My Top TV Couples!

I’ve recently been rewatching a few old television favourites and it’s become clear to me that the shows I tend to invest in usually have a strong couple at their heart. Some of these are friendships, some are more than that and others morph over time from one to the other. I’m still considering my list of ultimate TV friendships (watch this space), but in the spirit of it being Valentine’s Day, I’m starting with my favourite television couples.

Of course, everyone’s list will be personal, so I’m sure there will be couples I’ve missed who you would choose, so feel free to let me know your choices in the comments! It also goes without saying that this post will contain spoilers for the shows referenced.

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Fox Mulder & Dana Scully (The X-Files)

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To me, Mulder and Scully will always be the ultimate television couple. It was a relationship that grew from their strong friendship and over the years of the series I loved seeing how much respect and love these two amazing characters had for each other. It bubbled under the surface, but never detracted from the series itself and even 20 years later, the incredible chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson remains as powerful as ever. The magic the two of them share does not come around very often and as yet, has not been beaten. You can read more of my thoughts on these two here.

Harvey Specter & Donna Paulsen (Suits)

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I know some people may argue against the inclusion of Harvey and Donna in a couples list, but their relationship has developed so much recently, that I find it impossible not to see them as meant to be, even if they are not quite there yet! Over the last six seasons we have seen their deeply-rooted friendship grow. Yes, they’ve already been lovers once, but they share so much more than that. Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht have a chemistry that is rare on television and I’m sure their long-standing friendship has added to the fabric of Harvey and Donna’s relationship. These characters wouldn’t be so wonderful on screen were they portrayed by anyone else. As with Mulder and Scully, this is certainly a slow burn, but surely these two have to end up together?!

Josh Lyman & Donna Moss (The West Wing)

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I clearly enjoy the slow burn relationships don’t I, as here is yet another one! From the start of Aaron Sorkin’s political drama I always loved the banter between the Deputy Chief of Staff and his assistant and as the series progressed, their wonderful bond became more apparent. Thanks to Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney’s on screen connection, any other relationships each character had just never seemed quite as special as the one they shared together. Josh may have been the political player, but it became clear how much he relied on Donna and when she left to pursue her own ambitions, it gave him the push to pursue his new path and when they did finally get together it didn’t overshadow the series, as by then it was the logical and natural next step.

Alicia Florrick & Will Gardner (The Good Wife)

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I still feel incredibly sad when I think about this ill-fated pair, but there was no way they wouldn’t feature on my list, as they are probably the hottest and most moving couple on TV. The attraction between Will and Alicia was clear from the very beginning (in no large part down to the chemistry between Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies) and along with many fans of the series, I had my fingers crossed for their future. They clearly loved one another and Alicia should probably have picked Will before she ever married her dreadful husband. The time they were together treated us to some of the steamiest scenes on television (here’s one for the uninitiated) as well as some of the most emotional, but sadly it wasn’t to be, with Will being tragically killed in series five (something I still wish the internet hadn’t ruined for me in advance). It was an event I never expected, which still makes me reach for the tissues. The fact their love was cut short in such an cruel way makes their whole story all the more powerful and is probably the couple that has moved me the most on television.

Temperance Brennan & Seeley Booth (Bones)

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Bones is a series I’ve missed over the last few years and I’m slowly playing catch up, but what was clear from day one was the chemistry between David Boreanaz’s Booth and Emily Deschanel’s Brennan. I have only reached series eight (the final season 12 is airing now), but what I enjoy most about this series is how the writers were able to transition the characters from friends, to lovers, to marriage and children. It has enabled fans to see their relationship grow in a more mature and realistic way, which is something other shows could learn from.

The Doctor & Rose Tyler (Doctor Who)

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Since it’s return in 2005 Doctor Who has seen some wonderful partnerships on board the TARDIS. However, there is one that touched the hearts of many fans of the series and that was the love between David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler. Yes, nothing ever happened between them, but their bond was never in doubt and their heartbreaking farewell on Bad Wolf Bay was a classic moment that certainly made me shed some tears.

Kevin Walker & Scotty Wandell (Brothers & Sisters)

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There were many relationships within Brothers & Sisters, but for me the most heartfelt and believable one was that between Kevin and Scotty (played brilliantly by Matthew Rhys and Luke MacFarlane). Through all the Walker family turmoil, they were a breath of fresh air with their loving relationship. They weren’t free from problems (most notably Scotty’s affair), but loved each other enough not to throw their relationship away.

