Top 5 Female Characters of the Whedonverse

Top Female Characters in Whedon Universe

Last week, I wrote about my Top Five Male Characters of the Whedonverse. There seemed to be discord among fans that I had omitted few favorites (sorry Wesley and Angel!), and this week I’d like to take you through my Top Five Female Characters of the Whedonverse. I’m sure that this will also lead to debates, but hey, that’s what this column is for!

I want to reiterate that I still have not watched Dollhouse, so, sadly, that series is missing from my character list. I am going to partake in the show; I just haven’t had a chance to do so since last week. While the male characters were difficult, the female characters posed a different set of problems.

How to pick the top five when there are so many? How am I really defining “top five”? I posed these questions to several Whedon loving friends, and we decided that “top five” is opinion based as well as character development throughout the series. That said, there are going to be omissions from this list that caused me (severe) pain, but I’m hoping that you find the choices well thought out!

Here they are in no particular order – The Top Five Female Characters of the Whedonverse (aside from Dollhouse)!

Cordelia Chase

Cordelia Chase

Cordelia begins her journey through Joss’ world in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and when we first meet her, she is “Queen C”. Cheerleader, ruler of her popular clique, and self centered as all get out. Cordelia provided the comic relief (“Excuse me, but I have to call everyone I have ever met right now!”), but under her perfect hair and clothes, Cordy is a character that is bursting with potential.

The flip side of Cordelia is really brought out during Buffy’s second season when she discovers Buffy’s secret. While she still freaks out, she also helps out – which is more than we can say she would have done in season one. She and Xander also find out they’re attracted to each other, which is hilarious in itself. While she and Buffy never become best friends, I think we can all agree that the Buffyverse would have been lacking without Cordelia’s transformation.

Then she moves on to Angel. The Cordelia we get to know in Angel still has remnants of the old Cordy, but has grown so much as a person that she’s also unrecognizable. She’s moved to Los Angeles to become an actress, but ends up helping Angel out with his agency – Angel Investigations. She and Doyle become close – which is ultimately where Cordy receives her powers to have visions of people in trouble.

This is Cordy’s huge turning point and when she becomes the heroine we all remember her for. Talk about a character development, try to point out a female arc better than Cordy’s.

Willow Rosenberg

Willow Rosenberg

I toyed back and forth with Willow, not because I dislike the character, but because I wasn’t sure she was a “top 5”. Then I was outvoted. SO. Onto Willow.

Willow is also from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and begins the series as a meek bookworm, with a major crush on Xander. She is Buffy’s best friend, and helps the Scooby Gang through her knowledge of computers, books, and just all around smarts.

Willow was a character that I loved on Buffy. She was realistic, was smart, and wasn’t sorry because of it. While she needed to work on her self confidence, Willow was a devoted friend and was always ready and willing when she was needed.

Her story continues through the series when she discovers that she’s pretty much a natural witch; and begins to study the Wiccan religion. I won’t go into this in depth, but her powers become a huge plot point in the sixth season.

You can’t mention Willow without mentioning Tara. Tara and Willow were the first lesbian couple to be seen on U.S. television, and Willow’s love for Tara sparked a good deal of angst in the Buffy world. By the end of the series, Willow has transformed from the shy girl we all knew and loved, to a confident woman that we all adore.

Zoe Washburne


In Firefly there is one woman that stands out for me. Zoe.

Zoe is the embodiment of confidence, loyalty, and manages to hold her own on a crew of men. She’s first mate of Serenity, and Captain Reynolds go-to woman.

While we only got to see Zoe for a short period of time, it was enough time to become wowed by her. She has an unwavering loyalty for Mal. Even with her husband on Serenity’s crew – her military training is never far away – she takes orders from her Captain first and foremost. It’s this loyalty that makes her great. Zoe can more than handle herself as a member of the crew as well. What’s better than a woman that can kick Jayne’s butt and still look good doing it?

I won’t even go into how bad assed she is in Serenity; just that her character is solid, and never wavers.

River Tam


River was one, like Willow, that I was unsure about adding to the list. But then I remembered Serenity, so I figured I’d better. First things first, I love River. Her random comments always make me laugh, and even when they seem to come totally out of left field, they somehow make complete sense.

Saved from an Alliance academy by her brother, Simon, River’s brain is. well, scrambled, for lack of a better word. Doctors and scientists did some pretty bad things to River, including removing part of her brain, and ultimately turning her into a living weapon. The last part becomes pretty handy for the Serenity crew.

While she’s a handful because she’s so unpredictable, River is a huge asset to the Firefly universe. Without her, well. the crew probably wouldn’t be around.

Buffy Summers


Not gonna lie, Buffy Summers is my favorite character in the Whedon universe. Typical and predictable, I understand, however she’s amazing and the reason that I got into Joss’ shows to begin with.

The title character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy Summers is a teenage girl just looking to fit in at her new school. She’s funny, beautiful, and happens to be a vampire slayer.

The seven seasons of Buffy follow her and the rest of the Scooby Gang as they battle vampires, rogue slayers, and a LOT of other supernatural creatures. We get to watch Buffy grow up from teenage cheerleader to a strong adult that finally comes to terms with her birthright.

Buffy is fantastic because she’s a small blonde that can come out on top no matter what the fight. And let’s face it, even if she doesn’t, chances are she’ll be resurrected anyway. How can you not love a character that’s died (a couple times) but keeps coming back?

She’s saved the world more times that I care to count, has had to kill her true love, and even sacrifices herself to save her sister (don’t get me started on the Dawn story line). Buffy will forever be my go-to Whedon character.


Alrighty! While that list isn’t by any means complete of all great Female characters from the Whedonverse, I hope the five choice that I came up with inspire some comments! Let me know who you would have picked (Fred is bound to be a top choice; she was number six on my list!!)!

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