Over the last 10 years, the superhero genre has exploded. The superhero boom started in theaters, but has gradually found its way onto the small screen and streaming services alike. Since the debut episode of Arrow aired five years ago, more than 20 new superhero TV shows have premiered, including heavy-hitters like Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Flash, Gotham and Daredevil. While some of those shows (like Marvel's Agent Carter and Constantine) have already been cancelled, new shows are constantly springing up to take their place.
There haven't been as many superhero TV shows as there have been movies over the years. While the shows don't have the kind of budgets that the movies do, there's one thing which the movies have lacked, that the shows have in plenty — strong female characters. While the movies have only given us the likes of Black Widow and Wonder Woman, all of the superhero shows have given us some strong and badass female characters. Here are the top 10 actresses who can kick some serious ass:
12. Katie Cassidy
Character: Laurel Lance (Black Canary)
Katie Cassidy started out the first couple of seasons of Arrow as a lawyer and love interest for Oliver Queen and Tommy Merlyn. In the comics, Laurel is more famously known as Black Canary. During the second season of Arrow, Laurel's sister, Sara was introduced as the Canary. It was this choice that led to some outrage among fans for changing the Canary's origin. Eventually, those fans fell in love with Caity Lotz's portrayal, somewhat similar to that of the change of attitude among the fans towards Ben Affleck's Batman. However, the writers of Arrow decided to kill off Sara Lance in the premiere episode of Season 3 and follow the traditional origin story for Laurel Lance. However, Katie Cassidy's fighting skills were nowhere near that of Caity Lotz's fighting skills. It took a bit of time for the fans to adjust to the whole situation, but Katie Cassidy made a lot of improvements in the fourth season and gave the fans some fight scenes worth remembering, however few they might be. After Laurel Lance passed away in Season 4, Katie Cassidy came back on Arrow as Black Siren and she's been screaming more and kicking less ever since.
11. Melissa Benoist
Character: Kara Danvers (Supergirl)
Supergirl aired just a month ahead of Jessica Jones, which made it the first female-centric superhero show in a long time. But we didn't get to see Melissa Benoist in bad-ass fight sequences as much as we would have liked to in the first season. The reason behind that is probably her superpowers. When you can use your powers, why waste time in hand-to-hand combat? We even saw her adoptive sister, Alex Danvers defeat her once. If The Flash had to fight without his powers against Arrow, he would probably have faced a same situation as Supergirl. Ever since Supergirl made its way onto The CW Network, we got to see Melissa Benoist fight it out a lot more. We even got an epic fight scene between Supergirl and Superman in the finale.
10. Elodie Yung
Character: Elektra Natchios
Elodie Yung joined the cast of Daredevil in Season 2 as Elektra. Although it was a massive improvement on Jennifer Garner's version, we didn't get to see her as much as we would have loved to. As a result, the number of fight sequences she was a part of was very limited. The trailer for the upcoming The Defenders series revealed that Yung will be back as Elektra — but in a villainous role. Maybe going up against Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones would bring out the best in her, making her move up the list.
9. Jessica Henwick
Show: Iron Fist
Character: Colleen Wing
Finn Jones wasn't the only actor who made their way onto Iron Fist from Game Of Thrones. Jessica Henwick also made the switch from HBO's hit series to Netflix-Marvel Universe. Jessica Henwick had the potential to take on difficult fight scenes and make it look easy. However, those potentials were underserved in Iron Fist. That being said, Jessica has done enough to go past Yung on the list. Just like Elodie Yung, Henwick will be back for The Defenders later this year. The Defenders could be her opportunity to live up to her potentials.
8. Krysten Ritter
Show: Jessica Jones
Character: Jessica Jones
Krysten Ritter faced the same problems that Melissa Benoist did. When your character has superpowers, you don't need mad fighting skills to defeat your opponent. But Ritter has had more hand-to-hand combat scenes in one season than what Melissa has had in two seasons. We can't wait to see her in The Defenders later this year fighting alongside the likes of Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. From what we have seen so far in trailer for The Defenders, Krysten Ritter has definitely stepped up her game and is ready to give three of her male counterparts a run for their money.
7. Camren Bicondova
Character: Selina Kyle (Catwoman)
Camren Bicondova just turned 18. However, it sure as hell doesn't seem like it. If you're playing Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman, you need to know how to fight, and Camren Bicondova has shown that from time to time on Gotham. The only reason she's so far down the list is because we don't get to see her in fight sequences as much. But given an oppurtunity, Bicondova excels at it. With Season 3 of Gotham drawing to an end with Season 4 on the way this fall, we hope to see more of Selina Kyle next season.
