With shorter days and cooler temperatures you’re likely to find me wrapped up under an afghan working on a knitting project and watching TV. Netflix and other streaming services have expanded the number of shows available for viewing. Here are three binge worthy shows with strong female characters that I’ve enjoyed.
Aside from featuring women in lead roles these series also have a science fiction or fantasy element to them. What makes them stand out to me are “believable” story lines and flawed characters who grow over time.
Star Trek: Discovery
Let’s start with the latest in the Star Trek Universe. Sonequa Martin Green plays Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery. The story takes place about 10 years before The Original Series and we learn Michael was fostered by Sarek and Amanda on Vulcan. I’m interested in seeing how the writers reconcile her storyline with Spock’s. There was never a mention of Spock’s half-brother Sybok until Star Trek V: The Final Frontier so it’s not terribly far fetched. Despite being raised on Vulcan and educated in the Vulcan Science Academy Michael is rather impulsive which makes for some interesting developments.
I’ve enjoyed Discovery so far. There are some really cool looking aliens including the first officer Saru who looks a lot like a grasshopper. The Klingons have been redesigned and the show continues the examination of Klingon culture that began in Deep Space Nine (I’m a Trekker, in case you were wondering). Visually the show is amazing and I’m hopeful the writers will do justice to Michael’s character.
Where to watch: Discovery is available via CBS All Access in the US. In Spain and other parts of the world it’s being shown on Netflix. The latest episode is available after it airs on CBS All Access.
This series, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon, has been one of my favorites. The costumes are incredible, the sets realistic and the on screen chemistry between Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe sizzles. Outlander has a time travel element. Claire and her husband Frank are on holiday in Scotland after the end of WWII. She somehow travels through a set of standing stones and ends up 200 years in the past in a time when the Highlands are on the edge of rebellion against the British crown. In the past, Claire meets and marries Jamie Fraser and for a period of time they try to change history and prevent the Battle of Culloden which Claire knows from history breaks the power of the Highland Clans.
On the eve of the battle Jamie forces a pregnant Claire back through the stones and she attempts to rebuild her life with Frank. This season we’ve learned what Jamie and Claire have been up to while separated by time and an ocean and how Claire finds her way back to the love of her life.
I started reading the books 1991 when I was pregnant with my son. Now my daughter is reading them as well although she prefers the tighter storytelling of the show.
Where to watch: Amazon has teamed up with Starz to allow streaming over their service. If you have a subscription to Starz you can stream episodes online. You can purchase an entire season or single episodes on iTunes.
This show is a medical/biological thriller. Imagine stepping off a train and running into a woman who looks exactly like you. Imagine finding out that you’re part of an illegal human cloning experiment and your DNA is considered intellectual property owned by Dyad Industries, a huge biotech firm. How could you fight back?
Orphan Blank explores the ethics of biotechnology, how identity is forged (nature vs nurture), and just what makes up a family. It’s sexy, funny, thoughtful and loaded with action. I just finished catching up the last two seasons while working on my latest knitting project. I’m actually debating watching it again from the first season.
Tatiana Maslany plays all of the clones in the series, sometimes more than one are on the screen at the same time which makes for some interesting effects. The show goes to great lengths to distinguish the clones; they have their own style, music, mannerisms and hairstyle so you’ll know who is on screen. Tatiana Maslany won an Emmy award for her portrayals.
The show is perfect for binge watching with 5 seasons of action. It takes an entire season for the show to really hit its stride and the final two seasons (after the show moved from BBC America to Netflix) are very strong.
The main clones are: Sarah, a con artist and drug user with a daughter named Kira. As the only offspring of a clone Kira is of great interest to Dyad Industries. Helena, a clone raised in Ukraine to be an assassin. Cosima, a scientist who is seeking a cure for a disease many of the clones develop. Allison, a soccer mom living in the suburbs. Finally there’s Rachel, who was raised within the corporation fully aware she is a clone and unsympathetic towards the idea that the clones should be autonomous beings.
Where to watch: I’ve been watching on Netflix but many episodes are available on BBC America. You could also try the On Demand from your cable provider. If you’re an Amazon Prime member you can stream the series through their service. Alternatively, you can watch on iTunes.
I hope you take the time to check out one or all of these series and that you find them as enjoyable as I have. There’s something relaxing about curling up in front of the TV and immersing yourself in a great story.