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Day One: Favourite female character in a LEAD ROLE
Kara Thrace/Starbuck — Battlestar Galactica
This is an ensemble show, and I'm not sure if she technically counts as the lead, but she's the character everyone in my non-scientific survey first thinks of when they think about BSG.
Kara is all-around awesome. She's (allegedly) the best Viper pilot in the Colonial Fleet and an exceptional strategist, even if her ideas can lean towards the insane. She's an amazing fighter, incredibly brave, doesn't really play well with others, and especially doesn't lie down and take anyone's bullshit. Even when she really, really should.
One of the very interesting things about how Kara's written is that she gets a lot of plotlines that usually would go to male characters, and gets a lot of what I'd usually class as manpain. She has a lot of sex. She has a lot of sex with people for terrible reasons (including "if I close my eyes I can pretend you're this other guy"). She's the first character we see explicitly torturing a Cylon POW. She struggles with alcoholism. She has incredibly, incredibly complicated relationships with other characters, ranging from being someone whom the Admiral and President trust on incredibly dangerous and critical operations, to the many interactions with Lee where they both behave like six-year-olds.
This is definitely one of the reasons I love BSG so much. The characters are complicated, and fully-realised, and allowed to have pretty serious flaws at the same time as you love them to bits. And I love Kara to bits. She is the most important character in the show, and I won't be convinced otherwise.
"Can I be a suspect again? Please?"
"Kara Thrace and her Special Destiny? That sounds like a bad cover band."
"Everyone I know is fighting to get back what they had. I'm fighting because I don't know how to do anything else."
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