We love our Netflix around here, as evidenced by Cartoons of the ’90s, Even More Compulsively Watchable Documentaries on Netflix!, Netflix and Nyquil: Streaming Through a Sick Day, Killing Time with Family: Netflix Instant Saves the Day and Netflix Instant: Badass Leading Ladies. We’re going to go further in the Badass Leading Ladies milieu today, because much like your local big box store, the inventory at Netflix is always in flux.
10. Lieutenant Colonel Joan Burton from Lifetime’s Army Wives. In addition to being such a badass at her job, she’s about to be named a one-star General, Lt. Colonel Burton has led troops both at home and in Iraq and Afghanistan. Actress Wendy Davis has also given an incredibly sensitive portrayal of a soldier who’s endured both PTSD and a traumatic brain injury. She works hard to balance her work and her family life, including her brainy-hot psychiatrist husband, Roland, and her adorable toddler, Sara Elizabeth.
9. Detective Alex Eames, played by Kathryn Erbe, on NBC/USA’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Much like Agent Scully, Eames is the Doctor Watson to Vincent D’Onofrio’s Goren’s Sherlock. Erbe is often just as understated as D’Onofrio is over the top, and it creates a really nice balance and chemistry between the two. Eames has a dry sense of humor, which is also a nice contrast to the capital P presence of Goren. Like many of the shows on this list, L&O: CI isn’t necessarily “must watch” TV, but it’s decent watching on a sick day or when you need a little background noise.
8. President Laura Roslin, portrayed by Mary McDonnell on SciFi (SyFy) Network’s Battlestar Galactica. President Roslin started as a school teacher and was thrust into the leader of the straggling remains of the human race, a task she approached with intelligence, wit, and the ability to make a hard decision in a pinch. From the first moments of the attack to her final scenes with Admiral Adama, Roslin was a badass to her core. Whether battling cylons, breast cancer or drug-induced visions of snakes, Roslin make everything she did look easy.
7. Roseanne on ABC’s Roseanne. From the crappy, beat-up old couch in the living room to the kitchen with crooked cabinet doors and no dishwasher, Roseanne was the first time I’d seen something on TV that hadn’t been all dolled up, and it was good. Wise-cracking, hard-working, roof-raising Roseanne was the Queen of the Liberal Middle American Rednecks. We’re a small club, but we have fun. From her early years working at Wellman’s plastics for Fred Thompson and George Clooney until the final episode, Roseanne went through at least a dozen transformations, and every one of them was entertaining.
6. Dr. Dana Scully, played by Gillian Anderson on Fox’s The X-Files. Dana Scully was the ego to Foxy Mulder’s id, and a bookish, clever heroine for the ages. Anderson could always make the most ridiculous situations seem plausible, and her stoicism and rationality often added to the outright creepiness of many of the episodes in the early seasons. A good sport, Anderson stayed on the show through some unfortunate direction changes, and has been in both the big screen X-Files movies.
5. Dr. Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman on BBC’s Doctor Who. As I mentioned in Tuesday’s LTP, Donna is my all-time favorite companion, providing we’re not counting River Song, but today I’d like to give Martha Jones the proper respect she deserves. With all of Rose’s willingness to run headfirst into danger to see what it looks like AND a good amount of book smarts to round her out, Martha was brave, compassionate and as loyal a companion as any I’ve seen. In the relatively small number of episodes we saw her in, Martha saved the day and the Doctor nearly every time. And in contrast to both Rose and Donna, Martha got a happy ending after her tenure on the TARDIS, now she’s some international special forces badass with her gruff-hot fiance, Mickey.
4. President Mackenzie Allen, played by Geena Davis, on ABC’s Commander in Chief. A straight-shooting independent vice president takes over the Oval Office after the elderly president under which she serves dies of a stroke. In 2005. President Allen battles evil opponents from both sides of the aisle in this critically-acclaimed series, which tries really hard to be The West Wing. Clunky dialogue and some pretty outrageous plot twists are tempered with a great cast, including Donald Sutherland as Republican Voldemort and Peter Coyote as Vice President General Brass Nads. President Allen is pro-military and states’ rights, anti-death penalty and willing to send in Delta Force to prevent human rights violations.
3. Roxy Harvey on Showtime’s Dead Like Me. Roxy became a reaper when her roommate killed her with Roxy’s own invention, leg warmers, just as they were about to make Roxy millions. Making ends meet as a parking meter attendant, Roxy is equally cantankerous and pragmatic. The two-season run of Dead Like Me is worthy of a view for many reasons, but even if you watch it solely for Jasmine Guy’s performance, you won’t be disappointed. She’s particularly good in her scenes with Mandy Patinkin’s Rube, but Roxy owns every moment she’s onscreen.
2. Miss Marple.
1. Xena, Warrior Princess. Like Miss Marple above, there’s really very little I need to say to justify Xena as a part of this list.