Here is yet another installment of my ongoing project to collect, classify and critique movies, TV shows and other media that prominently feature kick-ass women. This is the first list of TV shows I’ve put together. I’ll probably have one or two more, and probably another movie list at some point. To recap the lists so far:
Kick-ass women project meta-list
So, here’s the first TV list. As in my previous lists, I’m ordering these chronologically, though in this case by year that the show began to air. (I considered ranking these differently, but since my favorite came first chronologically and gets to be at the top of the list this way anyhow, I’m going to avoid the tricky task of ranking the rest of my favorites.) (I also feel compelled to say that if you’re wondering why “Xena” and “X-files” aren’t on the list, it’s because I didn’t watch them. I’ll try to remedy that. One of these days.)
9 of my favorite kick-ass women TV shows
- The Avengers (1965-1967)
This is my all-time favorite kick-ass woman TV show. Emma Peel (as portrayed by Diana Rigg) is my idol. (By the way, the whole series ran from 1961-1969, but here I’m talking about the Mrs. Peel seasons.)
- The Bionic Woman (1976-1978) Lindsay Wagner plays Jamie Sommers, a woman with “bionic” (cybernetic) superpowers. It’s been absolutely ages since I watched this, but I enjoyed it as a kid. It may well have been the first kick-ass woman show I watched.
- Wonder Woman (1976-1979)
Lynda Carter plays the quintessential woman superhero. A colorful show where good and evil are portrayed as black and white. (I vaguely remember watching this when I was little, and then got some of the DVDs recently. I don’t think I’d ever seen the first season before, though, which was set during World War II. It’s actually quite a bit better than the following seasons, which are set in the contemporaneous 1970s.)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Sarah Michelle Gellar kicks ass as Buffy, as do a variety of regular cast members and guest stars. I also love the way this show interleaves the horrors of living in the midst of monsters and supernatural evils and the after-school-special-type horrors of being in high school. (This show is another one of my absolute favorites. A possible 2nd.)
- Stargate SG-1 (1997-????)
I quite like Amanda Tapping as Samantha Carter, with her brilliant matter-of-fact geekiness. She was usually about brains more than brawn, but could hold her own in a fight scene.
- The Powerpuff Girls (1998-2004)
Three cute little girls with big eyes and superpowers battle the forces of evil in this animated kids’ show. I’m partial to Buttercup, the angry one. I fear I’m probably more like Blossom, the annoyingly nerdy one. I don’t think I’m much like Bubble, the sweet one. (Though she’s John’s favorite. What does that mean?)
- Alias (2001-2006)
Jennifer Garner plays secret agent Sydney Bristow in this flashy spy show. Lots of fun fight scenes and clever gadgets, combined with over-the-top cloak-and-dagger disguise scenarios. I’ve only seen the first 2 seasons, though. I liked the first (lower budget) season better.
- Firefly (2002-2003)
A great, but sadly short-lived, sci fi masterpiece, which happily at least led to a movie. I love Gina Torres as Zoe, a warrior woman with a dry wit, steady hand and a sense of being in control.
- Battlestar Galactica(2004-????) (plus the 2003 miniseries)
I was surprised at how much I like this reinterpretation of the cheesy 1980’s space opera. In this show, strong women are the norm, rather than the exception. Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck majorly kicks ass as an ace pilot. Other noteworthy strongwomen include Grace Park as Sharon(s) Valleri, Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin, and Tricia Helfer as the bad-ass cylon Number Six.