So, the new "Star Trek" movie is taking a lot of heat in the blogosphere for its conspicuous lack of female leaders. The J.J. Abrams update of the franchise conceived in the early 1960s takes place 300 years the in future ... and yet all of the chicks are still wearing miniskirts.
Cinematical asserts that the Trek of 2009 ought to reflect "some of the strides that women have made in society" since the original series, while a Guardian op-ed complains that female characters "need to engage in procreation or procreation-like activities with a Kirk and/or Spock in order to find their way into the world of 'Star Trek.'"
OK, valid points. But why hold up the new "Trek" as an example of on-screen misogyny? You can't really call out sci-fi as a genre, since it's boasted some of the most progressive female characters of the past decade -- from "Star Trek: Voyager"'s Captain Janeway to "Battlestar Galactica"'s female president and badass fighter pilots. You're more likely to see women marginalized or reduced to shoe-and-wang-obsessed dummards in your "Bride Wars" and your "Fast and Furious"es.
In fact, "Star Trek" has a pretty solid alibi: It's got a bunch of beloved characters that probably shouldn't be effed with. Asking the writers to add a new female lead would be like shoehorning a she-hobbit into "Fellowship of the Ring." Meaning that if we want more characters like Ripley, Trinity and Alice, somebody should probably write them afresh. We nominate a girl.
13 & 12. Jerri Ryan & Jolene Blalock: 'Star Trek': 'Voyager' and 'Enterprise'
Here's the secret to becoming a breakout "Star Trek" babe: There ain't a ton of competition. Prior to the introduction of half-Borg/all-skintight- bodysuit Seven of Nine and "sexiest Vulcan ever" T'Pol, the queen bee hottie of the Trek universe was Marina Sirtis. Remember her? She played empath Deanna Troi on "Star Trek: TNG" and was ... ah, forget it.
Sure, statuesque blond goddess Tricia "Six" Helfer bared it all for Playboy. But give Park points for being the thinking man's Cylon stunner. And they're both a whole lot prettier than those clunky robots from the 70s "Galactica." Seriously, was anyone ever scared of those things? They looked like the hood of a Ford Pinto.
9. Sean Young ('Blade Runner'/'Dune')
Before descending into crazy-town, never to be heard from again, Ms. Young earned classic sci-fi babe status as a sexy replicant in "Blade Runner" and as, uh, whatever those people in "Dune" were called. We'd gladly "trade some spice" with her, if you know what we mean. (By that we mean battle the House Atreides for control of the interstellar spice trade.)
8. Milla Jovovich ('Fifth Element')
Better known these days as the star of "Resident Evil VII: Electric Zombie Boogaloo," Jovovich will forever be remembered for that tissue-paper costume she wore as Leeloo in "The Fifth Element." (And for the phrase "Leeloo Dallas Multipass.") Now if only we could forget about "Ultraviolet."
7. Nichelle Nichols (Classic 'Star Trek')
We all know Kirk's reputation for locking lips with alien babes in go-go boots and bouffant wigs. But it was his kiss with Uhura that made TV history and inspired a million creepy fan-fiction websites. (Bonus points to Nichols for being one of the few highlights of the current season of "Heroes.")
6. Morena Baccarin ('Firefly')
The appeal of Morena's character from Joss Whedon's cult TV series can be summed up in two words: space hooker. (Sorry, space "companion.") The sultry Baccarin further secured her place on the screen savers of geeks everywhere by joining the cast of "Stargate: SG-1." Hmm ... maybe it's time Morena considered a role in something that isn't viewed exclusively by 30-something males in their parents' basements.
5. Natasha Henstridge ('Species')
Let's face it: "Species" isn't exactly "Alien." (Half the movie is Forest Whitaker droning on about the alien's "emotions.") But Henstridge's Sil is a classic movie monster (with a freaky design by H.R. Giger) who proves the age-old sci-fi axiom, "sex with hot alien chick = gruesome death by tentacle."
4. Zooey Deschanel ('The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy')
Zooey's big puppy-dog eyes were the best part of this sci-fi "comedy." If we had to be stuck on a spaceship with Sam Rockwell and a depressed robot Alan Rickman, having Zooey along as our co-pilot would almost make it bearable. Almost.
3. Carrie Fisher ('Return of the Jedi')
Oh, like we weren't going to include this one. Every male with even a passing interest in sci-fi has the image of Princess Leia, bound and squeezed into slave-garb, permanently burned into his retinas. But we also dig the "take charge" Leia who bossed around those annoying Ewoks on Endor. Besides, by that point in Jedi she's totally done it with Han. Like, at least once.
2. Kari Wuhrer ('Sliders')
The premise of "Sliders" had something to do with dimension hopping and that annoying guy from "Kangaroo Jack." But what we really remember was the addition of Z-movie babe Kari Wuhrer (always the mark of quality) to the cast mid-series. We've loved Kari since her days opposite Colin Quinn and Adam Sandler on MTV's "Remote Control."
Get advice about love and relationships, sex tips, fashion tips, beauty news, ideas for entertaining at home, smart shopping, interior decor, women's health, thoughts on politics and news, plus funny videos, celebrity lists, and animal pictures on Lemondrop.com.