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Distaff Counterpart / Live-Action TV

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Distaff and Spear Counterparts in live-action TV.

Distaff Counterparts

  • The BachelorThe Bachelorette
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978)Battlestar Galactica (2003): Boomer becomes Sharon "Boomer" Valerii, Starbuck becomes Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, Commander Cain becomes Admiral Helena Cain. There's also a female president, but she succeeds the late (male) President Adar, who was also in the original series.
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  • The Big Bang Theory has Sheldon — Amy Farrah Fowler. And before Amy's introduction there was Sheldon — Mrs. Hofstadter. While the latter acted almost exactly like Sheldon in every way, the former started off as such but the character grew to have her own personality and quirks to differentiate herself from Sheldon.
  • Bosom Buddies subverted the trope. Kip and Henry appeared as their "female" alter-egos, Buffy and Hildegarde, but their neighbours also knew them as Kip and Henry, Buffy and Hildy's brothers.
  • ColumboMrs. Columbo, which blatantly ignored Columbo's continuity, forcing the producers to change Kate Columbo's name, background, and even the show's name before it got cancelled after one season. In a later episode of Columbo, he refers to a young woman running around pretending to be his wife.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation uses this trope a lot. Often as a quick way to Pair the Spares:
    • Toby — Liberty
    • Damien — Liberty
    • Sean — Alex before she comes out
    • Kelly — Emma
    • Spinner — Jane, lampshaded by Marco
  • Doctor Who:
    • Romana was a Time Lady who was every bit as clever as the Doctor (although inexperienced). This especially applies to the Romana II version, who is introduced wearing an exact copy of the Fourth Doctor's outfit (and later switching it for a fitting, pink version), has her own sonic screwdriver, and often takes the plot role that the Doctor would usually take (most obviously in "The Horns of Nimon").
    • The Rani was also, basically, a female version of the Master.
    • The novelisation of "Shada" has Romana make a throwaway line suggesting she'd encountered the female equivalent of the Meddling Monk (another Time Lord Renegade) — "the Interfering Nun".
    • In a possibly unique application of this trope, the series has established that it is possible for Time Lords of one gender to regenerate into the other, becoming their own distaff counterparts!
      • The Corsair, per "The Doctor's Wife", was a friend of the Doctor's who tended to go through Gender Bender regenerations quite frequently.
      • The Master's third incarnation in the New Series, known as Missy, played by Michelle Gomez. She was introduced in "Deep Breath" and revealed as the Master in "Dark Water".
      • The Time Lord General introduced in "The Day of the Doctor" regenerates in "Hell Bent", also changing gender from male to female. However, dialogue establishes that this is actually a case of the General returning to her baseline gender, and therefore is more accurately the spear counterpart of this trope. (It should be noted that the series has yet to establish whether the Corsair or the Master/Missy have a baseline gender too.)
      • In "Twice Upon a Time", it became the Doctor's turn, regenerating from the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, into the Thirteenth Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker.
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    • In The Sarah Jane Adventures, a spin-off of Doctor Who, Sarah has developed into a cool older character who fights aliens, and likes having younger people around to share in the magic of the universe; in other words, a female version of the Doctor.
    • River Song comes across as somewhat of a female version of the Doctor. She travels through time having adventures, has a mysterious past and snarks a lot. She can also regenerate, being half-Time Lord, and has had several incarnations. The only real difference between them is that, while the Doctor carries a sonic screwdriver, River carries a gun.
    • Clara Oswald develops into a distaff counterpart of the Doctor during her time on the show, to the point where in two episodes she actually pretends to be the Doctor (giving viewers their first glimpse at what a female Doctor might look like, with one of those episodes even incorporating a Couch Gag into the opening credits about it), and ultimately becomes in everything but name, and ability to regenerate, a Time Lord with her own TARDIS, an infinite lifespan, and even her own companion. Her similarity to the Doctor is directly discussed on screen in "Hell Bent" and other episodes.
    • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe gives us Iris Wildthyme, a Time Lady who travels through time in a red bus that's smaller on the inside. In one of the books she blatantly introduces herself as being a feminist reimagining of the Doctor. She's also shown to be very working class, to contrast with the Doctor who is usually upper class.
  • In 2003, ESPN's Cold Pizza was an attempt to create a more female-friendly version of SportsCenter, to compete with network morning shows like Good Morning America. The original format lasted little more than a year before a revamp removed most of the non-sports content and added more Pardon the Interruption "hot take" debates. The show was cancelled in 2007 and immediately replaced with First Take, which was basically the "1st and 10" debate segments spun off to show length.
  • A couple of years after The Greatest American Hero ended, there was an attempted revival in which cranky FBI agent Bill was paired up with a new "Greatest American Heroine" in the form of a chirpy, flakey, relentlessly optimistic young teacher with '80s Hair who was something of a Genius Ditz.
  • Hannibal: Hannibal Lecter and Bedelia Du Maurier.
  • Hercules: The Legendary JourneysXena: Warrior Princess, with Iolaus = Gabrielle
  • Highlander: The SeriesHighlander: The Raven
  • Home ImprovementLast Man Standing. In both shows, Tim Allen plays the father to three kids. The difference is, in Last Man Standing, all the kids are daughters instead of sons.
  • House had Amber, a smug know-it-all who has no problem lying, cheating, and manipulating people to get what she wants. Of course Wilson, House's only friend, is in love with her.
  • Ted and the Mother in How I Met Your Mother share a similar appearance, being the Nice Guy / Team Dad and Nice Gal / Team Mom of the group and having several quirks such as loving road side detours to unusual landmarks and wearing driving gloves.
  • iCarly: Dave and Fleck are the male versions of Carly and Sam respectively.
  • Indiana JonesRelic Hunter. Unrelated continuity, but even the producers/actors refer to it as a "female Indiana Jones" (even though the series actually came out after the popularity of another distaff counterpart to Indiana - the Tomb Raider games.
    • Hannah Montana also features a fictional version called "Indiana Joannie".
  • Just Shoot Me! had Finch meeting his distaff counterpart Betsy, which at first seems like an incredible coincidence. It turns out he stole her entire personality in college.
  • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight has Kamen Rider Siren, the girlfriend of Kamen Rider Wing Knight, who's got the same kind of personality and also kicks a lot of butt. In the original Japanese version, Kamen Rider Ryuki, Siren was actually called "Femme" and fell more under The Smurfette Principle. Among other things, Dragon Knight expanded the character's role; Femme was only around for a single Alternate Continuity movie, and she died at the end of it.
    • Before all this, Kamen Rider Stronger partnered up with Tackle, a girl who had likewise been cybernetically augmented by the series' villains. She was never called a Kamen Rider, which remained a sore point with fans for years and required various justifications over the yearsnote 
      • Kamen Rider Kabuto, already reminiscent of Stronger in many ways, carried the Homage further in one of the stage shows by introducing Kamen Rider Lady, effectively a modernized version of Tackle; her names derives from her theme insect being the ladybug.
    • The Movie for Kamen Rider Decade introduced Kamen Rider Kiva-la. While her civilian identity, Natsumi Hikari, was indigenous to the Decade canon, Kiva-la is part of Kamen Rider Kiva, this she kinda doubles up as a Distaff for both Decade and Kiva.
    • Movie Wars Megamax, the Crossover between Kamen Rider Fourze and Kamen Rider OOO, introduces Kamen Rider Nadeshiko as a female version of Fourze. This instance is justified, as Nadeshiko is an alien Shapeshifter who learns by imitating; it copied a real high school girl, then after witnessing Fourze transform it copies his Transformation Trinket so it can help out.
  • Last Week Tonight with John OliverFull Frontal with Samantha Bee
  • Life On MarsAshes to Ashes (2008)
  • Spoofed in Lois & Clark, with Ultrawoman. No, Desperate Housewives is NOT Ultrawoman: The Series.
  • The Malcolm in the Middle episode "If Boys Were Girls" features Lois' fantasies about how her life would be different if Dewey, Reese, Malcolm, and Francis were instead Daisy, Renee, Mallory, and Frances.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.The Girl from U.N.C.L.E..
