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There's been some godawful depictions of women on television. Luckily there's been some awesome characters that help make up for it. This list is restricted to series I've seen; I've also ruled out BBC adaptations of classic novels - otherwise it would be nothing but Elizabeth Bennett from Pride & Prejudice or Margaret Hale from North & South.

The Top Five Well-Rounded, Fleshed-Out, Properly Three-Dimensional Female Characters in Popular Television.


#4 Xena Warrior Princess

It's the shameless pick for superhero character of choice. Xena: Warrior Princess is often ridiculed for its Sapphic overtones and high camp episodes - but regular viewers know the series had bold, often epic story arcs, played out by a ballsy yet charming cast. At its centre is Lucy Lawless, undeniably brilliant as the repentant warlord on a quest to undo the wrongs of her past. Not needing Hercules' immortal parentage, or Buffy's "supernatural" powers, Xena is all-woman killing machine, highly-trained, intense, focused, deadly and above all, wise. She struggles with being "good", and the glint of joy in Lawless' eyes during fight scenes shows how much she loves to be bad. Xena's reliance on a tight group of close friends demonstrates the importance social interaction plays in helping people make good choices.

Also, she kicks a lot of ass. And I wish I could kick a lot of ass. And I imagine there'd be a fair few females who would prefer to be avenging self-reliant warriors much more than "Save me!" Disney princesses.

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News submitted by Barbara Davies