Best of the Decade: Top 40 Favorite Television Shows

The Best Television of the past decade, the favorite shows from 2010 to 2019 were varied to say the least. These were often brilliant and beautiful, funny and poignant, captivating and intriguing; some shows that appear on this list will not be surprising with their inclusion as they are beloved here at The Girly Nerd. Others, and especially the ordering, might take you by surprise. The criteria was simple. The series had to have spent the major of its run in the decade. This excluded shows such as The Office and Lost, or the add on Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life which did air in the decade but most of its run was out of that time frame. But all in all there was so much television to love from long running sitcoms, to bingable thrillers, to short-lived, but incredible dramas. They were all a wonder to behold.

Before delving into the Top 40 we must take note of some honorable mentions, many of which could be worthy enough to be included in the top 40 but were not simply because I have either just begun them, or fell behind and will need to revisit them at some point. Soon to be started is Netflix’s The Crown, along with Dolly Parton’s musical catalog inspired Heartstrings. Just began is the irreverent and quirky Schitt’s Creek, while I’ve fallen behind on was the touching and funny Speechless, thoughtful and steadfast Blue Bloods, intriguing and slick Lucifer, and the beautiful period drama Poldark. I look forward to revisiting and getting back into each of these. other shows that deserve not recognition are Happy Together and Happy Endings. But the purpose this is to highlight the best of this past decade. Without further ado here are the Top 40 favorite Television shows of the Decade.

40. Ringer (2011-2012) ringer
Dark and sexy drama, this tale of a woman who takes over the life of her selfish twin sister starred the amazing Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ioan Gruffudd and was full of twists and turns, and soapy dramatic intrigue and I loved every minute. The show ended with many things left unresolved which is a shame because it was a ringer in terms of sexy mysteries of the time.

39. IZombie (2015-2019)izombie
Often brilliant, always poignant, the only reason the show isn’t listed higher is I fell behind on the series by about the season. But regardless this zombie drama which is, thankfully for a viewer like myself, never too violent or glory, but rather a more thoughtful and even fun take on the concept as the amazing Rose McIver literally becomes a different person in each episode. It may be fantasy, but the heart is about human morality and love in all its forms.

38. About a Boy (2014-2015) about_a_boy
Based on the British film of the same name, the Americanized version is lighter and a bit softer in terms of the main character and his quirky neighbor who begrudgingly becomes friends with him after her son takes a shine to him. Its heartfelt and silly fun.

37. Galavant (2015-2016) galavant
This goofy, colorful unique breath of fresh air musical comedy show was bursting at the seams with talent from its amazingly talented cast which included Karen David, Joshua Sasse and Timonthy Omundson to the musical composer of the illustrious Alan Menken. The Monty Python-esque storytelling, Galavant was a niche show but beloved by those who discovered it’s hilarious greatness.

36. The Astronaut Wives Club (2015) ERIN CUMMINGS, DOMINIQUE MCELLIGOTT, JOANNA GARCIA SWISHER, AZURE PARSONS, YVONNE STRAHOVSKI, ZOE BOYLE
This wonderful mini-series, tightly crafted with an incredible cast, took a new angle at the depiction of NASA in the 1960s. Seen mostly from the perspective of the wives of NASA top astronauts, we see just what they endured as they watch their husbands embark on historic but extremely dangerous missions. But this isn’t an all hearts and flowers saccharine look at doting and meek happy housewives. No, we see real, very loving and intelligent women, all very different and dealing with every day trials and their husband’s work, and sometimes infidelities, as well as personal aspirations of their own. It’s equal parts fond remembrance and inspiring encouragement and hope for a better life then and now.

35. Reign (2013-2017) reign2
Perhaps not the most historically accurate, but one of the most enthralling, sexy, and exquisite looks at the life of Mary Queen of Scots, this series showcased all the drama, tragedy, and escapades of the Royal, romantic, sexual and wartime intrigues of France, Scotland and England in the 16th century. Fine cast, gorgeous production, and captivating storytelling, this show was for anyone who loves royal dramas rich with intrigue.

34. The Mysteries of Laura (2014-2016) laura
Two seasons wasn’t long enough for this engaging crime procedural with Debra Messing and Josh Lucas, Messing being Laura Diamond, one of the best homicide detectives in the NYPD, juggling being a single mother and sparring with her ex-husband Lucas who is now her partner. What really made this show was Laura’s character, a very real and relatable woman, who it amazing at her job, but still fallible in her everyday life, intelligent and strong, stubborn but loving, open and forgiving. These mysteries were grounded and wonderful.

33. Emily Owens M.D. (2012-2013) emily
This is short-lived but overall excellent medical dramedy wasn’t overly serious and bombarded with medical crisis. Instead while it did deal with these things, rather it more keenly focused on a group of young doctors, its lead being Emily, the perpetually teased but extremely hard-working young woman juggling her awkward social life with the pressures of a competitive and stressful workplace. It was well acted with a wonderful cast that included Maime Gummer, Justin Hartley and Michael Rady, and it was fresh and poignant and so enjoyable.

32. Manifest (2018-present) manifest
Part of my “Best of 2018,” as said Manifest is, “Intriguing, melancholy, gripping, and thought provoking, the comparisons to LOST were inevitable, but let it be said that Manifest is its own show and one that mixes and perfectly balances unexplained phenomena, crime procedural and family drama, matched with an impressive cast led but the wonderful Josh Dallas and Melissa Roxburgh as brother and sister Ben and Michaela Stone, who returned home to a world that had changed so much. [wanting] to know what happened to Flight 828 that caused them to somehow become lost in time to the rest of the world and lose 5 years.” It’s a mysterious and thoughtful journey so far that leaves us wanting more.

31. A Discovery of Witches (2018- present) A Discovery of Witches
Another that was part of the “Best of 2018,” in this fantasy show, ” Between the amazing cast, beautifully locales and exquisite cinematography, there is so much to be mesmerized by, most especially a love story- a kind of Romeo and Juliet love story between a witch and a vampire, two species who have always been on opposite, adversarial sides, who are instantly drawn to each other and form a unbreakable bond and love that transcends all, and defies obstacles, and proves that LOVE knows no bounds.” based on Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy, it’s chilling and romantic, and the upcoming seasons are sure to be just as thrilling.

30. The Goldbergs (2013-present) goldbergs
Anyone who grew up in the 80s, or indeed lived in the 80s in any way should love this silly and good-natured look at family life in this formidable decade focusing on a young boy obsessed with movies, wanting to be the next big filmmaker, and the trials of being an awkward teenager, with a popular but equally awkward brother, Queen bee sister, smother for a mother, and tough but well-meaning father. It’s laugh out loud funny and so, so heartfelt.

29. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-present) DSC00208.ARW
Witty, fast talking, delightful, colorful, meaningful, poignant, funny, effervescent, female empowering, and yes completely marvelous, series, each episode is like stepping into a candy colored, bubbly musical time machine to the 1960s which is fun and lively, but not without turmoil or drama. At times it feels heightened in true Sherman-Pallidino style, at other times completely grounded in very real, relatable truths about life.” And in the third season it was a rich vignette style sense of storytelling. A smoke-filled, gin and tonic soaked nostalgic gem with a wonderful continuation of Midge’s journey. Where she heads to next is anyone’s guess, but it’s sure to be a simply marvelous.

