the opposite of aggravating

After talking with Kel about an unpopular aggravation I realized there’s actually quite a few tv actresses that I like considerably better than most of the girls getting cast in action films.

The interesting thing is, I assume with film actresses that they may be perfectly decent people even though I don’t like them on screen. With tv, I sometimes expect that some of these girls aren’t fun to hang out with but I do enjoy them on screen so I don’t really let who they are as people bother me. The strange division between character and actor works both ways.

CHILDREN OF DUNE Julie Cox as Irulan Syfy
CHILDREN OF DUNE | Julie Cox as Irulan

It would seem the obvious question is: what’s the difference between tv actresses and film actresses that predominately one aggravates me and the other I really enjoy?

Are the girls that different? I mean, really they aren’t that different because I can think of plenty of tv actresses I don’t like either. But the ratio of girls I like vs. girls I don’t is more favorable in tv.
Do the repetitive long hours of tv change the way an actress handles herself on screen and on set?
Is there that much difference between the types of girls tv casting directors choose from film casting directors?
Or is it in the impact that a broad range of approval is necessary for tv (from casting director up through the studio to the network) and there’s more women in the approving body vs. a film when it’s more centered on the director and producer and somewhat the studio?

Oddly enough, I actually don’t have an answer, let alone even know the right question to ask. Which is rare.

And while I wasn’t sure if this was even worth a whole other blog entry, I do devote considerable time to actors. It’s worth it to give the actresses their due. So check out the list of ladies I do approve of and give me your theories as to the difference between film actresses and tv actresses in the comments.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA RAZOR | Katee Sackoff as Starbuck

Katee Sackoff. Brilliantly badass actress that I adore. Katee is able to manage the balance between tough and still feminine brilliantly. If I were a studio looking to cast a strong and complex heroine – Katee would be right at the top of my list.

CASTLE 4x03 Stana Katic
CASTLE Head Case 4×03 | Stana Katic as Kate Beckett

Stana Katic is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The more Castle I watch the more interesting her character becomes. She’s strong and smart and beautiful and fierce but still flawed and vulnerable.

LEGEND OF THE SEEKER 2x06 Tabrett Bethell as Cara
LEGEND OF THE SEEKER Fury 2×06 | Tabrett Bethell as Cara

It’s hard to take Tabrett Bethell seriously in the red leather Mord Sith outfit from Legend of the Seeker, but she’s fantastically bad ass and uncompromising but also really interesting.

LEGEND OF THE SEEKER | Bridget Regan as Kahlan
LEGEND OF THE SEEKER | Bridget Regan as Kahlan

and I kind of hesitate to add Bridget Regan because she handles action very believably, but there’s something about her actual performances that aren’t quite what I’d want them to be. She doesn’t annoy me but I’m not quite ready to say, “oh yeah she’s great.” Though she does handles herself in a knife fight wearing a dress better than most anyone.
ETA:I like her rather less now that she’s done more guest roles. Her characters continually annoy me and so it’s sort of the opposite – the characters are making me like the actress less.

LEGEND OF THE SEEKER Emily Foxler as Sister Nicci
LEGEND OF THE SEEKER | Emily Foxler as Sister Nicci

and Emily Baldoni (credited as Foxler).

Legend of the Seeker really had fantastic women in it to play really complex, strong roles. It may have had it’s other faults, but in the actress/badass heroines department it was one of the best shows.


In the very beginning of BSG I didn’t give Tricia Helfer much credit as anything other than a model playing actress. But she used her time on that show really well and developed as an actresses and played a variety of really interesting roles and now I think does one of the better jobs of playing beautiful women who are tougher than they look.

MERLIN | Emilia Fox as Morgause
MERLIN | Emilia Fox as Morgause

Emilia Fox could have been cast on Legend of the Seeker (which is a compliment, people. it is!). I believe her when she’s wielding a sword and also when she’s only using words to threaten and coerce.


Summer Glau has her limitations as an actress, but as long as she stays within those limitations she can pull it off. And let’s be honest, many of the girls being cast in action films can’t act so we can’t hold that against Summer too much. When she walks up to a guy twice her size, I absolutely believe she can kick his ass (metallic endoskelton not withstanding).

