FBI Agent Dana Scully of ‘The X Files’ was a prime example as she and Mulder investigated unexplained phenomena, she was the rational sceptic. Scully was supposed to be a strong, independent woman well able to take care of herself however she was usually portrayed as narrowmind and kept getting kidnapped. She had her ova stolen, she got the TV version of the Big C, she had to give up her son and she ended up quitting the FBI.
Then was Lois Lane on ‘Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’, when the show began Lois was a one dimensional stereotype. She was aggressive, insensitive and got kidnapped and needed rescuing. One point in her favour was that she preferred the suave and charming Lex Luthor over the bullying Superman. She was so obnoxious it was hard to see why Clark loved her. When the show was axed after four seasons, Lois had mellowed a bit but the reasons why Clark loved her were still elusive. Her character never recovered from one villain of the week calling her “the most monumentally stupid woman who ever lived” for not guessing that Clark and Superman were one and the same. Still this Lois still came off better than the Lois Lane of ‘Smallville’ who was depicted as a drunken, ignorant, work shy pole dancer.
Detective Rose Phillips was the lead in the short lived ‘Under Suspicion’. She was the only woman in her squad room and had to endure her patronising, hostile and obnoxious colleagues. She earned their respect by solving a variety of complex murder cases. Then TPTB decided to soften her character by giving her a love interest in the form of James Vitelli. He had the personality and IQ of a tablecloth. Show was axed and never repeated or released on DVD.
Dr Dawn Holiday of ‘One West Waikki’ was one of the best forensic pathologists in the land. She teamed up with Detective Mack Wolfe to investigate murder most foul on the sunny aloha state. Nothing stops Dr Dawn and Mack be it organ traffickers, stalkers, criminal masterminds, drug lords, bored housewives and a male strip troop. They got to rescue each other in equal measure from crazed situations. One character even commented: “I’m living in a Stephen King novel.” Too true buddy, too true.
Then there was Officer Jane Castle on the ill-fated ‘Space Precinct’. A cop in outer space working alongside muppet aliens? The series didn’t gel properly. Castle managed to look dignified throughout various improbable plots. Still she and the handsome Officer Jack Haldane did end up getting together after saving a planet from evil fungus.
Looking back on these shows, one is both nostalgic and not at the same time.