[[quoteright:235:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/slg_gnome_kiss2.jpg]]

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Summer Glau is a classically trained ballerina who broke into acting in 2002 with a guest spot on ''Series/{{Angel}}'' (playing a ballerina). Her career has primarily been composed of [[ActionGirl active women]] and [[BrokenBird damaged girls]] in science fiction and fantasy series.

Her first role (the aforementioned ''Angel'' guest spot) got a standing ovation from the cast and crew after recording [[OneSceneWonder her single scene of dialogue]], and critical reviews for her performance as [[Series/{{Firefly}} River]] [[Film/{{Serenity}} Tam]] and [[Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles Cameron]] have been overwhelmingly positive. However, she has yet to get much mainstream recognition as her roles have largely been reserved to [[CultClassic TV shows and films that failed to perform on the business end]].

[[TheWikiRule Now with]] her own [[http://summerglauwiki.com/ wiki]].
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!!Tropes commonly associated with Summer Glau.
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%%% Tropes are about work. Don't trope her personal life.
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* BrainyBrunette: Quite a few of Summer's characters have above-average intelligence, such as River, Bennett, Orwell, Skylar, and even Cameron.
* TheCastShowoff: Expect her to do a few ballet steps in any show she is in.
* CeilingCling: Done without any special effects.
* DanceBattler: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1BMqNYOyFU Literally]]. She is a classically trained ballerina.
* DawsonCasting: Summer has frequently been cast as characters who are either teenagers or [[RobotGirl supposed to be teenagers]]. She is in her thirties, but can pull off the teenage appearance with almost unnerving ease.
* DoesNotLikeShoes: Summer has tendonitis in her heels and arthritis in her toes[[note]]Not surprising, given her background as a ballerina. Ballet is a strenuous art that can mess up even the toughest feet; see ''Film/BlackSwan'' for a great example.[[/note]], so shoes actually are painful for her to wear. She has said that boots, specifically cowboy boots, are more comfortable for her.
--> [[http://www.empireonline.com/interviews/interview.asp?IID=316 "I think the thing I like about River is that she gets to be barefoot so much of the time. I donít like shoes very much".]]
* DyeingForYourArt:
-->''I have a scar on my face from when I was shooting. I was at a shooting range and a shell flew back and burned my face, so [director] David Nutter let it show all through the pilot [of Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles''], and if you watch you can see it all through the episode. I thought that was great because she is supposed to be human[-like].'' -- from [[http://www.ifmagazine.com/feature.asp?article=2293 IF Magazine]].
* RealLife/MeanCharacterNiceActor: Despite playing killer robots, psychopaths, and other assorted crazy characters, she is frequently described as one of the nicest people in Hollywood.
* OlderThanTheyLook: She's 33, but you'd be forgiven for believing she was at best in her early 20s.
* OldShame: Her first acting roles were in some commercials from the late 90s/early 00s. However, these commercials were for specific affiliates in Texas and California, promoting local businesses, thus it's very hard for anyone to find copies of these commercials. Summer has said herself, "This is a good thing."
* OneOfUs: Summer is a big fan of science fiction movies, and is also a DCComics fan.
* PhraseCatcher: After an infamous incident of Summer screwing up her lines during the filming of ''Firefly'', the other cast members - most notably Creator/NathanFillion - took to [[UnusualEuphemism yelling her name as an expletive]] whenever anything went wrong. Nathan is rumored to have taken the tradition on to his succeeding shows including ''Drive'' and ''Castle''.
* UnkemptBeauty: So much so that she appears multiple times on the page.
* WaifFu: Her [[Webcomic/{{xkcd}} "River Tam beats up everyone"]] scenes from ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' are [[MemeticBadass almost as well-known]] as [[CultClassic the movie itself]]. Despite her tiny frame, Summer Glau is pretty well-trained in multiple martial arts disciplines. When called on to convincingly beat up people several times her size (like in the aforementioned scene) she requires NoStuntDouble.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** Before she met up with Joss Whedon, she was almost a Power Ranger, saying she was the second choice for ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'' [[note]]She claims as the Pink Ranger, but that season had no Pink Ranger, only white with pink highlights.[[/note]]
** She also tried out for the role of Kitty Pryde in ''Film/XMenTheLastStand''. For her audition, she recited a scene JossWhedon wrote for Kitty during his run on ''[[Comicbook/XMen Astonishing X-Men]]''.

