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30 Days Of Telly #15

Day fifteen, your favourite female character. Hmm. That's not an easy question. I don't know if it's a common problem with television in general, or just the shows that I watch, but it does seem that television isn't very good at women. Either they don't bother with them to begin with, or they have them, but ignore them. Or kill them. Or sack them for not being men. Or combinations of the above. So whereas with the guys I was spoilt for choice, with the women... not so much. Not that there aren't good ones, obviously. Victoria from The High Chaparral was awesome, although admittedly she did have to stay at home a lot and let the men have most of the fun. Blake's 7 had some great female characters, although admittedly, of the four of them, only Dayna was ever actually allowed to do anything. Buffy and Angel had a lot of really good female characters between them, although admittedly they seemed to share an alarmingly limited lifespan. Babylon 5 had Ivanova, but I can't choose her on principle, because she ran away and cost us Marcus. So it was going to be a two horse race between Delenn from B5, and CJ from The West Wing. And then I remembered somebody very special.

Back in the eighties, it largely sucked to be female and on the telly. You were mostly there to be rescued by men, or to get dressed up nicely and go out to dinner. Or die on Tenko. But then, suddenly, there was Harriet Makepeace. Dempsey & Makepeace was Britain's answer to American cop shows. It was unutterably ridiculous, and featured fleets of cars smashing into things, frequently whilst airborne; more guns than all other British TV shows combined; and more explosions than was even nearly sensible. (I loved it). And whilst Dempsey did probably win the Blowing Things Up award, Makepeace did a brilliant job of keeping pace. And she fought with swords. Not often, I'll grant you, but a lot more often than the average British police officer manages (or the average female TV character, for that matter). In a world where female characters mostly stood back and let the men have the fun, she wasn't so much a breath of fresh air as a wildly energetic hurricane. So I choose Makepeace. With the obvious exception of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, it's insanely hard to think of another action show with a woman who gets as stuck into the fights and stuff as much as she did. That's really rather sad.

Comments

profshallowness
Jul. 2nd, 2013 03:15 am (UTC)
Of the shows I've watched this year in other genres, The Good Wife, Nashville and Parks and Recreation have multi-dimensional women as main characters supported by other female characters of various types who get to do their own thing. Borgen features two strong female leads and comedy shows like Miranda and The Mindy Project centre around fictionalised versions of their creators - Miranda is better about female supporting characters.

And all of those things are a part of why I watch/have watched those shows.

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