10 girl crushes: My favorite ladies of TV

I just love the wit and wisdom of Dr. Temperance Brennan.


On the way to work this morning, I was thinking about Bones. That got me thinking about Dr. Brennan, and how much I love her character, which got me thinking about some of the other cool ladies on TV right now.

My co-blogger, Mark, has said that we are in a Golden Age of TV. I tend to agree – there are so many good things to watch right now. Part of the appeal of many of the shows I watch is the strong leading lady. It used to be that such strong women on TV were few and far between. Of course, the ‘90s gave us Dana Scully and Buffy Summers, two monoliths of TV womanhood. But to my knowledge there has never been a time when so many women dominated the tube. And the great thing about these leading ladies is that they are such diverse characters – gone are the days of the token strong-willed woman trying to eke out a living among the boys. Here are some ladies of note.

  • Dr. Temperance Brennan (aka Bones, of Bones) – Leader of squints and lover of guns, she’s a highly objective scientist who blows away the stereotype of the overly emotional woman.
  • Annie Walker (of Covert Affairs) – This rookie CIA agent doesn’t need a partner to take down the bad guys in her way. She’s spunky and fresh, not your typical tough girl, and she’s a one-woman wolf pack.
  • Fiona Glenanne (of Burn Notice) – How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You build bombs. You rescue boys. You kill bad guys. You have impeccable style. You have such a sharp sense of humor.  And I love the way you say, “Shall we shoot them?”
  • Debra Morgan (of Dexter) – She’s hot mess when it comes to the opposite sex, and she’s got a mouth like a sailor. In seasons past, her vulnerability bordered on annoying, but this year she has really come into her own.
  • Liz Lemon (of 30 Rock) – LL is the funniest woman on TV, simply put. She’s a proud nerd who’s not afraid to admit to wearing a bathing suit as underwear. Need I say more?
  • Margene Heffman, Nicki Grant and Barb Henrickson (of Big Love) – Three very different women (who I am counting as one, polygamist girl crush), married to one man. In four seasons, each has shown strength of character and vulnerability. The complexities of their relationships to one another go beyond the challenges of polygamy, and delve into the differences between each one’s ideas of what it means to be a woman, wife and mother.
  • Caroline Forbes (of Vampire Diaries) – Not the obvious choice from this show (that would be the main star, Elena), but I really like Caroline. And what’s more, I think she’s a good example for young ladies. Last year, she was shallow and mean. But over time, her character grew (and changed into a vampire) into a much deeper person capable of true friendship, love and compassion. This season, she has weathered her change with grace, and even stepped up to the plate to help Tyler handle his own change. She’s a nice example of how a young woman can transcend the cliques, gossip and stereotyping of high school.
  • Olivia Dunham (of Fringe) ­ – Olivia is a smart agent who follows her instincts. She not only solves mysteries in our world, she crosses to other universes as well. She is a fascinating character, capable of great emotional depth as well as detachment.   
  • Myka Bering (of Warehouse 13) – Myka left her gig with the Warehouse at the end of last season following the debacle with H.G. Wells. But if you ask me, the empathy she showed for H.G.’s loss added a new dimension to her previously businesslike demeanor. But don’t get me wrong – I have always appreciated her focus on being the best agent she can be, and putting that before her personal feelings.
  • Pam Swynford De Beaufort (of True Blood) – Again, not the obvious choice, which would be Sookie Stackhouse. However, I just love Pam. Classy and ruthless, she is equally commanding in the pleather Fangtasia costumes as she is in her two-piece pink suits.


Jack Donaghy, Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming for General Electric.

                          Thank God it’s Thursday. All week long, I keep busy by going to the gym, watching re-runs of NCIS on USA Network, and catching up with Burn Notice on DVD through Netflix. It’s a pretty sweet existence, to be sure, but I’m always waiting. For what, you ask?

Waiting for Thursday at 8 p.m., when The Vampire Diaries starts and a full night of great TV begins. In addition to finding out what’s going on in Mystic Falls, tonight I’ll be tuning in for The Office, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Jersey Shore (no judging).

