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tv’s top 10 kickass females of all time

From Buffy, slayer of vampires, to Eleven of Stranger Things, we chart the most kickass female characters on TV.

by Tish Weinstock
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09 March 2017, 11:55am

Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
As the ancient prophecy goes: "Into every generation, there is a chosen one. One girl in all the world. She alone will wield the strength and skill to stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer." And that Slayer is Buffy Summers; the stake-wielding, leather-clad vampire-snogging, teenage superhero who eats demons like The Source for breakfast. Duh! As if you didn't know that already. There's not much else to explain really. She kicks ass and looks good doing it. If the apocalypse comes, beep her.

Eleven, Stranger Things
Small, silent, and deadly, Eleven (she has no other name) is the pale-faced kid in a pink party dress who you don't want to bump into on dark night, in this world or the Upside Down. Armed with telekinetic powers, a punk ass buzzcut and a stare that will cut right through you, this girl will fuck you up, if you come near her or gang of rugrat friends. Buy her an Eggo, however, and we can grant you safe passage.

Cookie, Empire
In the immortal words of Cookie (read: Cookeh) Lyon, "the streets ain't made for everybody, that's why they made sidewalks". With more shade than a parasol in summer, and a wardrobe that could rival Rihanna's, this fierce matriarch is someone you don't want to mess with. She came from the streets and built an entire empire, and she'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Samantha Jones, Sex and the City
The head of her own PR company and one of the sexiest women after the watershed, Samantha Jones is the woman we all wanted to be, even though, let's face it, we were all probably Miranda. Fiercely independent and not afraid to speak her mind or express her sexual desires (she defined the power politics of giving a blow job), Samantha taught us all to be fearless. She beat cancer ffs and looked incredible doing it.

Ling Woo, Ally McBeal
Cold, ruthless, smart and apparently wise to the art of sexual pleasure unknown to the western world, Ling Woo, or Judge Ling to you, was one of TV's favourite femme fatales. She moved to the sound of the Witch in The Wizard of Oz and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. "I know I'm better than everybody else, Richard, but sometimes it's nice to hear it." Case in point.

Julie Cooper, The O.C.
"I was easy to love back then. I was beautiful and much nicer." Says the flame haired temptress Julie Cooper to her ex-husband Jimmy. "C'mon, Jules" he replies, "You're still beautiful. And you were never nice." This pretty much sums Julie Cooper up. The meanest MILF in Orange County.

Wilhelmina Slater, Ugly Betty
One of the greatest villains in TV history, a self-described "drop dead gorgeous fashion Nazi", Wilhelmina Vivian Slater was as cold as ice. The evil queen of a fashion empire and master in the art of casual blackmail, she was callous to the bone. She once preserved the sperm of media mogul Bradford Meade, in order to provide an heir to Mode. She spoke her mind and stopped at nothing to get what she wanted. Best quote in the series: "Please! I'm more of a man than you'll ever be." #word.

Daenerys, Game of Thrones
Daenerys Stormborn, of House Targaryen, The Unburnt Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons AKA an absolute boss. She can walk through fire and speak to dragons. She once ate a raw stallion's heart as part of a Dothraki pregnancy ceremony. Literally what more do you want? Yas Kween.

Jenny, The L Word
Dark, beautiful, and mysterious, Jenny Schecter was the girl everyone fell in love with. A tortured writer with a dark past, Jenny and her boyfriend move to a new town where they are welcomed by a community of lesbians. Seduced by the exotic Marian, Jenny strays from Tim and embarks on a sexual discovery.

Effy, Skins
"Sometimes I think I was born backwards... you know, come out of my mum the wrong way. I hear words go past me backwards. The people I should love, I hate, and the people I hate..." Oh Effy, sweet naïve Effy, the girl everyone wanted to be and guys wanted to date. She was that ultimate tragic teen, who liked to get into trouble and had an incredibly alluring darkness that led many astray. She was bad and we loved her for it.

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Text Tish Weinstock