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17 July 2008 @ 14:25
my version of meta involves lists.  
NOTE: Please note the "What I Love" in the titles of the lists below. And please refrain from passing judgement on my taste in occasionally cheesy genre television, as that is very much not the point of this exercise.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of shows from the last 20 years with female leads. The point for me was to point out the female leads in stories I personally have loved. Even if I didn't love them all the way through (Buffy, for example). Even if the material itself is not Shakespeare (one more person bad mouths Special Unit 2 to me, and I Will Cut You. I Mean it).

If you are convinced I have missed a vital character/show, please go back to the "What I [Personally] Have Loved" and feel free to point out characters in stories you have loved. But remember--this list is very personal to me. I may well have forgot someone I meant to include (Vicki Nelson, from Blood Ties for example got added when someone made a meep? noise). Or it may not have made my list for a good reason (i.e. Alias. I did not love it. Nikita OTOH, was an entirely different story. Until it started To Suck. See Buffy).

Vaguely Recent (i.e. Last 10 Years) Fictional Things What I Love With Female Leads Who Are Actually Leads and Not Solely Sidekicks/Wives/Girlfriends/Supporting Cast

The Middleman (Wendy)
Bones (Brennan)
Blood Ties (Victory Nelson)
Sarah Connor Chronicles (Sarah Connor)
Sarah Jane Adventures (Sarah Jane, Maria Jackson)
Doomsday (Maj. Eden Sinclair)
MirrorMask (Helena)
Wire in the Blood (Carol Jordan)
Catwoman (Selina Kyle) [Post-Zero Hour Brubaker run]
Battlestar Galactica (Starbuck, Roslin, Six)
Howl's Moving Castle (Sophie)
Spirited Away Chihiro
Pirates of the Caribbean (Elizabeth Swan)
Spaced (Daisy Steiner)
Gosford Park (Mary MacEachran)
Red Cap (Jo McDonough)
SportsNight (Dana)
Mulan Mulan
Special Unit 2 (Kate Benson)
Dark Angel (Max)
Farscape (Aeryn Sun)

Not At All Recent (i.e. Before 1998) Fictional Things What I Love With Female Leads Who Are Actually Leads and Not Solely Sidekicks/Wives/Girlfriends/Supporting Cast

Wonder Woman (Diana)
Labyrinth (Sarah)
Jem (erm... the entire cast)
Press Gang (Linda Day)
Gargoyles (Elisa Maza)
The X-Files (Scully)*
Voyager (Janeway)*
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Buffy)*
Nikita (Nikita)*
vr5 (Sydney Bloom)
Earth 2 (Devon Adair)
Lois & Clark (Lois Lane)
Bionic Woman (Jamie Sommers)
Moonlighting (Maddie Hayes)
Scarecrow & Mrs King (Amanda King)
Remington Steele (Laura Holt)
Kiki's Delivery Service (Kiki)
My Neighbour Totoro (Mei, Satsuki)
Léon (Mathilde)
The Thomas Crown Affair (Catherine Banning)

* I did love them once, even if I still mentally add "before they started to suck", so I left them in.

ETA: I so need to work up a list of Fictional Characters What I Love And Who Are Awesome Even if They Are Sidekicks/Wives/Girlfriends/Supporting Cast, but for me today, it's really all about the Leads and Co-Leads.

Also, I define lead as "who's story is this?" Which is why Laura Holt and Wendy Watson, etc. because you cannot deny that in their cases, it is their story. They are in partnerships with men, they are co-leads with men, but the story we are being told is undeniably theirs.

EMETA: And before you ask, I left out Doctor Who and Torchwood on purpose. Cos if you ask me, Gwen and Rose, Martha, and Donna are all co-leads. But if you ask large chunks of fandom, they're sidekicks or love interests or both. And that's not a question I really want to get into here or now, cos I'm holding onto my sanity by a thread. But I'd say Gwen, at least, is presented from day one (literally) as a lead. As was Rose, tho by the time we hit the third series, it's more equally the Doctor's story, than his companions' stories. Which is a shift the series had to make (which I fully support), once it had been successfully relaunched.
ice_feather on 17th July 2008 20:42 (UTC)
Another Sarah fan, good to see. So many people within the Labyrinth fandom seem to hate her, and my brain just can't process that. How can you like Labyrinth if you hate Sarah? I know Jareth is teh sex, but come on. And Sarah grows and learns from her adventure and all signs point toward her become a more mature, better person at the end of the movie.

And Elizabeth Swann. The Elizabeth hate in POTC fandom drives me absolutely crazy. It's so obviously jealously driven or immature slashes hating on the female just for being female.

I agree with you about Gwen, Rose and Martha being leads. The shows are presented from their POVs too.
ljc: stealin heartztaraljc on 17th July 2008 20:43 (UTC)
I'm not in POTC or Labyrinth fandoms really ata ll, so I am going purely off my relationship with the texts.

I can understand the ElLizabeth ire, but you can't denyt, from start to finish, it's Her Story. Jack and Will are part of her story, but the way the films are structured, it's pretty much undeniably her story.
ice_feather on 17th July 2008 21:36 (UTC)
I remember when Kiera Knightley made a similar comment about how the films wouldn't work without Elizabeth because it was her story, and the amount of hate that was flung at Elizabeth and Kiera for that was unbelieveable.

I'm not active in either fandom myself really. I read POTC if it's been recced from a good source and looks like a decent read, but I gave up ages ago searching for Labyrinth fic. 99% of it is awful and repetitive OOC drivel.
ljc: further than you thinktaraljc on 17th July 2008 23:14 (UTC)
Check Elke Tanzer's recs. She's who I trust, when I look for good Labyrinth stuff.

Somewhere on a hardrive from the last 10 years, I have unfinished future!fic with a grown-up Sarah. Someday, I will find it and do something with it. I swear.
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: dreamswiliqueen on 17th July 2008 20:49 (UTC)
Definitely no comprehension here for Sarah hate. Bzuh?

Or Elizabeth hate either, but that I've at least seen. Sarah hate blindsides me.
ice_feather on 17th July 2008 21:39 (UTC)
I don't know what the Labyrinth fandom is like now as it's been years since I last went anywhere near it, but there used to be a popular message board (Maryisa.com...the lady who owned it uses the site to promote her other careers) and the amount of Sarah hate I saw there was pretty surreal. Some of it spilled over into Jennifer Connelly hate, which just seemed odd to me because she's always come across as classy and graceful from what I've seen of her.