The Best Couples in Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV

21 Jan

I’m going to warn you right now that this list changes drastically depending on my mood, whether or not I’m wearing pants, and the amount of time I’ve spent staring at pictures of Harrison Ford online.

Yet not even a picture like this could make me say that Buffy and Riley were a good couple.

Now, if we’re going to talk about the sexiest couplings that sci-fi/fantasy has to offer, we’ll end up with a different list, which I will provide for you at a later time. This list is about compatible, romantic couples. And you should just know that romance, to me, is more about this


and somewhat less about this

Not a lot less, but…sorry, what was I saying again?

So. The List. And speaking of David Tenant’s beautiful face…

5. Doctor Who The Doctor and Rose Tyler

The Doctor and Rose get put at the bottom of this list, and I think we can all agree on the reason.


The reason I love Rose Tyler (and I do love Rose Tyler,) is not that she’s brave or the slightest bit clever or particularly witty or even amazingly attractive. I love Rose Tyler because the Doctor loves Rose Tyler. And that’s the only reason anyone loves Rose Tyler. Want proof? A spin-off was greenlit after “Doomsday” called Rose Tyler: Earth Defence starring Billie Piper. Here’s a screenshot of the pilot episode.

The project was cancelled because Russell T. Davies felt that it would cheapen Rose’s last appearance, but I think the real reason is that no one would care about Rose without the Doctor, and that show would flop anyway. But that leads me to why I like this couple at all.

Usually I’m against “shipping” a couple when only one of the characters is interesting, but actually in this case they kind of make each other better. He’s bitter and angry and genocidal and lonely and she turns him into a romantic. She’s a small-town girl wearing too much make-up and an entire year’s worth of peroxide, and he makes her a badass. The whole point of the Doctor seems to be that he must always be alone and apart from humanity. This romance blew that right out of the water. It showed us a side of the Doctor that we don’t get ever again, and it was both beautiful and heartbreaking to see him so invested in a single human being.

Rose: “I love you.” The Doctor: “I know.” No, wait. That’s a different movie. Harry Potter or something, I think.

This romance is about as close as you get to a happy ending with the Doctor. You get a lot of beautifully devastated expressions from David Tenant, Billie Piper cries unattractively a lot, and you learn that a character not saying the words “I love you” can be the best damned line in a show.

4. Firefly, Zoe and Wash

Zoe and Wash are the couple that everyone loves, but no one really knows why. By all accounts, the relationship doesn’t make sense. She’s a tough, military-minded ex-soldier who could be categorically defined as “terse.” Hoban “Wash” Washburne is precisely none of those things.

No one wearing a shirt like that will ever be described as “terse.”

Okay, so we don’t ever get a really good reason why these two people are so great for each other, but that’s part of the beauty. Instead of establishing a will-they-or-won’t-they drama based on their differences and probable misunderstandings, Whedon introduced them as a loving, married couple.  That is so amazingly unusual in television, it deserves special recognition. Most of the time television makes it seem like getting married to someone you actually like is the most statistically unlikely event in the history of the universe. Then, once you’re married, you cease to be an interesting character with an interesting relationship, possibly because all TV writers believe that marriage is horrible and that an honest portrayal would lead to divorce (which you can never have.)


Zoe and Wash are both great characters, and their relationship is in no way diluted because of their stable commitment to each other. They’re unusual, intriguing and complementary. Joss “I’m a Filthy Liar” Whedon even said that Zoe and Wash were the one couple he would never ever break up. They are the couple that makes you want to just see two characters being happy together, instead of the traditional whirlwind romance.

Although I imagine that Zoe is usually the big spoon.

3. Battlestar Galactica, Laura and Bill

Laura Roslin and Bill Adama get put on this list because their romance is the least interesting thing about their relationship.

Other than picturing these two people boning.

Roslin and Adama are not in the position of danger and adrenaline that Starbuck and Apollo go through everyday, and so their relationship is much subtler. They accuse each other of treason, insubordination, moral bankruptcy and being a dirty cheater throughout the whole show, but because of that they end up working as balances for each other. They keep the other person in check, and they grow to truly respect each other for it. Having a relationship that grows out of respect and admiration instead of sexual attraction is so freaking badass that it even makes me forgive them for showing me this on network television:


The other nice thing about this couple is that when the romance happens, it just happens. You’re not checking your watch to see when they’re going to get their act together. They act like human beings and they don’t compromise. They just love each other, and that’s enough to go on.

2. Angel, Fred and Wesley

Angel is one of those shows that I find kind of uneven, but if there are two reasons to keep watching it then those reasons are Wesley and Fred. They have a more traditional will-they-or-won’t-they arc than some of the other entries on this list, but there’s a sweet ineptness to it that makes them wonderful. Wes and Fred are the sort of people that every nerd could ever want to be: awkward, smart, fumbling and completely, unfairly beautiful.

“How are we the nerdiest people on this show, again?”

This is a couple that’s just meant to be. Any potential with Gunn, Knox, Lila (wtf?) or even Angel just clearly comes across as an obstacle to these two people being together. I think it’s because of how sweet they are. Wesley has never really known who he is. As a Watcher he was uptight, as a Rogue Demon Hunter he was trying to be badass, and then he did his whole “I’m going down a dark spiral because this is Angel and we do that here.”

Then he learned to bleed from his jugular for 5 hours straight without dying, but that was a different story.

The way he felt about Fred, though, was always constant and certain and kind of sad. I loved seeing her realize how good he would be to her, and I was impressed by his willingness to do anything for her, even unspeakable things. They are the strongest point of the show, and the line “You are my sunshine” will break your heart.

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow and Oz

I know, I know. There are so many romances from Buffy that get the number one slot for “Best Couple” on lists across the internet. Like Buffy and Parker, Willow and Kennedy, Spike and Harmony or Xander and Faith. You know, the really iconic relationships.

And obviously this gets my vote for “Best Kiss”

I have no hesitations in saying, though, that my favorite couple of all time is Willow and Oz. I love Tara and everything, but Oz was perfect, and he and Willow were a beautiful thing. It was another romance with very little bullshit lead-up. Willow had a lot of anxiety and nervousness because she was Willow, but they ended up being a couple pretty seamlessly, without drama. And it was amazing to see the way she blossomed under Oz’s quiet attention.

Chivalry isn’t dead. It just gets furry and homicidal once a month.

Also, a really quiet guy who then has both confidence and tenderness? Best thing ever. Bickering, hot-headed couples be damned, having Oz say matter-of-factly “You have the sweetest smile” before abruptly switching topics is pure genius. Sweetness and loyalty make this couple way better than any lustful, weeping Buffy bullshit. Their relationship, while not dramatic, still dealt intelligently with forgiveness, infidelity, and communication issues.

And occasional hormone imbalances.

Don’t ask me how a relationship between a girl with a smiley-face backpack and a boy who is 4 feet tall could be the most wonderful romance on television, but it is. This couple is so good that it will actually make you forgive Seth Green for Without a Paddle.

And that’s saying something.


6 Responses to “The Best Couples in Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV”

  1. Alex January 30, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    It took me a second with the Buffy couples… Xander and Faith really brought it home though. Well done. That’s the sort of joke that only people like us get.

    • bkcrotty January 30, 2013 at 6:43 am #

      That’s because we’re the BEST people. Also, I fudged it with Spike and Harmony, because I actually find them hilarious and awesome.

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