Space Girl

By Phil Plait | June 12, 2011 7:00 am

How big a scifi dork are you? Probably not as much as Charmax76, who made this video called "Space Girl", from the song of the same name by The Imagined Village:

Wow. I like the song, but I love the graphics. I recognized something like 3/4 of those scenes, probably more. And I like the order she put them in: you see women in somewhat trivial roles at first, but as the video progresses they get tougher and tougher. Not always, but that’s the trend. That reflects TV and movies, I think, too. Again, not always, but women have much better roles in scifi than they did even 30 years ago. The way video ends is… well. It made me sad. Doctor Who fans know why.

Another very different but clever animation for this song is also online.

Tip o’ the spacesuit visor to Buzzfeed.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, SciFi, TV/Movies
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Comments (65)

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  1. Clever Catch Astronomy Ball | June 17, 2011
  2. General Updates 2011: June « The Outer Hoard | June 21, 2011
  1. Rift

    I’m still in shock over Elisabeth Sladen’s death. She’s the main reason I first became a Doctor Who fan back in 1978 in the first place. Ironically, my fiancee and I watched the pilot episode of “The Sarah Jane Adventures” the day she died.

  2. Gary Ansorge

    Cool Space Girl.

    Elisabeth Sladen, we will miss you,,,

    Gary 7

  3. Lyr

    Great video! I recognized most of the scenes too. :)

  4. Gary Ansorge

    So, Imagined Village, like Dr. Who, has different musicians playing whenever they tour,,,how can an aficionado ever turn into a fan(original meaning) w/o someone to fixate on,,,

    Gary 7

  5. Matunos

    No River Tam. No Mon Mothma. Sad face.

  6. Mark Schaffer

    Should the human race be getting “tougher” or more compassionate?

  7. James

    It was nice to see Earth 2 in there at the end.

  8. Ron1

    @5. Matunos …

    Sure looked like River Tam (with gun) at 2:40.

    Cheers

  9. Grand Lunar

    This is actually the first I ever heard of Elizabeth Sladen’s passing.
    Stupid US press releases.

    Anyway, interesting video. I probably regonized half of the characters.
    Ripley and Sarah Conner are still my all time favorites.

  10. Lars

    While I agree that there is a certain trend, some of the earliest clips in the video show the German sfi-fi “Space Patrol” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raumpatrouille_%E2%80%93_Die_phantastischen_Abenteuer_des_Raumschiffes_Orion), which -though in the minority- had (at least) two strong female characters in security officer Tamara Jagellovsk and space fleet commander General Lydia van Dyke. This was in 1966, at the same time when a female first officer was written out of Star Trek.
    To be fair, Raumpatrouille only made it to 7 episodes, so it might have been ahead of its time.

  11. Michel

    In this post you´ll find the complete list of “quoted” movies:
    http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/forums/viewthread/13768/

  12. Renee Marie Jones

    Awesome video, and I love the song, too. Facinating how a song from the 50s can still sound modern and fresh.

    I had not heard about Sarah Jane. So Sad. We will miss you Elizabeth!

    And now a short rant:

    The copyright maximalists in the US want to wipe this kind of thing out. They say the “owners” of every clip, of even a copyrighted design or trademark appearing anywhere in a clip, have a right to stop such things from being made and that all must be negotiated with for permission to make this sort of mash up. They want culture fragmented and taxed in their vision of a utopian “ownership” state. Let us hope the arts and culture eventually win over corporate greed. Right now the courts and congress are stacked against us.

  13. Chris Winter

    I haven’t watched the video yet. (I’m in one of those places, a cyber-cafe, where you get 3 seconds of video and a one-minute pause…)

    But I have to ask: Does it capture Colonel Briteis? (Think phonetics: Colonel “bright-eyes”.) This is a female military officer from an early SF film whose title I can’t recall at the moment.

    Certainly the trend is clear: women in SF films have become steadily more competent over the years.

    Not that there weren’t exceptions to the stereotype of “dumb and decorative”, even back in the 1950s. Of course, they often were the villain of the piece. I’m thinking Cervelan of Blake’s Seven, Diana from the original “V”, or Nina Bara’s character in Missile to the Moon. (That last film had a female character, played by K. T. Stevens, who was both strong and good.)

