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The Top Ten SF/Fantasy Vintage TV Female Power Player Characters

April 28, 2019 | By | Reply More

Throughout the years there has been a convincing amount of Girl Power representation within the SF/Fantasy TV genre. These resilient women on the boob tube, regardless of their role as a heroine, villainess or anti-hero, have exemplified strength, resourcefulness, sometimes redemption and conviction in what they stand for as an individual in search of their truth.

These SF/Fantasy female are vintage power players because of how impactful their contributions were within the series that they were showcased. The selections below for The Top Ten SF/Fantasy Vintage TV Female Power Player Characters are all indicative of the beauty, brawn, and brains that they bring to the table. For female TV viewers of all ages, these gals with gumption are to be admired and emulated. As for male TV viewers, let’s just say that the hormones tended to run amok from time to time. Overall, these fearless females from TV yesteryear definitely had left a stamp on a generation of television worshippers past and present.

The following picks for The Top Ten SF/Fantasy Vintage TV Female Power Player Characters are presented in alphabetical order according to the characters’ name.

1.) Callisto fromXena: Warrior Princess’

The combative Xena has had her share of adversarial challenges in the long road to redemption. However, Xena had met her match when she occasionally faced off with the demonic diva Callisto…a capable wicked woman in the worst way possible. The calculating Callisto (actress Hudson Leick) was a sinister specimen to behold. She was a bombastic beauty cursed with inherent evil in her cutthroat heart. Xena recognised Callisto’s macabre make-up because she once identified with her skilled foe’s taste for blood-splattering thirst. Dangerous and defiant, Callisto was the real deal in terms of the scorned woman blessed with immense power and pain, a lethal combination that told of the haunting and hypnotic spell that Xena’s blonde-haired nemesis cast on an entire territory. Callisto is perhaps one of the most complex and corrosive villainous female power players to ever grace the small screen in fantasy-based TV Land.

2.) Dr. Beverly Crusher from ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’

One cannot say enough about the dutiful, widowed redhead beauty Dr. Beverly Crusher (actress Gates McFadden) from ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. Beautiful and brainy, the resourceful physician was the professional healer that gave comfort to her colleagues aboard the USS Enterprise. Beverly juggled many roles besides her doctoring duties aboard the ship. She was a devoted mother and managed to steal the romantic heart of her boss in Captain Jean-Luc Picard, her late husband’s best buddy. Dr. Crusher was not afraid to go toe to toe with Picard or anybody whom she deemed out of sync with her belief system. Dr. Beverly Crusher was a feminine pioneer in the ‘Star Trek’ franchise. One would not mind getting ill just to have an excuse to be treated by this desirable doctor.

3.) Captain Kathryn Janeway from ‘Star Trek: Voyager’

There is no need to point out the obviousness in the professional accomplishments of ‘Star Trek: Voyager’s Captain Kathryn Janeway (actress Kate Mulgrew) becoming the first prominent female in a leadership role within the Star Trek Universe. To label Janeway an iron lady would be somewhat of a disservice despite her no-nonsense demeanor. Had she been Kirk, Picard, Archer or Sisko, then Janeway would be perceived as positively commanding and decisive without any stigma attached. As she captained the Starfleet starship USS Voyager, Janeway’s experience certainly came in handy. She comes from very good stock as her father was a Vice Admiral…a man that Kathryn fully respected and admired with unconditional love and loyalty. Janeway has been cited many times by various sources as being one of the top ‘Star Trek’ commanders to show tremendous competency and fortitude in adverse situations while managing a collective crew of diverse personalities without breaking a nervous sweat. Perhaps Kathryn Janeway is an iron lady after all…but only in the complimentary sense of the word.

