Everyone hates air travel unless it’s by private jet. With airline companies charging an arm and a leg just to take a small bag on board, to crunching seats even closer so there’s zero legroom in order to save some cash, flying isn’t the glamorous experience it used to be. Even worse, though, is the way that air travel physically affects your body. Read on to find out how!
What Did You Say? And Actually, I Can’t Taste Anything Either
You’ll probably be shocked to learn that a staggering 1/3 of your taste buds are rendered useless while you’re in the air (insert your own lame joke about airplane food here). In addition to losing your sense of taste, your hearing is also severely compromised. Due to the dryness and air pressure, your sinuses and ears are majorly affected.
Unbutton Your Jeans
The laws of physics apply to all matter in the universe – that includes everything from a bag of peanuts to yes, the human body. What this means is that the same way changes in air pressure and elevation can make a bag of peanuts expand, the same phenomenon occurs in your body. Gas build up in your gut can lead to stomach troubles, major bloating, and, of course, constipation.
So how can you combat the harmful effects of plane travel?
Though it’s tempting to imbibe on the flight, avoiding alcohol is clearly the way to go. Drinking can affect your body’s natural circadian rhythms, making it harder for you to get some quality shut-eye while you’re on your journey. In addition to that, alcohol is a major cause of dehydration, and you’re already prone to be dehydrated just by flying. It’s better not to compound it. Make sure to drink plenty of water and even sparkling soda to stay hydrated.
There are many things to love about science fiction: cool space battles, time travel, fantastical plots, and of course, amazing characters that are larger than life. Of course, many of those amazing characters are women, and are undoubtedly some of the coolest characters to ever grace the big screen. From fighting off cyborgs sent back in time, to rescuing space wizards from dark lords, these are some of the best female characters in Sci Fi, as well as what they look like today.
Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor – The Terminator
Imagine a meek waitress who has to, quite suddenly, evade a cyborg from the future, destroy it, then raise her son to be the savior of the human race following a machine-facilitated war. That was Sarah Connor, whose transformation from damsel in distress to hero was witnessed via the first two Terminator movies.
Linda Hamilton received an MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance and Most Desirable Female following Terminator 2, and she also recently reprised the role of Sarah Connor in Terminator: Dark Fate.
Kate Mulgrew as Kathryn Janeway – Star Trek
Mulgrew’s character, Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager, is sometimes looked down upon for her erratic command behavior, in which she sometimes handles things calmly, and sometimes very emotionally. But then again, unlike Kirk or Picard, her crew isn’t Starfleet, and she has no backup.
So she has to play as a mediator who juggles a ton of responsibilities and struggles no other captain has ever had to face. For that reason, we want to include her on this list, even if she isn’t appreciated by all the Trekkies out there.
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley – Alien
Want to cement your place as a top Sci Fi heroine? Well, doing battle against horrifying aliens that spit acid and have a second mouth on their tongue is a great way to do that. We’re talking about Ripley, of course. This absolute boss sticks it to the aliens with no fear. What’s not to love?
Sigourney Weaver received Academy level accolades for her role, which is something that doesn’t happen often with how often the Academy ignores Sci Fi movies and roles. Even they couldn’t ignore just how awesome this actress and character were!
Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura – Star Trek
OK, so Uhura isn’t the warrior, ultimate soldier type Sci Fi heroine. Her place on this list is more of what she represented: Nichelle Nichols was one of the very few African American women presented in a big role on television in 1966. That role had a ton of influence.
Whoopi Goldberg, Dr. Mae Jemison, and even Martin Luther King were all influenced by Nichelle Nichols and the role she played: a strong, capable woman who was just as important and respected as all the other members of her crew, with race and gender having no bearing.
Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully – The X-Files
Dana Scully isn’t on this list because she’s rough and tough, but because she’s smart, rational, educated and intellectually competent. There’s not enough of those types of heroines in Sci Fi. Of course, Gillian Anderson’s character had to counter the crazy theories of her partner.
