We have been spoilt for TV shows between Christmas and now: Agent Carter, Sleepy Hollow and The 100.
What do they have in common? Awesome female leads, a diverse number of solid women characters, who talk to each other, and great character arcs. Sleepy Hollow and The 100 also have women of colour in central roles. To top it off The 100 features a disabled Latina woman who happens to be the best mechanic ever and the lead girl, Clarke, is bisexual.
Agent Carter was fantastic IMO, although lots of people have pointed out there are no POC characters in the show. Which, yep, is “problematic” – no arguments there. Peggy has two close female friends and the show explicitly deals with the sexism Peggy and her friends experience at work. Peggy’s character arc is about her coming to realise her value for herself, even when all the men at work like to forget she’s anything more than a secretary. I really, really hope they do another season, where we get to see Peggy actually set up S.H.I.E.L.D. I highly recommend following Kiss My Wonder Woman, and reading these two articles with her take on the show (Warning: SPIOLERS!).
Sleepy Hollow features three female leads: Abbie Mills, Jenny Mills (sisters, black women, traumatised by demons as teenagers) and Katarina Crane (white woman, wife, mother, witch, trapped in Purgatory). It’s main focus, aside from trying to prevent the Apocalypse, is the relationship between Abbie and Jenny. Abbie is a cop, a Leiutenant, whilst Jenny has been in and out of an asylum and hunts down arcane artefacts for a living. To say they don’t get on in the beginning is something of an understatement. Again, Kiss My Wonder Woman has some great writing and critical analysis of the show, which you should definitely read after you’ve watched the show. It’s about as bonkers as Angel but they haven’t managed to completely screw over the female characters yet, so here’s hoping it stays that way. Season 2’s just finished so we’ve got to wait a while for the next one.
I’ve marathoned through The 100 over the last two weeks, and it’s the Season 2 finale next week. Looking forward to that! It’s a post-nuclear war Sci Fi – the last of humanity is on a giant spaceship circling the Earth – the only problem is that after 97 years in space they are running out of air. To solve this problem they send 100 convicted teenage “criminals” to Earth to see if it is survivable. They expect it won’t be because duh, radiation. However, radiation turns out to be the least of the kids’ problems. Humanity didn’t go extinct on the Earth after all….
What I really like, apart from all the awesome women (both ‘heroines’ and ‘villains’, or rather, the best mix of complex people you could possibly hope for), and the deliberate diversity – Latina, Black, Native American, Aisian – is that the show seems to be about how the adults think the kids are still kids… after they’ve survived in a hostile environment with virtually no resources and no leadership except what they’ve come up with themselves, for months.
The adults keep making the mistake of saying “but they’re only CHILDREN” and underestimating them as a consequence. As well as deliberately ignoring their wisdom and knoweldge and understanding of exactly what it is they’re facing down on the Ground. Sure some of the 100 are young teenagers, 13 or 14 I would guess but others are 16, 17 and 18, and they have experienced a LOT. A war. Acid fog. The death of many of their friends. Mutiny and mob rule. Haemorrhagic fever. Mauling by mutated wildlife. Hunting for food. Killing for survival. And that’s just what they’ve experienced on the Ground. That doesn’t include the “floating” of parents while on the Ark, the
culling sacrifice of 100’s of people so the rest of the populace can survive, or the political coups of the Ark’s Council.
We do this in our society all the time – say “but they’re only kids, they need protecting” – especially when it comes to health, sex, and relationships, whilst forgetting that teenagers and kids are still people, who are capable of so much, if you trust and support them in doing so.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. Once The 100 finishes, I’m going to be almost* out of TV shows to watch until Orphan Black and Outlander start again over the next month or so.
*Castle is still running. I looooove Castle and Beckett so much!