Screen queens: the funny, fearless women who revolutionised TV
Phoebe Waller-Bridge exploded into our living rooms with Fleabag, her vicious comedy about an angry, awkward woman. As it returns, Guardian writers pick their TV heroines
Who gets to be the bitch?
This woman is such a rarity she is basically a unicorn. Shonda Rhimes is a black single mother who began as a freelance scriptwriter and struck gold in Hollywood when she created soapy medical drama Greys Anatomy, whose riotous success (15 seasons and counting), together with that of her political drama Scandal, made her one of the most powerful players in the business. She has her own production company called Shondaland and, most recently, scored a $150m deal with Netflix.
Rhimes is a born storyteller, but she also works to level the playing field regarding race and sex. Since Greys Anatomy, which was conceived as a way of showcasing a diverse cast, she has tried to address industry and national norms. And, for women, all her work has been informed by an absence: Most of the women I saw on TV didnt seem like people I actually knew. They felt like ideas of what women are. They never got to be nasty or competitive or hungry or angry. They were often just the loving wife or the nice friend. But who gets to be the bitch? Who gets to be the three-dimensional woman? Anyone in a Rhimes show. Lucy Mangan