Anyway, now that we're past the thinky part - onwards!
Uhura from Star Trek
This woman was awesome, especially when Sulu was infected with some kind illness and, flourishing his sword, and he cried out, "I"ll protect you, fair maiden!" and Uhura simply retorted, "Sorry, neither!"
When I think of the classic Uhura, that is what I always remember (since I watched the Old Series long ago and simply haven't had the chance to re-watch all three seasons). I also really enjoyed the time that Spock and Uhura played a duet together in the recreational room. So sweet.
I also want to include Nyota Uhura from the new Star Trek because I like them both in different ways and, in some ways, Nyota reminded me of what I loved about Uhura.
Because she also has a brain for languages! And that's just awesome. I also like how she didn't tell Kirk her name for three years (and how she told him her drink was on her) - very reminiscent of Classic Uhura. Love it. When I found out that Spock would be her love interest, I thought they were fracking crazy, but I really liked the way they handled it. There's no mooning going on, Uhura is so self confident and self-assured in both the series and the movie - it's delightful to watch.
Laura Roslin from Battlestar Galactica
I'll say it - I love Laura Roslin, president of the remaining colonies because she was filled with quiet strength. I disagreed a lot with her policies and her beliefs, but I respected her as a character and as a person. I loved her relationship with Admiral Adama, how it went from tolerating each other to mutual respect to tender love. I think one of the reasons I really identify and respect and admire her is because she wasn't overbearing. She never set out to prove anything to anyone - she was a fine leader, who wanted to bring her people to safetly, to find a world for them to live on, and to protect them, no matter the cost. The writers weren't afraid to color her grey, providing her with wonderful complexities, and I really respect that.
Toshiko from Torchwood
I've always loved Toshiko. Smart, absolutely brilliant. Yet she was always mooning over another character, who was a complete ass by the way. Davies has always been so brilliant - I don't really understand why he dropped the ball on Toshiko. I always wish she had been given more screen time, more story, more character -- but no, all that went to Gwen, who I really dislike and somehow she's managed to survive for three seasons grr. I guess Tosh is kind of like Harry Kim. Still, even with all the blundering, her character still manages to shine with potential. And that's why I tend to gravitate towards her because she really is fantastic, even if the writer's didn't see it. You caught a glimmer of that towards the end: she was so brave, so strong. I think it's always a good sign when one yearns to see more of a character, more of the secrets that exist in the shadows and are only implied on the screen.
Martha Jones and Donna Noble from Doctor Who
Martha Jones (above) was the Doctor's companion. I was so happy when she replaced the annoying Rose Tyler. Martha has a lot more character than Rose ever did. She's a doctor, incredibly brave and smart.. And she saved the world - the entire world - by telling stories. Excuse me, I need to melt in a puddle of love. She was like a dystopian bard - and that was brilliant, oh so brilliant. I love you, Martha Jones. But what I respect most about her, when she fell in love with the Doctor and he didn't reciprocate her affections, she didn't moon about it. She moved on - got on with her life. I just love that about her - how she didn't need the Doctor to feel alive, how she was happy in her own self. I just -- I admire that so much. Unfortunately, that also meant leaving the show as the Doctor's regular companion, making way for
Donna Noble! Oh, there are so many ways in which I love Donna: she's middle aged, the oldest companion in the renewed series (I still haven't seen any classic Who); she's the most important woman in the world (actually, I'd argue person because without her, citizens of earth would all have been exterminated by daleks or worse); she's cheeky; and she doesn't fall in love with the Doctor as Rose (who sucks) and Martha (who rocks) have done. It was so refreshing to see a platonic relationship -- yet a relationship of deep, abiding affection and love. I think, possibly, Donna is also the most tragic character in the Who verse -- but, no, I must not say too much. (But for those of you who wish to see more Donna here is a wonderful music video featuring Donna, complete with spoilers, of course.)
You know, I think the reason I love Martha and Donna so much is that they save the world -- the Doctor couldn't have done it on his own. We're finally moving away from the idea that a woman caused catastrophe to people causing catastrophe (usually men in the case of Doctor Who) to women from all walks of life saving the world with their strength - with their confidence in themselves, being completely true to themselves -- it's so, so brilliant.
Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager
I love Seven of Nine. I love the idea of individualism and identity that her character worked out over the course of the seasons. I love the idea of her. I love how Star Trek, even though they could be clumsy, usually handled her with finesse and poignancy that I still cannot forget.
