[[quoteright:235:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/slg_gnome_kiss2.jpg]][[caption-width-right:235:[[MemeticMutation Everyone]] [[CargoEnvy wishes they were the gnome]] with the [[Series/{{Firefly}} Jayne]] [[NiceHat hat]]. Yes, [[EvenTheGirlsWantHer everyone]].]]

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 [[TheSarahConnorChronicles 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]].
!!Tropes commonly associated with Summer Glau.
%%% Tropes are about work. Don't trope her personal life.
* 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 TheSarahConnorChronicles], 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.
* 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''.
* 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 ''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"
* ''{{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]]
* SciFiChannel original movie ''Mammoth'', which featured a mammoth corpse reanimated by aliens that sucked the life force out of those it encountered.
* ''TheUnit''
* ''Series/TheFortyFourHundred'', where she plays Tess Doerner, another crazy psychic waif. She does [[CharacterDevelopment get better]], though.
* ''{{Terminator}}: TheSarahConnorChronicles'': 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.
* ''{{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 {{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}}''.