Best Female Performances on TV in 2016

If there’s one thing that can be said about TV in 2016, it’s that we saw some really great performances by women. As the year comes to an end, our staff here at The Televixen wants to recognize and celebrate these women and the characters that they brought to life. Here are our picks for the Best Female Performances on TV in 2016!

Mandy Moore – This is Us

“Mandy Moore finally found the perfect fit this fall with This Is Us. After a few rounds of being cast in pilots that never got off the plate, or moved forward without her, it turns out Rebecca Pearson was worth the wait. Moore is fantastic as a mother of triplets, one adopted the day the day her third son died in childbirth, making hard and sometimes not great choices as she does her best to blend a mixed-race family in the 80s. So glad this series came her way and stayed.” – Heather M.

Thandie Newton – Westworld

From a year where women have been dominating the entertainment sector, it was difficult to select one stand-alone performer from the rest. Nevertheless, I couldn’t go past the extraordinary talents of Thandie Newton in Westworld. Her nerve and pizzazz make her the perfect candidate to play Maeve Millay, a designated madam of the artificial realm. Her character faces a number of intimidating scenarios, but Newton retains an aura of strength and solidarity throughout it all. She demonstrates the power wielded by women should they choose to embrace it; showcasing a fierce tenacity in Maeve which only grows and expands as the season progresses.” – Jayne Balke

Kelly Bishop – Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

“I really have to tip my hat to Kelly Bishop in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. It was Emily Gilmore’s story that captivated me from start to finish as one chapter in her life ended and a new one began. Bishop broke my heart, made me smile, and surprised me as she embarked on a journey of discovering her identity after the loss of her husband.” – Melissa Girimonte

Melanie Scrofano, Katherine Barrell & Dominque Provost-Chalkley – Wynonna Earp

“In its first season (and it HAS been renewed for a second), Wynonna Earp pulled a comic book character onto the small screen, complete with messy sister relationships, small town shenanigans, and a century old curse/demon problem. Oh and a government agency with its own agenda when it comes to said demons. The focus of this show is on the ladies, be it rebel Wynonna herself (Melanie Scrofano), her sister the good one, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), or the new cop in town Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell). It lets adult women be adults — with guns, and sex, and demons — and in the end, it’s about how family can break you, and make you that much stronger.” – Sunny Hope

Kylie Bunbury – Pitch

“My pick for best female performance of 2016 is Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker in Pitch. Not only did Ginny dominate in a male-only sport, she did so with the help of other female characters. Kylie brought Ginny to life and made me believe that a woman could actually play in the MLB.” – Jenni Bradley

Kerry Bishé – Halt and Catch Fire

“On Halt and Catch Fire, a role that on many shows would be flattened into just “the wife” is elevated by both the writing and Kerry Bishé’s stellar performance into one of the most interesting and memorable characters on TV — brilliant, complicated, sympathetic, maddening, and utterly believable.” – Kate Welsh

Samantha Bee – Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

“In a year that desperately needed more (and louder) unapologetic women’s voices, Samantha Bee picked up the long-flagging ‘truth to power’ mantle of The Daily Show and ran with it over to TBS. At Full Frontal, she’s built an inclusive and incisive staff, which kicks out hilarity as well as cutting social and news commentary, and an audience that expects to be challenged, informed, and entertained. She over-delivers on all counts.” – Lisa Shininger

Sarah Paulson – The People v. O.J. Simpson

“It was a fantastic year for female performances, but I have to give the crown to Sarah Paulson for her multi-layered portrayal of Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson. She took an infamous person who had been raked through the media as either as a ball buster or a caricature and gave her strength, warmth and incredible depth.” – Jennifer Bragg

Geena Davis – The Exorcist

“I admittedly scoffed when I first heard of this series based on the classic film, but positive word-of-mouth caught my curiosity and I’m glad it did. The Exorcist is a hundred times better than it has any businesses being and Geena Davis is a significant reason for its success.  As the matriarch Angela Rance, she is tasked with keeping her family together after several recent tragedies only to discover one of her daughters has been demonically possessed. She particularly caught my attention in the season’s second-half as the character develops and allows her to showcase one of the more intriguing performances I’ve seen this year.” – Bill Dean

Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander – Rizzoli & Isles

“This year we had to bid farewell to Rizzoli & Isles and the journey was definitely an emotional one. After six years, both Harmon as Jane Rizzoli and Alexander as Maura Isles didn’t get lax in their portrayal of one of our favorite BFF duos of all time. In fact, their emotional performances left us wanting for more and yes, we cried a little bit along the way.” – Johnni Macke

Photos Courtesy of FOX, FX, Netflix, NBC, HBO, AMC, Syfy, TNT and TBS.

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