100 Sexiest Women in Science Fiction (100-86)

Whenever I put the word "sexy" in a post title, I've got Google hits for life. This is an investment. But seriously, folks... The present list started out as a regular Top 10 or 20, and then ballooned into a 100+ monster list, even after I narrowed down the criteria for inclusion. There are just too many gorgeous, smart, self-possessed female characters in science fiction to do them justice in a Top 20, and even at a 100, I had to cut a few personal favorites. No boys, I'm afraid, but I invite bloggers playing for the other team to do their own. The rules I stuck to are: We're talking sexy (cutting a lot of beloved "girls next door" like Sarah Jane Smith and Ezri Dax) and we're talking characters, not actresses per se. No more than one entry per character no matter how many actresses played her. No more than one character per actress. No animated characters (sorry Leela!). They're all from movies and tv, mostly because characters in books are often harder to rate, and you don't want to read what I think of The Void Captain's Tale. And it has to be science fiction. I've cut fantasy (sorry Xena!), horror (sorry Buffy!) and superheroes, even the ones out of costume (sorry Heroes!). They might get their own lists one day. I've tried to cover shows and films of which I am not a particular fan, but my personal biases will show. You can debate the numbering if you like, but in the end, it's about honoring some of sexiest characters in SF no matter how they arbitrarily ranked. If I missed anyone by the end, let me know, and I'll do a Readers' Choice addendum.

So you ready for some futuristic cheesecake?

100. River Tam from Firefly/Serenity (Summer Glau)
The waifish is certainly striking in a damaged goods kind of way, and largely unaware of her own sexuality. She narrowly squeaks into our Top 100 thanks to the events of Serenity, in which she truly becomes an ass-kicking machine. And if there's one thing that shows up again and again when studying the sexiness of SF women, it's ass-kickery. Takes notes. There is nothing sexier than a girl who can break you in half.

99. Nurse Chapel from Star Trek (Majel Barrett)
I have a feeling that if The Cage had been used as a template for Star Trek, Majel Barrett's aloof Number One would have been a major sex symbol, like a female version of the inscrutable Spock. Instead, she played Christine Chapel, a nurse (extra points) in love with Spock. This slow burning romance, with the help of Star Trek's soft filters, ramps the sexual tension right up and gets Chapel into the #99 position.

98. Ripley from the Aliens franchise (Sigourney Weaver)
Ellen Ripley is such an ass-kicker that people only call her by her last name. Ripley is a strong and compassionate woman, not unlike a gritty SF Wonder Woman might be, but is played so much like a male character that it does rob her of the kind of appeal we're looking for here. And yet, we'll always have that scene where she fights the Alien in her panties.

97. Hoshi Sato from Enterprise (Linda Park)
I've had to cut a lot of "girls next door" from the list, but not Hoshi. Brainy and shy, there was still a twinkle in Hoshi's eyes that made me prefer her to the more overt T'Pel. And still, sweet is not necessarily sexy. Bonus that puts her over the top: Empress Hoshi from the Mirror Universe. Just knowing that Hoshi has that in her...

96. Chiana from Farscape (Gigi Edgley)
Chiana's distinctive leather-clad look is certainly sexy. Her characterization as a streetwise, savvy, disobedient, somewhat promiscuous, free spirit is too. Why is she so low on the list? She's so damn WEIRD!

95. Echo from Dollhouse (Eliza Dushku
You'd think that a character who can be reprogrammed to be the perfect woman for any man would score higher on this list. It can't, because it's lacking one very important sexiness ingredient: Self-possession. We don't want our ladies to be programmed sex dolls, we want them to surprise and excite us. Not being able to understand women is a major complaint of men. It's also that mystery that drives our attraction to them. It doesn't help that whenever Echo is in "home" mode, she's a creepy vapid shell.

94. Rommie from Andromeda (Lexa Doig)
"Andromeda Ascendant" (Rommie for short) is similarly programmable, but at least she doesn't like it. Despite a fair amount of ass-kickery and a first appearance in the nude, I never felt there was much chemistry between the ship's AI and either the audience or the other characters on the show. Though offstage, Doig and co-star Michael Shanks did fall in love and marry, so there must have been sparks SOMEwhere.

93. Penny Priddy from Buckaroo Banzai (Ellen Barkin)
Some things are hard to explain. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is one of those things. Ellen Barkin spending the night in jail in that cocktail dress is another. Definitely in the damaged goods column, but that's got its own kind of attraction. "Dr. Banzai, you forgot your thruster." "Why don't you hold onto it for a while?" Cough.

92. Dr. Wendy Smith from SeaQuest DSV (Rosalind Allen)
How could Captain Bridger NOT fall for this particular empathic psychologist? Yes, she was SeaQuest's ripoff version of Deanna Troi, but so much warmer. Dr. Wendy certainly looks great in water...

91. Number One from Babylon 5 (Marjorie Monaghan)
No, not the Star Trek one, go back to #99, ADD sufferers! B5's Number One certainly fits the "ice queen" mold. This is a simple concept when we're talking about sex appeal. The same way women have a ironic attraction to bad boys - because they want to reform them - men are attracted to ice queens because they want to melt their facade down and reveal the passionate woman beneath. That's the romantic long and short of it. And with that throaty voice of hers, boy is Number One icy.

90. Rachael from Blade Runner (Sean Young)
Speaking of ice queens, Blade Runner's Rachael is so cold, she smolders. A femme fatale written in science fiction strokes, Harrison Ford "melting" her is one of the greatest moments ever put to film by Ridley Scott, as her pristine hairdo becomes a tangle of curls. Still, a bit too much of an object once she realizes she's a replicant.