Buffy Summers & Spike (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

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Some may be surprised that the relationship on my list from Buffy is not the one between Buffy and Angel! Yes, theirs was one of the core elements of the series in the early years, but Buffy and Spike’s short-lived relationship was the one that has always interested me the most. When you think about it (and leave aside the undead aspect!), they were a far better match for each other. Perhaps it was the fact Buffy was older than the teenager who fell for Angel, but her connection with Spike came across as a more mature one. They knew each other’s faults and accepted them anyway and some of the scenes between James Marsters and Sarah Michelle Geller in those later episodes remain some of my favourites.

Doug Ross & Carol Hathaway (E.R)

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E.R remains my favourite medical series (more on that here) and although it had some lovely relationships during its 15 years, one always stood above the rest and that was the love affair between Doug and Carol. The fact it became so iconic in the 90s (and was the first big break for each of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies) is more impressive when you think that Carol wasn’t even meant to survive the pilot episode. They went through ups and downs, split up and got back together more than once, but you couldn’t help but root for them and the icing on the cake was Clooney’s surprise return for the last few moments of the episode which saw Carol leave Chicago behind for the love of her life.

Chuck Bass & Blaire Waldorf (Gossip Girl)

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Chuck and Blaire were the best schemers in Gossip Girl, manipulating situations and characters to their advantage and there were many times when I really couldn’t stand them! However, the writers created something very clever in their relationship. Despite their underhanded behaviour, they seemed to bring out the best in each other, which in turn changed my perception of them and thanks to the acting talents of Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester they became my favourite characters in the show. Had they not ended up together I’d have been thoroughly disappointed.

Carrie Bradshaw & Mr. Big (Sex And The City)

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The Mr.Big debate was a big one during Sex And The City’s run, with fans divided as to whether Carrie should end up with him or not. He may have been an idiot for the majority of the show, but I was always of the view that deep down they were soul mates. Despite all the pain and hurt, they always seemed to come back to one another and he would do anything for her. I also loved the fun they seemed to have and Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker sparkled in their scenes together.

Sydney Bristow & Michael Vaughn (Alias)

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J.J Abrams’s spy drama was a highlight of American television at the time of its original run and the will they won’t they dynamic of Sydney and Vaughn captured the hearts of its fans (including me). Yes, there were some utterly bonkers plot developments along the way, including Vaughn’s faked death, but Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan always ensured the relationship between Sydney and Vaughn was genuinely lovely to watch right until the end.

Ross Poldark & Demelza (Poldark)

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Yes, Aidan Turner’s torso has generated a great deal of attention since Poldark was brought back to our screens in 2015, but the best character in my view is the fiery Demelza, superbly played by Eleanor Tomlinson and their romance is what keeps me tuning in each week. They may be from different backgrounds, but they are undoubtably stronger together and do truly belong together. I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead in series three after the ups and downs of the last series.

Lizzie Bennet & Mr Darcy (BBC, Pride & Prejudice)

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Colin Firth may be a successful Oscar-winning actor, but he’ll always be best known for his iconic portrayal of Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. The British public fell under his spell and that of his counterpart Jennifer Ehle. In my opinion, they created the definitive Lizzie and Darcy and every scene they had together sparkled, making them one of the TV couples of the 90s in Britain.

Ianto Jones and Captain Jack Harkness (Torchwood)

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The relationship between Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) in Torchwood was hugely important for British television and remains one of my favourites of recent years. What was lovely about the pairing was that they may have been very different personalities, but were in fact perfectly suited. They were playful, affectionate and stood by each other through all the crazy happenings in their lives and Ianto’s emotional death in Children Of Earth was heartbreaking for fans of the show. We felt his loss as much as Captain Jack. Heck, does any other fictional character have a shrine like Ianto’s in Cardiff?!

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So, those are my top fifteen television couples. I look forward to hearing about who you would choose!

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Television Nostalgia – Cosmopolitans and Manolos with the women of Sex and the City!

 

“Once upon a time on a small island not too far away, there lived four smart, beautiful women who were all very good friends.”

After looking at the shows currently covered by my Television Nostalgia posts I noticed another glaring omission of one of my favourite television series of the last 20 years and that’s Sex and the City (it’s hard to believe it’s already been a decade since it ended). Sex and the City arrived on television screens in 1998 and soon had everyone talking. Unlike any other show, it wasn’t afraid to talk about sex from a woman’s perspective. Its four leads were strong, intelligent, sexy women, through whom the audience saw sex from a new viewpoint on television. Not only that but the writing was always brilliant – sharp, witty and intelligent, which made the show about so much more than sex and at its heart its success came down to the audience’s love of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. We cared about them and wanted to spend time in their lives (not to mention seeing their gorgeous clothes and shoes)!

As usual, here are my ten favourite episodes of the series. I’ll caveat the list by saying I always loved Carrie and Big and therefore there may be a slight bias towards key episodes for them above those of the other girls. As always let me know your favourites.

