Looking for recommendations similar to "Covert Affairs"
July 16, 2011 9:21 AM   Subscribe

As a mid-20s female, I find USA's "Covert Affairs" to be an empowering, fun show to watch. Please recommend me more movies/TV shows/media with fun, feminine-but-not-overly-sexualized women who are accomplished and achieving their goals.

I love the character of Annie Walker - single woman on her own who wears pantsuits to work but still exudes a fun, feminine vibe. Could you recommend me more movies/TV shows/media that have this - women on their own, having a great time, still young and fun and sexy, but not necessarily hung up on Getting A Man but instead achieving their goals and having fun while doing so? I've tried "Alias", but I think the women there are too sexualized for my taste. Trying Amazon recommendations hasn't turned up anything interesting, so I'm turning to the Green for help.
posted by Dukat to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There might be some good suggestions in this previous question.
posted by kingfishers catch fire at 9:29 AM on July 16, 2011

Veronica Mars
Battlestar Galactica (it's an ensemble, but has lots of awesome women)
posted by wsquared at 9:43 AM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Bones? It's kind of junky and fun while also maintaining an interest in the internal lives and goals of both female and male characters (most of whom are scientists.)
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:44 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:08 AM on July 16, 2011

"In Plain Sight" features a female lead who doesn't necessarily have *fun*, but who is very good at her job, and does not really seem to Need A Man. "Burn Notice" might also fit the bill. Oddly, both are on USA.
posted by Janta at 10:14 AM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Also, Warehouse 13. In spades. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:16 AM on July 16, 2011

Everything everybody else has said above, especially Veronica Mars.

Some slightly less perfect suggestions, but things worth considering. In Gilmore Girls, Lorelai makes some attempts at getting a man, but she rocks at her job and her life first and foremost. I would also suggest Grey's Anatomy. Yes, there is an awful lot of romance, but the main characters are ultimately women who are good at and love their jobs and put being a surgeon above all else.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:21 AM on July 16, 2011

Castle, although I think Kate wears ridiculously impractical shoes. She has her dark side (and plotline) but also kicks ass and cracks jokes.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:24 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't know how young you need your protagonists to be, but I'm enjoying Rizzoli & Isles right now. Both female leads are very empowered, excellent at their jobs (a cop and a medical examiner) and seem to have fun and love what they do and apparently completely unconcerned with "getting" a man, although they both have plenty of fun and dates.

I would second Bones, although spoiler and fair warning, it's looking like as of the upcoming season she will be embarking on a serious long term relationship. But her character is one of the strongest female characters in TV history, in my opinion, and she never fell into the "hung up on getting a man category" even with her current love interest.

I love Castle, although I think if sexualized is a turn off for you you could run into it there. She's definitely smart, kick ass, and powerful, but much is often made of her looks and figure on the show.
posted by katyggls at 11:27 AM on July 16, 2011

Prime Suspect, which is premiering this fall on NBC, looks to be right down your alley. Also considering USA is a subsidiary of NBC, I'd have pretty high hopes for it. Maria Bello is fantastic.
posted by erstwhile at 11:36 AM on July 16, 2011

The Closer!

Also definitely Battlestar Galactica - several awesome female characters including Starbuck and President Roslin.
posted by radioamy at 12:07 PM on July 16, 2011

Came in to suggest Veronica Mars and Bones. Without having seen "Covert Affairs," it's hard to say whether those will fit the bill for you or not, but both shows feature strong women having fun and doing their jobs, and Bones especially is very frank about not needing a partner to be fulfilled.
posted by meggan at 2:26 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Allison Janney on the West Wing is one of the great female characters. Lots of goal achieving.
posted by Karmacane at 2:32 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Gina Torres as Zoe Washburne on Firefly.
posted by D.Billy at 3:03 PM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would recommend the original Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren; the New York Times, in anticipation of the retread coming out on NBC, had something to say about the original here.
posted by cool breeze at 3:04 PM on July 16, 2011