  • A rare example of this happening in-universe occured on Married... with Children when Kelly got a job as a gatekeeper at a local amusement park. She quickly turned into a Distaff Counterpart of her father Al, complete with her own horror stories involving fat women who come to the gate and generally miserable, bitter outlook on life.
    • Another example occurred in one episode where Peg watches a preview of "Psycho Mom", a female version of "Psycho Dad", Al's favorite TV show.
  • NCIS: Recurring character CGIS Agent Abigail Borin is a Hero of Another Story Distaff Counterpart of Agent Gibbs. They have many of the same mannerisms. It's Lampshaded several times.
  • Person of Interest has Sameen Shaw as this to John Reese.
  • Queer as FolkThe L Word
  • Queer Eye for the Straight GuyQueer Eye for the Straight Girl replaced five gay guys with three gay guys and a lesbian and a Straight Guy with a Straight Girl. On Straight Girl, Robbie (aside from being adorable) would frequently model the women's clothing.
    • Far more interesting was Straight Plan for the Gay Man.
  • The Red Dwarf episode "Parallel Universe" introduced Deb Lister, Arlene Rimmer, Hilly and a pink Skutter. The Cat was very disappointed to meet the Dog.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Invitations" Jerry falls for a woman who's the female version of him played by Janeane Garofalo and they get engaged. Soon, though he realizes he can't be with someone like him because he hates himself so he breaks up with her.
    • She was about to do this herself. Probably the most mutual breakup of the series.
  • The Six Million Dollar ManThe Bionic Woman
  • Smallville: Lionel LuthorGenevieve Teague
  • The SoupThe Dish
  • Dr. Pulaski from Star Trek: The Next Generation was an attempt to create a female version of "Bones" McCoy from the original series. Pulaski's cold abrasiveness (with none of Bones' passionate humanism to balance it out) made her an instant fan un-favorite and she was dumped after one season.
  • Super Sentai/Power Rangers:
    • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger finally got around to Super Sentai's first-ever female Red Ranger, a distaff to team leader Takeru Shiba.
    • Beaten to the punch in 2005 with Power Rangers S.P.D.. Giving us the first female Red Ranger in the entire history of either franchise, ironically given the masculine name of Charlie.
    • An unusual variant of this trope is present in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: Due to the series' gimmick, the costumes and powers of various past Rangers who were male are now in use by female Rangers, complete with an appropriately gender-flipped costume.
  • The titlar Time Warp Trio — Joe, Fred, and Sam — manage to have distaff counterparts in the form of their great-granddaughters from the future, cleverly named Jodie, Freddi, and Samantha.
  • The Young OnesGirls On Top (Not directly connected, but also starring former The Comic Strip Presents stars, and about four unlikeable stereotypes sharing a flat).
  • ZorroQueen of Swords. Not a part of the same continuity, but so similar to her male counterpart that Zorro Productions Inc. threatened legal action against the producers of the series.

Spear Counterparts

  • Buffy the Vampire SlayerAngel. A rare example of a show about a female getting a male spin-off. Creator Joss Whedon once said "Buffy is the show about women, and Angel is the show about men."
  • As indicated above, Doctor Who has established that Time Lords can change gender when they regenerate, making it possible for them to be their own distaff and spear counterparts. At least one "spear counterpart" is known as a result: the Time Lord General first seen as male in "The Day of the Doctor", who later regenerates into a female in "Hell Bent". Dialogue after the change establishes that the character is actually female, but was saddled with a male body for the first time in her previous incarnation, therefore retroactively making the male General seen previously her own spear counterpart.
  • An unusual variant of this trope is present in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: Due to the series' gimmick, the costumes and powers of various past Rangers who were female are now in use by male Rangers, complete with an appropriately gender-flipped costume.
  • Sex and the CityBig Shots, rare case where a show with a female cast gets a male version.
    • Entourage has also been referred to as the male counterpart, with the martinis switched out for joints.
  • Starter WifeHappy Endings


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