2015 Year in Review: Best Television Relationships

First of all, I wanted to thank all of you for making the first year at The Girly Nerd so special. Granted it has not been around for a year, but I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my fellow wonderful writers and venture into discussing what were some of the Bests of 2015. To begin with are the Best Relationships of the year. Because I do not watch quite as many shows as some, and because I think many different kinds of relationships deserve to be praised, this list not only features romantic couples, but also friendships and familial relationships. I also decided to just do one per show, but I make up for it in the Honorable Mentions. So without further ado, here are the relationships that made 2015 enthralling, beautiful and moving.

1. Emma Swan and Killian Jones (Once Upon a Time)

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Emma and Killian’s relationship has always been beautiful, captivating and relatable, having developed naturally and steadily over the past 4 seasons. But 2015 brought their relationship to a deeply profound level as we saw two people who were once so lost and broken find a love so true that their wounded hearts are now willing to be completely open and vulnerable. It has been evident for quite some time how much Killian loves Emma, and this year we saw in abundance just how much she truly loves him.  Kindred spirits in every way, they have a deep understanding of one another and the ability to provide comfort, unfailing support, and passionate affection to each other. In this year alone we witnessed Killian telling Emma she is his happy ending, romantic walks, heartfelt promises, adventures in an alternate reality, first declarations of love, the bestowing of a precious ring, and the choosing of a house that represents their future together, as well kisses amongst hundreds of flowers, their names residing next to each other on a blade that was once the Holy Grail, and a love that literally ignited the first spark of mankind. Contrasted with romantic and light moments were also ones of tragedy, heartbreak and sacrifice, bringing their love story this year to epic proportions. With darkness thrust upon them, they both became Dark Ones, and we saw how they are able to chase away that darkness when reminded of  their love, trust and belief in each other. And even when they faltered with Emma nearly crushing a heart, saving Killian’s life by turning him into a Dark One and then not being honest with him, and Killian letting the darkness consume him in a quest for revenge, they were able to be brought back to the light, solidifying moving truths about their characters individually and as couple. Emma was able to let him go and vow to save him with love, not darkness, and Killian nobly sacrificed himself to save Emma and her family, destroying the darkness within themselves, and believing they were vanquishing that evil forever. Even though that latter was in vain, the sacrifice was not because it epitomized what makes their story so beautiful.  Through love they have been able to overcome their metaphorically demons, and now they were able to overcome physical ones- and they did so together. Tragic as this was, doesn’t that make it all the more special? Emma is now marching into the Underworld to save his life. Willing to go to Hell and back and share her heart with him, their story is as romantically epic as one can be. In 2015, Emma and Killian literally defeated a dragon together, and overcame the greatest darkness that ever was. Killian sacrificed himself twice for Emma and her future, and Emma is marching into the Underworld to save him proclaiming her family’s motto “I will always find you.” There are many moving and beautiful love stories, but the one between Emma Swan and Killian Jones is the kind of story that fairy tale dreams are made of.

Memorable Moments in Gifs

I may have gone a little overboard with the number of gifs for these two but who can blame me 🙂captain swan it's you

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2. Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis (Agent Carter)

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From the moment these two characters met I knew I would love their relationship. From the mutual respect and witty banter, to the way they make a perfect team, Peggy and Jarvis are the indeed heart of the Marvel series. What I love most is that it is a relationship that is completely platonic. They obviously have a great connection, ability to work well together, and affection for each other, but prove that not every relationship is meant to be romantic. Instead we see the importance and beauty that friendship can have. Every scene between these two is golden, whether they be serious or light, and help to bring a real sense of gravity to the show.  They spent this first season in a variant of situations: suspended in the air, handcuffed together, in car chases, preparing to break through a window with a table (a classic one) and countless intrigues and moments of hilarious subterfuge, each utterly engaging, exciting and even moving. For a character that felt invisible at work, Jarvis gives Peggy the respect and sense of equal footing she deserves, and there is no greater sense of respect and trust on the series than between these two characters. Perhaps the most touching moment was when Jarvis revealed that he lied to his boss Howard Stark about the whereabouts of Steve Rogers’ blood, bestowing the vile to Peggy because she is one person in the world who knows what to do which such a gift. It was a beautiful moment and epitomized the loveliness of a friendship based on sincere kindness, esteem and integrity.

