In praise of feisty on the small screen

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Karen Kunawicz

While waiting for Game of Thrones, which is off to a later start than usual, I focused on some women-centric shows over the holiday break.

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First, I decided to pick up where I left off with Netflix’s The Crown. While some may find it slow-paced, its behind-the-scene story and the glimpse of history and politics it gives make the show more engaging.

The first few episodes of The Crown reveals to us the circumstances under which the current Queen Elizabeth of England inherits the throne from her father King George 6 (who in turn inherited it from his elder brother, Edward 8; the latter abdicated to marry an American divorcee.)

To jog the memory a bit, Colin Firth actually played George 6 in the film The King’s Speech.

While the costumes and scenery may not be as dramatic as Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth (this award winning film was incidentally written by Vikings’ Michael Hirst), it similarly tells a story of a young woman undaunted by the duty and responsibility involved with becoming a monarch of a great nation.

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth 2nd in ‘The Crown’

Queen Elizabeth 2nd (Claire Foy) has had to make her other roles as daughter, mother, sister and wife come in second to that of being Queen. And on that count, she has had to make many difficult decisions that broke the hearts of those closest to her.

At a very young age, Elizabeth 2nd gave regular audiences another historical figure who continues to loom large to this day—Winston Churchill. John Lithgow gives us such a fine performance of this political legend both as a public and private figure.

Twelve prime ministers have come and gone while Queen Elizabeth 2nd is on her 13th as of this writing. The second season is currently filming and those following the show await the new release date and new cast members.

After The Crown, I belatedly started watching the last season of Penny Dreadful. The gothic, ethereal and ultra talented Eva Green leads the cast as the haunted Vanessa Ives.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in ‘Penny Dreadful’

Currently, they try to round out Marvel’s Defenders on Netflix—Iron Fist was released last month—to mixed but mostly negative reviews. Despite that, people still completed the series.

Daredevil is supposed to be the best of the current four properties but Jessica Jones is my personal favorite because of the dark and strong female lead, Kirsten Ritter. She’s broken when we meet her on the series but is on a journey to overcome all that and come to terms with who she is.

The show also features two other strong women: Trish Walker aka Hellcat (Rachael Taylor) and Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Anne Moss).

Now, it’s three months to go until we find out the fate of the badass women of Westeros: Daenerys, Sansa, Cersei, Arya, Melisandre and company. Bravo to all the badass women on TV and to the writers, directors, producers and actresses who bring them to life.

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