4.) Emma Peel fromThe Avengers’

British butt-kicking beauty Emma Peel (actress Diana Rigg) had it all as a wily secret agent and one of the few female partners to John Steed. She was charismatic, glib, combative, elegant, stylish and could hold her own without hesitation. Mrs. Peel is perhaps the most iconic female assistant Avenger that one readily recalls with fondness. This certainly is no knock at Cathy Gale, Tara King and, later, Purdy. Emma Peel was undeniably liberating in her capability as a crime-stopper among the campy, dire baddies that threatened her native country and the world at large. She also set off a fashion craze in the Mod ’60s and her energetic, flashy fight scenes against male assailants were amazingly surreal. Steed may have needed Mrs. Peel but the rest of us, particularly hormonal fanboys of this treasured Brit spy series, wanted Emma Peel.

5.) Maureen Robinson from ‘Lost In Space’

Sci-Fi ’60s TV’s favourite space-bound mother Maureen Robinson (sorry, Jane Jetson) was the stable backbone to the Robinson family as they travelled to strange alien-occupied planets as well as aimlessly drifting in space as their destination to Alpha Centauri seemed futile at best. Maureen (actress June Lockhart) had been simply dismissed as a homemaker aboard the Jupiter 2. But casual fans of ‘Lost In Space’ do not realise that Maureen Robinson had background expertise in various scientific fields in her own right. She was infectiously motherly, a Donna Reed prototype in outer space. She also made for a supportive and reliable marital partner to her accomplished hubby Professor John Robinson. Maureen was no pushover either when it came to alien visitors. When the menfolk were absent and Maureen was left in charge of the spaceship, she guarded it and maintained order when needed. Vibrant and sensible, Maureen Robinson was the cosmic caretaker for our TV-watching consideration.

6.) Seven of Nine fromStar Trek: Voyager’

‘Star Trek: Voyager’s Seven of Nine (born Annika Hansen) came on the scene rather late in the series. Still, her late arrival did not automatically dismiss what a unique character that the beautiful Borg drone/human brought to the table in terms of her inclusion aboard the Federation starship Voyager. Aesthetically striking, Seven of Nine (actress Jeri Ryan) is reminiscent of a female Mr. Spock or Data in that her emotional compass is restricted to a certain point. Her human side certainly wants to explore romanticism but she cannot quite conquer this inadequacy. Seven of Nine’s relationship with the ship’s head honcho Captain Kathryn Janeway is quite interesting as they are two strong-willed women with colourful backgrounds and experiences. Seven of Nine’s fellow crew members find her mysterious and an unshakable curiosity. Fittingly, TV audiences were also captivated in the mystique of the blonde Borg for the four seasons that she existed in the continued ‘Star Trek’ phenomenon.

7.) Jamie Sommers from ‘The Bionic Woman’

Bionic beauty Jamie Somers had a stimulating life prior to her existence as an OSI government super agent. For one, she was a top-ranked tennis pro in the world. For another, she was the main love interest of Colonel Steve Austin, the first recipient of the six-million dollar top secret surgery that would make him the ultimate bionic man. Now Jamie Somers would get her spin-off series and revel in her own adventurous missions using her bionic prowess to serve her government and country accordingly. Jamie was sweet, compassionate, and harboured a gentle awkwardness and vulnerability that was rather refreshing. Actress Lindsay Wagner’s portrayal in ‘The Bionic Woman’ garnered her an Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series for her terrific turn as the half human/half cyborg female government agent making the most of her second chance at living with a profound purpose.

8.) Nyota Uhura fromStar Trek’

It is a no-brainer that the beautiful and ground-breaking ‘Star Trek’ character of actress Nichelle Nichols’ Uhura was impactful at a time when troubled America was embroiled in the racial turbulence of the 1960s as the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum. Uhura positively represented the radiance, intelligence and capability of a resourceful woman of colour as a translator and communications officer aboard the USS Enterprise. This was a critical time for Uhura to emerge on American network TV when black feminine characters were merely reduced to demeaning domestic roles in television and films. Besides Uhura’s distinction as being involved in the first televised interracial kiss with William Shatner’s Captain James T. Kirk (episode: ‘Plato’s Stepchildren’) on American television, she uplifted the aspirations of many women, fictional or real life, to go beyond their expected ambitions regardless of race or skin tone. Indeed, the alluring Uhura was the first important and influential ‘Star Trek’ woman to thrive at the helm of an SF pop culture worldwide explosion.

