Top 10 Female Performances on Television of All Time

Out of 116 TV series and TV movies I've watched, I decided to choose my most favorite performances. We begin with actresses who created most iconic characters for me, delivering heartbreaking and funny performances that made me spend many long hours at the screen.

Honorable mentions:
  • Lisa Kudrow Friends
  • Sofia Vergara Modern Family
  • Tina Fey 30 Rock
  • Sarah Jessica Parker Sex and the City
  • Christina Hendricks Mad Men
  • Jennifer Carpenter Dexter
My top choices are:

#10.   Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick (The Good Wife)
Julianna portrays a wife of former state's attorney (Peter Florrick), who's given up her carrier for the sake family. But when her husband had to resign because of sex scandal and corruption charges, Alicia once again stands to financially support her children until  Peter serves his term.

Alicia is very interesting character, she's successful woman, with two kids, trying to be a good mother and most importantly good wife. But she tackles with many different distractions, including her university friend and co-worker Will Gardner. Julianna Margulies delivers absolutely amazing, very powerful and emotional performances.

#9.   Kristen Johnston as Sally Solomon (3rd Rock from the Sun)
Sally is an alien, who came to the earth on a mission and stuck here. She, as an alien, was male, but by a mistake, was "settled" in a female body. Most of funny things come from her inconsistence with the "role" of woman. If you have watched 3rd Rock from the Sun, I bet you love her.

#8.   Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano (The Sopranos)
Well, what to say. A great actress in one of the greatest shows of all time. Edie portrays Tony's loyal, tough-talking wife. From her mixed feelings about Tony's lifestyle, to her suspicions about murders, to her torment over Tony's cheating, Carmela runs the gamut of emotions throughout the show.

#7Sigourney Weaver as Mary Griffith (Prayers for Bobby)
The only performance from TV movie in my list. Sigourney plays a very traditional christian mother, whose gay son commits suicide after unsuccessful attempts to prove her that he was normal. After realizing that she was deadly mistaken in understanding of homosexuality, Mary decides to stand for gay rights in the name of Bobby.

Prayer for Bobby is extremely sad and emotional film and Weaver just brings one of the greatest performance which gives me chill every time I watch it. Her Mary Griffith is definitely memorable character.

#6.   Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green (Friends)
Friends is one of the funniest show of all time and Rachel is the best character of it, because Jennifer just nails it. She's hilarious, very dynamic, interesting and always in center of the show. She is a popular schoolgirl of the past, is now a spoiled brat living off her fathers finance. In an attempt to start a new life after running out on her wedding, she shares an apartment with an old best friend Monica Gellar, and eventually befriends the other 4 and Monica's older brother, Ross.

#5.   Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully (The X-Files)
The X-Files is one of phenomenal shows of all time, definitely landmark of horror and sci-fi television programs. Leaving alone it, performances lead or supporting actors deliver are brilliant. My favorite is Gillian, who plays a new FBI detective assigned to spookiest person in Bureau, agent Mulder whose only job is to chase aliens.  The only thing Dana is not good at is believing things she can't see, but Fox makes sure to bring her in the very center of "alien invasion" and to pull her on the other side.

Anderson delivers brilliant performances, in every season. Her character is very complex - a woman in love with the craziest person in the world, an agent doing extraordinary hard work and a victim, of somebody (or something) she can't even prove exists.

For very memorable portrayal of what woman FBI agents look like, I put her in the 5th spot.

#4.   Megan Mullally as Karen Walker (Will & Grace)
This picture speaks a lot about her. 

Karen Walker is a wife of New York's one of the richest men, she's alcoholic, very funny,cheerful, friendly and there are few things she really cares about - vodka. Despite how careless she looks like, she's one of most reliable friends you can ever find, because Will, Grace and Jack are the only people truly loving Mrs. Walker.

Megan's very recognizable and special voice makes her character memorable and so much funnier. But what I really like about her performance is as if she disappears in it, I can't even imagine Mullally without Walker, Walker without Mullally. 

#3.   Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison (Homeland)
Claire Danes has proved in every episode of Homeland that she deserved the goddamn two Globes. Carrie is emotionally unstable, drug addicted agent spying on America's next hero, trying to prove that he is in alliance with terrorists. Danes brings everything on the screen - a huge range of emotions, drama, fun, love. She's just brilliant. Despite that I am not a big fan of the show itself, she deserves a place in my list.

#2.   Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer (Veep)
I'd rather call her God of comedy. She's absolutely hilarious in every fucking scene of Veep.

Here is the prove.

#1.   Frances Conroy as Ruth Fisher (Six Feet Under)
I think Six Feet Under is one of the greatest dramatic achievements in television history and fantastic finale is not the only reason for that. Frances Conroy delivers the best performance I've ever seen on TV show - very dramatic, heartbreaking and surrealistic act. She's surprisingly natural as a widow, mother to thee children, one gay and living with her, one straight and being "outcast" and one problematic daughter and she deals with all these and still tries to be happy.

For truly capturing a spirit of her character and fantastic transformation I name Frances Conroy's Ruth Fisher to be my most favorite female act on Television.

You can check other Top Ten lists Here


  1. Glad to see love for Conroy and Dreyfuss, she really makes her character work. My list would probably include Michelle Fairley and Polly Walker, HBO is really quite something when it comes to interesting characters and performances.

  2. The both are outstanding. I can't help myself laughing whenever I watch Veep.

    Fairley was brilliant, in the third season especially. But I kinda shorlisted Emilia Clarke, but then finally she did not make it :D