This summer’s movies are full of characters who kick ass: Star Trek’s Kirk and Spock, Pelham 123’s Walter Grabe, Transformers William Lennox, Terminator Salvation’s John Connor. These heroic figures are seriously lacking in estrogen. Fortunately, Fancast is here to deliver the estrogen that the big screen is lacking. Our guide to television’s women who kick ass showcases strong females who don’t need men to help them vanquish the bad guys. Tune in and feel empowered.
Jill, Sabrina, Kelly: Charlie’s Angels
Series star Farrah Fawcett just passed away after a brave battle with cancer. She probably got her fighting spirit from her most famous role. She, and her fellow Angels are usually remembered as sex symbols. Many consider the show sexist because the women worked for the never-seen Charlie. That’s selling them short. These women kicked ass, going undercover everywhere from a women’s prison to the army. They were unflappable. Even when the bad guys were pointing guns at them, they never stopped quipping. No, they didn’t wear bras, but so what? The opening narration established that the women became private detectives to avoid the glass ceiling. They were trailblazers, who proved that American would tune in to watch female-driven action shows.
Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman
The classic comic book heroine became the star of a groovy television show in the 1970s. In the first season of this campy show, Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) was an Amazon princess whose alter ego, Diana Prince, worked for the Navy. She battled World War II-era villains, including Nazi aliens. Later seasons of the show took place in the 1970s, with Wonder Woman working for a fictional intelligence agency. Her invisible plane was both bad ass, and a cheap special effect. Strong, moral, and sexy, she was a role model for Millions of Gen X women spent their childhoods spinning around in their living rooms in their Wonder Women underoos, hoping that they would, too, be transformed into superheroes. Watch full episodes here.
Nikita: La Femme Nikita
This underrated cable show, from the creators of 24, told the story of a woman who was wrongly convicted of murder, than offered the chance to get out of prison by becoming a spy for the mysterious Section. Nikita battled terrorists, but Section was itself morally ambiguous. Nikita could trust no one, not even her love interest Michael. Peta Wilson deserved far more recognition for her multi-dimensional portrayal of Nikita. This dark, stylish show is as relevant today as it was when it originally aired in the 1990s. Watch full episodes here.
Buffy Summers: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
What else can be said about one of the most analyzed shows in television history? The story of Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) a teenage girl who slays vampires was both a terrific action show and a metaphor for adolescence. Joss Whedon famously wanted to reverse the horror movie trope, creating a pretty blonde girl who killed monsters, rather than the other way around. Buffy’s tortured romances with vampires Angel and Spike complicated her mission, but she rarely let them distract her from her demon fighting duties. Though it ended its network run six years ago, the show lives on in comic books. Buffy has become a part of the pop culture. You’ve probably seen the recent You Tube sensation where she battles Twilight’s Edward Cullen. We’d like to see her knock some sense into that wuss Bella Swan. Watch full episodes here.
Claire Bennett: Heroes
Save the cheerleader, save the world. Remember when everybody watched Heroes? It was only three years ago. The show is a shadow of its former self. That doesn’t negate Claire’s (Hayden Panettiere) kick ass qualities. When the series began the teenager was an ordinary girl who was perplexed by her ability to instantly heal from any injury. Once she found out about the other heroes, and her father’s role in the Company, she became an actual heroine. Last season she traveled through time with Hiro, helped the Petrellis uncover Angela’s past, and joined in the battle against Sylar. In season four she faces what may be her toughest challenge yet: college. Watch full episodes here.
Sarah Connor: Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles
Sarah Connor has been kicking ass since 1984 when the original film came out. Given the franchise’s time traveling premise, it’s safe to day that Sarah has been kicking ass forever. In the television series, Lena Headey ably stepped into Linda Hamilton’s tank top. She has two impossible goals: stop Skynet and make sure that now teenaged John Connor makes it to adulthood. Assisted by Cameron, a Terminator who is quite kick ass in her own cyborg way, the two battle evil in both human and robot forms. Sarah also attempts to fight her own future destiny: cancer. This show was a thought provoking, well written addition to the franchise. Unfortunately, few people watched its second season. Sarah did not stand a chance against the ultimate Terminator: Fox programming executives. Watch full episodes here.
Sydney Bristow: Alias
In the end, it was all about the wigs. Secret Agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) went from working as a double agent for SD6 and the CIA to joining APO. Along the way, she uncovered her incredibly convoluted family history and fell in love with Vaughn. Sydney had numerous spectacular fight scenes, including her epic battle with the the woman who was impersonating her best friend Francie. Alias was a show with more hype than actual popularity. As the show grew increasingly far-fetched and confusing, the one constant was the spectacular wigs Sydney wore when she went undercover. They truly kicked ass.
Starbuck, Caprica Six, Boomer, Laura: Battlestar Galactica
The future, as envisioned by Battlestar creator Ron Moore may be bleak, but it is full of women who kick ass. There’s pilot Starbuck, who lived for fighting and drinking. Starbuck was a male character in the 1970s version of the series. Making her female cleverly upended numerous gender stereotypes. Caprica Six was a Cylon. She wanted to make peace with humanity, but was willing to both kill and seduce humans to achieve her goals. Boomer, a Cylon programmed to believe she was human, was initially programmed to commit acts of sabotage before coming to terms with her identity and joining the Cylon governing council. Equally kick ass woman was Laura Roslin, Colony President, who over the course of the series evolved from soft spoken to ruthless while battling a terminal illness. Watch full episodes here.
Olivia Dunham: Fringe
FBI agent and former Marine Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), leads the task force investigating The Pattern. Her take charge attitude helps her deal with the crazy Bishops. Olivia is equal parts brawn and brains, shooting the bad guys then analyzing their bodies. The workaholic’s psychic powers come from her participation in a mysterious drug trial as a child. The season finale found her coming face to face with the drug’s creator, William Bell, in a parallel universe where 9/11 never happened. We’re confident she will handle it in a kick ass manner. Watch full episodes here.
Joss Whedon’s latest show is a mediation on identity that asks if a woman can be kick ass and a living doll simultaneously. Echo (Eliza Dushku) is an Active, one of a group of “dolls” who are implanted with memories and personalities to complete specific missions. One week Echo is assigned to protect an actress. The next, she’s a glorified prostitute, fulfilling every man’s sexual fantasy. At the end of each mission, her memory is wiped clean. But Echo is starting to retain memories and become self-aware. Despite the series’ lackluster pilot, Dollhouse is rapidly becoming an intriguing consideration of the nature of self. Watch full episodes here.
*OK, it’s more like Top 15, but who’s counting?! These ladies are hot!