9.) Wonder Woman (aka Diana Prince) fromWonder Woman’

There have been a few actresses over the years to take on the DC diva super-hero in TV and film. However, nobody has been closely identified with the gorgeous Amazon woman of wonder than Linda Carter’s terrific take in the 70s. Naturally, Wonder Woman has had a rich and robust birth as a comic book cutie with amazing skills and powers when she first came into prominence during the early 1940s. Wonder Woman is cited as being one of the founding members of the Justice League. Whenever she is not saving someone from a dire fate or remedying a major societal crisis this feminine firecracker assumes the civilian identity of Diana Prince (real Wonder Woman enthusiasts will recall her original moniker as Princess Diana of Themyscira). Of course, contemporary TV audiences accepted and basked in the prime time prowess of Carter’s Wonder Woman whose sexiness, strength, stability and savvy all came in the profound package of female empowerment. If anything, Wonder Woman invaded the super-hero mythology usually preserved for her male counterparts such as Superman or The Flash. Who wouldn’t want to be rescued by this fetching super-siren?

10.) Xena fromXena: Warrior Princess’

As beautiful as she is brawny, Xena spent her redemptive days, along with her trusty sidekick in farmgirl Gabrielle, roaming the countryside in ancient times looking to provide protection and combat the tyranny that lurks to hastily compromise the innocent. Xena was a badass babe whether in redemption mode or not. All potential foes, whether mythical beasts and Neanderthal warriors or fallen angels such as her notorious nemesis in the calculating Callisto, felt the wrath of the Warrior Princess for six explosive seasons in syndicated television where over 150 countries worldwide indulged in the mythical mayhem of this blazing, brunette-haired exotic executioner fighting for the lost cause of humanity, something she rejected earlier as a feminine foil for the mighty Hercules, for which ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ spun off into its own series. Xena was the Wonder Woman of the ancient world an edgier, dark demeanor whose sordid past is a constant obstacle for a reformed yet wounded woman looking for solid closure. This fantasy-based femme fatale definitely exemplifies complex womanhood at its contemplative core.

HONORABLE MENTION

Dr. Helena Russell from ‘Space: 1999’

For two brief TV seasons on the syndicated 70s British-Italian produced sci-fi space series ‘Space: 1999’, American actress Barbara Bain portrayed Moonbase Alpha’s Dr. Helena Russell, head of the medical department. Joined by her then-husband and former ‘Mission: Impossible ‘co-star Martin Landau portraying Commander Koenig that oversaw the operations at Moonbase Alpha, Bain’s Dr. Russell was instrumental as one of the two main lead characters that figured into the advanced and complicated technical proceedings. Dr. Russell was indeed a major power player and she often gets overlooked as a womanly wonder in the field of sci-fi medicine. She pre-dated the likes of TV female physicians such as S’tar Trek: The Next Generation’s Dr. Beverly Crusher. Sadly, Bain’s/Helena’s space showcase Space: 1999 never gets its noted recognition because the program was a mixed bag when originally broadcast and never really attracted the interest or viewership it anticipated.

(c) Frank Ochieng (2019)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c) Frank Ochieng (2019)

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Category: Fantasy, Featured, MEDIA, Scifi, TV

About the Author ()

Frank Ochieng has contributed film reviews to SF Crowsnest off and on since 2003. He has been published in other various movie site venues throughout the years. Ochieng has been part of The Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and had written film reviews for The Boston Banner newspaper (USA) and frequently is a media/entertainment panelist on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM on "The Jordan Rich Show" in Boston, Massachusetts/USA.

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