Memorable Moments in Gifs

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3. Ross Poldark and Demelza Carne (Poldark)

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There is something so special about period drama romance and couples, especially unlikely ones between people of different stations in life. Nowadays we are used to these kinds of relationships, so there needs to be something that makes them stand apart from the others. Ross and Demelza surely fit the bill. They are beautiful, sexy, and truly touching as their story developed over the first season of this stunning series. He rescued her from abuse and she became his kitchen maid but it was not long before we could see how much she adored him, and the growing attraction between them culminated in one of the sexiest scenes of the year as they succumb to that attraction as he helps her out of a gown. Beyond that attraction their love grew into something very deep and profound. On Christmas she sings a song and in that moment we saw the moment Ross realized how much he had fallen in love with her. It was sweet and tear inducing and laid the foundation for the love that grew deeper and deeper from that moment on with such swoon worthy lines such as “Come back to me my love.” She helped him to be a better man and he helped her come of her shell and become more confident, as they dealt with joys and blessings, hardships and tragedies. Their season ends with heartbreak as they lose their first child and Ross is arrested for a crime for which he is innocent, but we are still left with a sense of hope that they can overcome anything together.

Memorable Moments in Gifs

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4. Kevin Ryan and Javier Esposito (Castle)

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The partnership between detectives Ryan and Esposito has always been one of the best things about Castle and in 2015 we saw how much this relationship means to them, and indeed everyone on the show. It has always been the case with these characters, but this year especially solidified the importance of this type of relationship. They are more than just friends. They are partners. They are brothers. I don’t pretend to be an expert on police proceedings and dynamics but I do know that the relationship between partners is one of utmost importance. The best not only get along but know each other as well as spouses and family members. They always have each other’s back and are willing to risk their life for the other. Ryan and Esposito most definitely fall under all of these categories and what was special this year was that as they were struggling with feelings of resentment and anger, they were able to work through these conflicts and realize how much they mean to each other. When they both took the sergeants exam only Esposito passed, and then Ryan accidentally shot his partner. Of course things were tense after these events but when Ryan saved Esposito’s life, taking a bullet for his partner, they could see how petty they were being. You know things are serious when they use each other’s first names and in these moments that concluded 2015, we Javier is so grateful for his partner Kevin who took a bullet for him even though Kevin has a wife, a child, and another on the way. They are family and nothing will ever change that. And of course I would be remiss if I failed to mention how many laugh out loud moments these detectives also provided the show in 2015 especially a dance routine choreographed to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” resulting in one of the best moments of the series. In truth we are the lucky ones whenever these two grace our screens!

Memorable Moments in Gifs

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5. Henry and Abraham Morgan (Forever)

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Even though this wonderful, enthralling show is no longer on the air, it did conclude its first and only season in 2015, and this relationship just had to be included. Certainly one of the most unique shows ever, this relationship is unlike any we have ever seen. It is a father and a son relationship between an immortal man and a son who is now much older than his Dad. Adopted by Henry and his wife as a baby and survivor of the Holocaust, Abraham is the only living person (besides the show’s nefarious villain and other immortal) that knew Henry’s secret and their dynamic provided much of the lightness and humor but also very moving moments of the series. The relationship between father and son is always complex and complicated and indeed giving their circumstances Henry and Abraham’s certainly is, but what was lovely was that despite this you never once doubt how much they love each other and will do anything to protect one another. When Abraham began looking into his heritage it was moving to hear him say that he “does not need a family tree to know who is Pops is.” Of course when they found out that they are in truth distantly related, they were elated and began seeing a family resemblance between them. It was a moment that expressed that some people are truly meant to be a part of our lives. For a man that lives forever, the love between Henry and his son Abraham is more precious that those countless years without him.