Playing a strong foil to another type of character is tough, and Gillian Anderson played a character that was perfectly straight laced: but also able to entertain some crazy theories herself, when the time called for it. Another great heroine with a fascinating dichotomy.
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger – Harry Potter
When it comes to wizards and withces, we’d be remiss not to include Hermione on this list of Sci Fi heroines. We guess you could argue that this series is more fantasy than Sci Fi, but who cares? What’s really important here is acknowledging that Hermione is a fantastic heroine.
Smart, capable, reliable and willing to punch Malfoy, Emma Watson perfectly portrayed this character, and her excellent performance throughout the years certainly served to skyrocket her career as an actress.
Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity – The Matrix
Ah, The Matrix. Serious cult classic right there. We won’t say that it was because of Trinity, the super awesome Sci Fi heroine, but her presence there certainly didn’t hurt at all. After all, some people felt that she was cooler than the main character, and who can blame them?
In fact, this was one of those roles that pretty much defined Carrie-Anne Moss’s career as an actress. No matter how cool she is in any other film, everyone will always recognize her as the actress who played Trinity. We call that the “Harry Potter Effect.”
Jodie Foster as Ellie Arroway – Contact
We love our intellectual heroines because they get to prove that competence isn’t all about whether or not you can fight. Ellie Arroway is one such character who has to deal with contact from alien life that involves getting a faster than light spaceship built.
Oh, and she has to embark on it as the first human to engage in FTL. But in all of that, she’s a smart, rational character that keeps her wits about her no matter what happens, and we like to have those types of intellectually competent heroines from time to time.
Milla Jovovich as Alice – Resident Evil
Alice is in a weird place, as she exists in the Resident Evil movies but not the games. But she’s so cool in those six movies that she starred in that sometimes you wish she was a game protagonist. We’ll admit, the character Milla Jovovich gets a little too overpowered by the end of the movies, but hey.
Sometimes you enjoy a super overpowered hero that no one can take down, and that type of hero is something that female characters are rarely allowed to be for some reason. That said, we’re more than happy with the mark Alice has left on Sci Fi after all these years.
Emily Blunt as Rita Vrataski – Edge of Tomorrow
Sure, Tom Cruise was the protagonist of this movie about reliving the same battle over and over again, but Rita Vrataski had a way more heroic vibe about her: even when Cruise became competent as a soldier, she was always showing him up with flair and combative style.
She’s more of a classic type of Sci Fi heroine, taking names, but sometimes it’s nice to have a female character that can go toe to toe with any enemy, and never has that taken away from her for some stupid plot point.
Sarah Gellar as Buffy Summers – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy Summers is beloved for the way she subverted silly horror movie tropes in which the ditzy blonde cheerleader always gets taken out first. Buffy turns that on her head, hunting vampires and having plenty of time for her love life in the process. Is it any wonder everyone loves her?
Best part is, Gellar’s character developed and matured greatly over the course of the series, to the point where she was eventually training a whole guild of future slayers. We’re all for that character development, it really adds complexity!
Lucy Lawless as Xena – Xena, Warrior Princess
Initially a villain in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Xena eventually got her own show, and in many ways it was even better than the show that spawned it. Xena is one of the few female heroes in Sci Fi that starts as a bad person but gets a truly noteworthy redemption arc throughout the course of the show.
Xena paved the way for a ton of heroines in Sci Fi after her, and that’s in no small part due to the fantastic performance that Lucy Lawless consistently provided for fans of this spinoff turned hero.
Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck – Battlestar Galactica
A stark opposite to Roslin from the same series, Starbuck is a heroine that’s more about punching stuff and being tough, which we always love. But she’s a deeper character than that, constantly torn between duty and her personal feelings.
It’s tough to put an interesting spin on the dedicated soldier schtick, but Kate Sackhoff manages to pull that off very well, which is a big reason that we value her contribution to the female Sci Fi roster so much. There’s always a place for the rough and tumble types!
Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham – Fringe
Some Sci Fi has female heroes that play secondary roles to male protagonists, but not Olivia Dunham. A heroine that’s not afraid to stand up to her superiors while she investigates the world of fringe science even as she works to unravel a mysterious past, Fringe just wouldn’t be the same without her.
Of course, anything we can appreciate about a character is mostly thanks to their actor or actress, which in this case is Anna Torv. Without her excellent acting, even a well-written character like Olivia would fall flat.
Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith – Doctor Who
What is there that needs to be said here? Sarah Jane Smith is one of, if not the most well-known companion of the titular Doctor throughout the long-running series. In fact, one could say that she pretty much established exactly what a companion was supposed to be.
Many companions in the series followed in her footsteps, but none of them could quite capture the same energy and atmosphere as Sarah Jane Smith, in no small part due to the performance of Elisabeth Sladen.
Claudia Christian as Susan Ivanova – Babylon 5
Any character who can unironically say “I am [blank] incarnate… God sent me.” is a character that needs to be taken seriously. That would be Susan Ivanova, whose long list of tragedies is a bit too long to talk about. Her cold Russian cynicism made this second in command type character a joy to watch every time she was on screen.
Strangely enough, even though Claudia Christian left the show at the end of season four, her character was still the one to deliver the final line of the entire series. Maybe that’s a testament to just how amazing her character was.
Gina Torres as Zoe Washburne – Firefly
Everyone knows that Firefly is that one space western style show that ended way too soon, despite being beloved. That said, it still lasted long enough to provide us with some fantastic female heroes, such as Zoe Washburne, the smart-mouthed, admittedly morally ambiguous soldier with a soft side.
Really, she fits a mold that a lot of Sci Fi heroines do, but the trusty comrade that the male protagonist has a history with is something that can be done to perfection, and Gina Torres made sure that happened with her performance.
Tricia Helfer as Number Six – Battlestar Galactica
Number Six is very similar to a Terminator from the series of the same name: a Cylon made to look like a human. That said, she’s an excellent Sci Fi heroine (or antagonist, depending on how you look at it) because she’s so varied: trying to become human, actually becoming more human than many human characters.
Of course, she also plays an integral role throughout the events of the story, so having a compelling character arc and substantial stake in the story is definitely something that benefits Six’s spot as a heroine on this list.
Jessica Alba as Max Guevara – Dark Angel
Here we have a genetically enhanced super soldier that escaped from a shady government that created her, and when they find her again, she has to keep her friends safe while hiding the secret of her childhood. Does that sound like a compelling heroine? Because she was.
Unfortunately, once the show started focusing on characters other than her, it started to decline pretty heavily. Just goes to show that she was the heroine the show needed, and the one it deserved. They should have just stuck with what worked.
Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala – Star Wars
Some people may be upset to see Padme mentioned before Leia, but let’s be real: Leia’s mother did a lot more fighting, snarking, and politicking than her daughter throughout the trilogy she appeared in, so we have to give a slightly higher position to her.
It’s safe to say that this heroine wasn’t the only type of role Natalie Portman ever starred in, but it’s one of the few Sci Fi roles she took on. Is it too much to ask for Portman to get some more screen time now that Disney is making all these new shows?
Radha Mitchell as Carolyn Fry – Pitch Black
Sure, Pitch Black technically launched the series that made our boy Riddick popular, but the main character of the movie was actually Carolyn Fry, who we love for a particular reason. It’s actually because of her immorality and real redemption arc.
Fry starts the movie off sacrificing crewmates for her own safety, and having a female protagonist who starts off as a bad person but actually had a redemption arc is pretty rare in cinema no matter where you look, which is why we love her so much.
Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin – Battlestar Galactica
When people think of Sci Fi heroines, they often envision the tough, brawling kind that win fights. But more people should envision the strategists that lead people and win battles on maps. That’s Laura Roslin from Battlestar Galactica, who pretty much leads the surviving human race.
