A Golden Age for Kickass Women on TV?

We take kickass female characters on television (i.e. those women who kick some ass on the battlefield, the mean streets, at the office, and so on) a little bit for granted these days.

Until relatively recently, female roles were restricted for the most part to your standard mother/wife/girlfriend/friend/co-worker of the people (read = dudes) doing the general ass kicking.

No more, of course. Give credit where due to the likes of Joss Whedon, who brought us both Buffy and Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and many others later on Firefly, Angel, and Dollhouse), and J.J. Abrams for Alias (and later a bevy of ass kicking lady-folk on shows like Lost and Fringe). Those characters, and others such as Katee Sackhoff's Starbuck on Battlestar Gallactica, Sonja Sohn's Kima Greggs on The Wire, and of course Lucy Lawless' title role in Xena: Warrior Princess helped to pave the way to a modern landscape where women take on a very healthy slice of the ass kicking that needs doing on a nightly basis on the small screen.

Here then is a tribute to 15 female characters who are doing some mighty ass kicking these days.

Michonne (Danai Gurira) - The Walking Dead
Wielding a samurai sword = instant kickass status of the highest order. 

michonne the walking dead

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) - Game of Thrones
She's a real spitfire (get it?). 

danny game of thrones

Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) - The Americans 
Prototypical two-kids-and-a-yard American at a glance, yet under the covers a dedicated Soviet sleeper cell spy during the icy Cold War early days of the Reagan Administration. Now that's kick ass. 

keri russell the americans

Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) - Justified 
Evolving into one of the truly great "bad guy" characters on television. 

ava crowder the americans

Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) - Homeland
A little bit brilliant CIA analyst, a dash of unstable. 

carrie homeland

Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) - True Blood 
Let's put it this way: she's no Snooki. 

sookie true blood

Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal) - Sons of Anarchy 
SAMCRO's momma bear had better be an ass kicker.

gemma sons of anarchy

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) - Game of Thrones
Lead proponent of sticking them with the pointy end. 

arya stark game of thrones

Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss) - Mad Men 
Trailblazing, pot smoking, liquor sipping, and copywriting her way to the top. You know, '60s-style. 

peggy mad men

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) - Parks and Recreation 
Compulsive (and hilarious) do gooder with a smile. That's our Leslie Knope. #knowknope 

leslie parks and rec

Nikita (Maggie Q) - Nikita
Super spy that looks like the below... as George Takei would say: "oh my." 

nikita

Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) - Game of Thrones 
Brienne took out the Knight of Flowers at tournament. Enough said, right? 

brienne of tarth game of thrones

Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) - Dexter
Tough as nails cop in Miami, a city with a disturbing tendency to get stalked by serial killers.

debra morgan dexter

Andrea (Laurie Holden)- The Walking Dead
Holden it down with guns and grit (and maybe taking over as leader of Woodbury?). 

andrea the walking dead

Lydia Adams (Regina King) - Southland
This detective in the mean streets of LA manages to keep it together, and even have a sense of hope every now and again.

regina king southland

There are countless others to choose from, of course. Here's a quick bonus Honorable Mention category:

  • Jeannie Van Der Hooven (Kristen Bell) - House of Lies 
  • Lana Kane (voiced by Aisha Tyler) - Archer 
  • Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park) - Hawaii Five-O
  • Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) - Covert Affairs 
  • Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) - Suits 
  • Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario) - Pretty Little Liars
  • Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) - Scandal 
  • Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) - Once Upon a Time
  • Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola) - The Vampire Diaries 
  • Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) - Smash
  • Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) - Revenge 
  • Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson) - The Secret Circle 
  • Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) - Bones 
  • Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) - The Good Wife
  • Who is your favorite ass kicking female character on television today? 

    By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

    About the author

    Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at]-tvgeekarmy.com 

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    3 Comments
    On: Monday, February 25, 2013
    TV geek Erin said:

    Good list! My favorite is Emily Thorne on Revenge and Ava Crowder on Justified. 

    On: Monday, February 25, 2013
    MultitudeofGeek said:
    Add Betty McRae from Bomb Girls to your list. She's especially kickass in the ep featuring the escaped Nazi POW.
    On: Sunday, March 3, 2013
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

    thanks guys! We may need to do a new larger list one of these days :-) 

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