Fringe, another great Thursday night show, is taking a break for the World Series and won’t be back until next week. If the previews are any indication, the real Olivia might finally escape the alternate reality and face her doppelganger. Wow – just re-reading that sentence makes me feel like I have finally reached the pinnacle of Mount Nerd. Nevertheless, it’s an amazingly good show.

30 Rock is also taking a break tonight, presumably to make time for something NBC calls “Scared Shrekless.” Sounds like a most unworthy replacement to me. Speaking of 30 Rock, could it get any funnier? A week later, and I’m still laughing about Jack’s line, “I have to go tell Rachel Maddow that only one of us can have this haircut.” And the live episode from two weeks ago was pure genius.

My guilty pleasure

Mark Harmon plays Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS.

Everyone says Jersey Shore should be my guilty TV pleasure, but truth be told, I don’t feel that guilty about loving Snookie, The Situation and the rest of the gang. My guilty pleasure, in the truest sense of the phrase, is NCIS. I didn’t want to like it, I swear. I’m pretty sure the target demographic is over 50 neoconservative men, but what can I say? I really like the show. Confession time.

I started watching NCIS reruns on USA Network at the gym one day when my iPod wasn’t charged.

I didn’t want to like it. But then it sort of grew on me. I started laughing whilst running about Abby’s quirkiness, DiNozzo’s pranks and Zeva’s mixed metaphors. And like some bizarre fungus, it gradually took over and now I look forward to watching it during my workout. I even like to run a little faster during the theme song, which is terrible techno from The Crystal Method. Wow, that’s embarrassing.

My husband likes to make fun of the show after he gets off the treadmill, and sometimes I sort of give a disingenuous half-laugh, all the while thinking “I don’t want to admit I sort of like this, a lot.”

Full disclosure on this guilty pleasure – it reached a new low last night when I realized that I think Mark Harmon is hot (insert awkward silence from stunned friends and coworkers).

So, now that’s off my chest…do you have a guilty TV pleasure?

Two for Tuesday (yes, I know it’s Thursday)

Myka kicked supermodel butt on the runway, thanks to a killer dress and pep talk from Pete.

I know, I should be more prompt in my posting as it is now Thursday, but I wanted to chat about Warehouse 13 and Covert Affairs, which are both on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. on SyFy and 10 p.m. on USA Network, respectively.

This week’s episode of Warehouse 13, “Age Before Beauty,” was excellent – probably my favorite episode to date, in fact. The story started out with a somewhat random scene of Myka and Pete recovering Excalibur, and then moved into the main plot of the agents investigating the case of a young runway model who suddenly dies of old age. They need an undercover agent to infiltrate the modeling agency, and well, who better than Myka? In typical TV trope fashion, Myka (who is a classic, statuesque beauty) gets a makeover fit for the runway (actually, it’s a lot more like Clark Kent taking off his eyeglasses). My favorite scene by far from this highly entertaining hour of TV was the sweet pep talk Pete gave Myka before she walked the runway. Funny one-liners from Pete (“gay Clue”) and Myka’s reaction to being called fat kept me laughing all the way through. Also, I just love Claudia’s new puppy love interest. Overall a great episode that hit the right balance of interpersonal character relationship development, irreverent humor, fast-paced action and artifact intrigue.

Switching gears (or should I say channels?), I watched Covert Affairs last night on DVR. I know, I’m such a wimp for not staying up until 11 p.m. on Tuesday, but I just can’t do it. Not even for a great show like this. “Southbound Suarez” was the first episode in which Annie had an international mission. She was off to Venezuela to investigate large sums of money being stolen for the funding of terrorist organizations. Pretty standard spy stuff, except awesome because Annie is super cool. Case in point, I loved it when she took the wheel of the Lamborghini, pretended to not know how to drive stick shift, then engaged in some fancy maneuvering to avoid an accident, followed by some wicked, bullet-dodging donuts. We also learned a bit more about Auggie, who apparently isn’t ready to push papers all day and longs for the field work he can no longer do. Keep it coming, USA. I love this show.

I have a couple other things to catch up with on the DVR – namely Being Human, Haven and Rizzoli and Isles. I’ll try to let you know what I think of those tomorrow or Saturday. So much TV; so little time.