28. New Girl (2011-2018) new girl
You can describe this comedy in the same way you can describe its leave protagonist Jessica Day played by the incomparable Zooey Deschanel – sweet, a little silly, quirky, but ultimately strong, wise and heartfelt. Jess was definitely a lovable character; she’s someone whose quirks and awkwardness was endearing and so relatable to anyone he was ever felt a little weird, but is smart and strong willed enough to not let that dim that special light that burns inside them. That is New Girl’s greatest takeaway as we see that with all the characters and relationships. They grow and love and learn, but never compromise their unique individual selves. It’s a triumph of showcasing goofiness and wisdom in a way that was always engaging.

27. Royal Pains (2009-2016) royal
There was so much to love about this dramedy from the cast, to the characters, to the fact that there wasn’t anything else like it on television. Dr. Hank Lawson loses everything when he acts with his conscience instead of his pragmatism, forcing him to look for work elsewhere. Begrudgingly with the partnership of his brother Evan, and the help of a physician’s assistant Divya (who was a refreshing depiction and an Indian woman breaking tradition to be her own fulfilled person), Hank becomes a concierge doctor in the Hamptons. A sort of MacGyver medical drama, patients offered interesting things to behold, while the drama that unfolded for the characters and their relationships remained rewarding to watch, with a truly satisfying conclusion.

26. The Good Place (2016-present) good place.png
Another winner from Michael Schur, what makes this absurd and unique comedy work, and indeed set it apart from other shows in lovely ways, are the interesting and vastly different cast of characters, and the way they all come together with love, friendship and teamwork on a profound level, looking at philosophy and morality of life in ways that are both funny and thought-provoking. This “Soul Squad” and their adventures are good for our souls.

25. Modern Family (2009-present) mod fam
Taking a cue from The Office in it’s format by speaking to the camera about what they are going through throughout each episode, the comedy and heart of this show works thanks to an incredible cast and great writing that showcase the humor of every day family life in universal ways with 3 families, all different and more modern in appearance. Sometimes silly and absurd, often heartwarming and poignant, Modern Family will be a classic for years to come.

24. The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)The Change Constant/The Stockholm Syndrome
This long running comedy spent the majority of its run in the decade and it’s a prime example of a show simultaneously remaining true to its core concepts and heart will also improving and evolving. And evolving is the keyword when it comes to all of the characters who end in better, happier, more enlightened places. All while remaining so funny and sweet. These nerds learned so much without losing themselves.

 

23. Fuller House (2016-present) fuller-house-season-2
This reboot of the original series is sweet hearted, goofy but like the original has some poignant moment, perhaps left less often but still lovely and affecting. Seeing sisters DJ and Stephanie and best friend Kimmy grown with families of their own, navigating the ups and downs of adulthood, mirroring the concept of Full House, brings forth some wonderful moments and a lot of heart, with the proper dose of nostalgia there any fan of the original would delight in. Romantic entaglements, the ups and downs of parenthood, High School reunions, Weddings, musical numbers, New Kids on the Block, there is so much to delight in!

 
22. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (2013-2014)wonderland
The spin-off of Once Upon a Time may have had only one season and 13 episodes, but it was an exciting and heartfelt series, was indeed connected to the original with crossover characters and settings, but was amazing in its the singular story with a small and select amount of characters, that still had that ever present intertwining and fun blend of stories. Alice falls in love with a Genie from Agrabah and fights the evil Jafar, is best friends with one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, Will Scarlet who loves someone himself, The Red Queen who is also the step sister Anastasia. The writing was tight, characters wonderful, and story lovely and enthralling with a beautiful satisfying, tear inducing ending showing the power of true love and friendship.

21. The Middle (2009-2018)the-middle
Life in the middle of America for an average middle-class family was endlessly relatable in this sweet and always funny, often touching comedy. What makes the show is the characters in the Heck family which feel so real, relatable and endearing. The scenarios are sometimes presented in wacky ways, but make no mistake, the situations are ripe with truth. At the end of the day, The Middle is anything but middling, but rather a look at people who could be your friends and neighbors, and indeed happily so.

20. Trophy Wife (2013-2014) trophy
Absolutely hilarious, sweet natured comedy series that should have run much longer than its single season, don’t let the title throw you off. This is a modern family comedy about a man who is on wife number three, much younger than him, but they are a sweet couple to behold. And their crazy and unconventional lives which includes three kids, and both ex-wives showcases them navigating this life together with bits of silliness and heartwarming moments. Fantastic cast, with the characters all so different, the ex-wives are a bit extreme opposites but still likable, the kids feel like real kids and are all, again, different, but sweet and endearing, and the main couple in question is believable in their love and relationship. Worthy to note, this show bolstered two of the most relatable moments ever – asking someone to look up an actor’s filmography online because they seem so familiar, and trophy wife Kate wanting her wedding to have the same vibe and feeling as Kermit and Miss Piggy’s.

19. A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-2019) a-series-of-unfortunate-events-season-2
As said in the Best of 2018 series, ” The Netflix original series based on the children’s books of the same name is dark and filled with gruesome scenarios that befall the unfortunate Baudelaire orphans, and yet it remains sweet and touching. A steampunk-esque visual feast for the eyes, it features intelligent writing, which actually gives you vocabulary lessons in each episode in a way that is so entertaining you crave it, hilarious absurdity, and an amazing cast. The story of the Baudelaire children may be an unfortunate one but you will not want to “look away” as the theme song and narrator often advises the audience to do. Instead you find yourself deeply invested and rooting for these children who are wise, mature and intelligent beyond their years not only in terms of being well read and clever but emotionally as well.. The contrast of the absurd situations, breathtaking visuals and profound meaning of this material is astonishing.”

18. Hart of Dixie (2011-2015) hart
A sweet, funny, gentle, dramedy, Hart of Dixie is a guaranteed pallet cleanser for those who need it. A bit Gilmore girls esque, in this story of a young New York Doctor who moves to the small Alabama town of Bluebell, complete with a colorful cast of real characters, we see how this journey to the South changes her life and the lives of the town forever; and it is absolutely delightful. Flawed characters who you genuinely love, relationships that go through tribulations but all end up happily, growth from all, and touching friendships, the heart of Hart of Dixie is the very epitome of making lemonade out of lemons and finding your life in the most unexpected of places

17. This is Us (2016-present) this_is_us_cast-publicity-h_2019_
Interwoven stories of a family seen at different times in their lives, has been heartwarming, heartbreaking, relatable, lovely, and moving each and every season, due in no small part to the fine writing, wonderful characters, and exceptional cast. Becoming a bit of a phenomenon, the popularity is matched by the quality and it’s clear and understandable why audiences yearned for this type of dramatic family storytelling. There is so much to love about the Pearson family at every stage of their lives, and its current season we see that scope broaden into other characters as we see that age old truth of how a single person can come out of the blue and completely change our lives. If a show had a heartbeat on those relatable truths of life, it would be This is Us.