1. I Heart NY (season 4 finale)

This is an easy choice for my favourite episode of Sex and the City and always has been. More than anything else the episode has a sense of hope about it that I love (made all the more poignant in hindsight by 9/11). We see Miranda and Steve become parents and the departure of Mr Big from NYC after one last night of Old New York style with Carrie. Watching them dance to Moon River (one of my favourite songs) is a lovely moment, as is watching Carrie walk down the street in that gorgeous coat in to a new season in the city.

2. A Woman’s Right to Shoes (season 6)

This episode always sticks in my mind and the older I get the more I appreciate it. After spending yet more time and money celebrating another baby shower Carrie’s shoes are stolen at the party. The judgemental attitude of her friend in the cost of her shoes and her life choices has always annoyed me and Carrie’s response – to tell her she is marrying herself and her gift list is at Manolo Blahnik, so that she has to buy her replacement shoes is a joyous moment!

3. The Drought (season 1)

This is probably my favourite season one episode, in which Miranda is sexually frustrated, Samantha is attempting tantric celibacy for a man and Carries farts in bed. The jokey relationship between Carrie and Big was always one of he highlights for me and his trick with the woopey cushion is still very funny and was probably when I hoped they’d stay together. Throw in the sexual escapades of Carrie’s neighbours, who provide an incredible show for the girls and you have an episode that never fails to make me laugh.

4. Belles of the Balls (season 4)

I think most fans of the show wanted to see Big and Aidan confront each other and this episode was a great way to do it. Seeing them roll around in the mud in the countryside together is such a great scene. It’s so childish but appropriate. I also love how they then simply move on, with Big hung up over the way another woman is treating him, telling all to Aidan.

5. The Big Journey (season 5)

Samantha and Carrie take a train to San Francisco, which isn’t as luxurious as they expected and Mr Big ruins Carrie’s plans for sex, by revealing he’s read her book and wants to talk through how he treated her! It’s nice to see Mr Big finally growing up a bit and I loved Carrie being upstaged by a dog!

6. Where There’s Smoke (season 3)

This opener to the third season has a lot of my favourite moments in it. Samantha and the fireman in the fire station will always be memorable, as will drunken Charlotte’s declaration that she’s getting married that year. Steve looking after Miranda after her eye operation is also a very sweet storyline and Carrie shouting she lost her Choo on missing the ferry is a great example of the superb, witty quality of the writing of the show.

7. An American Girl In Paris (season 6/series finale)

It may be a bit cheesy but I still love the season finale and would have been happy for Sex and the City to end here. Yes, the show had celebrated women’s independence, but I always hoped for a romantic ending for Carrie and Big and I’m thrilled with the ending. For better or worse they were meant to be together. After six years all the girls have moved forward and end in exactly the place they should be – Miranda happier in her work and home life, Charlotte and Harry awaiting the arrival of her adopted daughter and Samantha enjoying life with Smith Jared. Plus what better way to end than with Carrie swinging a Manolo bag down Manhattan?!

8. The Good Fight (season 4)

I loved Aidan and Carrie’s fight in the bathroom as it always seemed very real and true to life in its ordinariness. Then there is the astonishing choice of Trey to buy Charlotte a cardboard baby – who would ever do that really?! The episode also ends with one of my favourite Samantha moments, when we see her dance with Richard by the poolside as Sade plays on the soundtrack.

9. The Domino Effect (season 6)

Mr Big returns to New York for heart surgery and Carrie is determined to take care of him. It’s again a lovely episode in which we see just how close they have always been. Then there is the superb moment when Steve walks in on Miranda having hot sex with Doctor Robert and ends up with a tampon up his nose and Samantha finally starts to settle in to life with Smith Jared.

10. Ring A Ding Ding (season 4)

Charlotte has always been my least favourite of the girls in terms of personality and I love this episode in which Carrie needs money to stay in her apartment and is hurt that Charlotte doesn’t offer to help. As she says, she wouldn’t have taken it, but she could have offered. It’s such a real, honest argument between them and the end where Charlotte gives Carrie her ring is a lovely gesture of friendship. Plus the line in which Carrie says she will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes is a classic!

As with most shows, picking ten is not easy so I have to give honourable mentions to A Vogue Idea (“I’m drunk at Vogue”), The Real Me (where Carrie falls on the cat walk), Splat! (in which Carrie decides to leave NYC), The Catch (Charlotte’s wedding to Harry), Cock A Doodle Do (where Carrie & Big take an unexpected plunge in to the lake), What Goes Around Comes Around (Sam Jones meets Sam Jones) and The Baby Shower (Sam takes booze as a gift!). Sex & The City throughout its run always remained thought-provoking, entertaining and highlighted the importance of good friends. It will always be one of my favourites, which I’ll return to for years to come.

Feel free to comment on your own favourite episodes.