So, I came up with the idea for this list and was subsequently struck with inspiration to make this into more than one list with a similar theme. I’m going to celebrate ladies in fiction because, damn it, they need celebrating. This week, I’ve compiled and arbitrarily ranked a list of awesome gals from various corners of the filmed fictional universe. From TV to films, these women inspire me in their own ways.
11. Charlotte Charles from “Pushing Daisies” (Anna Friel)
I just began a rewatch of this charming, underappreciated show (I’m going to do a list of these someday soon). What strikes me most about Charlotte Charles, Chuck to her friends, is her zest for life. I don’t want to give too much away about the show for those who haven’t seen it, but Chuck starts out the show dead and circumstances and love bring her back to life. I want to be able to whole-heartedly throw myself at life the way she does, complete with optimism and a great fashion sense.
10. Sophia Burset from “Orange is the New Black” (Laverne Cox)
Speaking of fashion sense, Sophia from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” is all about style as hairdresser in Litchfield Prison. Well, that’s not all she’s about. Like all of the ladies behind bars, she’s got her own stories to tell and hers has been one of my favorites to watch. A huge shout-out goes to Laverne Cox who brings such depth and humor to the role.
7. Abigail Mills from “Sleepy Hollow” (Nicole Beharie)
Lieutenant Abigail Mills had her whole life planned out. She was going to leave Sleepy Hollow, NY and head down to Quantico, VA to join the FBI. Then, she ran into a man out of time, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison). Together, they’re fated to stop the apocalypse. You know how these things are supposed to go. This show gleefully dives down the rabbit hole and keeps going as Abbie plays the straight man in this supernatural scenario.
8. Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff from the Marvel movies (Scarlett Johanssen)
I’m not saying that I’d love to be a kick-ass assassin who’s trying to make good for years of having an askew moral compass, but every now and again, I think it’d be awesome to have Black Widow’s particular skill set. I know I’m not alone in this. When she was first introduced in Iron Man 2, she was just a more badass form of eye candy. With the influence of writer/director Joss Whedon, she became so much more in Marvel’s The Avengers. Now, there’s talk of a solo film. Here’s hoping she gets the screen time a lady with her level of badassery deserves.
7. Buffy Summers from “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” (Sarah Michelle Gellar)
Now that I’ve mentioned Joss Whedon, it’s only natural that I bring up the woman who made him a household name: Buffy. All she wanted was to be a normal girl. Unfortunately, that’s not to be when one is the chosen one who’s responsible for saving the world. A lot. I was a faithful watcher of this show and loved watching her evolve through the show’s run. She more than earned her spot on this list.
6. Xena from “Xena: Warrior Princess” (Lucy Lawless)
I seem to have an ass-kicking trend going on here. Look, I grew up on Xena. I loved the way she kicked ass and was unapologetic about her warrior ways and encounters with men. I’m glad I had her as a role model to look up to. Between her devotion to her friends and her sense of justice, she was definitely an influence in my formative years. I’m glad that her influence still persists even today.
5. Sorsha from Willow (Joanne Whalley)
Sorsha was the daughter of the evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) in the 1988 film Willow. I think all she really wanted for the longest time was to please her mother. When that looked increasingly unlikely, she changed sides and joined the side of good. I think the handsome swordsman Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) had something to do with it. I don’t blame her. I think what was most awesome about her is how her talents as a warrior were respected by her peers. She was damn good at what she did and her contribution was acknowledged. She’s so awesome that I even named my current car after her.
4. Princess Leia Organa from the Star Wars films (Carrie Fischer)
Oh, Princess Leia. Of course she made it on here. She is quick-witted and a fantastic shot. She doesn’t take crap from people and is a big power player in galactic politics. I originally started writing this in the past tense, but realized that since she’s going to be in the upcoming Star Wars films, I can write about her in the present tense. I can only hope that they’ll remember how amazing she is and do her justice.
3. Zoë Washburne from “Firefly” and Serenity (Gina Torres)
Why is Zoë from Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” so high on my list? Mostly it’s because I’m afraid that she’d kill me. Okay. That’s not the only reason. She had a role that would have been traditionally occupied by a similarly stoic male. As the first mate aboard the Serenity, she was a force to be reckoned with. She had deadly aim and a great attitude. Despite being all kinds of badass, she had a soft spot for her husband, Wash (Alan Tudyk), and wasn’t ashamed of her femininity. I’m only sad that we never got to see her in a dress with some slink. She apparently liked those.
2. Donna Noble from “Doctor Who” (Catherine Tate)
I originally hated Donna Noble. I thought she was loud, brash, rude, and annoying. I am not the only fan to have ever felt these things about the temp from Chiswick. I wish I could recall the exact moment that changed my mind about her. By the end of her time on the TARDIS, she had become my favorite of the Doctor’s companions. She was his conscience when he started going too far and his friend when he needed one most. I suppose I saw a lot of myself in her.
1. Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter films (Maggie Smith)
What can I say? She was fiesty, intimidating, and one of those badasses you instinctively knew not to cross. Sure, she was scary as just a teacher and head of House Gryffindor. While Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) was off questing after Horcruxes and other mystical things, it was Minerva McGonagall who held down the fort at Hogwarts. She mobilized the defenses as Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters relentlessly attacked the school. Without her firm guidance, the day would have been lost. So, yeah. Seriously. McGonagall. If I ever went into teaching, she’d be the teacher I’d like to emulate the most.
Stay tuned next week for some villains.
*Note: There are a ton of women who didn’t get on this list because I thought of them late and just ran out of slots. I will honor them later in some fashion.