!!Summer Glau appears in:
* "Waiting in the Wings," an episode of ''Series/{{Angel}}'' where her [[OneSceneWonder one scene of dialogue]] got a standing ovation from the cast and crew.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' and ''{{Film/Serenity}}'', where she played River Tam, a crazy psychic waif on the run from the Alliance with her brother. [[StarMakingRole Skyrocketed her into popularity]] among geekdoms everywhere.
* VictimOfTheWeek Paige Pratt in the ''Series/ColdCase'' episode "Love Conquers All"
* ''Series/{{CSI}}'': [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5f_mmpAVTk "What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?"]]
* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'': She [[http://xkcd.com/311/ beats up everyone]] and [[http://xkcd.com/581/ beats both Randall Munroe and Nathan Fillion in an electric skateboard race]]
* SyFyChannelOriginalMovie ''Mammoth'', which featured a mammoth corpse reanimated by aliens that sucked the life force out of those it encountered.
* ''Series/TheUnit''
* ''Series/TheFortyFourHundred'', where she plays Tess Doerner, another crazy psychic waif. She does [[CharacterDevelopment get better]], though.
* ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'': Notable also for making a ''Terminator'' into a sympathetic character while still going on [[AxCrazy violent, shotgun happy-rampages]]. She also played Allison Young, a not-very crazy, very-not-psychic resistance fighter who nonetheless proved to be as tough as Sarah Connor in terms of sheer {{Determinator}}-ability.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5lW0tSKlbk&feature=related That one episode of]] ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' where she [[AsHimself played]] herself.
* ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'', playing a genius-level Doll programmer named Bennett Halverson who has ... issues.
* ''[[LifetimeMovieOfTheWeek Deadly Honeymoon]]'', which is [[http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10740178/ apparently]] VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory.
* The {{Western}} ''Legend Of Hell's Gate'' playing a girl named Maggie Moon.
* NBC's superhero drama ''Series/TheCape'' in which she plays a cyber-sleuth blogger reporter known as [[ShoutOut Orwell]], who apparently becomes the title hero's sidekick and, like with River and Cameron, [[WaifFu is more dangerous than her size implies]].
* Appropriately-named horror/comedy movie ''Film/KnightsOfBadassdom''. Presumably, they were working with a much less awesome title before Summer was cast.
* The voice of ComicBook/{{Supergirl}} in the WesternAnimation/DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies installment ''WesternAnimation/SupermanBatmanApocalypse''.
* ''Film/{{Sleepover}}''. She is credited as "Ticket girl".
* ''{{Series/Chuck}}'' as one of the "Greta" agents. ([[http://seat42f.com/images/stories/tvshows/Chuck/Season4/S0408/Chuck-Versus-The-Fear-Of-Death-Summer-Glau-1.jpg Not surprisingly,]] one of the more AxCrazy Gretas.)
* A [[http://www.newsgab.com/attachments/celebrity-pictures/395823d1304453242-summer-glau-79-firebird-glau_01.jpg silver 1979 Pontiac]] [[CoolCar Trans Am]] that she designed the interior of.
* ''Series/{{Alphas}}'' (guest starring) as a GadgeteerGenius named Skylar.
* Cameoed as a nurse on ''GreysAnatomy''.
* ''The Initiation of Sarah (2006)'', where she played [[MagicalGirl Sarah's]] {{Muggle}} sister Lindsay.
* A Hallmark Special [[http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/helpfortheholidays Help for the Holidays]], where she plays an elf out to restore a family's Christmas spirit.
* Isabel Rochev in ''{{Series/Arrow}}''.
* Appears in the ''Crackle.com'' series ''Sequestered''.
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