6. Chloe Bennet
Show: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Character: Skye/Daisy Johnson (Quake)
No other actor on this list has evolved quite like the way Chloe Bennet has on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. over the last four seasons. She started off by playing a computer hacker who became an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. before becoming an Inhuman. We have even seen her fighting skills evolve. Chloe Bennet gave the fans some fight scenes worth remembering before turning into an Inhuman. We have seen her mostly use her powers since. In spite of the fact that her character has powers, she's higher up the list than Melissa Benoist and Krysten Ritter, because Daisy Johson learned how to fight before she got her powers and she could still easily take anyone down without her powers.
5. Chyler Leigh
Character: Alex Danvers
Although the show is about Supergirl, her adoptive sister Alex Danvers has had more bad-ass scenes than Supergirl. Chyler Leigh has done a brilliant job as Alex Danvers. In case you didn't know, Chyler Leigh's the mother of a 14 year old, an 11 year old and a 8 year old. But the way she fights on Supergirl, you'll forget all that even if you knew. Compared to the first season, fight scenes featuring her have fewer. We can't get enough of her and want to see more of her in the third season of Supergirl.
4. Willa Holland
Character: Thea Queen (Speedy)
Willa Holland spent the first season of Arrow as Oliver Queen's spoiled sister and the second season as Roy Harper's love interest, but all of that changed in Season 3. In the finale of Season 2, Willa's character, Thea Queen, left Starling City with her biological father Malcolm Merlyn and returned in Season 3 as a completely different person. Thea received training in Krav Maga from Malcolm. She showed off her fighting skills throughout the third season of Arrow, before joining Team Arrow as Speedy in Season 4. Thea left Team Arrow in the Season 4 finale. Willa Holland's appearances were limited in Season 5 and we didn't even get to see her fight. We would love to see her fight alongside Stephen Amell again.
3. Adrianne Palicki
Show: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Character: Bobbi Morse
Adrianne Palicki could have played a completely different character in a different superhero show. Adrianne Palicki played Wonder Woman in the 2011 pilot. But the show wasn't picked up. It just wasn't meant to be. Three years later, she landed a role on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Agent Bobbi Morse. The role might not seem as cool as Wonder Woman on paper, but in reality is as bad-ass as Wonder Woman if not more. With the arrival of Adrianne Palicki in Season 2, for once, Ming-Na Wen's Melinda May didn't seem like the ultimate bad-ass on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with her fighting skills on par with that of Ming-Na Wen. Adrianne Palicki left Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. towards the early stages of the second half of Season 3 and was expected star as one of the leads in the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off, Marvel's Most Wanted. Unfotunately that show was also not picked up. Adrianne Palicki hasn't appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since. We can only keep our fingers crossed and hope that she comes back in Season 5.
2. Caity Lotz
Show: DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Character: Sara Lance (White Canary)
As mentioned earlier, Caity Lotz made her debut in Season 2 of Arrow as Laurel's sister, Sara Lance and as the Canary. The announcement of her taking the Canary mantle wasn't taken well by a lot of comic book fans. But she won over everyone's heart with her bad-ass moves. It is evident from her fight scenes that Caity Lotz clearly knows how to fight. She became such a fan-favourite that even after killing her off they had to bring her back and move her to DC's Legends of Tomorrow as the White Canary. Not only did her character become a member of the Legends of Tomorrow, she also became their captain in the second season. She probably would have topped this list if it weren't for a certain actress from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
1. Ming-Na Wen
Show: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Character: Agent Melinda May
When there's a list of badass women from superhero shows, who else could have topped that list but The Cavalry herself? At 53, Ming-Na Wen is by far the oldest person on this list, but it doesn't seem like it at all. Caity Lotz and Adrianne Palicki's skills might be at the same level as that of Ming-Na Wen's. However, the level of fitness that Ming-Na Wen has maintained at that age is what gave her an edge over the other two. Ming-Na Wen was the perfect choice to play Melinda May and she has proved that time and again. After a lot of uncertainty, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. being picked up for Season 5, we can't wait to see her do what she does best again.
Each one of these 10 women has been an inspiration for young girls who want to be just like them when they grow up and that's a bigger achievement than topping this list. Everyone on this list has inspired little girls all around the world. They have managed to do so more than women superheroes from the movies have. The reason for this is that people get to see the likes of Black Widow and Wonder Woman once in every two years, while the likes of Supergirl and White Canary show up on their television screens every week and as a result connect with them more.