by T. Mack
Today, two badass women of current Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV come back to our screens with new seasons of their respective shows.
So this seems like a great time to highlight other badass ladies of Sci-Fi and Fantasy television who have been favorites of mine in the past. All these ladies still hold very special places in my heart. The list, of course, is not exhaustive. It just contains some favorites from my DVD collection. (These are in no particular order.)
Buffy Summers: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I’m jumping right in with the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the titular character, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. While Kristy Swanson was delightful in the 1992 film, I have to give all my love to Sarah, the true Buffy of our hearts. For seven magical seasons, Buffy slayed in every sense of the word. She was smart, clever, witty, sarcastic, fashionable, and fierce. She could kill monsters and the dating game. She and her Scooby Gang were #SquadGoals. We all wanted to be her or be her best friend. We wanted to kill monsters with her, conjure magic for her, and sing along with her for every note of the best musical episode of any television show EVER! #OnceMoreWithFeeling
Honorable Mention: Faith Lehane: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I know Faith took a bad turn, but since she was “The Dark Slayer,” I was able to relate to her more than Buffy in a lot of ways. I always loved Faith, from the first moment she arrived on screen. And despite everything, I never stopped loving her. She was bad sometimes, I know. But she was badass, too!
Zoe Washburne: Firefly
Zoe, played by the incomparable and highly underrated Gina Torres, was fierce, loyal, and a force not to be underestimated. One of the things I liked most about Zoe was her quiet knowledge and confidence of her skills. She had absolutely no use for boasting or showboating. She did not flaunt the fact that she was a war veteran (an officer at that), a deadly shooter, an incredible fighter, and a capable leader. She didn’t need to. She simply knew for certain that she had all those skills and put them into action the moment it became necessary to do so. Zoe was a quiet hero who didn’t demand attention and recognition for her heroics. She just quietly did the thing that was necessary and right. And she was, of course, always a badass about it, even though she never said so.
Honorable Mention: River Tam: Firefly
Some people would argue that these two should be reversed since River had nearly superhuman skills and pseudo-psychic abilities. However, I maintain this arrangement because River, though skillful, was very damaged. So much so that she was often considered a danger to others as well as herself. Yes, it’s cool to be a badass with superhuman abilities. But if you can’t control them, and you’re just as likely to hurt the people you’re trying to protect as protect them, it’s not nearly as cool.
The Charmed Ones: Charmed
I’ve talked quite a lot about my love of this show and the sister witches that made the show so magical for eight years. So I won’t get back on my soap box. But I will talk, once again, about just how incredible these ladies were at battling the forces of evil. They did so while juggling jobs, relationships, and children. Also, they managed to look fabulous while doing it! In addition, they not only battled the forces of evil, but also the patriarchy that called themselves the good guys but often tried to hinder the ladies from realizing their true badass potential. These were not ladies to be reckoned with!
Honorable Mention: Willow Rosenburg: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy’s BFF, Willow, ended the series as the most powerful and badass witches on the planet. But even before that, prior to picking up her first spell book, she was fiercely clever and incredibly smart. From the first time Buffy found herself needing to solve a mystery, Willow was there with resources, research, and knowledge to help get the job done. Later, as Willow’s knowledge and skills grew, she became an even more powerful and crucial part of the team. At a certain point, her power even managed to reach a point where it caused her to become a villain. But with the help of her friends, she got it under control. Wiccan or not, Willow was and forever will be a total badass.
Mrs. Frederic: Warehouse 13
Mrs. Frederic runs Warehouse 13, the U.S. storage facility for powerful objects that are not safe to be in the hands of the general populace. She is mysterious, powerful, and magical. As the caretaker of the warehouse, she is linked to it. As long as it stands, she lives. As long as she lives, it stands. As such, she is nearly immortal. In addition, she is an incredible wealth of knowledge that is deep as the centuries are long, because that’s how far her memory stretches. Mrs. Frederic is soft-spoken in that she doesn’t raise her voice. However, her word is never to be questioned. And she commands a room with a simple look. Some people must display their power for others to recognize it. Others never have to display their power because others simply recognize it. Mrs. Frederic is the latter. And that definitely makes her a badass.
Honorable Mention: Claudia Donovan: Warehouse 13
Claudia was the Jr. Agent at Warehouse 13. But that didn’t mean she didn’t get things done. Claudia was actually a genius who could solve crimes and engineer incredible gadgets for the team. She was like James Bond and his tech team rolled into one. She had a fierce determination and drive and refused to give up on anyone or anything she believed in. Claudia was destined to become the next caretaker of the Warehouse, a fate she both coveted and hesitated to embrace. Claudia was complex, charming, impetuous, clever, wicked smart, and a total badass.
Joss Whedon is the mastermind behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer. For those of us who were paying attention in 2008, we were treated to another brilliant turn from him in the form of Dollhouse. This series showed us a shady corporation (the Dollhouse) that emptied beautiful people of their own personalities, rented their bodies to high-paying clients, and filled those bodies (dolls) with whatever or whoever the client requested. Buffy alum Eliza Dushku (Faith Lehane) played Echo, a doll who began to malfunction and retain memories from her previous incarnations, even after the implanted personalities were supposed to have been wiped away. As Echo retained more, she also kept more skills and knowledge from her imprints and became one seriously badass force of nature… and a definite threat to everything the Dollhouse had built. Echo was definitely not the only badass lady on this show, but she was the focus. So she got to showcase her badassery the most. And it was glorious!
