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April 26 2011

The top twenty-five best tv roles for women. Surprisingly enough, Buffy takes the cake... Though she's the only Whedonverse character to make the list.

Glad to see articles stating the obvious! It is the best tv role, even today!
It's nice to see a list that doesn't pretend television was created in 1998. And that recognizes Buffy as a great character, of course.

Can't argue with anyone on the list, although I wish they could have found room for Mary Beth Lacey.
Shouldn't Emma Peel be on this list?
Buffy was an awesome role; she did drama, comedy and action. She even got to sing. How many women really get to be the star of a show where they are really at the heart of all the action? I wish there were more roles like that on TV for women.

PS Emma Peal was cool, but she was a side kick.

[ edited by embers on 2011-04-26 19:43 ]
Not surprised to see Buffy at the top of the list.

Plesantly surprised to see Kima and Snoop from The Wire there, though.
Great list: Buffy, Blanche, Veronica Mars, Xena, all my favourites.
Very surprising to see that Lorelai Gilmore isn't included at all (I thought Lauren Graham was absolutely amazing in that role!)


Off the top of my head I would also have liked to see Lauren Ambrose as Claire Fisher and Allison Janney as (The West Wing's) CJ to get awknoledged.

But let's end on a positive note: I do like that they included both Buffy and Veronica (love those characters and their respective shows).

[ edited by the Groosalugg on 2011-04-26 21:22 ]
@the Groosalugg -- I was also going to comment about the lack of Lorelai Gilmore. Lauren Graham is one of my favorite actresses out there, and I still think it's a crime she was never even NOMINATED for an Emmy for that show.

Great list otherwise though. Always happy to see Veronica Mars and Buffy getting some love.
Shouldn't Emma Peel be on this list?

Yep, she surely should. The list may not pretend TV was created in 1998 but with one exception it's pretty North America centric (no Jane Tennison - from 'Prime Suspect' - for instance ?) but I guess you can only include what you know (wouldn't have hated some acknowledgement of that though).

Even given that pseudo-restriction though, i'd have Claudette from 'The Shield' on there and Laura Roslin among others (maybe Chloe from '24'), certainly ahead of a few of the inclusions (some of whose shows, in fairness, i've barely seen). Also agree that Cagney and/or Lacey should be on there.
Looking at current shows, I'd put In a vote for Nikita and Alex from the Nikita reboot on the CW along with Sara from Chuck and Olivia Dunham on Fringe
Arkham258, I completely agree with you on including the Nikita ladies, they are ass kickers and quite dramatic. Although not up to Buffy standards of drama, the fighting is alot better, but only because it stars a martial artist(although SMG is a brown belt in TKD).
Further additions; T:SCC's Lena Heady and Summer Glau. Those roles were complex and exciting(again with the violence). Summer made an awesome Terminator who left you feeling like she was somehow terribly human inside.
As much as I enjoyed watching Buffy drop Edward out the window head first, I still think that was an odd choice of video to illustrate Buffy!
Xane, I think it's because it's one of the very few Buffy videos (that aren't fanvids) on Youtube because Buffy clips tend to get taken down pretty fast.
Shouldn't Emma Peel be on this list?

Probably but I would like to see a similar list just for British television.
After my own post I was thinking about this last night and there's slim-ish pickings I reckon (unless you go to the soaps). Jane Tennison and Emma Peel were the only ones that sprang immediately to mind as genuine absolute classics. Ruth from 'Spooks' ? Also Roz maybe ? Or Carol Jordan from 'Wire in the Blood' ? (both probably not coincidentally played by Hermione Norris). QE1 from 'Blackadder' ? Makepeace ? Apart from that I just get stuck in an endless 'Doctor Who' loop (Sarah Jane, obv. Ace, Leela etc.).
The soaps here do produce some fantastic female characters so I would include them. Aside from that I'd go with Polly from Fawlty Towers, Mary from Our Friends in the North, Juliet Bravo, Daisy from Spaced, Nana from The Royale Family and Fran from Black Books. For what ever reason, British tv seems to produce more iconic female comedy characters than drama ones.
True, the soaps are a rich source. I don't watch Corrie myself but a UK list like this would surely feature Bet Lynch and/or Hilda Ogden for instance (and maybe Dot Cotton among other possibilities from 'Eastenders'). And I always forget about Polly from 'Fawlty Towers' (I even considered Sybil but wrote her off as basically one note) which is a double sin since Connie Booth co-wrote it and arguably doesn't get the credit she deserves for it.

Re: comedy vs drama, that also seems to be true. Never counted but I wonder if we just produce proportionately more comedies ? Or maybe, because our comedies are longer (in runtime i.e. a UK TV half-hour is longer than a US TV half-hour), there's more time to develop memorable characters ?
As regards British TV, there have been many fantastic roles for women starting with the various incarnations of Miss Marple. It's even a cracking role for older women (well, it should be, ahem, Jennifer Garner).

Also (off the top of my head): Alice and Cleo (Love Soup), Maddy and Carla (Jonathan Creek), Lynda Day (Press Gang), Angelica (The Devil's Whore), the various prisoners in Tenko, Livia (I, Claudius), Dr Rose Marie (A Very Peculiar Practice), Rose and Sarah (Upstairs, Downstairs), DI Maggie Forbes (The Gentle Touch), Daphne Manners and Sarah Layton (The Jewel in the Crown), Servalan (Blake's Seven), and one of my all time favourite characters, Abby Grant in (the original) Survivors.

PS. Juliet Bravo was her call sign - the characters were Jean Darblay and Kate Longton.
Ahhh, Jill Gascoine *is lost in momentary revery*.

And yep, Jennifer Garner is the absolute epitome of mature, refined, upper middle-class Englishness (Note to self: find out what 'epitome' means). Not a big Christie fan (probably why it didn't occur to me) and it's subjective of course but I suppose Miss Marple is as close to an objectively great female character as you can get. A lot of the rest i'd call good but only put on a list of best if I couldn't think of anyone else (I mean Maddy from 'Jonathan Creek' is very entertaining and Caroline Quentin played against Alan Davies brilliantly but up with the best of all time ? Not sure there's enough to her for that).

Can't believe I forgot Servalan though (and, until Simon mentioned it, 'Juliet Bravo').

(also, totally off-topic but I read that book 'Delusions of Gender' that you recommended a while back moley75. Very good, ta for the rec)

[ edited by Saje on 2011-04-27 12:42 ]
Leighton Meester! Wonderful to see her make the list.
Daisy from Spaced! Great call Simon, I'd be inclined to include Marsha too, she had it rough but always persevered!
Let's not forget Mrs Doyle from Father Ted, that episode where he bought her the tea maker, that was a tough one for the character.
If we did include British tv I would nominate Donna Noble on Doctor Who for being the only female companion since the reboot to not be another cliche who falls in love with him like Rose, Martha and Amy Pond have been

I also like that *spoiler warning*

for a brief, shining moment she was more brilliant than he was

*end spoiler*

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