If there’s one thing that pop culture is not short of, it’s great romances. Nowhere is this more the case than TV, a medium pretty much built on the “Will they/won’t they?” model of dramatic tension. So, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’ve rounded up the following list of the 10 best TV couples of all time – but full warning: the side effects of reading include increased heart rate and misty eyes!
10. Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly
Once it found its feet, the US version of The Office really delivered the goods, especially when it came to romantic leads Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly. One of the cutest couples ever seen on screen, Jim and Pam– with their unimpressive jobs and average (by Hollywood standards) looks – proved a loveably identifiable pair, and their office romance is something many viewers could relate to.
Fans of the UK Office might argue that Tim and Dawn should be included on this list instead, but the thing is, we never actually see them together (except for a few brief moments in the Christmas Special), whereas we follow Jim and Pam all the way through to marriage and finally parenthood. Through it all, they’re a realistic model of a young couple in love, figuring out how to make it work, and above all, remaining best friends along the way.
9. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage
The first of several turbulent couples on this list, these two are dynamite – and not just in bed (although they’ve broken at least one of those).
The star of Marvel Entertainment and Netflix joint production Jessica Jones, Jessica is carrying some emotional issues due to years of abuse at the hands of supervillain Kilgrave which make relationships a struggle for her. If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, Luke later learns that Jessica killed his wife – a pretty big stumbling block for any couple.
Despite all this, these two are a good fit for each other, thanks to their complementary superpowers and mutual understanding of what it means to be a street level hero in New York.
8. Philip J. Fry and Turanga Leela
Futurama’s Fry and Leela epitomise the saying “Love finds a way”. Indeed, although Leela often knocked Fry back for much of the series as a result of his childishness – not to mention unbelievable stupidity – he eventually won her over thanks to his sweetness, loyalty and bravery.
This couple has had several big moments in their time – many of them courtesy of incredible grand gestures by Fry – but the most definitive comes in series finale “Meanwhile”. Here, we see them grow old together and then, even knowing how things have played out between them, accepting the offer to relive it all over again.
If thinking that’s perfect is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!
7. Nomi Marks and Amanita
Sense8 was a pleasant surprise when it arrived on Netflix in 2015, and part of its charm lies in the romances between by its cast of international psychics.
Of these, arguably the strongest was that shared by trans woman Nomi and her non-psychic partner Amanita. This couple tick two of the biggest boxes of a strong relationship: they support each other and stick by each other no matter what.
They’re also a loving and affectionate couple, and their resilience is second to none. That Amanita is able to gently observe that “What’s Up?” by the 4 Non Blondes made the perfect soundtrack for Nomi’s near-lobotomy perfectly sums up why they work so well together.
6. Ross Geller and Rachel Green
Let’s just get this out of the way: Ross and Rachel’s relationship might have driven much of Friends, but it also nearly drove audiences to insanity. In a sense, it was like most real-life “on/off” romances – you just want the people involved to break up and stay broken up!
And yet the unquestionable connection between these two characters ultimately gets them over the line, and it’s impossible to deny the happy feeling you get every time you watch them back together (especially the last time!).
5. The Doctor and Rose Tyler
Everyone loves a star-crossed love story, and what could be more star-crossed than an immortal Time Lord from space falling for a mortal girl from London in Doctor Who?
The tenth incarnation of the Doctor shared an electric chemistry with Rose, and they were clearly two people who loved spending time – and travelling the universe – together. Things only got shaky whenever the pair slowed down long enough to confront their feelings for each other, and weren’t helped when they wound up trapped in separate dimensions.
Still, the Doctor and Rose get a happy ending (kinda) after she starts a relationship with a human version of her man capable of growing old with her, even if this does mean that the real Doctor is left on his own….
4. Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big
Sex and the City was ground-breaking in its celebration of female sexuality and independence, yet the Carrie/Big relationship is a reminder that at its heart, the show was really a story about finding love.
Over the course of the show’s six seasons, we see Carrie and Big make countless stumbles along the pathway to togetherness. But for all these false starts, there was never really any doubt that once they sorted through their emotional issues – most notably, Big’s fear of commitment – they would end up a lasting item.
3. Piper Chapman and Alex Vause
Yet another volatile couple, Piper and Alex are either the best or worst thing to happen to each other. Nevertheless, Orange is the New Black wouldn’t be the same without this pair, and even though they might not stay together for long, when they are they’re great to watch.
Despite both being wildly flawed individuals, these two have an amazingly strong bond. Piper and Alex possess a rare awareness of their own faults, and based on this – plus the off-the-charts level of self-awareness they bring to their relationship – here’s hoping that they’ll work things out before the series wraps.
2. Homer and Marge Simpson
Homer and Marge are probably the cutest couple on this list. There’s a trend floating around the internet of recasting The Simpsons‘ core marriage as a tragedy: that Marge getting knocked up meant she had to marry Homer, give up a promising career as an artist, and doom herself to an unhappy life.
Frankly, this is crap.
Sure, these two fell in love at an early age, and having their first kid early definitely moved the goal posts. But they’ve also had their marriage tested multiple times and never walked out when the opportunity arose, and both have sacrificed a lot to make things work, not just Marge (Homer didn’t just quit his dream job, he re-entered another that he actively despises to support the family).
Considering all the heartwarming moments between Springfield’s sweetest twosome – from singing “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” on a bicycle ride to making out in a lighthouse searchlight and beyond – not only are they not tragic, they’re a pretty tough act to top.
1. Eric and Tami Taylor
Coach Eric Taylor and his wife Tami are proof that you can show a healthy relationship in serialised drama without resorting to scandalous storylines. The Super Couple of Friday Night Lights, these two are pretty much what anyone who believes in love aspires to: nearly two decades into their marriage, they’re still deeply in love with, and attracted to, each another.
Crucially, they also value the same things and support each other’s dreams. Tami is the rock that allows Eric to dedicate himself to football, and in the end, he’s able to repay her commitment by backing her decision to move to Philadelphia for work. The key quote from the series is “Clear Eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” – between them, Coach and Tami are living proof of that.