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Top 10 Animated TV Shows with Female Leads

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Trevor J Fonvergne
These are the animated tv shows with the best female leads! For this list, we’re taking a look at animated television series that feature one or more female lead characters. We’ve included characters like “Totally Spies”, “The Mighty B!”, “As Told by Ginger”, “The Wild Thornberrys” and more!
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Top 10 Animated TV Shows with Female Leads




No one ever said cartoons were just for boys. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Animated Shows with Female Leads.



For this list, we’re taking a look at animated television series that feature one or more female lead characters.



#10: “Totally Spies!” (2001-15)



Sam, Alex, and Clover are three high school girls in Beverly Hills, California who moonlight as secret agents for an agency called WOOHP. Created with an anime-styled aesthetic, the quirky protagonists have a dynamic that manages to be funny while remaining genuine to their personalities. The series succeeds in being equal parts relatable and action-packed, as the spies deal concurrently with typical high school problems while also venturing into the outlandish. Though they aren’t the only badass young ladies to lead an animated series, “Spies” shapes its own tone and identity that separate the show from its peers and earns itself a spot on this list.





#9: “The Mighty B!” (2008-11)



Amy Poehler co-created this quirky Nickelodeon series and voices the lead character... need we say more? Bessie Higgenbottom is a hyperactive nine-and-three-quarters year-old girl who is committed to earning every Honeybee Badge, in order to become the superhero, The Mighty B. Though Bessie could have easily been a one-note, annoying character, her intelligence, persistence, and sense of morality make her a lovable heroine, odd as she may be. The episodes tell a heartwarming and charming tale of why it’s important to chase your dreams, even if they may seem outlandish and even if people stand in your way.





#8: “The Wild Thornberrys” (1998-2004)


What kid didn’t wish they could talk to animals? Eliza Thornberry got to live that dream in this animated series from the studio that created “Rugrats.” The Thornberrys are a family of nature documentarians who travel the world, giving Eliza the opportunity to meet all kinds of wildlife and embark on thrilling adventures. The series was praised for promoting empathetic views of animals while simultaneously and subtly educating children about zoology. As one of Nickelodeon’s early 2000s hits, it would spawn two theatrical films, one featuring characters from “Rugrats,” and the other receiving an Oscar nomination.



#7: “As Told by Ginger” (2000-06; 2015-16)



“As Told by Ginger” follows junior high student Ginger and her friends as they navigate these formidable years. It received critical acclaim for its unique approach to the adolescent experience. Unlike most other cartoons, which kept characters in consistent clothing in order to save money, the characters here wear different clothes scene-by scene, and it featured ongoing story arcs rather than a series of standalone episodes. Relying less on comedy than most other animated children’s series, it succeeds in making the issues feel real and legitimate to its young audience, rather than looking down on or poking fun at them.



#6: “The Legend of Korra” (2012-14)



When “Avatar: The Last Airbender” left our TV screens, we were left with a hole that couldn’t be filled. That is, until Korra came along. “The Legend of Korra” is a sequel series, taking place 70 years after its predecessor and following Korra, the new Avatar. As she’s primarily a water bender, the show follows her journey to master the other three elements. Like the former series, it manages to be humorous, yet dark, weaving magical and engaging story arcs for its compelling protagonist. By expanding the mystical world of “Avatar,” “Korra” establishes its own voice, equal parts familiar and new, but never living in the shadow of its prequel.





#5: “The Proud Family” (2001-05)



You know you have something special when Beyoncé is one of the vocalists behind the theme song. Penny Proud is a high school-aged girl living with an eccentric and dysfunctional family. Most episodes focus on Penny’s coming of age, boldly tackling issues of race in a time when few other children’s shows were doing the same. It has some of the most unique world building in all of animation, featuring storylines varying from the downright bizarre to the mundane. Taking the journey with Penny is a laugh-a-minute riot and she has a lot to teach children about what it means to truly be who you are and be proud.





#4: “Daria” (1997-2002)



Daria Morgendorffer made her debut as a sharp, sarcastic, and intelligent classmate in “Beavis and Butthead,” proving popular enough to earn her own spinoff show. Her notoriously cynical personality provides a biting lens through which she views the world. This, however, is in stark contrast to the fellow residents of Lawndale, who serve as a satirical view of American life. As one of the few female-led adult cartoons, “Daria” became one of MTV’s highest-rated series during its run and was acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. Her legacy is so influential that even over two decades later, audiences are clamoring for her unique perspective, with MTV announcing a reboot in 2018.



#3: “Kim Possible” (2002-07)



Don’t even pretend you don’t still get that theme song stuck in your head. Kim is a high school girl who pulls double duty by fighting crime with the help of her best friend, Ron Stoppable. Though she does the impossible on a daily basis, she’s still relatable as not even she is immune to the trials and tribulations of adolescence. Equal parts wacky and thrilling, there’s never a dull moment in her world, whether she’s kicking ass or practicing her cheer routine. It’s rare to see a young woman so confident and capable on our screens, and that’s why we’ve never quite fallen out of love with Kim.





#2: “She-Ra: Princess of Power” (1985-86)



She-Ra may not have gotten as much attention as her twin brother, He-Man, but her adventures were just as captivating. She-Ra is the alter ego of Princess Adora who, with her powers and Sword of Protection, leads the Great Rebellion. By today’s standards, it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t feel dated, but it’s still a great bit of ridiculous fun, and it was rare to see such a tough leading lady on TV in the ‘80s. Though she may have been overshadowed by her brother back in the day, she stuck with audiences over time with a reboot set to air on Netflix in 2018.



Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.



“My Life as a Teenage Robot” (2003-09)




“The Life and Times of Juniper Lee” (2005-07)




“Jem” (1985-88)




#1: “The Powerpuff Girls” (1998-2005)



This is the show that made you wish you could have been created with Chemical X. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup are the lone protectors of the city of Townsville, battling a huge roster of villains including Him, the Rowdyruff Boys, and, of course, the (awesomely-named) evil monkey Mojo Jojo. The series became instantly iconic thanks to its relentless playfulness and infinite feeling of fun packed into each episode. With a style unmatched by any other cartoon, these girls have established themselves as major pop culture phenomena, and for such small girls, they sure do pack a whole lot of heart.
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