More kick-ass women TV shows


Here’s continuing my ongoing kick-ass women project. (Check out my index to previous posts in the project, if you like.) Following up on my last list of favorite kick-ass women TV shows, I offer up another list of TV shows. These are are shows that I’ve watched and loved, or at least enjoyed, that prominently feature kick-ass women (and girls). I do have some reservations about some of these, though…(And again, shows are listed chronologically by start date.)

9 more kick-ass women TV shows

  1. The Avengers (1962-1964)
    This incarnation of The Avengers starred Honor Blackman (who later gained more fame playing Bond girl Pussy Galore) as Cathy Gale. I didn’t get to know the Gale episodes until quite recently, when they were released on DVD. But they are well worth watching, in spite of the poor video-taped quality.
  2. Get Smart (1965-1970)
    Barbara Feldon was great as Agent 99, the competent foil to the bumbling agent Maxwell Smart. However, I was never too thrilled with the plots developing to woo and win Max. I don’t really buy her desire to get married, especially to him…
  3. The Avengers (1968-1969)
    I was mostly just going through the motions when I watched this incarnation of The Avengers. Linda Thorson played Tara King, a much softer, wimpier partner to Steed. But she still played a secret agent who could kick some moderate ass.
  4. Remington Steele (1982-1987)
    Stephanie Zimbalist plays Laura Holt, a brilliant private investigator who finds she gets more clients by operating under a man’s name, even a man’s name that she’s made up. Unfortunately, the whole premise of the show is that Pierce Brosnan comes along and usurps her success, and she has to go along with it.
  5. Teen Titans (2003-????)
    This Cartoon Network animated series featuring bunch of adolescents with superpowers has a couple of pretty kick-ass girls. Starfire (voiced by Hynden Walch) is a bit too needy-touchy-feely for my tastes, but I guess can kick some ass in a fight. I’m partial to Raven (voiced by Tara Strong), who is cranky and dark.
  6. Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001)
    It’s been absolutely ages since I watched this. I didn’t even realize it was on the air that long. Anyhow, I seem to recall some pretty kick-ass women characters: Roxann Dawson as B’Elanna Torres and Jeri Ryan as the Borg Seven of Nine. There was also the kick-ass character Captain Kathryn Janeway, portrayed by Kate Mulgrew. (I am remembering a story about Kate Mulgrew publicly proclaiming that she wasn’t a feminist, though, which made me lose quite a bit of respect. Jenny, care to remind me of the details?)
  7. Futurama (1999-????)
    Leela (full name: Turanga Leela) as voiced by Katey Sagal shines with competence as a spaceship captain surrounded by dimwits in this animated series created by Matt Groening. (I never really bought her attraction to clueless Fry, and am suddenly noticing the parallels to 99’s infatuation with Max Smart…It’s a theme we’ve all seen too often…)
  8. Jackie Chan Adventures (2000-2005)
    Animated Jackie’s trouble-making little niece Jade (voiced by Stacie Chan) shows some potential to grow up into a kick-ass woman in this kid-oriented cartoon. She’s got some of the key ingredients: courage, daring and wit. (Forget sugar and spice.)
  9. The Tick (2001)
    This inpsired gem of a show, the live-action version of the zany superhero cartoon, only lasted 8 episodes. Liz Vassey was great as the tough-as-nails-in-her-shiny-gold-boots Captain Liberty, a character inspired by Wonder Woman.

4 thoughts on “More kick-ass women TV shows

  1. oh, my. here goes me showing just how big a geek i am.

    it was back in 1994, either spring or fall. jen sharf (fellow brown film society geek) and i decided to go to los angeles for a star trek convention. yes, we did. a star trek convention. wow.

    anyway, we were sitting fairly close to the stage when kate mulgrew came out to do her convention spiel, and then opened the floor to questions. a woman in the audience (not me) asked if she thought the successes of the feminist movement had anything to do with her getting the role of the captain of voyager. mulgrew’s answer was no, she got the job because she was a good actress.

    to which another woman (me) followed up with essentially, “on the original star trek, the only woman on the bridge was uhura, essentially a telephone operator. don’t you think the fact that now this, the fourth star trek show in the franchise, has a female *captain* has something to do with the feminist movement?”

    her answer – a tad more defensive this time – was again “no.” at which point several of the males in the audience jumped in with followup questions (basically in support of the feminist premise), and mulgrew found herself saying that she wasn’t a feminist, but she didn’t mind being a strong role model for girls, and blah blah blah. then she decided she didn’t like the line of questioning, and asked the audience to move on in topic.

    thus ended my rub with fame. and my interest in watching voyager.

  2. As someone who has watched every episode of Futurama, I can tell you this: Leela was not attracted to clueless Fry. Clueless Fry pursued her relentlessly, but the only times that Leela actually reciprocated were when Fry was “artificially enhanced” and demonstrated actual intelligence/competence. She was attracted to him when the stomach parasites took over his brain and made him a super-genius, and when he made a deal with the Robot Devil in order to be able to play the holophone.

    Other than those instances, Leela certainly showed friendly affection for Fry, and even some jealousy when he was distracted by other women, but mostly discouraged him in his romantic interests.

    Did you know that Al Gore’s daughter wrote for Futurama?

  3. jenny-
    Thanks for the full story. It’s funny how the behavior of an actor (a more-or-less real-life human being) can affect how we perceive the characters they portray. I remember that learning about Kate Mulgrew’s response from you weakened my perception of Janeway. (And speaking of feminism and Janeway, I found this tidbit on imdb: “Kathryn Janeway’s character was based on a feminist writer Elizabeth Janeway.” This other Janeway contrasts pretty sharply with Mulgrew

    jwbates-
    Thanks for setting me straight about Leela and Fry. I’m glad. I guess I was just remembering the last episode I saw, which was the one you mentioned with the Robot Devil. You make a good point that she was only interested in new and improved versions of Fry. (And yeah, I think you’ve mentioned the Al Gore daughter thing. I enjoyed the episode where Gore made a cameo appearance. He’s so cool.)

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