Of course, at some point she goes a little crazy, but that just makes her an even better character, with a dichotomy between rationale and delusion that makes her compelling pretty much every single time she shows up on screen, in no small part thanks to Mcdonnell’s stellar acting.
Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa – Star Wars
Would this be a good time to tell you that this list isn’t actually ranking these heroines? We’re not making a statement on who is better than who: we’re making a statement on how amazing each character is, which includes Leia, an absolute classic of a Sci Fi heroine that many a heroine was modeled after following her debut.
It’s a sad day every time we remember that Carrie Fisher is no longer with us, but if there’s one thing that will never fade, it’s her legacy as one of the most memorable, most beloved Sci Fi heroines to ever grace the big screen. Don’t forget it, nerfherders!
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow – The Avengers
People often forget that superhero movies do fall in the realm of Sci Fi. On top of that, people unfortunately tend to forget about Black Widow, probably because she isn’t superhuman in a world full of them. That said, she’s still an incredible heroine who takes names, all while looking great.
She doesn’t take trash from anyone, has great chemistry with her team, and doesn’t shy away from any challenge, which is pretty much everything we could ask for in a heroine. Now, if only they could actually get her movie out one of these days.
Scarlett Byrne as Pansy Parkinson – Harry Potter
It’s hard for any female character to shine in a franchise where Hermione Granger exists. That said, Scarlett Byrne managed to do so as Pansy Parkinson, even if it was only for a brief while. We won’t say she was in another’s shadow, but at least she managed to be pretty cool while she was around.
Or maybe it’s just that Harry Potter as a franchise didn’t have a whole lot of focus on female characters, so any of them that managed to stand out was really easy to notice. Either way, we’re giving her a spot on this list.
Terry Farrell as Jadzia Dax – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
There is no denying that Jadzia Dax was a thoroughly important character. Terry Farrell played the memorable Trill. However, it has been nearly 25 years since the talented actress was doing her thing in out-of-space. Since then, Farrell has had her fair share of roles, both on the big and the small screen.
She has appeared in movies such as Deep Core and Tripping the Rift, while also having a main role in the series Becker, playing the character Regina “Reggie” Kostas for a whopping 94 episodes.
Catherine Tate as Donna Noble – Doctor Who
Many would argue that David Tennant had the best run as the Doctor in the show’s modern run, and while all his companions were incredible in their own right, Catherine Tate absolutely shined! Notably, she was the first companion of the new era not to be romantically interested in the alien.
She was fierce, emotional, incredibly brave and empathetic, and always gave as good as she got. It absolutely broke our hearts when she left the show in such a tragic manner. We just hope someday she’ll get the happy ending she deserves!
Amanda Tapping as Captain Samantha Carter – Stargate SG-1
Captain Carter was absolutely one of our STEM role models growing up. She was as smart as Dr. Daniel Jackson, as accomplished as Colonel Jack O’Neill, and as empathetic as Teal’c. She’s one character who has never let anyone define who she could be.
The astrophysicist/engineer/pilot was a key member of every assignment, often being the one to save her companions from the many dangers they would encounter. She also allowed herself to be typically girly — caring to always look feminine and professional, and unafraid of loving fiercely.
Halle Berry as Storm – The X-Men Movies
While the team is called the X-Men, there are plenty of amazing women at the very heart of it. Storm, often shown as Professor X’s right hand, is especially impressive. Despite being incredibly powerful with her weather-control powers, she never let all that power go to her head and corrupt her.
We also love her gentler, more caring side as she acts as a surrogate mother to all the orphaned and displaced young mutants at the Academy, and the fact that she does everything in her power to protect and encourage those kids.
Evangeline Lilly as Hope Pym – Ant-Man and the Wasp
It’s just fun seeing a movie where the incredibly smart and capable character has to deal with mentoring an incompetent fumbling buffoon. Hope Pym fills those shoes beautifully from the very first Ant-Man movie, but she really shines when she gets to actually be the hero in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
The Wasp proves again and again that she’s an absolute force to be reckoned with. While, yes, she’s incredibly powerful once she dons her suit, it’s actually her quick and creative thinking that’s her real superpower.
Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning – Orphan Black
With her criminal past and her complicated life, Sarah Manning is an incredibly flawed character, but that’s why we love her so much. Her fierce loyalty and willingness to sacrifice anything for her newfound family are also admirable.
But, the real reason the show is such a must-watch is Tatiana Maslany’s amazing acting as she plays about half the main characters, while still managing to make every woman distinct and interesting in her own right. This is one show to check out just for their amazing main actress.
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa – Mad Max: Fury Road
While the name might suggest that Max is the main character of this movie, that’s not actually the truth — it’s absolutely impossible to watch Mad Max: Fury Road and not realize that the real hero is, without a doubt Furiosa.
Watching Furiosa make her way through that dystopian world while doing everything in her considerable power to save and then protect the wives is truly inspiring. Plus, it turned a pretty male-oriented action movie into a powerful feminist blockbuster hit! We would absolutely love to see more of Furiosa in the future.
Alex Kingston as River Stone – Doctor Who
While Alex Kingston has had many memorable roles (especially in British productions), one of her most well-known performances has to be as the Doctor’s wife, River Song. Shrouded in mystery, she was an instant hit with both new and old fans of the long-running show.
And we absolutely understand why — she’s basically Indiana Jones’ cooler, spunkier, and prettier, space-and-time-traveling sister (move over Harrison Ford). She’s incredibly captivating, stealing the show in every episode she appears in, as she flirts her way to the Doctor’s (and the audience’s) hearts!
Rachel McAdams as Clare Abshire – The Time Traveler’s Wife
Fun fact — Rachel McAdams has played a time traveler’s love interest in two different sci-fi rom-coms. And she absolutely shines as Clare Abshire. Being a regular human in a relationship with a supernatural can get incredibly complicated — but, Clare inspires us with how she deals with the complex situation.
She’s fiercely loyal and loving, as she finds a way to balance her difficult love life with living a full life of her own. She’s also an amazing artist — using her work to both escape and understand her and Henry’s strange reality.
Zoe Saldana as Gamora – Guardians of the Galaxy
While Peter Quill might claim to be the Guardians’ leader, we all know who’s really at the head of this group. Gamora’s childhood, though it forged her into the fierce fighter that she is, was far from ideal, as she was pitted against her sister by Thanos and punished for anything less than perfect.
But, all that just made her more empathetic and bold in the face of pain and injustice. She’s the kind of character that knows that, sometimes, to do the right thing, you have to break a few arbitrary rules. We really hope we’ll somehow get to see more of her in the MCU’s future.
Rose McIver as Olivia Moore – iZombie
iZombie flew pretty under the radar, but for those who did catch it, it was absolutely impossible to not fall in love with Olivia Moore almost immediately. There’s just something mesmerizing about the way Rose McIver manages to fit whatever personality Liv is having in each episode while still holding on to her core characteristics.
We mostly just love the growth Liv undergoes throughout the series as she learns how to navigate her new unalive state with creativity, humor, and compassion. She also makes working a morgue seem not so terrible, which is pretty amazing all on its own.
Jamie Clayton as Nomi Marks – Sense8
Here’s another show that was canceled way too soon! The Wachowski sisters’ passion project shined even brighter thanks to the Nomi Marks. The San Francisco-based hacktivist and blogger is undeniably the heart of our Sensates as they all rally for the first time to save her from a pretty terrifying situation.
And, let’s be honest, they wouldn’t have survived at least half of what they did without her computer skills! Nomi also perfectly portrays both the hardships and joys of embracing your queer identity. Plus, her and Amanita’s love is definitely #relationshipgoals!
Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston – Timeless
Here’s another show that should have gotten at least one more season, even just to give Lucy Preston more screen time. From the moment she’s introduced, Lucy shows that she’s a force to be reckoned with. This history professor turned time traveler consistently proves how smart, compassionate, and brave she is.
