Zombies… Plague… Serial Killers… When the world’s about to end, you need a strong character by your side to help you survive. Here are five of the best…
5. Abby Grant, Survivors, BBC 1975
The strongest female lead in one of the first post-apocalyptic television dramas, Abby Grant is clever, resourceful, and tough. Abby won’t ever be your best friend, but she’ll shoot to kill, get her hands dirty, and automatically assume she’s in charge — which, generally, she is. Abby tends to judge people by class, meaning anyone lacking her cut glass accent is viewed as weak, untrustworthy and not very bright. It’s this kind of take-charge attitude and lack of self-doubt that propels Abby Grant into 5th place.
4. Supreme Commander Servalan, Blake’s 7, BBC 1978
OK, so she won’t be your friend ever, but Supreme Commander Servalan will sure as hell have a bunch of willing male survivors build a fully functional fortified village within days of the first corpse hitting the deck. Ruthless, sociopathic, with a superb wardrobe, and exceptional organisational skills, as long as Servalan gets what she wants — total control — everything will be just fine. She’ll keep you and your fellow
serfs survivors alive just so long as you’re completely obedient, vaguely useful, and poorly dressed.
3. Michonne, The Walking Dead, AMC 2010
Ah, Michonne, the epitome of the strong, silent type; you have remained independent, loyal, superbly capable and mentally together under unbelievable pressure. You don’t do emotion, you don’t do girly, you don’t do power plays, mind games or gossip. On the show, you didn’t do men — or women — until some show running moron decided it was necessary. Yes, you were hurt by Andrea’s relationship with the Governor, but you got over it. You moved on.
You would have been in the no. 1 slot for sure except this romance with Rick you’ve been lumbered with is making you vulnerable and is likely to bring you down. At least in the graphic novels you’ve hooked up with more interesting characters and had a much more rounded life. Michonne, if you actually have to be in a relationship (although frankly, it doesn’t suit you), you definitely deserve better. Dump Rick and do what you’re best at: move on.
2. Debra Morgan, Dexter, Showtime 2006
So we never got to see how Debra would perform in a post-apocalyptic society, but we can probably make some educated guesses. Unlike some of the other characters here who would only help keep you alive while you were useful, Debra would always have your back. As your super-skinny, foul-mouthed best friend, you know she doesn’t eat much, right? So no-one’s going to kick her out of a malnourished settlement for taking too much food. Debra may not have the brainpower to re-build the national grid or the social skills to negotiate her way out of an armed stand-off without getting shot, but like, who cares? Never less than entertaining, Debra is a deeply moral character, who would make an ideal, if hilarious, survival skills trainer for the under-tens, should any of you be able to stand still long enough to breed.
1. Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace, Battlestar Galactica, NBC Universal
At number 1 we have the real deal: Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace, fighter pilot, war hero, piano player, artist, gambler… The original Starbuck way back in the 70s was a childish fop. Turning the reimagined Starbuck into a tough, senior ranking, woman with attitude was a stroke of genius. So why is she your best chance of surviving the collapse of civilisation? Admittedly, there won’t be much call for her flying abilities, but Starbuck always leads from the front. She knows how to set up camp on a hostile planet. She knows how to organise people and maintain discipline. She can fight, she can plan, and ultimately, if it came to it, she would sacrifice herself to save your sorry ass. That is why Kara Thrace comes out top in our list. Starbuck, we salute you.