16. Pan Am (2011-2012) pan am 1
Chic, romantic, beautiful, optimistic nostalgia, Pan Am looks at a time in history ripe with hope for the future, and big changes in the world, but also still so far to go in terms of equality and fair and good treatment of women and others alike. 1960’s stylish with the best modern sensibilities about chasing your dreams and believing in a future better than the past, these attributes reflected the glamorous but sometimes turbulent life of a Pan Am stewardess. The cast is wonderful, including Christina Ricci and a new to Hollywood scene Margot Robbie, the stories are a mix of light and fun, and dark and serious, showing the life of an undercover spy. It’s a breezy drama that truly soared and deserved to be on (and in the air) much longer.

15. White Collar (2009-2014)whitecollar_epguide_206
Most definitely inspired a bit by Frank Abagnale and Catch Me if You Can, White Collar was another in USA network’s string of entertaining serialized crime shows, this one being a more lighthearted caper drama about a white-collar criminal who alluded authorities for so long and went finally caught makes a deal to work with the FBI to stop criminals with the lead who tracked him down, the two eventually becoming close friends. The concept was fresh, the stories interesting, and the dynamic between the characters always great to watch. I was often mesmerized by Matt Bomer’s charisma as this charming thief Neal Caffrey, and touched by the friendship that formed between him and Tim Dekay’s Peter Burke Ending in a satisfying by open ended way, if we ever revisited these characters it would be a joy.

14. Murdoch Mysteries (2008- present)Tinsel
This long running Canadian drama is an absolute delight for those who enjoy turn of the century stories, interesting and endearing characters, stand out of history, and procedural detective shows. Detective William Murdoch’s life as a member of the Toronto Constabulary is always an exciting, thoughtful one and the adventures we see, especially with the woman who becomes his wife, the intelligent and inspiring medical examiner Dr. Julia Ogden, as well as Chief Inspector Brackenreed and constable George Crabtree are sometimes lighthearted, sometimes intense, but always enthralling. Through the wonderful period details and integration of real life people of note in history from Thomas Edison to Mark Twain, you get a truly rich series.

13. Castle (2009-2016) castle
When it comes to procedural crime dramas, you need the right combination of a fine cast, interesting cases, and captivating overarching stories. Castle had these in spades. But what really made the show was the characters, their chemistry, they are evolving relationships, from cocky but good hearted writer Richard Castle, the intelligent and guarded detective who inspires him Kate Beckett, homicide detectives that are often so funny, but also capable Ryan and Esposito, Castle’s classy and no nonsense mother, and his sweet and mature teenage daughter Alexis. They all become a family over the course of the series which had a very unique hook – a writer looking for inspiration who begins working with one of New York’s finest homicide detectives, causing sometimes trouble but eventually becoming part of the crime solving team in a crucial way. Although the show almost took a detour, in the it ended extremely satisfyingly. And overall this Castle was magnificent.

12. The Mentalist (2008-2015)mentalist 1
Dark, thrilling, emotional, on the edge of your seat drama, The Mentalist had an abundance to love. The twinkle in his eye, disarming smile, calming presence and overall charisma of Simon Baker’s Patrick Jane was unparalleled. He’s man who has keen observational skills, and the ability to tap into people’s thoughts, sometimes in a manipulate ways- a true mentalist that helped the California Bureau of Investigation solve countless cases, along with and amazing other cast of characters, and fine actors to boot, the strong, smart and caring Teresa Lisbon, who Patrick loses his heart to, and other agents, brave and funny Wayne Rigsby, spiritual and resilient Grace Van Pelt, and stoic, no nonsense Kimball Cho. emotionally so, Patrick’s charm was matched by the despair in his eyes whenever he is forced to revisit his darkest day when his wife and child were murdered by the infamous serial killer Red John. Although the week by week cases all had great intrigue, it was the over arching story of fighting and stopping that infamous killer that was the core of what made the show captivating until the very end, especially when it involved its characters who went on journeys of self discovery and healing. The show’s final moments are truly a beautiful example of hope and peace overcoming darkness.

11. Burn Notice (2007-2013)burn
Intense, addicting spy drama not only bolstered amazing characters but had one of the best series endings of all time. This show was the perfect blend of dark and light as Michael Weston tries to find out why and who burned him as a spy, along the way helping those who really need it with help from his trigger-happy ex and eventual girlfriend Fiona, a friend who used to inform on him to the FBI, hiarious ladies man Sam Axe, a down and out spy Jesse Porter he met along the way and his chain-smoking mother who kept him in his check. An unconventional family to say the least, their adventures involved more mojitos and explosives than the fourth of July, but the humor and heart were matched by the griping storytelling. Always keeping the audience on the edge of their seats, it was amazing to see these characters grow and showcase the importance of a fridge full of yogurt and standby tactical support. In all seriousness, Burn Notice was an astounding shoe that brought it’s characters full circle in a truly moving way.

10. Forever (2014-2015)STEPHEN BARKER TURNER, ALANA DE LA GARZA, IOAN GRUFFUDD
Such a rich, unique series that deserved more than a single season, Forever took a captivating and unique take on the crime procedural by having its protagonist Henry Morgan, a medical examiner in New York Cry who begins working with the police to help solves cases, have a defining trait like no other- he lives forever. Or rather he can die but is always reborn moments later. Take this concept, making is rolling by casting Ioan Gruffudd, add a touching point of his older “friend “actually being a son he adopted from a Jewish internment camp with his wife in that time period, (a woman he still yearns to discover what happened to her after a mysterious, heartbreaking disappearance) and weekly mysteries and continuing story of the mystery to Henry’s condition, a chilling man whose discovered this, and we get an amazing show that deserve so much more time.

9.Smash (2012-2013)smash 1
The magic, music and drama about all it takes to make a Broadway show, from the writing, casting, and grueling rehearsal process is the heart of this musical drama. The lives of all involved revolving around the making of a musical based on Marilyn Monroe in season one, to a Modern rival musical written by ingénues coming up in the wings in season two, and finally a race to the Tony awards, this series showcased a particular part of our culture that is ripe with intrigue, fun, sadness, joy and excitement; and I loved every single moment. Without outstanding production quality, as well as production numbers and music, these shining moments shone as brightly as it’s truly exceptionally talented all star cast which included Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Debra Messing, Jack Davenport, Angelica Huston, Leslie Odom Jr. and Jeremy Jordan. Smash was truly smashing and deserves a standing ovation.

8. Parks and Recreation (2009-2015) parks
Absurdly hilarious in the same vein of The Office, this somehow morphed into a surprisingly sweet and hopeful fable about people who were all so different- different ages, upbringings, assuredly personalities and political ideologies- and they not only learn to love each other like family, but support and work together despite, and even because of those differences. Through it all this group is led by the incomparable Leslie Knope, the woman which more enthusiasm, heart, creative ideas, and hopeful ideals that truly inspires everyone, from her best friend, beautiful starfish Ann Perkins, sardonic assistant who pretends to care less April Ludgate, grumpy but ultimately caring libertarian Ron Swanson, nerdy eventual husband Ben Wyatt, impossible optimistic Chris Traeger, the sweet and silly Andy Dwyer, the yearning to be an entrepreneur Tom Haverford, always maligned by sweet Jerry Gergich, and sassy and smart Donna Meagle. Don’t we all wish life could be like this – the town of Pawnee may be strange at times, but at its heart we see good people navigating life, friendship and family, all while being laugh out loud hilarious. Parks and Recreation is sweet lovely, absurd and brave all at once.

