Joyce Byers, Stranger Things
Winona Ryder hasn’t been in the limelight for a while now but Stranger Things relaunched her career. Far removed from her classic roles as Lydia Deetz and Kim Boggs, Ryder gave a much more mature performance as Joyce, the hysterical mother hunting for her missing son Will.
Amanda Waller, Suicide Squad
Cara Delevigne’s gyrating Enchantress was ostensibly the main villain of Suicide Squad, but the real antagonist was Amanda Waller. A control freak to the highest degree, Waller’s cold, calculating methods mark her out as just as psychopathic as the supervillains she employs.
Dolores Abernathy, Westworld
The oldest host (i.e. robot) in Westworld, Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores has been abused too many times to count by the park’s sick guests. But through season one of the show we see the character break out of her damsel programming to become a sharpshooting cowgirl with a dark side.
Mariah Dillard, Luke Cage
Luke Cage had three attempts to match Kilgrave and Fisk in the villain stakes. Alfre Woodard’s Mariah Dillard was definitely better than Cottonmouth and Diamondback as her political scheming made her a fresh kind of antagonist. The best thing is she is still at large come the end of the season.
Moana follows in the footsteps of Brave‘s Merida in being a Disney princess who is more proactive than most and the hero of her own story (even if Dwayne Johnson’s Maori won the bulk of the film’s merchandising). More heroines like this in future please, House of Mouse.