Coming into 2012, Zooey Deschanel led a group of quirky, adorable characters that dominated the television season. Deschanel and her Jess character from "New Girl" even beat out the overtly sexy cast members of "The Playboy Club," as well as the starlets of the "Charlie's Angels" reboot.
The current TV season has shown, however, that strong women can be just as appealing as their quirky counterparts. "Chuck" fans may have lost Yvonne Strahovski and her gun-toting Sarah Walker character earlier this year, but other actresses have stepped up to fill the void:
Lt. Grace Shepard commands "Last Resort"Though this show is testosterone-heavy, actress Daisy Betts emerged as the strongest character on the freshman series. Betts plays Lt. Grace Shepard, a naval officer living in the shadow of her powerful father. Early on, Shepard shot a crew member to protect the executive officer, but Master Chief Joseph Prosser (Robert Patrick) wanted her held accountable for her actions.
While in command of the U.S.S. Colorado, the lieutenant showed she can make the tough decisions by abandoning Navy Seal James King (Daniel Lissing) to save the sub. When confronted with approaching ships, Grace also was ready to fire the Colorado's nuclear missiles. Her actions earned the respect of the crew and the master chief.
The episode "Big Chicken Dinner" revealed that Lt. Shepard had been physically assaulted during her academy training. Grace maintains her professionalism while defending a crew member accused of rape, breaking down only when talking with senior crew members.
"Last Resort" has been canceled by ABC, but Lt. Shepard and Daisy Betts definitely deserve a new home.
Count on Mia Rizzo in a tough "Vegas" situationCarrie-Anne Moss is billed as the female lead in "Vegas," but she pales in comparison to Sarah Jones. The actress portrays Mia Rizzo, the new count room manager at the burgeoning Savoy Casino. Caught between a domineering daddy and the machinations of mobster Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis), Mia holds her own and does what must be done in a crisis.
Mia's banter with Deputy Sheriff Jack Lamb (Jason O'Mara) also shows who has the upper hand in their relationship. Jack acts like a schoolboy around Mia, but she maintains her composure each time they flirt with each other.
Sister Jude rocks the house in "American Horror Story: Asylum"Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) is a nun with an attitude and the conviction to back it up. On "American Horror Story: Asylum," Sister Jude typically rules Briarcliff Manor Asylum and its inmates with an iron fist, explaining that mental illness is just an excuse for sin.
Sister Jude does forget her vows of chastity, though, especially around Monsignor Timothy Howard. In the Season 2 debut, Lange shed her habit to rock a sexy red slip during a fantasy about the Monsignor.
Dr. Lahiri has the right prescriptionThough Mindy Kaling may have inherited Zooey Deschanel's "adorkable" crown, her character on "The Mindy Project" is as strong as she is cute. Kaling plays Dr. Lahiri, a romantic comedy-obsessed OB/GYN who embraces the strongest qualities of her favorite heroines.
Mindy frequently holds her own while sparring with colleague Dr. Danny Castellano (Chris Messina). After Dr. Danny volunteered to become her personal physician, for instance, Dr. Lahiri made him run for cover during her initial examination.
Dr. Lahiri doesn't wilt when her love interests act like jerks. Steady beau Josh Daniels (Tommy Dewey) is fairly insensitive, but Mindy calls him on his bad behavior each time he acts like a typical guy. She's a mixture of Sandra Bullock and Meg Ryan with the sass of Queen Latifah thrown in.
Always count on the girl with the bow and arrowPreviewed at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, "Revolution" looked somewhat derivative of "The Hunger Games." Though female lead Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) carries a bow and arrow like Katniss Everdeen, this show has emerged as a strong addition to NBC's lineup thanks to Spiridakos and her character. Charlie has to navigate a troubled world that lost electrical power when she was just 5 years old.