7. Stranger Things (2016-present)stranger-things-season-4-netflix-what-we-know-so-far
Three seasons so far and each one has been an incredible blend of sci-fi, drama, government conspiracy, and coming-of-age tale. It’s a show I never knew I needed but this story which starts about a small town boy going missing, a mysterious, traumatized girl with telekinetic abilities sheltered by a group of young boys, a resourceful mother who would do anything for her children, and snarky but intelligent badass police chief investigating these strange occurrences, captured the minds of so many. As the show has evolved so have the characters, most especially said police chief Jim Hopper, and the remarkably powerful ways so many ways young girl Eleven who becomes his surrogate daughter, as well as the group of misfit boys who are maturing with each season. Each year the threat of the truly terrifying upsides down, a paralleled world filled with destruction, monstrous creatures call demagorgans, as well as the gargantuan Mind Flayer continues to be thrilling and moving not just in the fight against terrifying monsters, but in showing the power of the human spirit. We fight for those we love learning just what we are capable of and it’s an extraordinary journey to witness.

6. Agent Carter (2015-2016)agent1.jpg
Stylish, thrilling, moving, and filled with wisdom, this incredible series was part superhero comic pulp, part detective drama, park comedy and romance, and all around criminally underrated and short-lived. It only two seasons and 18 episodes, Peggy Carter and her team brought us fantastic mystery and inspiration as part of the marvel universe. What truly makes the show what it is was the title character, as said in the “Best of 2015”, “Agent Carter rests on the shoulders of Peggy Carter the character and the performance by its star Hayley Atwell. And for that reason we have seen the show deliver poignant and dynamic television. Peggy is strong and brave no doubt, but it’s the moments of vulnerability even when she tries to push that aside that make her even stronger. It’s this moments when she is determined to gain the respect she deserves, all with dignity, that she becomes even braver. And it’s the moments when she says that she understands and knows her value and that everyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter that she becomes even more of an inspiration than she already was. Peggy Carter may not always have garnered the credit she has earned many times over but the beauty of her character is that she knows what truly matters is that her self-worth is not determined by others.” In addition to Peggy, the show bolstered amazing character, most especially Edwin Jarvis, Howard Stark’s valet who helped Peggy and became her true partner in crime, as well as Agent Daniel Sosusa, the brave and steadfast man who takes a shine to her, for all the right reasons. Agent Carter shows the power of self-worth and integrity wrapped in a colorful, nostalgic, nourish package that I still miss every day.

5. Timeless (2016-2018)timeless.jpg
Timeless was a remarkable and truly a magical show. As written in the “Best of 2018”, “This series is the perfect blend of adventure, history, humor, drama and mystery with amazing characters and relationships. Timeless brings history to life with both well known figures, but also nuances and individuals who are not, illuminating eras and inspiring people.” seeing everything from Alamo and the Moon Landing, Bonnie and Clyde, Benedict Arnold, to Hedy Lamarr and Alice Paul . The evolving relationships were the true heart beat of the show with show’s ending demonstrating that life is a journey, not a destination. It’s a beautiful journey with Lucy, Wyatt, Rufus, Flynn, Jiya, Denise, and Connor through time: “The love, the loss, the strength, the courage, the perseverance, the belief in each other, and the hope for a beautiful future where history is not forgotten, but preserved, and learned from laying the foundation for whatever is yet to be. And above all you see that history is made up not only of events but people. In this case it’s a about professors, scholars, soldiers, scientists, inventors, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons. Heroes. Timeless is as timeless a form of entertainment and fine storytelling as there ever was.

4. Downton Abbey (2010-2015) Promo.jpg
Immaculate, sumptuous, enthralling period drama that captured the hearts and minds of so many and truly became a cultural phenomenon, what made Downton Abbey such a special and extraordinary series was its characters. The format and historical aspect isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, and yet the stories of the Crawley family and its large estate staff felt fresh and captivating in a way like we’ve never seen. Perhaps it’s the vast amount of characters, the heady style of drama which ranged from romantic entanglements, to World War I, to tragic deaths, to repairing broken spirits and souls. These characters and the family, which includes everyone because we see despite the class differences and even disparity among the Crawleys and staff alike, family and love endured. With already one inspired movie released, the series is a breathtaking look at life and its timeless truths in an ever-changing world. It may be another time, but that heartbeat remains true with ours skipping a beat every time that musical theme begins and we step back into the immaculate grandeur and beautiful simplicity of its finest themes: love and family.

3. Chuck (2007-2012) chuck
A family drama wrapped in a wacky spy thriller, peppered with colorful characters led by the incomparable Zachary Levi, Chuck is a brilliant, sweet natured and endearing take on the concept. It spent three out of its five seasons in the beginning of the decade, and it was some of the show’s finest moments- ones that really evolved the characters and overall story in terms of their growing relationships and their stakes when Chuck’s intersect becomes more than simply government secrets, but also amazing abilities that he must learn to hone and utilize as he works to becomes a real spy. They face formidable villains and family drama, but at its heart, Chuck is about believing in yourself and doing anything for family, with characters who are endearing while all vastly different. Chuck is not just an intelligent and charming computer nerd and his not just a government asset. He is a brave and capable in his own right man with strength, integrity and heart that endures everything life throws at him. Sarah becomes more than a closes off and stubborn but always kickass spy. She is becomes even stronger through her love and willingness to doing anything to protect it. Casey becomes more than a hard-nosed NSA agent who pretends to care for little other than serving his country. He learns the power of family while remaining steadfast in his convictions. Morgan becomes more than Chuck’s geeky, awkward friend, but proves his bravery and good heart to be so great. Ellie and Awesome not only continue to be not only capable doctors and steadfast support systems, but even more open and loving to who Chuck has become. You love them all, root for them, and if you don’t believe Sarah and Chuck’s love overcomes in the end, perhaps you didn’t understand what the show was truly about.

2. Psych (2006-2014, 2017) Psych - Season 8
This comedy, drama, detective, fake psychic procedural, extraordinary goofy series spent half of its run in the decade, plus a movie. And it was just as hilarious, creative and at its core, heartwarming as the first half, perhaps even more so. The show began the decade halfway through its fourth season, and by that point the characters not only were well established but had grown individually and in their relationships. And while each case we saw had its moments, it was the captivating Yin and Yang, the musical, and Clue inspired episodes that were especially the pinnacle, along with the ways the friendships and romantic relationships grew, and eventually dealt with the truth about Shawn’s abilities. And from Shawn and his father really growing close, Shawn and Juliet finally coming together in love, (ending the series with a marriage proposal and the film with that long awaited wedding, impromptu as it was), Carlton finding his soulmate, and the heart of the show, best friends Shawn and Gus, it’s these relationships that really grounded the show through all the over the top hilarious antics as well as its darker moments. It’s a testament to the fine writing and performances, that you truly love all of these characters. They become a family and feel like one to audience. This brilliant series never made a false step. Psych was perfection!