Memorable Moments in Gifs

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6. Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt (Parks and Recreation)

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From the moment these two adorable, intelligent nerds came together, our hearts and our television screens were made brighter. It is a privilege to watch comedy at its finest as well as a story that presents two people who love and respect each other as much as Leslie and Ben do. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to this delightful show, but in its 7th and final season, this couple continued to shine as one of the best on television. From their hilarious banter and ways they find each other sexy, to them breaking down gender and workplace stereotypes with absolute and refreshing truths, to the ways they continue to show each other unfailing support in their political careers, Leslie and Ben showcased a relationship we all can aspire to. In the final episode of the series they both planned to run for office and decided to flip and coin to see who would do so. Ben won but as they announce the news to their friends Ben proclaims that Leslie is running and the knowing look between them was beautiful. He knew how much it meant to her and so it was an easy decision. As they fast forward many years into the future it is alluded that one of them is President. Which one was uncertain, but it does not matter because we know that whoever it is, the love, high esteem and support for each other has not faltered one bit. Who wouldn’t want a love like Leslie and Ben.

Memorable Moments in Gifs

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7. Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon (The Mentalist)

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It took 7 seasons, but in the crime drama’s final bow, the unlikely partners of Jane and Lisbon finally became an official couple and we could not have been happier. Having gone through so much together, the best part of the final moments of the series were the ones that showed how two people who were very guarded and lost so much could find a sense of solace and peace with each other. They will always protect each other, and we now know they will always love each other. With the threat of Red John no longer plaguing them, there were still those who threatened their new relationship. An even though they struggled with moments of trust, in the end it was clear that they belong together. Patrick and Teresa finally learned to let go of their pasts and vowed to always look on the bright side of things. Smiles were rare for them but in the last episode we saw them happier than we ever had. As the two were wed and Lisbon revealed that she was pregnant in a quiet moment alone together, their expressions of pure joy were incredibly touching. The show’s final image was of Jane hugging his bride with a smile unlike any we have ever seen from his character. It was a beautiful showcase of the beautiful way that finding that one special person who can make your life better. Cue many, many tears.

Memorable Moments in Gifs

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8. Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes (Downton Abbey)

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As this wonderful period drama prepares to take its final bow, we must revisit it’s next to last season, also known as the one whether the two very proper head servants to Downtown Abbey finally came together. It was clear they always held in each in high regard, but when the two began looking into buying a cottage together to rent out to travelers and tenants, I could not help but see and hope that these two would finally realize they have true feelings for each other. In the final episode of the season we see the normally all too proper and serious Mr. Carson show a real moment of vulnerability as he assures Mrs. Hughes that he wants to be stuck with her. He proposes marriage and after her initial shock she happily accepts saying she thought he would never ask. We don’t often see love stories from characters like this, but if they are all as realistic and sweet as this one, I say there should be more. But of course Carson and Mrs. Hughes would remain steadfast in our hearts as one of the best relationships from this lovely and captivating series.

Memorable Moments in Gifs

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9. Scarlett O’Connor and Gunnar Scott (Nashville)

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I will openly admit that I have not seen every episode of Nashville (although I would love to one day when I can). I came into the series late and one of the first big draws for me was relationship and chemistry between Scarlett and Gunnar. It was clear to me they still cared deeply for each other and frankly belonged together. Although they have spent 2015 in other relationships, two things remain true: their ability to be friends, and the musical magic they make together. Even if it was frustrating when we saw them with other people all was forgiven when they would take the stage together. Moreover, we saw that despite Gunnar’s feelings he was able to let them go for her sake and just be her friend as she was grieving the loss of her mother. He even helped her boyfriend write a song to help her with her sorrow and took no credit  for it. That kind of selflessness was echoed in the year’s final episode when he said they could make the band work even if she wanted to move to Seattle. All that mattered to him was her happiness. We can see that Scarlett wants to find that kind of selflessness in a relationship, and clearly she did not have that with her doctor boyfriend. This was a sign of hope that 2016 may being these crazy kids back together again.

