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What’s Summer Glau’s best role? – Poll

The CliqueClack team has come together once again during 'Firefly' week to discuss nominations for Summer Glau's best role. Vote in the poll and elaborate in the comments.


My vote is for TSCC, because she’s pretty much a robot in person if what I witnessed at SDCC is any indication. Then again, River Tam isn’t a far cry from it either. (Disclaimer: In her defense, I later found out she was at SDCC during her birthday, so there may have been some bitterness going on.)


River Tam, and not just because it is Firefly week. She has such a chilling presence at such a young age, but then her performance in Serenity? Wow.


There was a lot to like about her turn on The Unit, because it was so different from anything she’s done before, and she didn’t look like a fish COMPLETELY out of water, even though the character pretty much sucked (in a “she was a terrible person” way, not in a “the writing sucks” way). Though, my vote really has to go to Bennett on Dollhouse. Granted, playing “odd” is up her ally, this was by far my favorite twist.


She really did a great job on Terminator. I don’t think it’s easy to get the nuances of playing an emotionless robot correctly (for an example of it working poorly, just watch the Governator in Terminator 2). She was able to make Cameron a very interesting character to watch, when the character could have easily fallen into a blank slate with a gun. She knew the right times to come off slightly human, and the right times to ratchet up the robot. Plus, the performance really stood up against Lena Heady’s tour de force, which is saying something.


I have to agree.  I thought she was able to bring some human emotion to her robotic character as well.  There were times when she seemed to really care for John Connor.

How about you — what’s your opinion of Summer Glau’s best role to date?

Photo Credit: FOX

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25 Responses to “What’s Summer Glau’s best role? – Poll”

June 17, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Tess Doerner, 4400

For me personally, I didn’t discover Summer Glau when she did Firefly, but when she played Tess Doerner on the 4400, another emotionless and troubled character who was a paranoid schizophrenic with tremendous powers. She resonated with me immediately, and I was an instant fan, which of course led me to search and find out everything she had done to that point, and I’ve followed her ever since.

June 17, 2011 at 10:54 AM

@ Kieth, I find that hard to believe. When I met her she was wonderful. I don’t think she even has the capacity to be bitter…

Besides… I don’t think she even had time to sign autographs for fans at SDCC because it is so busy… maybe for 1 hour with the rest of the cast in a group… it is not like the other cons where she can spend hours upon hours at a signing table. There is just too much going on and not enough space at SDCC.

I am curious how you even got to see her apart from her panel at SDCC… please elaborate.

June 17, 2011 at 11:21 AM

This wasn’t about autographs. I went as press and was at a table interview with four other people to talk about ‘The Cape’. Then I talked to her again with some others at the NBC party.

Like I said, maybe being there for her birthday was bugging her. I just remember she was the only one at that NBC party that seemed to need us to ask permission to approach. Everyone else was just having a good time and talking about whatever. Could have been the birthday thing, maybe something else. Who knows.

June 17, 2011 at 11:34 AM

I don’t know her personally but i’m a great fan and i ‘ve seen a lot of interview with her. Each time she seems so shy and akward; i can’t believe for one second that she is the snob b**tch you’re describing. As you said, she must have been disturbed by something else. Or evry other actors from Firefly describing her as the nicest person they ever saw are all liers. I invite you and all the readers to see clips from her at convention and you will see that she is very emotional and very shy, compared to Morena Baccarin or Jewel Staite.

June 17, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Woah woah woah! Where did I call her a snobby bitch? I called her robotic and maybe hinted that she was distant. Maybe having to ask permission wasn’t her idea. Just telling you how it went down.

June 17, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Your lines were a bit inflammatory. In ‘defense’ to what seems to be an admitted shot at her(for whatever reason) that comes off as unfair…

Cameron was expected to display some of the familiar robotic mannerisms that we have come to love in our terminators played by Arnold and Robert. Summer really shined in Alison from Palmdale. She is able to evoke so much emotion, and unlike some actors I will not name, I actually buy her sorrow. Glau emotes so well, she really can draw you into a scene like a magnet. I think she walked the line in a perfect balance between a cold emotionless killing machine and a self aware cyborg, equipped with a learning computer that had its chip switched from ‘read-only’ to write. At some point we should expect an AI to start evolving on its own. I think the AI is what makes Terminator so intriguing, and why the fans still want more from the ‘verse despite 2 disastrous films in a row. And I think Glau’s performance was a breath of fresh air along with some of the bold new directions the writing team took the franchise in, especially regarding the future war that so many fans like me have wanted more of since the beginning.

Bitter seems like an odd word to use, that actually sounds like a roundabout way of calling her a snob in the context mentioned. But text can be taken the wrong way easily since sarcasm and humor can be lost in translation.

The entourage thing seemed new last year, and it seemed to be limited to SDCC.

June 18, 2011 at 3:55 AM

I’ve met Summer personally at a convention, and not only is she a sweetheart (we had a good laugh over a Firefly-ralated photoshop I found on the net), but she’s almost certainly the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.

June 17, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Easy everyone.

What Kieth says makes sense. Birthdays were probably a factor.