1. Once Upon a Time (2011-2018) 6x22c
Anyone who follows The Girly Nerd shouldn’t be surprised at the show that’s taking the top spot for favorite of the decade. Captivated from the Pilot episode, a show about Disney and fairytale characters with a modern twist, a mysterious, whimsical, sweet, enthralling, romantic with themes of hope, family and true love, is the kind of series tailor made for someone with my (and indeed any true Disney and fairy tale fan’s) sensibilities and tastes. Despite final season taking a detour, in the end and overall the series are and these beautiful characters created new fairy tales for the ages that brought forth timeless themes in ways that captured our hearts unparalleled ways. It was a stroke of brilliance and creativity or to tell stories about what happens after happily ever after, and indeed intertwine them all together. How fun is it to see that Snow White is friends with Ariel and Cinderella, that Anna and Elsa have a long lost Aunt and Anna is the one who taught Prince Charming how to sword fight, that Cruella, Ursula and Maleficent make a formiable villain squad, and that the Wicked Witch of the West is sisters with the Evil Queen who falls in love with her soulmate Robin Hood, finding him with the help of Tinkerbell. How amazingly creative is it to have Rumplestilskin be this story’s Beast who loves Belle, and the Crocodile to Captain Hook, the pirate who grows into a true hero, while Peter Pan is the real villain. And it was an equally brilliant concept to create a brand new fairy tale character in Emma Swan, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, who is a relatable, remarkable woman who is also a mirror for the audience. She is an outsider who finds her place in the world, her True Loves in her son and Captain Hook, and her family in her parents and truly so many that reside in the afiry take lands and the true home of the series Storybrooke. She becomes the hero who saves the happy endings for all, before finding her own, the main storyline and character wrapped around all these other amazing tales and characters. Through tragedy and curses, miracles and happy beginnings, we see that anything is possible if we just hold on to hope. In this day in age I can’t think of anything else more life affirming, which is why this series which was endlessly magical in its enchanting settings, and grounded and profound moments of enduring love, tops the list for the Best of the Decade.

25 Favorite Friends Episodes

Friends is one of the greatest comedies show of all time. It shaped modern sitcoms, was filled with relatable characters and situations and is just as beloved now as it was when it originally aired. Funny, warm, endlessly quotable, this series which aired for 10 seasons from 1994-2004 and had 236 episodes, is my personal favorite modern comedy series. In honor of the show’s 25th anniversary I am counting down my 25 favorite episodes along with a few honorable mentions. It was difficult to choose these indeed because there are so many amazing episodes.

Honorable Mentions:
Season 1 Episode 18
The One With the All the Poker
A hilarious battle of the sexes with the game of poker helps established key character traits for each one of them, particularly Monica’s competitiveness, Joey’s food rules, and Phoebe’s sweetness. It becomes clear Ross completely loves Rachel when he folds a winning a hand so she can win, happy to see her happy.

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Season 4 Episode 23/24
The One with Ross’ Wedding
Ross’ wedding in London provided many laughs and unexpected romantic moments that led to two endgame couples as Rachel hastily flies to the wedding to tell Ross she loves him, and Monica and Chandler hook up for the first time. Joey’s romp through London, Phoebe trying to warn of Rachel’s arrival and a amusing guest star appearance from Hugh Laurie are real highlights.

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Season 10 Episode 16
The One With Rachel’s Going Away Party
Sweet and heartfelt executed in a hilarious way is one of the things Friends did brilliantly and is known for. After 10 seasons what these characters mean to each other is shown in each goodbye to Rachel as she prepares to move to Paris, each one in true fashion to each character. Of course it’s the one with Ross that would mean the most to both of them.

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and now onto the Top 25!

25. Season 7 Episode 23/24
The One with Monica and Chandler’s Wedding
Monica and Chandler’s relationship may have comes as a surprise (at least to some), but what was so wonderful was that they became the show’s most stable and sweet romantic relationship, and their wedding was nothing short of beautiful, romantic and funny as you would hope. Chandler’s cold feet, Rachel and Phoebe trying to stall, Gary Oldman, and finally the wedding itself, everything is wonderful. Of course, the show threw in a twist at the end when it was revealed that Monica was not the one that was pregnant, but rather Rachel. It was both a satisfying culmination of a journey and the start of another.

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24. Season 5 Episode 3
The One With the One Hundredth
Phoebe is the most eccentric but also one of the most selfless characters on the show, seen none more so by being the surrogate for her brother’s and his wife’s triplets. The 100th episode of the series was a special one as Phoebe finally gives birth, Monica and Chandler realize the relationship is a special one, and Joey, thinking he’s having sympathy pains has kidney stones instead. Of course who can forget that Phoebe’s doctor is even more eccentric then she is, proclaiming unprompted how much he loves Fonzie! The moment Phoebe spends with three little miracles she helped bring into the world is a heartwarming gem.

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23. Season 1 Episode 23
The One With the Birth
From the very beginning the birth of Ross’s child was the source of joy and trepidation for the character, but in true Friends fashion everyone is true to character and gets their moment to induce laughter, from Monica’s yearning for a child, Chandler awkwardly attempting to make her feel better, Rachel flirting with a handsome doctor, and Phoebe giving Ross and Susan advice about their bickering. It’s sweet and light, but showcases the proper gravity of the event. As an Aunt myself when Monica holds baby Ben for the first time, it’s a sweetly relatable moment that makes me cry.

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22. Season 8 Episode 9
The One With the Rumor
When Jennifer Aniston’s then husband Brad Pitt guest starred in Season eight’s Thanksgiving episode, it was definitely a hilariously subversive turn for the actor as someone who can’t stand Rachel, and had formed in high school (with a very regretful Ross), the “I Hate Rachel Green Club” and started a very serious rumor about her. So many laughs, but not from this alone, from Phoebe’s crush on Pitt’s character, to Joey doing what Tribbiani’s do best and eat his own weight in food, this was a Thanksgiving for the record books.

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21. Season 5 Episode 23/24
The One in Vegas
Three different storylines from three different duos highlight the end of Season 5, each one so totally in character, and each one full of sweetness and silly giggles and unexpected turns. Joe’s big movie break ends up being a bust but he thinks finding his identical hand twin is his saving grace- only Joey could think this way, except maybe Phoebe who his enlists to help as her alter ego Regina Phalange. Monica and Chandler’s anniversary quickly turns into high stakes gambling where a roll of the dice helps them decide to tie the knot in a truly sweet moment. But they are hilariously upstaged as a very drunk Ross and Rachel, complete with pen silly faces, come bursting out of the chapel right before them!

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20. Season 10 Episode 5
The One Where Rachel’s Sister Babysits
Friends truly hit the jackpot when he came to guest stars, especially those who played Rachel’s sisters. In her second appearance, Christina Applegate is once again brilliantly funny as she cannot remember who Ross is, nor baby Emma’s name, repeatedly calling her Ella, and caps off being Aunt of the year by piercing her ears without permission, deciding she’s going to be of all things a “baby stylist.” But these were not the only fine moments as the other storylines involves a few botched marriage proposals between Phoebe and Mike, until one that finally is perfect and completely sweet and happy.

