In no particular order...
1. Smallville's Lois Lane
Does she need any introduction? I've loved Lois in various incarnations as long as I can remember, and Erica's most recent interpretation of the role fills me with joy. She's everything Lois should be: strong, sassy, intelligent, loyal, tenacious, determined, talented, hard-working, generous, brash, good-hearted, sexy, romantic... and yet she's also got so much to grow into as well. If only they'd give her a full season, I could die happy.
2. Smallville's Lana Lang
It took me long time to love her, but now I can't let go. Lana is so much more than she first seemed to me. I thought she was girly and fragile, self-absorbed and selfish, but she's also tough, tragic and fascinating. I thought she was the eternal victim, 'damsel in distress' or 'trophy'. She is often cast in that role by others--but she fights it and she speaks from within that prism. She encapsulates the pure innocence of youth while also harbouring a darker side. I am, I must admit, rather taken with that dark side, but I also like when she fights it. She's so strong in a way that is not easily recognised but equally not easy to dismiss once recognised.
3. Battlestar Galactica's Kara Thrace
I love her. I hate her. Ok, I don't hate her, but I do want to smack her upside the head on occasion. ;) Although a lot less lately. In fact, I made a post about my recent Kara fangirl rennaissance so I won't rehash that here. I will simply say that I think the thing I love most about Kara (and yup, Kara rather than Starbuck) is that she's just a girl (*imagines an army of Kara fangirls rage at that*). Sometimes her persona feels so big it's overpowering, sometimes she seems so embittered and hard I can't touch her, and then I see the girl beneath that again and fall in love.
4. Gossip Girl: Blair Waldorf
Ah, Blair. *happy sigh* She is my newest girl-crush and wow, I'm so completely smitten. It took a while for me to fall for her--I needed to see behind that bitch mask--but now I love her in all her aspects. She's spoilt, she's petty, she's power-hungry, she's manipulative, she's bitchy, she's troubled, she's pouty, she's jealous: and
5. Sarah Connor Chronicles: Cameron
Another recent find! I finally understand the Summer Glau phenomenon. *wipes brow with relief* I now see what Joss saw in her! She was made to be an action hero. I the Sarah Connor Chronicles so far, it is Cameron that has most hooked me into the show. Mysterious, inhuman Cameron and her fascination with things human. She makes me laugh, she moves me, and she scares me. I want more.
6. Pushing Daisies: Chuck
I usually like girls with a bit of darkness to them. I'm not sure Chuck has any. What she does have is a cheeky sense of humour and a whole lot of spunk. She's bossy and opinionated and very much her own woman. She shows you can be a romantic without losing your self, and she has a lot of fun in the process. Also, she wears the best clothes and has the cutest smile.
7. Dexter: Deborah Morgan
I want to take Deb home and feed her cookies. Deb is the reason I watch the show--she's my pov character and I think sometimes I'm too close to her to see her objectively. Deb is a bundle of contradictions: she has a dirty mouth and a pure soul; she's 'one of the boys' and she's a fragile little girl; she's all elbows and awkwardness yet at times we get glimpses of a graceful beauty. Because she cares about Dexter (and Dexter cares about her), I care. I worry about her brittleness and I fangirl her inner strength. She's both broken and whole and that's fascinating.
8. Friday Night Lights: Tami Taylor
The best TV mom ever. Tami is ten kinds of awesome and other people are far more articulate about her than I am. Me, I just watch her and wish I'd had a mum like THAT.
9. BTVS/ATS: Faith Lehane
Ah, the ever-controversial Faith. Of all of Joss's female characters, she's still my favourite. I loved both Willow and Cordelia for periods, but they lost me somewhere along the line. Buffy herself feels almost too 'big' for me to like, and when I first watched the series I had a lot of issues with Buffy, as did Faith, which I think is why she works for me so well. Even though I have a more balanced reading of Buffy (the character) these days, Faith still holds a special place in my heart. And I'm helplessly sucked in by the bad girl redemption plot.
10. Doctor Who: Sally Sparrow
One episode: what an impact! I still think about Sally frequently when I'm thinking about female characters and if I was master of the television universe, I'd make a spin-off show about her in an instant. She captured my heart so swiftly with her quiet, inquisitive and poetically maudlin nature.
11. Friday Night Lights: Lyla Garrety
I always hate the cheerleaders to begin with. ;) Like Lana, Lyla grew on me once I realised she was so much more than a cheerleader. The perfect rich girl who seemed to have it all turned out to have far less than one would think--particularly in the way of real emotional support from her family. She's growing into her own woman her way, and it's not easy. It still feels like there are different aspects of Lyla at war with each other--particularly her sensual side and her religious side--but I love watching that progression.
12. Battlestar Galactica: Kendra Shaw
Oh, how I wish there was more Kendra! She 'made' Razor fro me. She shares traits with my favourite male character on the show, but also with Kara--so it was pretty much a given I'd love her. But she was also her own unique character. I particularly loved her understated but defiant attitude and the way she held her own counsel and hid her issues from others.
13. Angel the Series: Lilah Morgan
Lilah was so delightfully evil, and shamelessly so, but she was also more complex than the usual simple villain. I loved her career-woman aspect as well as her amorality.
14. Dead Like Me: George Lass
The thing I love about George is how she's such a teenager. She's sullen and sulky and selfish and awkward and rather unfriendly. She's a loner and she doesn't care--except when she cares. She works a meaningless office job (something that's so easy to relate to!) while harvesting souls as a grim reaper on the side. And yet she also fits in awkward romance and unlikely friendships.
15. Friday Night Lights: Tyra Collette
Another one of my 'bad girls'. Tyra does life tough and she's another character who embodies both fragility and determination. She wants to make it out of Dillon, but she doesn't value herself. She has great initiative and courage, but she's trapped in one way of relating to men and she struggles to accept emotional intimacy. I love that she's drawn to Tami as a mentor: this gives me hope for her.
16. Battlestar Galactica: Laura Roslin
Laura's so complex, I don't know where to start. I love how powerful she is. She is, I feel, undoubtably one of the most fascinating and powerful female characters on television. The survival of humanity is in her hands and she carries this weight daily. She can be a tyrant, she can be petty and bitter, she makes mistakes--but she is so well-rounded a character that we also see her emotional struggles, her inner conflict and her steely determination and goodness even at those times.
So. Talk to me about your favourite female characters? :)