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Fall TV’s Must-Have Character: The Kick-Ass Chick

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Winter & Spring

Downton Abbey
Sunday @ 9-10pm (PBS)
Season 3 Premiere: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013

© 2010 - Carnival Film & Television Limited
Maggie Smith & Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey. © 2010 Carnival Film & Television Limited.

Lord Grantham may hold the title of nobility on the early-Windsor soap opera Downton Abbey, but nothing gets done at the estate without the approval of the many women in his life—particularly his mother, the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). Using her wit and wisdom to dispense verbal smackdowns, the Dowager has a feisty spirit that belies her age.  That same verve is present in her granddaughters Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), who has clearly learned from Granny how to outmaneuver powerful men, and Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay), the proto-feminist who risks everything to choose her own path in life. Independent-minded relative Mrs. Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) also makes an impression, whether she’s spearheading Downton’s war effort or standing up to the fussy matriarch of the house in one slobberknocker of a flower show. – Eric Ambler (@AmblerAmblog)

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Shameless
Sunday @ 9-10pm (Showtime)
Season 3 Premiere: Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013

© Showtime 2012, 2011, 2011
Emmy Rossum, Shanola Hampton, & Emma Kenney in Shameless. © Showtime 2012.

Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) is the quintessential kick-ass girl. She was dealt a bad hand growing up, literally left as the only adult to raise her five younger siblings. She is strong, smart, beautiful (seriously absolutely gorgeous), keeping her family together whilst still being a badass at life. Debbie Gallagher (Emma Kenney) is a young Fiona in the making. She’s a short adult, weaving her own way through the hard life she lives. She does anything she can for her family. Last season, she ran an entire babysitting operation every day by herself. Veronica Fisher (Shanola Hampton) is the rough one of the group, and she owns it. She does what she needs to do, she does it hard, and she loves hard. – Theresa Amrhein (@theresamarieee)

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Game of Thrones
Sunday @ 9-10pm (HBO)
Season 3 Premiere: Sunday, Mar. 31, 2013

© 2012 - HBO
Emilia Clarke, Gwendoline Christie, & Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones. © 2012 HBO.

Game of Thrones gets a lot of flak for being sexist (and given the amount of breasts on display in each episode, I’d agree this is not entirely untrue), but it’s nevertheless chock full of some pretty badass girls…

When we first met Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), she was about as low as you can get in Westeros. Exiled from the seven kingdoms and the last of her bloodline, she was forced to marry Dothraki leader Khal Drogo, who barbarously treated her as little more than a sex toy. Yet Daenerys was able to turn her sexuality into a tool to get Drogo to treat her as an equal, and now she has ultimately become the new leader of the mighty Dothraki army. Striding out of a fire unscathed with three baby dragons doesn’t hurt her kick-ass qualities either, and was a powerful final image to conclude Season 1. Since then her dragons have only grown fiercer and more loyal, proving those who cross the Mother of Dragons pay for it with their life.

In Brienne of Tarth‘s (Gwendoline Christie) first appearance, she is busy kicking Loras Tyrell’s ass in a tournament. Standing over six feet tall and always clad in intimidating shining armor, she is without question one of the most formidable warriors in Westeros, easily fighting toe-to-toe with any of the men who would be foolish enough to face her.

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) is without question my favorite character in Game of Thrones (I even named my cat after her!). Resourceful, spunky, and adventurous, her wits have allowed to stay alive time and time again through some very dangerous situations. In the last season she made a very interesting and powerful ally, and it will be very exciting to see her grow up and become even more of Westeros’ quintessential tomboy as the story progresses. – Daniel Johnson (@Danfish42)

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Tell us all about your favorite take-no-prisoners ladies of Fall or Winter/Spring TV in the comments below!

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Check out Sarah’s Author Archive for her other Reviews, Interviews and News posts,
and her feature column, This Chick’s Flicks, for pieces on the chick flicks of now and then.

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The Author

Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz

Born-and-bred New Yorker. Lifelong film & TV lover—from chick flicks, rom-coms, rom-droms, rom-drams, and tweentertainment, to Shakespeare, period pieces, James Bond, fairy tales, and mafia movies.