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19. Season 1 Episode 7
The One With the Blackout
The first truly iconic episode of the series features a blackout across New York with most of the friends in Monica and Rachel’s apartment, while Chandler is stuck in an ATM vestibule with Jill Gudacre. Ross wants to profess his feelings for Rachel, but a cat and charming Italian stranger get in the way. Phoebe, Monica and Joey distract themselves with music and sage advice for Ross and Rachel. And Chandler proclaims what is now an iconic quote and one which I reference on the regular “Gum would be perfection!” Fun and funny in every way!

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18. Season 4 Episode 16
The One With the Fake Party
Even though I wanted (and obviously fans on the whole) Ross and Rachel to end up back together in the end, we cannot deny that their other romantic entanglements provided a lot of hilarious, even endearing moments. In this episode Rachel is determined to seduce her crush Joshua at an impromptu party she cooked up as a going away party for Ross’ new British girlfriend and it is absolutely hilarious as she keeps trying different things, from changing outfits, to spin the bottle, and then a “goodbye cheer” that results in a broken tooth. Poor Rachel feels so dejected at the end, so when Joshua shows back up, ready to be with her despite trepidation, you can’t help but be happy for her; not to mention that she so sweetly offered Ross kind advice about trying make a go of it with Emily, despite her not being in New York. It’s the hijinks and sweet moments that made this episode so great.

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17. Season 4 Episode 1
The One With the Jellyfish
Any true Friends fan knows this episode well, and its many quotable moments, from the truth about what happens on the beach when Monica gets stung by a Jellyfish, to Ross and Rachel getting back together under false pretenses because he fell asleep reading her latter that was 18 pages- FRONT AND BACK!! Even though we love the sweet, quite moments too, there’s something hilarious about these wacky and quick paced episodes that include revealing secrets, arguing and more. It’s also good to know the lengths Joey and truly Chandler would go to help one of their friends. That’s true friendship.

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16. Season 10 Episode 12
The One With Phoebe’s Wedding
This is truly one of the sweetest and loveliest episodes of the entire series, and honestly, even though Monica and Chandler’s wedding is amazing, this was my favorite wedding of the series. And it couldn’t have happened to a sweeter and more deserving character. Having such a rough childhood, and no sense of normalcy, Phoebe grew into a unique, tough but extremely loving and compassionate woman. And when she found someone to love and be a part of the family she found with her friends, she was able to celebrate it in an ultimately simple but profound way. Quiet, snowy and with those she loves most there we get to see Phoebe and Mike declare their love and commitment, thanks to Monica’s fast and unsurprising organizing skills. It may have been freaking freezing but our hearts were as warm as ever.

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15. Season 2 Episode 7
The One Where Ross Finds Out
It was a tough go for Rachel when she found out Ross was in love with her, only for him to return from a business trip with a new girlfriend. Her bind date which turned into her borrowing a very understanding man’s phone to drunkenly declare to Ross’ answering machine that she is finally over him. It real began to show Aniston’s comedic chops while it also led to one of the show’s best moments and a real turning point for the show and one of the best first kisses in TV history.

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14. Season 10 Episode 11
The One Where the Stripper Cries
It takes a truly incredible show to still be able to deliver comedic gold 10 years into a series, and this one from Friends’ final season is a wacky array of just that. Monica and Rachel arrange a classy bachelorette party for Phoebe much to her chagrin, and the last minute stripper is not what they expected in guest star Danny Devito, who has a bit of an existential crisis while there but eventually dances for the girls. It’s surprisingly endearing. Meanwhile, Joey’s turn on the game show Pyramid showcases his unconventional way of thinking that is likewise completely endearing and completely hysterical. If you don’t randomly shout out “Paper, snow , a ghost” while playing your favorite game, are you an even a Friends fan?

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13. Season 6 Episode 12
The One With Rachel’s Sister
The first time we see one of Rachel’s sisters is one of the most quotable and funniest episodes, and a true showcase as a way of utilizing a guest star’s talent without making it too gimmicky or overshadowing the point of the story. Seeing Rachel’s sister Jill go through something similar but react completely differently being much more selfish and self involved led to pure hilarity when she decides to try to hook up with Ross; but that’s not the only comedic gem here. Monica’s stubbornness is seen tenfold as she refuses to admit she’s sick and even seduces Chandler in thinking she has. I cannot name all the amazing quotes below but some highlights include Monica’s congested “I’m in the prime of lime,” Rachel’s “You know what happened to the girl who tried too much too fast? She died Jill,” and Jill’s “You had me doubting how smart I am! You had me doubting my fashion sense!” It’s also worthy to note the funny moment when there’s a knock on the door as they count each other, wondering who it could be when they’re all sitting there.

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12. Season 2 Episode 14
The One With the Prom Video
The episode that developed a new way of describing someone’s soulmate and true love, which is a great feat in itself, we knew that this established Ross and Rachel as an endgame couple (despite the rocky road that lie ahead). The episode also demonstrated many of the show’s common themes and plot devices we would see multiple times throughout the series: Ross’ unassuming and quiet nobleness he would showcase when it mattered, Phoebe’s sweet positivity and wisdom, and flashbacks to their younger selves which were not only funny but informed and help their characters in their present day lives. In this case, seeing that Ross was going to take Rachel to the prom when it seemed like her date had dumped her, and Rachel walks across the apartment to kiss him, the show was never the same and all the better for it.

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11. Season 4 Episode 20
The One With All the Wedding Dresses
Another classic example of the Friends being completely their characters in such funny ways is this hilarious episode where Chandler, who can’t do things like a normal person, takes Joey to a sleep clinic to help his snoring, Monica’s gets a bit carried away trying on Emily’s wedding dress, which quickly rubs off on Phoebe, and Rachel’s gets really carried away trying to compete with Ross and hastily proposes to Joshua. Every moment is giggle inducing from Gunther yelling “You idiot!” at Joshua who turns Rachel down, to Joey falling asleep and asking the entire clinic “How you doin,” to Phoebe’s concern that they can’t marry Chandler, at least “not after this”, ie seeing them in wedding dresses.

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10. Season 6 Episode 6
The One With the Last Night
Don’t lie, you tried to play Cups after watching this episode, Chandler’s, not so subtle to the audience but lost on Joey, fake game to try to help his friend out as he prepares to move out is such a example of what these two are to each other, a true blue support system not matter what. But the real highlight of the episodes was the bickering between Monica and Rachel which changed from listing things they hate to things they love, appreciate and will truly miss about each other. Life is every changing and the episode showed that even when our lives change, these friends will always be there for each other.

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9. Season 5 Episode 16
The One With the Cop
I say the word “PIVOT” and that should be enough of an indicator of what makes this such a classically hilariously episode. Ross, Chandler and Rachel trying to move Ross’ new couch into his apartment with that single word being shouted over and over again is never not funny, especially when wondering why it didn’t work because, after all, he had a sketch. But every story in the episode is beyond funny from Joey wanting the closeness that Monica and Chandler share, so thinking hitting on his friends is the answer, to Phoebe finding a police badge and getting carried away doing good deeds, these all are filled with iconic moments galore.