Honorable Mention: Tru Davies, Tru Calling
After Buffy ended in 2003 (but before Dollhouse came along) Eliza Dushku was offered a Faith spin-off, but turned it down for this show, which had a half-decent 2-season run. It’s about Tru, who works in a morgue and gets requests for do-overs from dead people. They come in, already deceased, cold, and on the slab. Their eyes open, and they ask Tru for help. Her entire day rewinds and she spends the do-over day literally running around town trying to find and save the person so they won’t end up on her table again at the end of the night. As far as superpowers go, it doesn’t seem like much. But Tru is a good person, a clever detective in her own right, and full of enough earnestness for an entire superhero team. The show doesn’t stand up to most of the others on this list, but it is entertaining none-the-less. However, while I did like this show, I can’t help but wonder what that Faith spin-off would have been like.
Bo: Lost Girl
This Canadian series ran 2010-2015, but sort of looks and feels like it ran 1998-2003, which makes it even more amazing. It’s about a young woman who finds out in the most unfortunate way that she is not human, but a succubus. This means she is a Fae, a creature of fairy tales and make-believe that happens to be real and exist in secret among humans. Bo is forced to learn the rules and learn them fast as she jumps feet first into the world she never knew, to which she both belongs and doesn’t. The only problem? That world has a lot of rules and Bo doesn’t like to play by the rules. So she spends the entirety of the series breaking all the rules, fighting with everyone in sight when she isn’t sleeping with them instead (she is a succubus after all — she feeds on sexual energy) and making her own rules as she goes. Bo is a total badass in this series and spends a whole lot of time kicking ass. She just happens to spend a lot of time getting ass as well… Which ain’t a bad thing!
Honorable Mention: Max Guevara: Dark Angel
If you put Dark Angel next to Lost Girl, you’ll see that this one is the actual late 90’s-early 00’s version Sci-Fi/Fantasy series the other one feels like. The premise is very different. But there is something about the two that compliment each other in the way they are both slightly outdated, have a little too much leather and dark clothing, and use a bit too much cringy slang. Max is not a Fae. Instead, she is a genetically enhanced super-human who escaped from the lab in which she was raised and is on the run in a post-technological 2000. Trained from birth as a soldier, Max has very specific skills. And she uses them to quietly correct whatever injustices she can around her. However, when the corporation she escaped from catches her scent, she suddenly finds herself having to use her skills much more. And we are all much more entertained because of it. This show was Jessica Alba’s big break. She is young and talented in this series and her fitness level is ridiculous. This character’s skills, while perhaps less graceful, actually rival those of River Tam in Firefly. And anyone who’s seen River Tam in action knows that’s saying something!
Olivia Dunham: Fringe
Olivia was an FBI agent. That right there is pure badass. In real life that’s just cool and awesome. However, Olivia becomes a key team leader for the group working on the case of strange occurrences that are causing the universe to unravel. Olivia doesn’t have super powers… at first. She’s just a smart, capable woman who is good at her job and doesn’t stop until she gets the answers she seeks. By the end of the series, however, she is a freedom fighter, battling the forces that have invaded the universe and oppressed the human race. She is fighting for the survival of the entire species and the war for the timeline and human history. Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty badass.
Honorable Mention: Jo Lupo: Eureka
In a town full of geniuses, Jo is a deputy sheriff, a gun expert, a single woman trying to find love in the modern age, oh, and also a genius. She can hold her own with everyone in that town and do battle against anyone who would threaten it. In an emergency, Jo doesn’t panic. She has military training, emergency and combat training, and a fierce determination to protect those she’s sworn to protect. In a town where everyone is a genius, Jo still manages to stand out as a total badass genius.
Jody Mills: Supernatural
Yes, I know Supernatural is technically still on the air. But this Fall will usher in the 14th season of the show. So while it’s current, I’m counting it because this show is also pretty darned old. Also, I can’t complete this list without it. It has had some seriously incredible ladies on it, including Officer Jody Mills. Not only has she managed to survive the curse of women on the long-running CW Fantasy series (they are nearly all gruesomely killed), but she’s done so by managing to instead brutally kill every monster that’s tried to kill her first. Jody is a police officer, and a darn good one. She’s seen tragedy at the hands of monsters and she intends to make sure as few people as possible suffer the same fate. So Jody has joined the fight against the monsters. She calls on the Winchester boys whenever she knows there is supernatural trouble brewing and she is always ready to help lead the charge into battle. In addition, she has turned her home into a home for young women who have been displaced by the effects of the supernatural in their lives. Jody’s Home for “Wayward Sisters,” if you will.
Honorable Mention: Charlie Bradbury: Supernatural
Charlie appeared suddenly in season 7 of the series and quickly became a favorite of the Winchester brothers as well as the fans of the show. Charlie’s geeky charm, endless pop-culture references, nervous talkativeness, and hesitant enthusiasm make her fun and relatable. She became like a sister to the Winchesters and quickly joined the family business. Too bad the family business doesn’t make for a long, happy life expectancy. Let’s just focus on that time she teamed up with Dorothy Gale and strolled off to Oz to help right the wrongs that were happening over the rainbow. Those were good times.
That’s quite a lot of badass ladies, but I know it’s not nearly the tip of the iceberg. Are you a fan of any of these? What badass ladies are your favorites who aren’t on my list? Take to the comments and let me know.