Bruce Fretts explains why a sexy big-city lawyer and a small-town single mom are among the season's most notable females
Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon
Credit: Garcelle Beauvais: Kathryn Indiek / ImageDirect

Here are TV’s women of the year

They come from many different walks of life: a medical examiner, a lawyer, an anchorwoman, a nurse, a graduate student by day/double agent by night. They’re smart. They’re strong. And yes, they’re not too hard on the eyes, either. They’re TV’s Women of the Year:

Jennifer Garner, ”Alias”
Shuffle off, ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Fly away, ”Dark Angel.” In a battle of the butt-kicking babes, we’d put our money on Garner’s Sydney Bristow. She defeats real-world demons every week armed with only an assortment of flattering wigs and form-fitting dresses, cutting-edge gadgets…and a little help from the CIA.

Garcelle Beauvais, ”NYPD Blue”
From the washout soap ”Models, Inc.” to the no-profile sitcom ”The Jamie Foxx Show” to a steady gig as the new ADA on the popular cop show, Beauvais has come a long way, baby. And the fact that ”NYPD” boasts partial nudity is only a bonus for us.

Kelly Ripa, ”Live! with Regis and Kelly”
Anybody who can work that early, look that great, and put up with Regis’ incessant ranting with such good humor doesn’t just deserve a spot on this list. She deserves a medal. Oh, and did we mention she’s on ”All My Children” too?

Jill Hennessy, ”Crossing Jordan”
We loved her as buttoned-down assistant DA Claire Kincaid on NBC’s ”Law & Order” from 1993-96. We love her even more now that she’s undone a few of those buttons and let her hair down as crime-busting coroner Jordan Cavanaugh on the Peacock’s new hit drama.