The Great

Photo provided by Hulu

"The Great" is available to stream on Hulu

There was a time in the theatre (much like many professions) where it was illegal for women to act on the stage.

It was immoral. 

While the patriarchy is still doing its best to keep its power, here are some great series where female actors command the screen and take charge.

1. 'The Great'

I will admit, I was quite skeptical.

And I will further admit I only committed to trying "The Great" because of a male supporting actor that I have often enjoyed.

That said, Elle Fanning's portrayal of Catherine The Great, Empress of Russia, is by far one of the most captivating performances I've seen in a long time. Her magnetism coupled with striking nuance allows the audience into the mind of a young woman eager for equality for women in a time when even God said "no."

The series follows Catherine's arrival to Russia as a bartered bride for Emperor Nicholas. In a foreign land, she must navigate the court, the church and fickle whims of her man-child of a husband. 

Available on: Hulu

2. 'The Crown'

Another look into historical feminism, "The Crown" follows the exploits of England's Queen Elizabeth II. From her coronation through the decades of her reign, the character is portrayed artfully by Claire Foy in the first two seasons (for which she received an Emmy and Golden Globe award), before Academy Award Winner Olivia Coleman takes over as the aging queen.

The show introduces us to a queen who grows into her crown, eventually wielding her power and femininity like a sword and shield.

Available on: Netflix

3. 'I Am Not Okay With This'

Making her Hollywood debut in the revived telling of Stephen King's "It," Sophia Lillis proved out the gate that when it comes to acting, she's no slouch. Range, depth and truth are often the requirements of an actor and in the horror film duo, she certainly gives us hints of her full potential.

In 'I Am Not Okay With This,' Lillis pulls us in the coming of age story of a young woman dealing with all the troubles that come with being a teenage girl, but to make matters worse, discovers she has telekinetic powers.  Much like her emotional state, she has trouble controlling it. 

Though an obvious puberty parallel, the Lillis' magnetic performance adds the touch of terror that is not often accompanied by a coming of age story.

Available on: Netflix

4. 'Sharp Objects'

Another series featuring — but not starring — Sophie Lillis, "Sharp Objects" is a combination of coming home story and murder mystery. 

Starring Amy Adams, a journalist returns home to cover the murder of a young girl. Only through exploring her past can the journalist reconcile the events of the presents which she is more deeply connected to than she originally anticipates.

Adams' performance as a traumatized adult forever reliving her childhood horrors is gritty contrast to much of her work. But the long-form narrative of the series allows Adams to explore the character deep-seated self-loathing and earning for self-forgiveness.

Available on: HBO MAX

5. 'Big Little Lies'

Talk about a powerhouse of women coming together to tell a story.

On the surface, "Big Little Lies" is about the absurd lives of rich and irritating. But as the series unfolds we are shown small windows into the lives of several women who quietly suffocate in their prisons of domesticity, keeping their secrets hidden from one another and allowing themselves to be eaten up by them.

Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley are joined in the second season by none other than Meryl Streep. If one of those names didn't pique your interest, you have a catalog of films to get started on to better appreciate the talent previously mentioned.

Available on: HBO MAX

Aron Agerton is a copy editor for The Daily Item. Email him at aagerton@dailyitem.com 

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