For example, in one episode, an evolution of technologies grew a "borg" over night, one that was not connected to a collective. Seven of Nine was assigned the task of helping him, looking out for him, etc. At first, the "borg" plugged himself into Seven's technology, systematically downloading her knowledge, and she stopped him, stating that he was hurting her. And then, at the end of the episode, this:
I just love how they came full circle, how simple and innocent she is, how much this single scene still breaks my heart.
Cameron from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
In a lot of ways, Cameron is similar to Seven of Nine, except she was never once human. She is, simply, a robot. The show in part, similar to BSG/Caprica, explored if Cameron was just metal and parts, or if she was an Individual, a Person. There was this one scene I particularly loved - one of the characters had insisted they trash Cameron because she was a deadly robot, and, at the end of the episode, the same character watches Cameron dance with fluidity and grace, soul and humanity. It moved me to tears.
Here is a fan video about Cameron entitled "Does Cameron Dream of Electric Sheep" that I thought was totally fantastic. And heartbreaking -- and it also has the ballet scene that I mentioned above.
Also, in the video, you can catch glimpses of the chemistry John and Cameron had in the entire first season, watching them interact on screen gave me chills. But that element was severely diminished in the second season (due to some stupid love interest, of course).
Zoe from Firefly
Everytime I watch Firefly, I fall a little more in love with Zoe. Again, she's so strong and utterly human. One of my favorite quotes from her (that aren't snarky) is when an Alliance officer questions her:
Alliance Commander: You fought with Captain Reynolds in the war?
Zoë: Fought with a lot of people in the war.
Alliance Commander: And your husband?
Zoë: Fought with him sometimes too.
I really liked the way Whedon portrayed her relationship with her husband, Wash, and the relationship with the Captain. The different lenses in which he portrayed love and respect and affection are so chromatic, so different, and I think Zoe is one of the characters in which that is the most clearly seen.
I love her so much.
Trudy Chacon from Avatar
Even though the dialogue in this movie is about as generic as the plot (except for the creation of the Na'vi language), Trudy still stood up and said No when almost everybody else was saying Yes to slaughtering innocents just because it was orders.
That takes so much courage, worthy of admiration.
I've been thinking a lot about those kinds of situations lately. Sometimes, I wonder if I have the moral fiber to say no, when people should say no. I don't want to be that person. I don't want to be Amy Pond, overcome by so much fear that she became culpable for the sins of thousands before her. I don't want to be the entire classroom in The Chocolate War as Brother Leon bore down with staggering force against a small boy named Bailey. I want to be Jerry, before he agreed to stoop to their level. I want to be the Goober, who stopped playing football. I want to be Trudy, who defiantly took her finger off the trigger.
I don't know why all the good people always have to die.
Amelia - Amy - Pond from Doctor Who.
Newest companion to the Doctor. I liked her first off because she was so brave - even as a kid she wasn't put off by this mad raggedy doctor man. As an adult, she whacked him over the head with a cricket bat and then slammed his tie in a door! And I liked her because she thinks like the Doctor, which was demonstrated in episodes one and two (as evidenced the weird filming techniques). Brave and intelligent!
All that, of course, are only components of her most amazing quality: her self-assuredness. She's not afraid of her sexuality, which I really respect. I find it utterly refreshing that, though Amy is sexual (more so than the other companions I think, as evidenced by her snogging the Doctor and wanting to snog him later), it doesn't define her. She is so much more than the female companion/eye candy - she saves the day, she understands humanity in a way the Doctor can't because he's not human. She's bold and daring, insatiably curious (which isn't shown as a "bad" quality or fault -- ie, curiosity killed the cat, the Eve syndrome, etc).
From a slightly more English-Student point of view:
1. She's not a damsel in distress. As a woman, she's not there to be protected.
2. She's not the prop the big wigs use to say: Look at this cool woman who is so bad ass and not at all stereotypical. Let's make sure everybody gets it by having other characters (or even the female character herself) marvel how a woman could be so awesome (Butcher, I'm glaring at you). (I think the only show I've seen that actually pulled this off with any amount of success was Stargate SG-1, when Samantha said something along the lines of just because my genitals are on the inside than the outside doesn't make me less than any one of you or words to that affect.)
3. She's complicated. She's not just there to support the Doctor (though she does support him as he does her) - but she's on her own journey as well. She's grown as a character from the first episode to the last episode: in a nutshell, before she was running, and now she's not.
Like with Donna and Martha, the Doctor and Amy and even Rory are equally individuals and their relationship together fosters that instead of inhibits it. It's not like she has a gender role -- she's simply, beautifully herself.