Wednesday 14 December 2011

TV’s Greatest Heroines

December sees the second season of internationally acclaimed Danish drama THE KILLING come to the UK on DVD. The show has been the most talked about television show of 2011, and a large part of that has been the central character Sarah Lund, and her fantastic woolly jumpers. Of course, she’s far from the first iconic heroine in television history, so lets have a look down the best kick-ass females that have been on the box over the years…

Agent Dana Scully – The X-Files
The 90s sci-fi phenomenon that was The X-Files made a star out of Gillian Anderson, who played the FBI paranormal investigator Dana Scully. Sceptical Scully was paired with alien-obsessive Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), and their will-they, won’t-they chemistry was a major selling point of the show. The programme tapped into the zeitgeist of the 90s, and Mulder and Scully spun off into two feature films, an in-character guest spot on The Simpsons, and even immortalised in song by Welsh Britpoppers Catatonia.

Amy Pond – Doctor Who

The time-travelling Doctor’s companions are just as important to the show as the title character. There have been many iconic girls on the show – for instance Sarah Jane Smith (the late Elizabeth Sladen) and Billie Piper’s Rose – but the latest, Amy Pond, might just be the best. Portrayed by newcomer Karen Gillen, Amy is a brash, loud Scots girl who quickly became a fan favourite and even caused controversy in her first episode by wearing a skirt that many thought was too short from teatime BBC1!

Buffy Summers – Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Originally an unsuccessful movie, with Kristy Swanson playing Buffy, creator Josh Whedon re-tooled the character for TV, re-cast with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the title role, and television history was made. The true genius of the show is the way it blends supernatural adventure and a wholly-relatable depiction of teenage (and later early 20s) life.

Xena – Xena, Warrior Princess

Originally appearing as supporting character in the Sam Raimi-produced Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena was meant to be killed off in her third appearance. However, fan reaction was so great that she was given her own show. Lucy Lawless cut a striking figure as the warrior princess and the show gained a loyal cult following, especially within the lesbian community, due to the ambiguous relationship between Xena and her companion Gabrielle.

Wonder Woman – Wonder Woman

DC Comic’s most popular super-heroine made the leap from the page to the screen in 1975, played by Linda Carter. The series did not run smoothly though – an original TV movie (not starring Carter) flopped and series jumped from World War 2 to the 70s between the second and third seasons to cut costs. Despite this though, it still brought Wonder Woman to public attention, and she’s now as well known as Superman or Batman.

Charlie’s Angels – Charlie’s Angels

Three sexy female agents acted as private investigators for the mysterious Charlie, who was never seen on-screen. Six girls in all played the rotating gang of Angels, with Farah Fawcett without a doubt being the most famous. The concept was revived for two films in the 2000s, with Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore as the Angels, and a new TV series this year (though that was cancelled after four episodes, so maybe we should keep quiet about that).

Cagney And Lacey – Cagney and Lacey

The mismatched cop buddy team had been a staple of TV police shows for years, but they’d always been the preserve of men. It was a typical chalk and cheese combination – Cagney a career-focus single woman, Lacey a married working mother. The show soon gained critical acclaim and a loyal following, so much so that when it was cancelled in 1983 an early example of a fan campaign was enough to bring it back.

Sydney Bristow – Alias

Initially seen as another “sexy young girl kicks ass” Buffy knock off, Lost and Star Trek supremo J.J. Abrams’ show soon became its own beast. Jennifer Garner starred as Sydney Bristow, a graduate student-come-CIA operative, whose life is turned upside down when she discovers the agency she works for is actually a lot more nefarious than she first thought. She then becomes a double agent for the CIA, entering a web of lies and deceit that grew ever more complicated as the show went on.

Sarah Lund – The Killing
No one would have predicted that a Danish crime drama would become the television break-out hit of the year. But the reason is simple: it is simply that good. While the murder investigation is what drew viewers in, central character Detective Inspector Sarah Lund is the rock that holds the show together. Played by steady resolve by Sofie Gråbøl, she’s become an unlikely style icon, with her distinctive jumpers becoming this season’s must have item. The second season has just hit DVD, and it’s the perfect time to get on-board (if you are already watching then we won’t have to convince you of the show’s quality!).

The Killing Season 2 is on DVD 19th December, alongside the Season 1 & 2 boxset.

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