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Ladies First: The Best Female Characters Of Sci-Fi Film And Television

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RipleyLoaderOne of the reasons we love science fiction is because there’s no shortage of strong, dynamic, fascinating female characters kicking around the galaxy, a trait that isn’t always a given in other genres. Iconic characters like Ripley and Sarah Connor have become the bar by which most other female heroines are measured against, but thankfully sci-fi doesn’t limit its badass females strictly to the most obvious form of badassery. Our favorite sci-fi heroines might have what it takes to field-strip a pulse rifle, or they might have the fortitude to lead a desperate fleet of mankind’s remnants across the stars to a new home. They might be able to take down multiple murderous cyborgs, or they might have the courage to serve as inspiration for revolution against an oppressive government.

When it came time for us to pick out favorite female characters from science fiction film and television, the task was more than daunting. After several rounds of voting, arguing, throwing things, and threats of blackmail, we finally whittled our list down to 19, our picks for the very best, most interesting, most compelling, most badass female characters the genre has had to offer across film and TV. We’re listing them in alphabetical order by last name, but it’s strangely appropriate who wound up as number one regardless…

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Four Parts Almost Human Borrows To Build Its Robots

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AlmostHFox’s futuristic buddy cop drama Almost Human hit the air tonight, and I know this was only the pilot—and the first night of a two-night premiere—but I’m on board this train. Right out of the gate, the show has a ton going for it. Not only is the cast, headlined by Star Trek’s Karl Urban, top notch, but the creative team includes Fringe showrunner J.H. Wyman and J.J. Abrams, who created shows like Lost and is directing Star Wars: Episode VII.

There’s some power behind this particular program. That said, Almost Human totally delivers. Set in 2048, the show partners Urban’s tough detective John Kennex with Dorian (Michael Ealy), a humanoid robot. Kennex resents the intrusion into his life, but this particular model, most of which have been mothballed or employed as manual laborers in space, were designed to be as human as possible, with their own quirks, personalities, and emotional baggage.

The two main characters have a fantastic chemistry together, and there’s a nice mix of humor, heart, and badass action. Overall the show is bursting with potential, but one of the things Almost Human does best is render the world. Sci-fi fans will notice a whole host of obvious aesthetic influences in every facet, taking bits and pieces from its various genre predecessors and building something new. What are those bits and pieces? We uncover them all here. Read on…

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Starstruck: The Ten Best Romances In Sci-Fi Film & TV

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FarscapeJohn Crichton & Aeryn Sun, Farscape
If you asked me to narrow this list down to just one entry, to the single relationship that stands above all the others, I would jettison everything but John and Aeryn without a second’s hesitation. Much of that is down to the white-hot onscreen chemistry between actors Ben Browder and Claudia Black. But the two unlikely lovers also go through more in four seasons than most couples do in 60 years together, and they still come out of it together.

The real test of love is not hanging together in the good times. It’s in clinging to each other when things go as bad as you could possibly imagine, and then somehow find a way to get worse. John and Aeryn go through all manner of horrors together, but the true genius of the show’s writers comes when Crichton is split into two identical versions of himself, and the show’s core group is then split as well. One Crichton stays with Aeryn, and their romance continues to blossom…until that Crichton — her Crichton — dies. When the surviving Crichton reunites with Aeryn’s group, she’s suddenly faced with a man wearing her lover’s face, but who is — as far as she’s concerned — just an empty echo, one that only makes her grief worse. It’s a brilliant, uniquely sci-fi way of solving that old Moonlighting problem of what happens when the will-they-won’t-they couple finally gets together. And in spite of that terrible, seemingly insurmountable obstacle, Crichton and Aeryn eventually find a way back into each other’s arms. Let the universe throw whatever it wants at them, they’re in it for the long haul.

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Dark Angel’s Sexuality Made Jessica Alba Uncomfortable

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Sure the James Cameron-produced television series Dark Angel served as a launching pad for what has been a damn successful Hollywood career, but that doesn’t mean Jessica Alba doesn’t have regrets. Though only a slight 19-years-old, the sexual way her character Max Guevera (subtle, huh?) was presented made the actress uncomfortable, objectifying her and treating her character as little more than eye candy.

The 31-year-old Alba told Marie Claire:

I had a show that premiered when I was 19. And right away, everyone formed a strong opinion about me because of the way I was marketed. … I was supposed to be sexy, this tough action girl. … I felt like I was being objectified, and it made me uncomfortable. I wanted to be chic and elegant!

Granted, Alba didn’t start out with the greatest acting chops, but her character does spend most of her time kicking the crap out of people. I recently rewatched the first season of the short-lived series—which ran on Fox from 2000-2002—and the Dark Angel does not hold up well. Dated is a word that frequently springs to mind, and there are some painful moments.