1. Buffy Summers - Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy as a character is just so so important. She subverted the stereotype of the blonde girl in a horror, and basically stuck two fingers up to the 'damsel in distress' trope. She saves the world (a lot) and manages to think up countless witty one-liners whilst staking vampires - no easy feat. Buffy is an immensely strong person and a capable leader but she's also a fierce friend, a caring sister and a loyal partner. She is someone you'd want by your side in the event of an apocalypse, but equally someone you'd love to go the movies with.
2. Blair Waldorf - Gossip Girl
She is known to most of New York as Queen B so this one is pretty self-explanatory. One of the best things about Blair is how incredibly self aware she is - if someone calls her a bitch, she corrects them; Blair Waldorf is the queen bitch, and you can bet she'll use it to her advantage. She is also extremely self-motivated, determined and literally tireless. Whether it's revenge on a backstabber or success at a fashion show, Blair will not sleep until she achieves her goals. On top of all that, she looks flawless at any given time of day. She even created her own look, identified by the infamous headband - but no matter how hard anyone tries, they will never pull it off as well as she does.
3. Zoe Washburne - Firefly
Zoe's most admirable trait has to be her loyalty. However, one of the most interesting things about her is that this loyalty takes two completely different forms. One is to her husband Hoban, whom she loves unconditionally and whole-heartedly. The other is to her captain Malcolm, whom she fought alongside in the Unification War, and continues to serve faithfully on his ship Serenity as first mate. Zoe therefore has to balance her work and personal life and her husband's occasional jealousy, which she of course does with grace, tact and a level head. Although Malcolm is the captain, Zoe is indispensable; her unwavering sensibilities and clear mind make her the true voice of reason onboard. Many characters with Zoe's level of skills and prowess with a gun get pidgeon-holed into the 'warrior woman' trope, but she easily manages to break free of these constraints. (PS. Sorry for 2 Joss Whedon creations. I'm done now.)
4. Margaery Tyrell - Game of Thrones
This girl knows what she's doing. She lives in a world where one mistake can mean your head (literally) and she is cautious to the last to ensure she ends up on the winning side. Her charms have enabled her to switch loyalties to whoever is at the top of the ongoing power struggle, which is pretty impressive, considering it's constantly changing in Westeros. Although Margaery is evidently ambitious and even cunning, that's not to say she isn't a caring person. She has a very close relationship with her brother Loras and strives to protect him. Margaery also has the interests of the common people at heart, and often finds opportunities to provide food and support for the masses. She wears priceless dresses, but at the same time isn't afraid to get mud on her hem. Some people (cough cough Cersei) think her actions are all simply a ploy to make her more popular, but I think she has the makings of a great queen. (PS. I am a book purist at heart, and in most instances prefer the ASOIAF series, but in this case I think the characterisation of Margaery is a great part of the TV show.)
5. Tasha 'Taystee' Jefferson - Orange is the New Black
Taystee basically defies all stereotypes set against her. She spent her childhood an orphan, moving from one institution to another; but becomes the mother of her group of friends, the one everyone goes to when they've got a problem. She was involved with drugs; but this was only because Vee was impressed by her incredible numeracy skills. Taystee is incredibly smart and well-read, but also unashamed and confident. Even though she's in prison she strives to be taken seriously, beating out all the other candidates at the job fair - and is rightfully outraged when she doesn't get a real job at the end of it. To top it off, she's hilarious and quick-witted, and amazing at freestyling.
Okay so I ended up realising I could write forever about characters that I love, so before I go, here are some honourable mentions:
- Lady Mary Crawley - Downton Abbey
- Peggy Carter - Agent Carter
- Cordelia Chase - Angel
- Irene Adler - Sherlock
- Jodie Mills - Supernatural
- Sun Bak - Sense8
- Michaela Pratt - How To Get Away With Murder
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my favourite ladies from TV and you're feeling inspired! I had a lot of fun writing this, so I might continue it soon.