Memorable Moments in Gifs

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10. Danny Wheeler and Riley Perrin (Baby Daddy)

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If there was one word to describe the relationship between these two best friends in 2015 it would be “finally!” It was always clear that despite Danny’s unrequited feelings for Riley and her pining for his younger brother Ben that these two were meant to be. Although it took a long time to get them to this place, when the truths were finally laid out on the table they came together in both a funny and lovely ways. As they both cried watching The Princess Bride claiming this was their favorite movie, Riley watching in tears while boyfriend Ben was asleep and Danny unbeknownst to them a few rows back, also in tears, it was so obvious that this was the fairy tale that was meant to be. Danny always said he wanted to be her Prince Charming and her hero. When they met as children she said he was as he carried her home after she sprained her ankle. It only took 20 years for her to realize that his love was not unrequited. She loved him too and they showed us just how lovely it is when you fall in love with your best friend.

Memorable Moments in Gifs

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Honorable Mentions:

Killian Jones and Henry Mills (Once Upon a Time)

I could not adore the relationship between Killian and Henry more. This year we saw glimpses of what the step dad and son dynamic would be like for them and it as absolutely delightful. Their adventures together in the Alternate reality warmed my heart as Henry told him he has a great sailing teacher in him and it was so sweet seeing the playful teasing Killian gave the lad when Henry was experiencing his first crush. But the sweetest and most tear inducing moment happened off screen. They two developed a mission together- Operation Light Swan- a project which included finding a house in Storybrooke for Emma and Killian to live in together. It was a promise for the future- a future of love and family that would of course include Henry. This was truly touching as we see just how much Henry has grown to care for her mother’s beau. He looked devastated when Killian sacrificed himself, so it is only natural that he too joins his family in the quest to rescue him. I look forward to 2016 bringing many more Captain Cobra moments as Henrys as already developed a new mission to find and save Killian! Two missions planned and two that will surely succeed because Henry’s operations never fail.

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Regina Mills and Robin Hood (Once Upon a Time)

The outlaw and the queen have had to deal with some rough and unusual circumstances this year when she found him in New York City and he realized his wife was actually Regina’s wicked sister Zelena in disguise, now pregnant with his child. Less than ideal circumstances to say the least it did not deter them from wanting to be together nor alter their feelings for each other. In fact they only grew stronger as they dealt with these hard times with maturity and understanding. It was lovely to see light moments together as they shared dances and kisses in Camelot contrasted with a very profound moments when Robin’s life was on the line and Regina offered her own in his place. These soul mates clearly would do anything for each other , solidifying them as another beautiful couple on the show about true love and happy endings.

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Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation)

Besides Leslie and Ben without a doubt my favorite relationship on Parks has always been between Leslie and Ron. They could not be more different in political views and personality, but they proved that people who are complete and total opposites can actually be good and true fiends. In this show’s final season it began with a great rift between them. They refused to speak to each other. It wasn’t until their friends locked them in the Parks Department that they were able to work through their differences. It was not only the best episode of the season, but was the epitome of what made their dynamic so wonderful. Of course Leslie was all gun ho from the start and Ron tried his best to resist but in the end we learned why he was so angry. Their lives had changed and people were taken away and it hurt him greatly. It took a great deal to admit it and be vulnerable but that was beauty in it. They show us that not only those with differing opinions can respect each other but also be lifelong friends. It is a fine lesson that is deeply felt.

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And so concludes the first list in the “Best of 2015” Stay tuned for more of the Best of the Best very soon…

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6 thoughts on “2015 Year in Review: Best Television Relationships

  1. See, this is why I want you talking about more shows! I love your writing so much, Marianne and you do such a great job of highlighting the beauty in things. Perfect choices with Captain Swan (of course), and Poldark! I love that we have this series in common because seriously not many people watch it and I just want to constantly gush about how much I love Ross and Damelza. They’re beautiful together. I also love what you had to say about Parks and Recreation. Similarly with Nashville — I’m glad another person sees the great potential in Scarlett and Gunner and I wish the show wouldn’t dance around their feelings so much. This is a wonderful list and I’m so glad you chose to do a year end review. Excellent job, dear!

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  2. Thank you so much for including Forever’s Henry & Abe in your article! Although every relationship on Forever is special to the show’s fans, this has to be a fan favorite. Honestly, it’s one of the many reasons why the show’s fans are still working to save the series.

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    • Thank you so much! Forever was such a special sow and deserves all the praise in the world. Like you, I loved all the relationships but the one between Henry and Abe was the heart of the show and my favorite. If this show could come back I would be overjoyed!!!

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