Get your Internet argument fingers ready, because here is my list of The Top 10 Whedon Women. Spoiler alert: I killed some of your favorites off before they even got to the list, because that's what happens when you ask, W.W.J.W.D?
10. Black Widow (Avengers)
Black Widow is not a super hero. She's a spy. Yet, she takes and dishes a hard core beating just as much as any of her more genetically (or mechanical suited-ly) endowed counterparts...while in stilettos. Also, without her they'd have had to replace the shawarma scene with a trip to Weinersnitchel. Total Sausage fest.
9. Nandi (Firefly/Serenity)
We all love Inara, but the Companion who really stands out in Firefly is Nandi, one of the best Space Cowgirls to ever own a brothel. In her one episode this women is fierce, feisty and like all characters who we love, gets killed in a beautiful scene that makes us wish we could send revenge Reavers after Whedon.
8. Winifred Burkle (Angel)
Ah, Fred, at first she seemed like a frail damsel who needed to be rescued by a big, sexy supernatural who used to date Buffy Summers (in other words, any vampire). But then, the sneaky little survivor became one of the strongest and most beloved characters on the show, and we will spend eternity screaming: "WHY, ILLYRIA???!! WHYYYYYYYYYYYY??"
7. Faith (Buffy, Angel)
Faith is the reason that most of us tried, and failed, to relate to Dushku as "Echo" in Dollhouse, but more importantly she gave us a bad girl gone bad...gone worse...gone sort of good to love when Buffy's "holier than thou" got so holy that we wanted to stake her. We've all wanted to slap Buffy, and maybe sleep with her. Faith is as close as we get to doing either.
6. Anya Jenkins (Buffy)
Anyanka, Patron Saint Of The Women Scorned. If I have to explain why she is one of the all time best characters then you have never been a woman scorned. So, uh, congratulations on that. Also, you know what does feel like being scorned? WATCHING YOUR FAVORITE ADORKABLE DEMON TURNED HUMAN DIE AT THE VERY END OF A SERIES WHEN YOU THINK EVERYTHING SHOULD BE OKAY.
5. River Tam (Firefly, Serenity)
There was a point when River annoyed me, and that point was more than half of Firefly. But then, as she was given more back story and more badass fight scenes, she grew on me as a girl who is so much more than she seems. And she kills any doubts about her character at the end of "Serenity." Literally.
4. Kaylee Frye (Firefly, Serenity)
Kaylee is probably the most stereotype breaking female character of all time. She is equal parts girly and tomboy, smart and naive and sexual without ever playing up her sexuality. Also, she is the cutest little spaceship mechanic in the history of ever. I just want to carry her around in my pocket, dress her up in ribbons, and have her fix everything in my house.
3. Zoe Washburne (Firefly, Serenity)
She fights better than the guys, has a deadpan sense of humor and an adorable marriage where she is the pants wearer and it's not a problem. So, naturally, that has to end in tragedy. But you know what? Zoe will be okay, because Zoe is the strongest person in the universe. Real or fake.
2. Buffy Summers (Buffy)
The teenage BAMF kicks so much vampire butt it is unreal, all while staying loyal to her friends, and keeping a rad sense of humor. Also, her vampire love story is waaaaaay better than Bella Swan, which makes me feel sorry for tweens today. Do your local tween a favor: introduce her to Buffy.
1. Willow Rosenberg (Buffy)
Willow outranks Buffy, because like any good sidekick/best friend she makes Buffy better. She's smart, she's funny, she's sexy and her relationship with Tara broke barriers and hearts. I will never stop loving Willow just like I will never, ever, ever stop crying over Tara. Although the evil Willow that it brought about was pretty sweet, you have to admit.
*Honorable Mention: Whedon's Wonder Woman
Sadly, she was never allowed to see the light of day, but it doesn't take a singing evil scientist to figure out that Joss tackling one of the most beloved female characters in history is a great idea. It does take a studio executive with a Captain Hammer sized brain to kill it.