From the FBI’s finest to Stargate Command’s bravest to the Jossverse’s most tragically doomed…
It’s Valentine’s month, which means we are celebrating all things love around these parts, because hey, everyone loves a lover, right? With that in mind, it seemed to us that there could be no better way to explore those ephemeral matters of the heart than to take a look back at our favorite couples on TV — because what’s more romantic than watching TV, we ask you? Whether they end up with a Happily Ever After or a Might Have Been, married with kids or stoically, self-sacrificingly alone doesn’t matter here. What we’re interested in is their journey (often strung out over multiple seasons, and occasional movies), their fascinating, usually frustrating, journey from enemies to friends to lovers to icons.
And so, with this… Happy Valentine’s Day!
Played by Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson
Special Agent Olivia Dunham was so devastated by the loss of her partner (Mark Valley) in mysterious circumstances that she embarked upon a quest for answers. Answers that led her to Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), an expert in an area of study known as “Fringe Science,” where the possible and the impossible meet. To gain access to Dr. Bishop, then ensconced in a psychiatric facility, Olivia must locate his estranged son Peter, and convince him to help her. Before the end of the very first episode, it is evident that the gorgeous, haunted FBI agent and the charming, clever dilettante are made for each other, an impression eventually borne out after several seasons and with more than a few obstacles thrown in their way (his dad experimented on her as a child, he’s from an alternate universe, she is replaced by an alternate universe version of herself, he is erased from the timeline—you know, the usual couple stuff). Happily, the final episode of the show set all to rights with their wacky world, and it is to be hoped that they manage to keep their daughter both with them and alive this time around, otherwise apparently Peter will go crazy and they’ll just have to start all over again.
— Rachel Hyland
HONORABLE FRINGE MENTION: Fauxlivia and Lincoln
12. MAX AND LOGAN
Played by Jessica Alba and Michael Weatherly
ALEC: Have they ever even once said “I love you”? No. No, Max, Max would choke on the words. Logan, eh, he’d say it…in an email. [imitating Max] “Oh, he’s not my boyfriend, we were never even like that, it was never the right time…” No, Logan is a repressed WASP and Max is…a broken toy. The two of them will never work out together.
— “Borrowed Time” (02.12)
Somehow, the couples that are most meant to be are the ones that will always have something standing between them. Dark Angel’s writers bent over backwards to keep these two apart, usually subjecting Logan to all kinds of tragedy to make sure he and Max would focus on the bigger, post-apocalyptic picture rather than their budding relationship. Dark Angel was not a show about making goo-goo eyes at your crush, but we still spent all of two seasons balling our hands into fists in frustration as Max and Logan remained apart despite a glaring mutual attraction. Even once they acknowledged their feelings, it never worked out as planned. But what it came down to was that Max and Logan were a team ahead of anything else. Save the world first, fall madly in love later—they both knew what their priorities were. That’s how we know they would still be going strong after the show was cancelled all too soon. NOW KISS!
— Kellie Sheridan
Xena, Warrior Princess
Played by Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor
XENA: Gabrielle, if I only had thirty seconds to live, this is how I’d want to live them – looking into your eyes.
GABRIELLE: Stop this. Stop it.
XENA: Always remember… I love you.
— “A Friend in Need” (06.21)
A massively successful spin-off from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, this show followed the adventures of the warrior Xena, trying to find redemption for her past crimes and evil deeds. In the first episode she meets Gabrielle, a farm girl who becomes her travelling companion, and in many episodes the voice of her conscience. Whether the two women were lovers was the subject of much debate, with those against pointing at their many male love interests and with those for pointing to a hefty amount of subtext, not least the final episode where Gabrielle lovingly revives Xena in a mouth-to-mouth way, and the pair are declared soul mates who will find each other through all their reincarnations. Lucy Lawless also later proclaimed in an interview with Lesbian News magazine in 2003 that “They’re married, man!”
— Rachel Day