  14. Chris Winter

    Yes, Elizabeth Sladen will be missed.

    Curiously, her Wikipedia entry does not include the category “Doctor Who Companions” — or, as it’s properly linked, “Companion (Doctor Who)”.

  15. #5 @Matunos — Definitely River & Kaylee at 2:40 (from the Episode “War Stories”).

  16. Suz

    Great video. Long live Barbarella and Ripley.

    Did anyone else spot that crazy old lady from an episode of Twilight Zone? She at 0:31. That was one scary episode (at the time anyway).

  17. Jet

    @Christ Winter: Google says it’s “Project Moonbase”, FYI.

  18. Renee

    Hm … thought I saw something on the ‘net that made me think this song was originally from the 50s. I think I got that wrong. Good song anyway.

  19. Rift

    @Suz, that would be Agnes Moorehead of Bewitched fame, she played Endora and was a hell of an actress. Too bad my dad ruined that episode for me. Spoilers! lol.

    Sorry for those who found out about Liz this way, I found out immediately. The fringe benefits of having your social circle made up of mostly sci fi geeks. My fiancee and I found out here in the states before her brother in London did. She died just a few days before the new season/series of Doctor Who started.

    They also missed Erin Grey, Wilma Deering form Buck Rodgers. And Shane from Space Above and Beyond. And the rest of the gals from Firefly and Blake’s Seven.

    It does seem odd that women have gone from screamers to shooters.

    Why I like the rebooted Doctor Who companions so well. Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, all great role models for girls without having to resort to violence all the time. My 14 year old niece loves Martha.

  20. tudza

    I wasn’t sure if this was someone trying to jazz up a so-so video with a lack luster song or the other way around.

  21. Elizabeth Sladen was not a “Doctor Who” companion; Sarah Jane Smith was, who is properly listed in the categories “Doctor Who companions” and “Doctor Who characters”. “Companion (Doctor Who)” is an article, not a category, but Sarah Jane Smith is listed in it, under both the third and fourth Doctors.

    On another subject, I see that, once again, Laurel Takashima, Susan Ivanova, Elizabeth Lochley, Lyta Alexander, Talia Winters, Delenn, and Na’Toth of “Babylon 5” are left out.

  22. Chris Winter

    Michel wrote: “In this post you´ll find the complete list of “quoted” movies…”

    It’s good to have that list — from the video on YouTube. (Someone has flagged the video as inappropriate. Go figure.)

    I recognized maybe half the clips. It’s hard to keep up with those quick cuts. I watched it twice and still don’t recall seeing anything from Farscape; I picked up the Ben Browder clip, but thought it was from SG1. (Speaking of SG1 and Atlantis — no Claudia Black, no Amanda Tapping, no Torri Higginson? This is most puzzling.)

  23. Chris Winter

    @Jet — Thanks. That’s the title.

  24. Chris Winter

    @John W. Kennedy — good points; I stand corrected.

  25. Chris Winter

    I suppose we could run the naming of omitted female characters into the ground, but I’d vote for including Patricia Neal (as Helen Benson in The Day the Earth Stood Still.)

  26. TDL

    Chris Winter wrote: (Someone has flagged the video as inappropriate. Go figure.)

    Of course it’s inappropriate. Didn’t you know that in the US, female nipples are supposed to be even more secret than the Roswell aliens?

  27. Sam H

    It’s probably a colossal disgrace to everyone here, but I have NEVER seen a SINGLE episode of Dr. Who. I do like the idea of a pan-dimensionally constructed time machine/spacecraft larger on the interior though (according to one blueprint, the entire TARDIS is over 2000km across – seems like overkill to me, though). And from what I hear the Doctor is supposed to represent the element of total British badass – something that we can always use more of :)

  28. Naomi

    I recognised all of the Doctor Who companions (Sarah Jaaaane ;_; ), some of the Star Trek ones (no one from TNG?), Scully, Ellie, and Leia. All some of my favourite characters! I still kind of aspire to be Ellie, heh.

  29. B. Smith

    @John W. Kennedy – Pretty sure I saw Ivanova piloting a Starfury for a second there, 3:06-3:07.