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8. Season 6 Episode 9
The One Where Ross Got High
There are two Thanksgiving episodes in the top 10 and this is the first. Most viewers will remember this episode as the one where Rachel accidentally makes half an English trifle and half a shepherd’s pie resulting in a custard and jam dessert mixed with beef, peas and onion, aka a dessert that tastes like feet to everyone except for Joey, the man who will clearly eat and love anything. Of course there are is more hilarity than that- the Gellar’s shunning Chandler for a lie Ross told and he and Monica proceeding to spill all of each other’s secrets, and Phoebe’s dreams that change her love from Mr. Gellar to Jacques Cousteau. A lot of information comes out as do a lot of laughs as a result.

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7. Season 3 Episode 9
The One With the Football
The second Thanksgiving episode in the top 10 is the funniest and most on point with the day with hopes for food and being distracted by one of America’s greatest sports- a tie between football and healthy competition. Of course when it comes to playing with friends who are hyper competitive, things can get messy and this was no different. From Chandler and Joey fighting over a girl, to Ross and Monica over the “Geller cup” to Phoebe being so happy to finally play the game and Rachel desperately trying to, what turns into a battle of the sexes is an absolute delight.

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6. Season 5 Episode 19
The One Where Ross Can’t Flirt
If you don’t laugh at the episode I think it’s possible you are without a funny bone. Some of the best episodes of Friends are ones where its entirety takes place in a single location, mostly Monica’s and Rachel’s apartment, and the gang are all talking or preparing for something. In this case the all are waiting to watch Joey on Law and Order, with his Italian speaking grandmother, while Monica and Chandler are anticipating going out to dinner for their anniversary after, Rachel tries to find earrings of Monica’s she lost, and Ross attempts to flirt with the Pizza delivery girl, all to hilarious results. From the grandmother’s “No, no Sam Waterston,” to Joey filming a scene when he realizes he’s been cut from the show, to Ross’ hilarious flirting which ends in him talking about gas of all things, this is classic Friends.

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5. Season 6 Episode 24/25
The One With the Proposal
For a couple whose relationship initially wasn’t supposed to last, Monica and Chandler became the sweetest, most charming and stable romantic relationship on the show, and when it came the episodes that ended with their engagement, it definitely was a showcase of some of what the show did best- provide constant laughs, strong character development and a great deal of heart. Wanting it to be surprise Chandler pretends to be against marriage which leads Monica back to Richard who had expressed regret and remaining love for her. Luckily Monica’s love for Chandler is strong and Richard proves to be an honorable man. And of course Phoebe being her usual eccentric self while helping Chandler pick out a ring was so funny. But the real treat was the heartfelt proposal for the couple, who truly prove that falling in love with your best friend is something we all would dream of.

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4. Season 10 Episode 17/18
The One With the Last One
Perhaps the greatest series finale ever, everything about “The Last One” wraps up the story as it should be. Funny, sweet, surprising emotionally satisfying, we say goodbye to this groups of friends and their growing families in a way that makes us laugh and cry and feel like they each are exactly where they should be. Monica and Chandler finally become parents, to twins as a lovely and happy surprise, while Joey and Phoebe help Ross in his hopes to finally come together with Rachel, before she leaves for Paris and it’s too late. Bringing back iconic running gags like Phoebe using the word “Phalange” in a very crucial moment, to Joey’s adorable understanding of what Ross’s job actually is, to showcasing a new iconic moment for the couple who we knew was meant to be from the very beginning, but as is life took a long time to finally get it right. Ross is Rachel’s lobster so of course she “got off the plane.” When it comes down to it, this group of Friends is a family and while their lives are ever changing they will always be there for each other.

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3. Season 5 Episode 14
The One Where Everyone Finds Out
Monica and Chandler’s relationship remained a secret until this episode and unsurprisingly when they do find out, they choose to have some fun before letting on- and we are all the better for witness such hilarious hijinks. The real star of the episode is Phoebe, while the star moment is the revelation that Monica and Chandler’s relationship is more than just a fun fling, but true love. It’s difficult to elaborate on the greatness of the episode but when you create another iconic quote that people use on the regular, frequently out of context, you know it’s a classic episode of television.

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2. Season 3 Episode 2
The One Where No One’s Ready
Another truly hilarious episode that brought certain quotes and phrases into our everyday vernacular this episode classic Friends is, like others in the Top 10 in that it takes place entirely in one location, and quite uniquely, in real time, as everyone is meant to be getting ready to go out to a function for Ross, and are doing everything but. Phoebe supporting Christmas by sporting a bow to hide a humus stain, Monica insisting she’s breezy when leaving a message on Richard’s answering machine, Chandler and Joey fighting over seat resulting in Joey wearing everything Chandler owns, and Ross regretting losing his temper at Rachel and proving he would do anything for her, because he was willing to drink a glass of fat, there is only one episode that could top this because you cannot get most classic Friends than this!

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1. Season 4 Episode 12
The One With the Embryos
Was there any doubt that this episode would be number 1 on this list. There is no episode more iconic and a true showcase of each character and many of their defining traits: Chandler and Joey’s eccentricities and goofiness, Monica’s competitiveness, Rachel’s eagerness but desire to please, Ross being the most knowledgeable, and Phoebe’s selfless willingness to carry her brother and sister in-law’s child. If you can’t recite the entirety of them playing their game of trivia about each other, especially the “Lightning Round” remembering the TV guide is addressed to Miss Chanandler Bong, that Monica has eleven categories of towels, and that Rachel’s actual favorite movie is Weekend at Bernie’s, are you even a real Friends fan? Regardless, we will never forget the moment the game goes in favor of the guys because the girls don’t know what Chandler’s job is. And at the end of the day, they prove in true goofy and heartfelt fashion that no matter the fights or bickering they will be happy for each other because when your Friends are your family, that’s all the truly matters.

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What are your favorite episodes of Friends? Did I mention your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

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Frozen 2 and Once Upon a Time Connections?

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If you are a fan of the first Frozen film and a Once Upon a Time fan, chances are you enjoyed seeing those characters pop up on the fairy tale series. Although, it wasn’t everyone’s favorite storyline, it was however overwhelmingly loved and almost every fan would agree that the characterizations were spot on and some of the best the show ever did. For me personally, the characters and storyline are definitely favorites, so much so that the story written almost became so embedded in my mind as what happened to the characters after the film concluded. So when I heard there was to be a Frozen sequel, I couldn’t help but have the Once Upon a Time story in my mind. Not that I actually thought that the film would do that as they are completely separate entities. Though Oncers, admit it- wouldn’t you love to see animated versions of Storybrooke, Emma, Hook, Snow and others. How fun would that be!