89. Zoe Heriot from Doctor Who (Wendy Padbury)
The cute girl with the computer mind who traveled with the Doctor in the late 60s would have been filed as a "girl next door" if not for THIS:
Zoe screaming her head off on the spinning TARDIS console in THAT costume would forever brand her as a Doctor Who sex icon. Nothing I can do about it except pay it the respect it deserves.

88. Ace from Doctor Who (Sophie Aldred)
One of the few ass-kicking companions, Ace was saddled with a rather unfortunate costume and horrible teen-speak. Once they got her into clothes suitable to the periods they visited, however, she proved she wasn't "a little girl anymore", a promise fulfilled by the New Adventures novels in which Ace "grew up" and started wearing slinky battle armor.

87. Cassiopeia from Battlestar Galactica (Laurette Spang)
It's 1978, so who do you get to be Starbuck's girlfriend? How about a hooker with a heart of gold? I'm sorry, a "socialator" with a heart of gold. The new Battlestar Galactica doesn't have its own version of Cassie, but it should be noted that they did give her look to Number 6 who features higher on this list.

86. Bonnie Barstow from Knight Rider (Patricia McPherson)
Shoulder pads or not, Bonnie's the sexy girl that Michael Knight never could get, and she can fix your car too. When they dropped the character in the second season, pre-Internet fan outcry forced the show's makers to bring her back, so let us not underestimate her charms as we wrap up our first 15 ladies.

I hope you'll return each week this summer as we count down to #1!


greywulf said...

You got me hooked already. I applaud your knowledge of sci-fi women!

Siskoid said...

By association, I also know about the men, but that's neither here nor there ;)

De said...

Thanks for including Dr. Wendy Smith. Despite her awful dialogue, she certainly made that second season of seaQuest a little easier to watch.

Lazarus Lupin said...

I really applaud your since of style and your bravery in attempting to list these ladies cause you know someone is going to say "Why not so and so.." or "Why number 100.."

Speaking of which...
River "Squeaks" into the top 100..
tut tut.

But all is forgiven, keep it UP UP UP!!!

Lazarus Lupin
arts and review

Siskoid said...

Which is why I took it seriously, and included characters from the past five decades.

To me,it's a little creepy to lust after River because she's so often played as under aged, and yet, there's Summer Glau in there. But yeah, I'll get some guff. :)

Lazarus Lupin said...

Ok I'll grant you on the lust part there. I just found her so funny at times that I loved the character, specially the one episode with her "hair phobia."

Nik said...

Aw man, Ripley would be in my Top 10 for certain!

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

What a great idea. I am with you all the way. What is your criteria for putting certain women at certain places?

Siskoid said...

Ultimately, it's a bit subjective, with me staring intently at the list and deciding if one goes above the other, and based on what criteria.

Some are included because of their looks, others their attitudes, sometimes their very concepts. "Importance" in the medium (being iconic, for example) is a factor in some cases and the master list made an effort to showcase as many shows, films, eras and types of SF as possible.

We'll see where it takes us and I'll be more than happy to post readers' suggestions at the end. At one point, I decided to stop researching because I kept being reminded of more luscious SF babes and the list was becoming unmanageable.

Austin Gorton said...

I tip my cap at you, sir, for the valiant effort, and look forward to the rest.

Yay Google hits!

Siskoid said...

Although right now hits have increased by 100-400 a day for "Who Is River Song?"

Not inexplicable, but strange nonetheless. And via Google no less.

Sea-of-Green said...

The Maria robot is #1, right? ;-)

Siskoid said...

As the mouseover text reveals, she's sitting this one out.

SFF said...

Got to go with Chiana! I mean weird, maybe, but all the more exciting to be with this hot little animal. LOVE GIGI!

Number One is not at all that. Overrated. She's gross.

Hoshi HOT!
Lexa Doig is hot!

Always a Sean Young fan. SHe is hot especially in No Way Out! Ay karamba.

Good luck on your list. This is a tough undertaking. Nice work though.

Nicholas Ahlhelm said...

Quite the list, but I would have put Rommie way higher on the list. I had the major hots for that hologram/spaceship.

STW said...

I had forgotten how awesome Chiana was. I wish she was rated higher however.

Anonymous said...

Echo is every man's fantasy, come on. She should be higher! She was the sexiest character ever. But kudos for including her!

Siskoid said...

Kinda creepy, I thought. Certainly no Faith. But whatever turns your crank!

sara said...

list is irrelevant ripley is so low?!?!!? the order is so effed up. how is alot of the newer doctor who women so high up. and princess leia so low. you cant go against icon sexy scifi women for new bad acting not even as pretty women. not cool. i dont approve.

Siskoid said...

I don't blame you, and I would probably reorder it completely now that the project is done. But I made it clear that the order is highly debatable, but the point was to pay homage to all these characters, whatever the order they came in.

Anonymous said...

Summer Glau is, oh, about 90 spots too low on your list. She smokes everyone in this "bottom 10" with the 'possible' exception of Linda Park.

Unknown said...

Ya gotta love Ace. For far too long the Companions just got into mortal danger and screamed "Doctor!" Here comes Ace, obliterating a Dalek, no less, with an RPG! She even saved the Doctor a time or two. Great article.

arpanaut said...

You put Bonnie at 86? How dare you. She deserves a top 20 spot at least.


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