Best answer: Yes, seconding the original Prime Suspect. I loved that show, got it on video many years ago to watch and it's the only series I ever re-watched episodes of. Mirren isn't young and breezy, but the episodes were excellent and Mirren's character on the show is brilliant, flawed, and gutsy in all the ways that I think would push your buttons.
posted by stagewhisper at 3:47 PM on July 16, 2011

Almost anything on USA will fit the bill from In Plain Sight (Mary and probably Delia, too, although we don't see nearly enough of her) to Royal Pains (Divya, Jill) to Burn Notice (Fi) to Suits (Gina Torres kicks butt no matter what character she plays) to White Collar to Necessary Roughness to Psych. Women are not the main characters in all USA's shows, but they're almost universally strong.

Also n'thing Rizzoli and Isles, Haven, Warehouse 13 and most of the other shows already mentioned.
posted by JaneL at 4:18 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

OP: Much as I like Piper Perabo and her Annie Walker character, you do know that Annie Walker's backstory concerns a major romantic disappointment, that has put her "on the shelf," and that she lives on her sister's property, right? She's not "looking for a man," or "on her own" at the start of the series, because she's kind of "broken," and looking to make a new start in Washington, with her sister's help, and with her new job at CIA, where speaking a bunch of languages is a big career plus.

If you can find old episodes of Angie Dickinson's Police Woman, you could see the archetype for the protagonists for which you're looking, when creating that kind of character on TV was still a big feminist battle, not to mention a significant professional coup for Dickinson herself.
posted by paulsc at 5:43 PM on July 16, 2011

Seconding Bones, Castle, Veronica Mars and In Plain Sight.

Also The Good Wife - Alicia Florrick (junior lawyer), Kalinda Sharma (private investigator) and Diane Lockhart (senior partner lawyer) are all very very very good at their jobs, with a take-no-prisoners attitude to negotiations. They also all have a great sense of humour.
posted by Year of meteors at 6:21 PM on July 16, 2011

Seconding Haven and Castle and The Good Wife.

Also, though it is so light as to emulate puffed pastry, Drop Dead Diva focuses on powerful women who exude fun, feminine vibes. And even the woman set up as "the bitch" in the pilot turns into a three-dimensional character who is sympathetic (albeit not always likeable).
posted by rednikki at 7:29 PM on July 16, 2011

Amazingly, no one has suggested Buffy the Vampire Slayer yet. There's much controversy on whether the show is feminist, post-feminist, or whatever, but Buffy, Willow, Anya, etc. seem empowered and well-developed characters to this male. The show even inspired an academic discipline. Plus, the writing is much, much better than that of Covert Affairs.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 7:33 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fringe (which hasn't been mentioned), although it might not exactly be up your alley. I'm not sure what other shows you watch, but Fringe has everything you mentioned.

Olivia Dunham, the main character, is one of my favorites. The only thing you mentioned that doesn't apply to her is 'having a great time', which she doesn't get a lot of. She's more like a female Jack Bauer. She's constantly trying to figure out her life and things that happened in the past, and there's a romantic angle on the show too. Sometimes seeing a "depressed" main female character can be more interesting than one who has their life all figured out.

I'm a male in my early-20's, but I love seeing female characters represented like this. I wish more shows had it.

So if you're into watching something darker (not light like USA shows, although I do also watch Covert Affairs and White Collar), give Fringe a shot. I think you would love Olivia Dunham.
posted by signondiego at 9:05 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Castle and a vote for Lie to Me. In Lie to Me Gillian Foster, the main character's side-kick (for lack of a better word) is a strong woman character as is secondary character Ria Torres.
posted by deborah at 10:00 PM on July 16, 2011

Best answer: Nikita! Not the lighthearted vibe of Covert Affairs, but a strong woman.

(Thursdays at 9 on CW)

Law & Order: SVU has Olivia Benson.
posted by callmejay at 6:21 AM on July 17, 2011

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