As promised, the companion post to my piece on favorite tv heroes. This time, it’s all about the ladies! Without further ado, I present my top five favorite tv heroines.
Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls: Oddly enough, I never really liked Rory on this show. You’d think I would, right? Quiet, bookish, ambitions of writing … yet I always felt like she came across as this spoiled, pampered little princess who assumed everything would go her way and couldn’t handle it when life got a bit difficult. Lorelai, on the other hand, is the kind of mom I can only dream about being. She’s fun and loving and kind and savvy and present (not just physically, but wholly); she’s not perfect but she never quits trying; she has a life of her own but still always puts her kid first. And she has great hair and a razor-sharp wit. Yep, pretty awesome.
Zoe Washburne, Firefly: I love Zoe. I want to be Zoe when I grow up. She is a rarity in television, an action heroine who is also happily married. Her combination of deadly combat skills, fierce loyalty, dry wit, and loving fidelity is amazing. Plus she gets awesome one-liners. My mom likes River the best, and I know a lot of people really love Kaylee (and don’t get me wrong, I like both of them, too – I think Kaylee would make a terrific best friend), but for me, it’s all about Zoe. She’s strong and still human, and that’s hard to find in any kind of heroine these days, television or literary; most are either all strength and no human emotions, or all vulnerability and weakness with a side helping of unrealistic warrior skills. Not Zoe. I also really love the fact that she’s a sci-fi action heroine who does not spend the entirety of the show running around half-dressed. And she’s a really, really good shot.
Captain Kathryn Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager: I know I complained in my heroes post about the fact that Voyager focused almost solely on Captain Janeway … but that doesn’t take away from the fact that she’s still a fantastic character. A female starship captain who never exhibits any signs of belligerence or insecurity toward the men under her command, or the other officers in Starfleet; a leader thrown with a totally unconventional crew across the galaxy, trying to get them home without ever going against her principles; a captain trying to maintain protocol with the crew while still providing them with the stability and comfort they need; an explorer faced with unprecedented challenges … as long as she had her coffee, Janeway took everything in her stride and faced it with humor and dignity.
Detective Kate Beckett, Castle: I only recently started watching Castle, and so far have only made it through Season 1. Season 2 should be coming to me through inter-library loan any day now. (edit: just picked it up from the library. can’t wait to start watching.) So I’m not sure how Beckett’s character developed in later seasons, but based on Season 1, I think she’s fabulous. She’s tough but compassionate, which I love in any character, male or female. She doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone. I love watching her get the best of Castle in any of their exchanges, and the developing friendship (which I know from things I’ve read turns to romance later, but is really great as a friendship, too) between them is so much fun to watch.
Donna Noble, Doctor Who: This one is kind of cheating. Donna’s not technically one of the stars of this show, more of a supporting character (and that only for one season, weep, weep) … but I love her so much that I don’t care. I really liked Rose; I would have liked Martha if she hadn’t let her inferiority complex turn her into such a drip; I loved Sarah Jane in the one episode of the new series (no, I haven’t watched any of the classic series, and Netflix doesn’t have The Sarah Jane Adventures, so I need to start borrowing those from the library too before I can know more about her); but Donna has turned out to be my favorite so far (I’m in the middle of Series 4). She’s the perfect foil for the Doctor, in her humor and compassion and strength. She’s not in love with him (thank goodness!) but their friendship is so, so strong, and they both grow and gain so much from the other. I even love her abrasiveness, the fact that she doesn’t take any crap from anyone. Her relationship with her grandfather is just icing on the cake. I know how her story arc ends (yes, I read spoilers, especially when I’m watching old seasons of a show), and I’m finding myself really reluctant to finish watching Series 4, because I don’t want to leave her behind. Well, I don’t really want to say goodbye to the Tenth Doctor, either, if I’m being perfectly honest.
It seems that my favorite female characters share the same traits I admire most in male characters – strength blended with compassion, the ability to stand up for themselves and for others, loyalty, a ready wit, and a thorough love for adventure. Being ready and willing to take out the bad guy doesn’t hurt, either.