I would also add that from the pics from the press releases last year from SDCC, Summer seemed to arrive on her own, then she had an entourage attached to her by the network in a set of similar pics that came out later in the day. I believe NBC was trying to control the buzz surrounding The Cape and they had all of the actors on point mentioning that it was not really ‘genre’, it was like a family/drama/copshow/live action/grimdark-realism with a family show twist. It was many things other than ‘genre’ etc etc.

And the Attack of The Show interview was edited for re-broadcast. The full live version can be found online.

I think it was the pr machine.

June 17, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Summer Glau is a such talented actress! Just think about her character Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Cameron was a cyborg, with no emotions, yet Summer brought depth to the character and made us feel what her character could not.

June 17, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Summer Glau was awesome on TSCC. And not just because she can rock a tank top.

June 17, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Cameron, no doubt! If any of you watched the final TSCC episode without a shiver or tear when Cameron asks John to cut her open, we may have to seriously reevaluate our friendship

June 17, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Her character River Tam was one of the most interesting on the show — the queen of unpredictability in a vessel full of unpredictable characters.

June 17, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Its hot in here; must be Summer =]

I love summer!! she is soo amazing XD
ive only seen about 2 eps of tscc but still she was amazing in the small bit i saw of her

but my favourite role she has ever played is definately river tam because i just love the show and how summer was able to pull off a role that was such a hit or miss character. i only saw firefly after it had been cancelled but i watched the whole series and the movie in one weekend in tasmania. blew my mind XD it is definaly one of my top 3 fav shows. =] summer was incredible how she could create river and all her relationships with the crew to such an intimate degree =D

June 17, 2011 at 3:05 PM

River and Cameron for me (i voted River)
First i watched Firefly and then watched Serenity and replayed over and over and OVER those scenes where she just totally annihilated everyone in the room. SHE TOOK ON A SHIPFUL OF REAVERS AND JUST DESTROYED THEM. And TSCS… that scene where she was being smushed by a truck and John Connor takes that thingy out of her head… priceless.

June 17, 2011 at 3:25 PM

All of them!
I lovelovelove summer, she is so amazing at playing roles that are very off, and hard to undertand at first glance, but the more I look at the roles, the more I see amazing characterazation, and it is her body language that sells it, her dancers grace, her ability to act/lie with the way she moves, as opposed to acting by reciting words, it is fantastic, and wonderful, and beautiful

June 17, 2011 at 3:48 PM

First I want to say, I love Summer Glau. She is an amazing person, on and off screen. And a really great dancer. She is the person who has inspired me the most.

Second, I am going to have to go with TSCC, Cameron/Allison. Sure, she was good in Firefly, Dollhouse, (Even though only 8 episodes) 4400. But Cameron was here hardest role yet and she did it perfectly. I mean, have you ever tried to be a robot, move like they would. There movements aren’t as fluid as ours. It’s hard to accomplish that.

Thirdly, she just looks way better in TSCC. Her cloths are way better, and it seemed she had more of an open choice. She almost never wore the same thing.

Finally, if we could pick two choices my second one would be River. Another hard role and she was great. I enjoyed Firefly. In fact there was only one thing that Summer was in that I didn’t like and that was Mammoth. Worst movie I have ever seen. But that is just me.

All in all, Summer is a great actor and person. I hope she continues to be good at what she does.

June 17, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Voted for Terminator : The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
I love Summer Glau’s acting. I think it is the fragility she brings to her characters. Whether it is the damaged robot in TSCC or the scarred and fractured scientist from Dollhouse, Summer can really bring it.

June 17, 2011 at 4:27 PM

From the very start I loved Watching Cameron,/Summer Glau. In my years of watching robotic figures on TV I have never ever seen anyone portray it like the way Summer could she was so fantastic! I am very happy to be her fan and want to see more from her:)

June 17, 2011 at 4:52 PM

You should check out The 4400, she wasn’t nearly as focal of a character but it’s a really enjoyable show and when she does make her appearances she is fantastic. Once again plays a very abnormal character (prodigy who suffered traumatizing government brain modification, cybernetic organism, and paranoid schizophrenic who was further changed by a mass alien abduction and return)

June 17, 2011 at 5:02 PM

She was amazing in Angel. She blew me away in that episode

June 17, 2011 at 6:58 PM

I must confess, I found her annoying in Firefly. Then I saw her in She was just tremendous. She should have gotten an Emmy. To emote without the ability (cyborg) to have emotions.

Great job Summer.

She was also great as Bennet on Dollhouse.

June 18, 2011 at 12:59 AM

Same for me, except i saw TSCC first and then Firefly/Serenity.

Up to date, TSCC is my favorite serie and Summer Glau is my favorite actress.

June 18, 2011 at 1:14 AM

i love it when she plays the role of terminator in TSCC

June 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM

She seems to play the same exact role on every show, so it’s hard to decide.

June 18, 2011 at 2:11 PM

That’s a typical comment from someone who did not saw her tv shows.
What does her performances on Firefly and TSCC have in commun?
The roles may have similarities, teen with extraodinary abilities, but Summer’s acting has nothing in commun on those shows.

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