  30. Grand Lunar

    @28 Naomi
    “some of the Star Trek ones (no one from TNG?)”

    They do show Dr. Crusher and Troi doing stretching exercises.

    Growing up with that series, I had more of a “crush” on Crusher than Troi. I suppose her being an M.D held a sort of attraction. Her roles in the TNG films didn’t do her enough justice, IMO.

  31. Jeremy H

    @21 John

    Ivanova’s in there for a second at around 3:07 but yes, on the whole B5 is criminally underserved here.

    Also, too much Voyager (though I tend to think any Voyager is too much) and it’s kind of criminal that the only TNG shot is Beverly and Deanna in godawful spandex.

    Still, nice song, nice video, neat idea, and I certainly enjoy seeing the progression Phil outlines.

  32. Steve Kovner

    No Dr. Samantha Carter from Stargate SG-1 – certainly a strong female character (expert in physics and tough as well).

  33. Carol H

    Glad to see Farscape represented. And Doctor Who. Torchwood, Contact, Firefly, Bablylon 5.

    I am in girl geek heaven. 😀

  34. Grisha

    @Renee You are correct. The song was written in 1952.

  35. Great clip. :-)

    I do agree with 31 Jeremy H that much more ‘Babylon-5’ was criminally under-served – ditto ‘Firefly’ – plus I’d have liked to see Princess Aura & Dale Arden from Flash Gordon :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dale_Arden

    get a mention.

    But then, so many kickass female SF heroes so little time I guess ..

    Youtube tributes for Sarah Jane can be found here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iUnwzR9zIE

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw_pYJY92Co

    if it helps.

  36. More Dale Arden :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agcLBDGnfsU&feature=related

    in the form I first encountered her – about the second SF show I ever saw as a kid after Battle of the Planets. Ah nostalgia.

    More Princess Aura :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=618TJl-VqaI&feature=related

    from the same source.

    And perhaps the most powerful of any SF space girl character :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAAWOXjXcsQ

    the awesome Lyta Alexander, destroyer of Zha’Duhm, only person to visit the Vorlons and the ultimate telepath.

    She should have been in there too! 😉

    PS. Found that I can’t post too many links at once hence the separate postings here, case folsk were wondering.

  37. @30. Grand Lunar :

    @28 Naomi :“some of the Star Trek ones (no one from TNG?)”
    They do show Dr. Crusher and Troi doing stretching exercises. Growing up with that series, I had more of a “crush” on Crusher than Troi. I suppose her being an M.D held a sort of attraction. Her roles in the TNG films didn’t do her enough justice, IMO.

    I liked Beverly Crusher but I definitely had a crush on Deanaa Troi at the time! 😉
    Tasha Yar as head of security was stunning too – and seems to get all too easily overlooked. Ensign Rho was excellent too as were Kira and the Daxes Jadzia and Ezri.

    Three more clips of characters I’d like to have seen included there at least in part :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFvkgfBXHPA

    Delenn saves Babylon-5 & :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8oF0i5nvPI&feature=related

    Susan Ivanova is a god send & :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDKgDRmVVtc

    Leela. The original Whovian one – and a comment there suggests (not sure if this is true) the first companion who never screamed. :-)

    Ah, so many memeories, so many great scenes and characters.

    PS. [Pedant mode on] The mention there at 1 min. 30 secs in to “avoid the Milky Way!” would have been rather hard advice to take given it’s our Galaxy that we’re all living in! Very slight bit of bad astronomy there. 😉

  38. sophia8

    They do show Dr. Crusher and Troi doing stretching exercises.
    Yes, whilst wearing those idiotic tight layered lycra costumes that would give any normal woman instant vaginal thrush. Or maybe they totally eliminated thrush in the ST universe?

  39. Georg

    To be fair, Raumpatrouille only made it to 7 episodes, so it might have been ahead of its time.

    Hello Lars,
    dont forget episode 5 (Kampf um die Sonne) where they encountered a world dominated by women.
    “Raumpatrulle” is said to have pioneered the use of bathroom and kitchen armatures and some office items as “handles” ,”keys” and what more. :=)

  40. Quiet Desperation

    Should the human race be getting “tougher” or more compassionate?

    I don’t really see those as being contradictory.

