Let me air some nerdy laundry. I love science fiction and fantasy. I love most things to do with the future, wizards, outer space, time travel, magic, parallel dimensions, alternate universes - the list goes from here to Kobol. I especially love these genres when the stories include dynamic and interesting women characters.
By dynamic I mean that I want the character to change over the course of the story and I want those changes to matter. I want her to grow and learn new things about her universe and herself. I want her to make tough choices and deal with the consequences. I want her development as a character to serve as an example of self development for every girl. I want the character to inspire us to grow, change, and seek out new adventures. By interesting I mean I don’t want any stereotypes! Stereotypes are boring, predictable, and harmful. Not all (or even most) women in the real world are submissive, kind, and pretty. Women, as all people, are complicated. They have traits that conflict, personality quirks, and do unexpected things. I want the women characters we see on TV to reflect this reality.
That being said I think that some shows on TV have really awesome female characters. Here is my list of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy shows and the rad women that make them awesome!
Battlestar Gallactica: Battlestar Gallactica follows the struggle of the last known humans in the universe as they try to survive a war against the Cylons (super smart robots, some of whom look like humans) and find a new home planet . This show has a lot of fascinating women characters but my favorites are Lt. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace and President Laura Roslin.
Starbuck is the best fighter pilot in the human army. She is fierce, confident, and says whatever she wants whenever she wants. She is also dealing with a painful past and has to quickly adapt to her new situation (a member of an endangered species) if the humans are to survive. She is mega important to the story and changes a ton as the narrative unfolds.
When the Cylons attacked her planet, former Secretary of Education Laura Roslin had just been told by her doctor she has breast cancer. At the end of the brutal attack, Roslin discovers she is now President. Everyone higher up in the command chain has been killed (talk about a mega bad day). Roslin is courageous, wise, tenacious, and strong as she tries to keep the military under control, defeat the Cylons, find a new home planet, and learn to excel in a position of power she never expected to find herself in.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This 90s classic, follows the life of Buffy, a friendly high-schooler who also happens to be the chosen vampire slayer of her time. When she isn’t doing her homework or hanging out with friends, Buffy can be found killing vampires.
Buffy is cheeky, confident (when is comes to vampires), and kind. But what I really love about Buffy is that despite her super vampire vanquishing power, her major struggles are the struggles of a typical teenage girl. Buffy grows and matures as she learns to balance family and friends, protect the people she cares about, and love honestly.
Firefly: This short lived series follows the outlaw crew of a Firefly spaceship as they evade the Alliance, the domineering inter-gallactic government of the future, and scheme their way across space trying to make enough money to stay afloat.
Zoe Washburn is second-in-command on the ship. She is a ferocious warrior who stays calm under pressure, is quick on her feet, and saves the crew multiple times. While she is very loyal to the ship’s captain Mal, she doesn’t let him control her. In fact she defied a direct order when her married the ship’s pilot.
Kaylee Frye is the ship’s mechanic. She is bubbly, compassionate, loyal, strong enough to stand up for what she believes in, and a veritable space engine genius! She saves the crew all the time and then just smiles and goes back to being the kindest most adorable person on board. She is from a humble background and often underestimates herself even though she says some of the smartest things anyone on the show ever says. I want her to be my bestie.
Stargate SG-1: If you’ve ever watched this show you know it is amazing. If you have yet to watch the show WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Go watch it! Right now - it is on the internet! Basically there are portals called Stargates scattered across the universe and they connect things that are really really far apart. So instead of hopping on a space ship and flying for a zillion years to get somewhere cool, you just dial in and jump through the Stargate and you’re there. How awesome is that?! (Tip - pretty frickin awesome.) The show follow a group of military combat people and scientist as they gallivant across the universe.
Samantha Carter is a U.S. Air Force captain and a genius. She is super brave and doesn’t let the manly military men intimidate her or push her around. She frequently save the universe with math. She is definitely the best person to have in your corner in the event of a deadly alien invasion. She’s also very personable - bye-bye ‘nerdy girls are awkward’ stereotype! In your face!
I wish I could talk more about these characters but I don’t want to give away any spoilers! What about you - who are your favorite women characters in Sci-fi and Fantasy?