7 of the best kick-ass TV angels
|LISTS - TV LISTS|
Novelist Jennifer salutes TV's trailblazing action girls...
When I was writing my revenge pulp fiction, How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks, I wanted to have a ballsy heroine who wouldn’t take any nonsense from anyone. When I pictured what my gutsy Glasgow gal Kirsty looked like, I imagined Jane Russell in The Outlaw (1943) only with flame coloured hair and one less leg. When it came to making her as hard as nails, I took inspiration from these TV ladies. Because, let’s face it, you mess with them at your peril. They may all (except for one on the list, sorry Janice) have faces like angels, but if there are butts to be kicked, you can be sure they will be the ones doing all the kicking.
1. Sydney Bristow - Alias (2001-2006)
Not only is Sydney the ultimate kick ass angel, she’s also a master of disguise (and many of them involved wearing little clothes), and speaks so many different languages that it was difficult to keep count.
Strangely enough, one of the best fights she was ever involved in was with her flatmate Francie’s doppelganger Allison Doren. Poor Francie had been murdered in her own restaurant and replaced by the evil lookalike. When Allison blew her cover by accepting Sydney’s offer of some coffee ice cream – ‘I just remembered…Francie doesn’t like coffee ice cream,’ says Allison, returning with a gun - a bruising encounter ensued.
The pair used everything against one another – their feet and fists, a heavy duty candlestick, glass doors, mirrors, a poker and even a drawer full of cutlery, until Sydney finally fired three shots into her nemesis. (watch season 2, episode 22 ‘The Telling' - If you need a recap – go on, you know you want to - here’s the fight scene on You Tube).
Allison miraculously survived, and two years later it was the mild mannered Will (played by The A-Team’s Bradley Cooper) who came back from the dead to finally finish off the evil lookalike with a knife to the heart. The death surprised everyone, because no one, including Sydney, thought the evil bitch had a heart.
2. Nikita - La Femme Nikita (1997-2001)
The show was based on the French film of the same name that came out in 1990, and unlike most remakes, the TV series did the film justice.
Actress Peta Wilson was born to play the title role. With her Amazonian physique and husky voice, she managed to pull off just the right mixture of toughness and vulnerability - although there was precious sign of the latter when she was putting out someone’s lights.
But Nikita was about more than carrying out missions, she also had to use her guile and feminine wiles to survive Section One and avoid being cancelled.
3. Purdy - The New Avengers (1977)
A trailblazer for women who want to kick ass, TNA was the 1977 follow up to the hit 60’s TV series. At a time when the nearest women got to the action was coming across a fight in their kitchen, Purdy played by Joanna Lumley (who replaced cat-suited Diana Rigg as Patrick Macnee’s female partner, along with Gareth Hunt as his wingman) was a high kicking, don’t-mess-with-me dame who used her intelligence as well as her martial arts skills to get the better of any adversary.
In one scene, Purdy disarms a knife wielding man in a karate suit with a karate chop to the throat (and that was just in training) and she kicks a man with a metal face down several flights of stairs. Bizarrely enough, she also uses some ballet moves to take out four Nazi assassins. A bit silly, but hey, folk liked it.
Although reaction to the series was mixed, having plummy Lumley follow in the footsteps of Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman was seen as a masterstroke.
4. Buffy - Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
How could we possibly forget a student who takes on vampires and all sorts of demons and wins? The cult TV show made a star of Sarah Michelle Gellar and when it ended fittingly enough with ‘End of Days,’ after seven seasons, viewers mourned.
So, what’s the enduring appeal of the vampire slaying girl? Maybe it’s that she’s the complete opposite of the blonde hardly-any-clothes girl, much stereotyped in horror movies who runs away from the monster screaming. If Buffy meets a monster she runs towards it (usually with stake in hand) and not away. We’re cheering her all the way.
5. Xena - Xena Warrior Princess (1995-2001)
All kick-ass angels should look like Lucy Lawless. A statuesque powerhouse, she could be the darker sister of Peta Wilson. Who would win in a fight? Now that would guessing.
Xena is the match of any man whether she’s using her kickboxing or acrobatic skills to win a battle. And she’s pretty handy with her favourite weapons, the boomeranging magical chakra (it means 'round killing thing', you know) and her mighty sword that looks like it was pinched from King Arthur. Not even wearing a tight brown, skirted, leather outfit could hold this firebrand back.
Hopes of a movie starring Lawless and her co-stars have been continually rejected to the dismay of the programme’s fans. It seems that if Xena does make the big screen, it will be without the actress who has become synonymous with the role.
6. Janice Soprano - The Sopranos (1999-2007)
Okay, not an obvious choice. The snivelling, grasping, control freak sister of Tony Soprano is more Rubenesque than angel, but she deserves her place on this list for being one of the few people Tony ‘The Man’ Soprano is scared of and for shooting sadistic fiancé Ritchie Aprile. If she hadn’t, we’d have reached through the TV screen and done it ourselves.
To recap, Aprile was a mean son of a bitch obsessed with the fact his son might have be gay. When Janice calmly remarked, ‘What difference is it if he’s gay?’ he punched her in the face. Then when she’s nursing her bloody face and looking at him in shock, he says’ what you looking at? Are you going to cry now?’
Like the tough Soprano sister would waste her tears. Nah, instead she calmly goes to get her gun and returns to the kitchen where Ritchie tells her to ‘get the fuck out of here.’ He’s barely got the words out when she drills a bullet into his chest. As he moves away, she shoots him again. Just to make sure. Relive it here.
Janice also throws Ralphie down the stairs for forgetting to take his shoes off – well, those stairs are a bitch to clean, you know. Now this is a lady you do not want to mess with. Get your feet off the sofa or Janice will break ‘em.
7. Renee Walker - 24 (2009-2010)
Cool Renee Walker may no longer be with us – why oh why did they kill her just as Jack was happy at last? – but she won’t be forgotten.
When flame-haired Renee first appears, she’s a by-the-book FBI agent who looks down on Jack Bauer’s methods. By the end of Day 7, she’s gone all Jack Bauer on us, torturing sniper Alan Tanner as he lies in a hospital bed to extract information. "I suggest you use your last breath wisely," she whispers, as she squeezes his respirator. The implication’s clear; spill or suffocate. Guess what he chooses?
By the closing of Day 7, she’s pulling a gun on colleague Janis Gold and forcing her to handcuff herself and then disconnecting the video and audio surveillance in the interrogation room, so she can torture Alan Wilson, the man behind the development of the lethal pathogen.
Does this girl just hate Alans?
In Season 8, we find out that she’s been kicked out of the FBI for almost killing Wilson. In the process, she earned the right to be Mrs Jack Bauer, if she’d lived long enough.
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