    How big a scifi dork are you?

    I would never call myself a dork. The attempt to take ownership of words like geek, nerd and dork and make them positive is a giant fail. It’s especially sad when used by people who want to make science and math popular, and then marginalize people who are good at or interested in science and math with labels that start to become immature even in early high school.

    It’s probably a colossal disgrace to everyone here, but I have NEVER seen a SINGLE episode of Dr. Who.

    Well, I wouldn’t call it a disgrace. I wouldn’t call it anything. It’s just a TV show. However, if the show sounds so interesting to you, it’s curious you haven’t checked it out. I’m guessing your computer can at least play a DVD?

    I had more of a “crush” on Crusher than Troi. I suppose her being an M.D held a sort of attraction.

    This. Also, a relationship with a telepath (even just an empathic one) would be fraught with peril, IMHO. Sirtis did have nice eyes, though.

    Or maybe they totally eliminated thrush in the ST universe?

    The teleporters filter it out.

  41. RobT

    “The ball is blue-y?’

  42. Rift

    Leela screamed a few times (at least twice in Talons of Weng Chiang, once when that velour giant rat was chasing her, of course she was without her dagger and janus thorns.). Ace was the only female companion never to scream. Few of the male companions ever screamed.

    Now, Victoria Waterfield, now she had a set of lungs, and actually killed a monster with her screams amplified.

    Mel (my least favorite companion) shrieks were like nails on a chalkboard.

  43. Calli Arcale

    I’m not sure Ace never screamed. She’d back a scream up with Nitro-9, though. 😀 (I always liked Ace.) I think she may have done so at least once, but screaming was less of an obligatory female sci-fi character trait by then. (Thank goodness.)

    Sarah Jane screamed, but Elizabeth Sladen always used the screams to maximum effect — not volume or pitch, but emotional quality. “Understand that this is where you, the audience, is supposed to be scared.” (Or, occasionally, where the audience is supposed to laugh; she had good comic timing too.) She was extremely good at drawing the audience in, and her performance was always based around that. Not just at being Sarah Jane, but at filling out the story. Watching her stroll off with K9 by her side . . . yeah, that made me sad too. Sort of a happy sad, because I’m pleased to see her so well represented. I don’t have a favorite Doctor — but I do have a favorite companion, and it’s definitely Sarah Jane.

    I wish there had been more B5 shots in there. Doctor Who, much as I love the show, seems a touch overrepresented. A very brief look at Ivanova in a Starfury really isn’t enough. And I swear I saw Emma Peel in there; as awesome as “The Avengers” is, I don’t think it really counts as a space girl story.

  44. Chris Winter

    RobT wrote: “The ball is blue-y?’”

    Hey, if you’d just had your mind scrubbed by Nomad/Tan-Ru, would you do as well?

    😉

  45. Chris Winter

    Someone in the YouTube comments pointed out that there’s no clip of Major Kira from ST:DS9 (Nana Visitor). Good catch. Also no B’Lanna Torres and no Dax.

  46. Chris Winter

    Jeremy H wrote: “Also, too much Voyager (though I tend to think any Voyager is too much) and it’s kind of criminal that the only TNG shot is Beverly and Deanna in godawful spandex.”

    Yes, there were much better choices IMO: For Dr. Crusher, the time she was alone in a warp bubble on what seemed to be the Enterprise, or when she stopped the other female doctor who had replaced Worf’s spine using an experimental procedure; for Troi, when she was trapped by Armas on the crashed shuttlecraft (in “Skin of Evil”), or when she argued command decisions with Ensign Ro after the Enterprise was crippled and they were stuck on the bridge. (Two of many possible choices for each actress.)

    I’d have liked to see a clip of Tasha Yar in there too.

    And I think Voyager is worth including, but again I would have chosen different shots. (Does anyone remember Kes in an episode called “The Warlord”?)

  47. Chris Winter

    Another correction: Dr. Weir (Torri Higginson) is in the video, at 3:00.

  48. jamie
  49. Lynn Wilhelm

    Was that Tegan in the Tinkerbell outfit dancing next to Nyssa @ 2:22? (Dr. Who)

  50. Wing Goose

    Wow, that was good. What does it mean that I have seen almost all of the scenes?