NIKITA | Maggie Q

Maggie Q has proven herself as an action star and she does it again and again on every episode of Nikita. She’s kind of one note on Nikita, but she plays that note better than a lot of film actresses.

NIKITA | Lyndsey Fonseca
NIKITA | Lyndsey Fonseca

I was prepared not to like Lyndsy Fonseca at all (I mean, she spells her name Lyndsy) but she surprised me with how well she handles action; how much I believe her strength and her threats and her ability to handle herself in really harrowing situations.

SUITS | Gina Torres as Jessica
SUITS | Gina Torres as Jessica

Gina Torres kicked serious ass on Firefly and now plays a strong woman beautifully on Suits. She’s indomitable and smart and really interesting.

Andrea Parker
Andrea Parker

Andrea Parker is a little bit older, but she was the definitive tough woman I loved to hate in The Pretender. She’s smart and edgy and absolutely fantastic.

There’s also some great guest stars from different shows, but as much as I liked their one off performance, I feel like I’d need to see more of their work to add them to the list of girls I like.

And even though I know some of the intricacies of why casting directors and producers and studios and directors would cast unknown tv actresses in films – these are really talented strong women. I can’t help asking why aren’t more of these girls getting cast in action films?

Because, if they were, I’d love these movies that much more.

July 19, 2012 | Commentary , , , , , , , | this post contains affiliate links

6 responses to “the opposite of aggravating

  1. kel

    the first thing that came to mind when i read this article of yours was if a lot of the difference with your like for tv actresses/dislike for film actresses has to do with the amount of time they or their writers have to develop their characters in their respective stories. a couple of your specific examples you even mentioned that you’ve begun to like them more over time, or didn’t like them as much in the beginning but have come to like them. and not that it’s a flaw on your part, but you only have an hour and a half to two hours to like a actress in a movie, as opposed to tens, if not hundreds of hours to get to like a tv actress. and, of course, there are other factors mixed in as well, but i just have to wonder how much that one factor influences it all. that said, i have to believe, as you mentioned, that tv actresses have to be a bit more grounded or decent people, just because of the longevity of working in tv, as opposed to film. and truthfully, i don’t think that successful tv actresses, with legitimate and quality roles, get as much credit/hype as their film counterparts. talent or lack-there-of notwithstanding. there’s just not as much fame, and therefore potential for inflated egos, in tv. there are exceptions of course, but that is a factor. so i have to wonder how much that influences the women that are cast and therefore your like/dislike for them as well, and how much that comes through in their craft or their character.

    • aj

      I had thought of the extended viewing hours as a factor. The only reason I didn’t mention it initially is that my dislike for the aforementioned film actresses is so instinctive, it seemed logical whether or not I believe an actress’ strength is a quick decision, and so not influenced by exposure.

      Having said that, I definitely liked some of the actresses on this list more as both the actress (in her performance) and the writers (in character development) had time to grow. But I *think* the liking of them and the believing of them are two different things.

      Lyndsy Fonseca is the perfect example of this because I didn’t always like her and in s1 of Nikita I wouldn’t have included her on this list. But I always believed her in a fight. I think. It’s hard to look back with perfect clarity on my perception of her then, because I can’t rid myself entirely of what I know of her now.

      Though, you could make the argument that the hours tv actresses spend playing strong roles, episode upon episode, develops their ability to understand and portray that strength – making them easier to believe.

      I agree, tv actresses probably have a tendency to be grounded and decent. Though, they also sometimes make a lot more money and spend a lot of hours on set as the lead actresses where film actresses are often supporting male leads and spend less time walking around a set that they rule.

      But you’re right, they don’t get the hype or the credit or the media attention of most film actresses. That lack of fame is why I suspect film actresses egos still surpasses tv actresses (in most cases, as you said, there are plenty of very decent film actresses and more than a handful of diva tv actresses).

      So I have to wonder how much that influences the women that are cast and therefore your like/dislike for them as well, and how much that comes through in their craft or their character.
      me too.

  2. Macie Anderson

    Katee Sackoff can be cast for every single action part and I.AM.IN. =)