The Changing Face of the Female Heroine

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Better, stronger, faster. There's a new breed of heroines on TV, and while there has always been something about a hot chick in a latex jumpsuit, the female heroine has been undergoing a spectacular renaissance.

From suburban protagonists such as the ladies of Wisteria Lane or the wicked Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) of Weeds, to serious super-chicks such as Alias' Sydney Bristow or the cheerleader from Heroes (Hayden Panettiere), and a dearth of doctors (Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh and Kate Walsh of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice), the sisterhood has never been so strong.

The Changing Face of the Female Heroine

And now an old favorite joins the ranks as Jaime Sommers â€" a.k.a. the Bionic Woman â€" makes a triumphant return on October 4.

Indeed, while all the networks are generously endowed with wonderful female leads at the moment, ABC's is particularly rich. With Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters and Ugly Betty, what's not to like?

"These leading ladies are very strong characters, they're jumping through burning buildings, saving the universe, saving lives, burning down the neighbors' house, living double lives, and looking immaculate â€" all in a day's work" said one exec.

"It's pure action, adventure, escapism."

And it's something audiences, male and female, have always responded to.

As some shows, such as Desperate Housewives, do tend to attract bigger numbers of female viewers, others, such as Heroes or even Grey's Anatomy after its first of three seasons, actually attract a pretty even gender mix.

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Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.

Meredith