  51. NoAstronomer

    Meh.

    While it’s nice to see some acknowledgement of the presence of females in science fiction I think there’s too much screaming and spandex and not enough showing the ladies getting stuff done.

    My example : In the clips shown there’s Denise Richards sliding down a banister looking pretty from Starship Troopers but no scene of the same character maneuvering a gazillion-ton spaceship out of dock.

    Mike.

  52. Matt B.

    Was that the doctor’s granddaughter at 0:20 and 0:26?

  53. Waaaaaaaaaait a minute … at least 2 of the scenes in that video were from _Logan’s Run_.

    Logan’s Run (the movie, not the book) takes place entirely on Earth, with no spacecraft or visitors from other planets involved at all. “Space Girl” my patootie!

  54. Sam H

    @53: Maybe so, but I noticed Trinity from the Matrix in there toward the end (and we all know how much of a badass she is), which also has nothing to do with space travel.

  55. Michael Suttkus, II

    From #6: Should the human race be getting “tougher” or more compassionate?

    The point being that women formerly had no options in how they were portrayed, and now do. There are times to be tough and times to be compassionate. When limiting characters in their options based solely on gender, you’re doing them a grave disservice. The human race could always use more compassion, but not at the cost of restricting half of its members.

    From #52: Was that the doctor’s granddaughter at 0:20 and 0:26?

    Yes, from the third serial.

    As for the Doctor’s companions being screamers, the problem wasn’t the screaming, anyone faced with something horrific can scream. The problem was that was all some of them did in the bad old days. Things got better as they went along, for the most part.

  56. QuietDesperation

    not enough showing the ladies getting stuff done.

    Dr. Samantha Carter, who completely pwns all the rest.

  57. Morten Reistad

    It struck me that all of these are 20+ year old scenes.

    Where have the space movies gone? Has Hollywood embraced whichcraft, and
    abandoned the space dreams ?

    — mrr

  58. JHGRedekop

    It struck me that all of these are 20+ year old scenes.

    Terminator 2 is 20 years old, but many of the scenes in the video are younger than that. The new Doctor Who and Battlestar Gallactica bits, Firefly, Babylon 5, Stargate Atlantis, Gattacca, Fifth Element, Contact, The Matrix, etc. — all less than 20 years old.

  59. PeteC

    While there are plenty of sci-fi fans who are as mysogenistic as you could sigh wearily at, and like all generalisations it’s pretty damn general, it’s generally sci-fi that’s handled advanced social issues the best of all the TV/Movie genres.

    Whether it’s the first inter-racial kiss on TV or the first gay kiss on TV or, as here, a much stronger proportion of strong female roles than was common at the time, sci-fi has tended to be ahead. I suspect part of the reason in the attempt to envision a more ideal world, but a large part is also the taking existing social trends and projecting them to logical conclusions. Sci-fi also tends to attract a lot of logical or technical thinkers, who logically and non-idealogically won’t tend to argue “she couldn’t do that, because she doesn’t have a Y-chromosome, and you need one of those to pilot a spaceship or mend an engine!”

  60. Chris Winter

    “…or mend an engine!”

    For me, one of the great scenes in Firefly was at the ball, where a bunch of men gathered around Kaylee (Jewel Staite) as she described the merits of various starship engines.

    Jewel Staite, of course, went on to portray Dr. Jennifer Keller in Stargate Atlantis. And speaking of competent lady doctors in SF, how could I (we) have missed Dr. Janet Frazier (Teryl Rothery) of Stargate SG1?

  61. Brian Too

    In the spirit of advancing the debate, I would have liked to have seen the Jane Grey/Phoenix character referenced. I have long thought that this story line contained a lot of nuanced and multi-level meanings. Perhaps not “space-y” enough for the thread? Although I seem to recall that Phoenix actually left Earth for a time.

  62. Marionette

    That’s Jean grey. And she’s been off Earth plenty of times.

  63. arguchik

    Someone made a video that is 3-4 minutes long. They did not have infinite time, space, and resources at their disposal. The video is not a TARDIS, and there is no way they could have included every female character–even every strong female character–from all of SF-dom. Quit complaining about who was left out, and appreciate the basic gist of the video FFS.

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