While Wyatt Logan is the muscle, and Rufus Carlin is the pilot and engineer, Lucy is the undeniable leader and moral compass of the little group as they run around American history trying to save the world.
Melissa Benoist as Supergirl – Supergirl
The Arrow-verse is filled to the brim with amazing female characters like Felicity Smoak, Iris West, Caitlin Snow, and many more. But, the first to hold her own show was absolutely Kara Danvers, a.k.a. Supergirl! Superman’s cousin is, without a doubt, one of the strongest characters in her world.
But, she’s also funny, loving, clumsy, and somewhat awkward, and we absolutely love her for it! She just strikes that perfect balance between being bullet-proof and vulnerable. And no matter what, her heart, compassion, and love always lead her actions.
Brie Larson as Captain Marvel – Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel made Marvel Cinematic Universe history when she was the first female hero of the franchise to get her own solo feature film. And while many criticized Larson’s portrayal for not being emotive enough, it was an undeniable hit.
But, honestly, Carol Danvers being reserved and fearing her emotions is part of why we love her so much! Her strength isn’t just in her incredible superpowers, but also in her resolve and perseverance — qualities every little girl should see and learn from.
Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori – Pacific Rim
Who would have possibly thought that this Robots vs. Kaiju bro action movie would become such a high-quality, emotionally-driven sensation? We certainly didn’t! Definitely, one of the things that drove its success was Mako — the sweet, heartbroken orphan turned powerful warrior.
Besides kicking some serious Kaiju butt, Mako and Raleigh’s emotional connection is what truly drives the plot as the two find ways to support each other and encourage one another to be better and fight harder.
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso – Star Wars
Star Wars is getting a lot of mentions on this list, but then again, it is one of the biggest Sci Fi series of all time. Jyn Erso from Rogue One is often overlooked in terms of females from this franchise, but she deserves more recogntion.
Felicity Jones did a great job of portraying a compelling female protagonist that didn’t need the Force to achieve great things or overcome great obstacles. Moreover, she was a great hero because she managed to inspire others and rely on them: not by doing everything herself.
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games
Despite a name that is ridiculous even by Sci Fi standards, Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a prime example of a more modern Sci Fi heroine that hits most if not all of the checkmarks needed for a great character. Strong yet vulnerable, inspiring leader, able combatant, everything you need.
Needless to say, her portrayal of the character was well-loved by everyone, as Jennifer Lawrence is in fact the highest grossing action heroine of all time. In other words, her role as Katniss Everdeen has made her a whole lot of money!
Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw – Prometheus
As evidenced by Ripley, the Alien franchise has no shortage of awesome female heroes. But special mention should go to Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, portrayed by Noomi Rapace. This heroine had to extract an alien baby from her own body using surgical equipment. Super metal!
Simply for portraying a seriously gruesome and gritty scene in a way that few actresses are asked to do, we feel that Noomi Rapace deserves a place on this list. Not every Sci Fi heroine has to be from far in the past!
Amy Adams as Louise Banks – Arrival
Speaking of intellectual heroines starring in more realistic alien contact movies, Amy Adams as Louise Banks deserves a mention. Recent though this movie may be, Adams’ emotional yet subtle performance of a woman who has to translate an alien language while receiving glimpses of the future is something else.
In fact, we’re kind of upset that she hasn’t received any sort of official reward or accolade for the role yet, even though she provided such an excellent performance. What is the world coming to these days?
Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine – Star Trek
Playing a character that used to be a mindless Borg drone is harder than it sounds. But Jeri Ryan did a great job of portraying the freed drone Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager. In fact, she did such a good job that she was nominated four times for a Saturn award.
She also did a good enough job to be called back to reprise her role in Star Trek: Picard. That being the case, it’s hard to deny that she’s the perfect actress for this strong and capable heroine, and no one seems to disagree.