When Dana Scully first appeared on our TV screens in the fall of 1993, she was a ground breaking character. Her intelligence and courage were equal to her male counterpart. She didn’t have to be saved every episode or cower in a man’s arms when confronted with a gruesome site. Maybe the most shocking of all, she could run in outfits other than halter-tops and hot pants.
The qualities that set her apart in the 1990s don’t seem unusual now, but that’s because they’ve been adopted by many television producers and writers when creating their own well rounded female characters. In a sense Scully gave birth to the kick-ass heroines we watch today.
Here’s a short list of some of our favorite characters we consider 'Scully’s Daughters.' All of them are unique and yet they share common traits with the arch type Dana Scully helped to create.
Fringe. [img_assist|nid=32|title=Olivia Dunham|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=67|height=100]Fans have spotted the connection between The X-Files and Fringe from the beginning, for reasons that are obvious: elaborate conspiracies, potential aliens from extra-terrestrial and extra-dimensional origin, horror/science plot lines and weird of the week. Although Dunham (played by Anna Torv) lines up with Mulder’s character in some ways as a believer rather than a skeptic, she inherited Scully’s career ambition as well as her deeply caring nature. Like Scully, she is the heart of the show and a powerful woman against great odds.
[img_assist|nid=33|title=Diana Barrigan|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=93|height=100]White Collar. About the only thing White Collar has in common with The X-Files is an office at the FBI. While Mulder and Scully battle aliens and conspiracies, Neal, Peter and crew take down swindlers and thieves. But if you look closely you’ll see Scully’s influence all over Agent Barrigan (Marsha Thomason). Diana is as, if not more, competent than the men she’s teamed with and is trusted with the most delicate of information. She’s a fast draw with a gun and isn’t intimidated when the criminals go after her. From Scully she got her honesty, determination and all around awesomeness.
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Both L&O:SVU and The X-Files deal with monsters, but SVU’s monsters are all too human, committing crimes we see in the real world, making them the scariest kinds of monster. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) doesn’t face these monsters alone. She has her partner, Elliot Stabler. Their dynamic is similar to Mulder and Scully’s. Although emotionally invested in their cases, she is the more level headed of the two. She’s his touchstone and keeps him from going off the edge. She has Scully’s sensibility, sensitivity and her ability to recover from even the most traumatic experiences.
Smallville. On Smallville the aliens are the good guys… well, at least one of them. The show that introduced us to Clark Kent before he was Superman also gave us a plucky, young reporter, Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack). From the beginning she helped Clark battle the villains of the week, but it wasn’t until she learned his secret that she became a true partner. Although she has Mulder’s love of the weird and unexplained, she also has Scully’s drive to provide logical explanations. From Scully she inherited her devotion, intelligence and preference for tall men.
[img_assist|nid=36|title=Temperance Brennan|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=71|height=100]Bones. Perhaps the one character in modern television most influenced by Scully is Dr Temperance Brennan, Forensic Anthropologist (Emily Deschanel). Dr Brennan, or Bones as her partner calls her, is a skeptic till the end. While Special Agent Seeley Booth is quick to jump on the non-scientific answer, Brennan will look at the evidence with an organized fashion. She has Scully's extensive scientific knowledge, love for cold hard facts, attention to detail, drive for the truth and an interesting push-pull dynamic with her FBI-badge carrying partner.
In the almost 20 years since Scully made her way into popular culture she has spawned countless daughters. There are many more than just the five listed above who can claim her has their mother. Whom did we miss? Add your favorites to the list.
Contributing Writers: Carolyn West, Margaret Bates, and Geneva Canino.
Image of Dana Scully property of 20th Century Fox Television, Ten Thirteen Productions, and X-F Productions.
Image of Olivia Dunham property of Bad Robot, Warner Brothers Television, FB2 Films, and Fringe Element Films.
Image of Diana Barrigan property of Jeff Eastin and Warrior George Productions and Fox Television Studios.
Image of Olivia Benson property of Wolf Films, NBC Universal Television, Studios USA Television, Universal Network Television, and Universal Media Studios (UMS).
Image of Chloe Sullivan property of Tollin Robins Productions, Millar Gough Ink, Warner Brothers Television, and DC Comics.
Image of Temperance Brennan property of 20th Century Fox Television, Josephson Entertainment, and Far Field Productions.