead, she still manages to feel compassion toward others. The same can’t be said for many of her living counterparts.
3 Rebekah Mikaelson – The Originals
Despite being a member of one of the most dysfunctional families on television, Rebekah remains ever loyal and compassionate. Even after her brother Klaus nearly kills her and they decide that it’s better to remain apart, she ends up being the caretaker for his newborn daughter. They eventually reconcile and the youngest “living” Mikaelson finds herself trapped in a different body inside a mental institution. Thing would only get worse as her resurrected mother tries to kill her and her siblings, and then a long-lost aunt shows up to kidnap her niece.
Like each time before, the family defeats these dangerous threats and endeavor to remain true to their “always and forever” vow until something else temporarily drives them apart. Through all of it, Rebekah sticks by her family, but forcefully reminds them she is capable of making her own choices. Case in point: When she realizes the curse that turned her into a blood thirty creature with no self-control has returned, she forces Elijah to dagger her and keep her tucked away safely so that Klaus can enjoy a small bit of happiness before it all hits the fan. What a nice holiday present.
2 Caitlin Snow - The Flash
When we first met Caitlin, she was a reserved bio-engineer facing deep depression after losing her fiancé Ronnie when the particle accelerator exploded at S.T.A.R. Labs - the same explosion that created The Flash. As a member of Team Flash, she found her niche helping our hero in red take down other meta humans. Her intellect, compassion for others and expert medic skills made her an integral part of the team and a fan favorite. However, the gang almost lost her when Ronnie reentered her life as one of those enhanced humans and subsequently sacrificed himself to save the world.
At the start of the second season, Caitlin had been working at Mercury Labs in order to avoid the people who reminded her of her fiancée and was determined to move on without them. Since life rarely grants your wishes, the genius-level scientist was ultimately pulled back to S.T.A.R. Labs after the emergence of a villain called the “Atom-Smasher” from Earth-2 and a video confession from Eobard Thawne. All may not be right in Central City, but Caitlin is back where she’s supposed to be and it looks like we’re going to see her Earth-2 persona, Killer Frost, very soon.
1 Thea Queen – Arrow
Thea Queen has had one heck of a turnaround. When we first met her in season 1, she was the apathetic teen who coped with her father and brother’s deaths by partying heavily and doing drugs. Then she finds out Malcolm Merlyn is her father, her mother dies, she learns that her brother is the vigilante, her birth father trains her to become an assassin, she kills Sara Lance, and her fiancé is another vigilante.
Who knew that after all of that, she would eventually become a vigilante named Speedy who looks after Star City when the Green Arrow takes a leave of absence? It’s so satisfying to see her become more than just a superhero’s younger sister or Merlyn’s assassin daughter. The skilled fighter is rolling with life’s punches and using her time to fight for the greater good. Kudos.
Did we leave anyone out? Is there an awesome woman missing from the list? Let us know in the comments!