In all seriousness, now that we have seen three trailers for Frozen 2, I do delight in some similarities, visual and character wise, as well as other possible comparisons. Whether these are intentional or not and whether they drew inspiration and took cues from Once Upon a Time will probably be open for interpretation. But it wouldn’t be the first time a Disney film did so, which is funny given what the concept of the series is. But at the end of Season 1 of Once Upon a Time, which aired May 13, 2012, Emma awakens her son Henry from a sleeping curse with True Love’s Kiss, something that came as a surprise and proved the strength of True Love obviously exists between a child and parent. Two years later in 2014, Maleficent was released, and there was a similar moment where Maleficent, who had become a mother figure to Aurora, awakens the princess from her sleeping curse in the same way Emma had awoken Henry. Is this merely coincidence, or a case of drawing inspiration? Whatever the case may be, the similarities and possible similarities between Once Upon a Time and Frozen 2 are definitely present and are all positive, natural, and/or interesting ones.

Team Family

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From what we can tell from the two longer trailers for Frozen 2, it seems like Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff are a united family, venturing off on an adventure together, facing dangers of all sorts. It also seems as if Kristoff may be living in the palace, and possibly engaged to Anna by now. In Once Upon a Time that is very much also the case. Kristoff and Anna are engaged, and while Elsa and Anna are separated, Elsa and Kristoff grow closer as friends and future in laws. And when all three are together again, there is very much a sense of a united front- they are a family. Frozen 2 obviously also presents that. Now this similarity is most likely a case of both merely taking the story and characters in a natural direction from the first film. So these comparisons are not surprising at all.

Runes and Gravestones

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As we see in the above images, we see what Once Upon a Time would often do: gain inspiration from the source and create their own take on it. In this case, Once Upon a Time took an image we saw in the film of the Gravestones for Elsa and Anna’s parents, with what look like ancient Runes, and recreated them in a new scene where grown up sisters, now happily together lay flowers for their parents. What is interesting is something we see in Once Upon a Time’s sisters in this and other moments is then in turn seen in Frozen 2 creating some visual and character similarities.

Holding Hands

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Above we see in Once Upon a Time, Elsa and Anna hold hands as they approach their parents’ gravestones. In a moment in Frozen 2 we see something very similar as we see the sisters holding hands, standing before large stones that look very much that of the graves for their parents. Visually this is an obvious comparison to make. But what I love is that Frozen 2 seems to be taking that character beat of the affectionate gesture between sisters they really emphasized on Once Upon a Time, and continuing that in the second film. In the first film, Elsa became so petrified of hurting anyone with her powers and always kept her gloves on, so it is both a natural and lovely to see that after overcoming that, Elsa instead chooses to hold her sister’s hand as a sign of love and strength, no longer afraid but instead confident with her sister by her side.

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The Enchanted Forest

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This comparison is somewhat superficial but I still delight in it. In Once Upon a Time, Anna heads off in search of answers of what happened to their parents after discovering that they were seeking something that could rid Elsa of her magic (or so they thought). Anna boards a ship to a place known as Mist Haven, or more widely called by its inhabitants as the Enchanted Forest. In Frozen 2, Elsa and Anna’s father tells them a story about an Enchanted Forest, and years later, the sisters and Kristoff seem to venture off to this mystical place. That is where the similarity ends, but the same name thing is interesting.

Anna’s Sword Skills

 

In the trailer for Frozen 2 we see Anna wield a sword with a great deal of force and confidence, something previously unseen in the first film. Where we did see this before was in the version of Anna in Once Upon a Time. In the show, Anna comes upon a friend of Kristoff’s, David before he becomes the valiant Prince Charming. It’s here we see Anna, whom she says was taught to sword fight by palace guards, helps David and teaches him to wield a sword himself. That back-story was one beloved by fans, and the sequel’s Anna looks very much the same, remaining her brave and plucky self but with impressive sword skills.

Elsa’s Magic

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In the first Frozen film, Elsa’s magic is very powerful, but at times it seems she has trouble with control and has issues when her emotions get the best of her. In Frozen 2, it looks like that still may happen, but importantly it looks like there is also a sense of even more power and more control of that magic. That is something we definitely see on Once Upon a Time. In fact, her story involves Elsa realizing her sense of self and self love, one that doesn’t have to have Anna with her to calm her down. She helps Emma gain control of her powers and learn to accept herself exactly as she is, choosing to keep instead of rid herself of her magic. Might we see a similar story in Frozen 2? Given what we’ve seen in the trailers, I think the possibility is strong.

A Found Family?

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In Once Upon a Time, Elsa and Anna discover that not only do they have an aunt named Ingrid who like Elsa has ice magic, but also that their parents did not wish to get rid of Elsa’s magic as they had thought. Instead, in their final moments they left a message in a bottle where they confess about their past mistakes of not accepting Ingrid’s magic, and that it should have be nurtured and cherished. Their Aunt Ingrid, whose anger over her sister’s “betrayal” led her to become a villain, sees the error of her ways and sacrifices herself to reverse her deadly spell of shattered sight. Anna and Elsa’s found family may not be with them in the physical sense, after that, but their spirits and what they learned from them remained.

After watching both trailers for Frozen 2, the plot is still somewhat hard to distinguish but I think there is a strong chance that the voice Elsa hears calling to her, and the people they meet in the Enchanted Forest could very well be family they never knew existed, just like Once Upon a Time’s Ingrid, as we see what is most likely the King and Queen in the Enchanted Forest as children. The older leader might even be a villain in the same way Ingrid was. The plots will obviously not be identical and this is pure speculation, but I do think a great deal of Frozen 2 could deal with not only the origin of Elsa’s magic, but the discovery of what happened to their parents, and possibly even others who possess magical abilities.

A Redemption for Hans?

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Lastly, although the reappearance if Hans is not a guarantee, Santino Fontana who voiced him in the first film, is listed among the cast. What could he be doing in the film? Would he continue to be a villain, or will be do what so many Once Upon a Time villains did and find redemption? This was commonplace of the series, but it isn’t really something Disney Films have done much. Most villains either die or are no longer seen again, remaining their evil selves. I actually think it would a welcome change to see a villainous character change for the better.

The similarities between Frozen 2 and Once Upon a Time are most definitely there. Although some comparisons are simple and merely visual, others have a stronger connection. Whether even more plot connections exist remains to be seen. We shall find out this coming November. Whatever the case, Once Upon a Time’s Frozen interpretations will remain beloved, and any and all similarities that are present in Frozen 2 will be looked at with fondness and smiles in what is sure to be an exciting and beautiful film.

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Top 10 Best Downton Abbey Couples

Downton Abbey had its fair share of drama and up and downs for the Crawley family and the staff that works for the illustrious Abbey. Through all these trials and tribulations, one of the more steadfast storylines were the ongoing romances for all of the characters, and as Shakespeare said, “the course of True Love never did run smooth.” Love was a permanent fixture in this household, so without further ado, (and in anticipation of seeing the new theatrical Downton Abbey movie I see this this weekend, (here are the Top 10 Best Couples on Downton Abbey.

10. Joseph Molesley and Baxter

I know what you may be thinking- Molesley and Baxter are not a couple. And it’s true they are not officially, romantically together. But not only are there definite hints that there could be, regardless their relationship is sweet-natured and based on mutual fondness, respect and understanding. She applauds and recognizes his fine qualities and he is there for her as she reveals the truth about her past. It’s true they may only ever be friends, but beyond the respect there is a clear spark and keen interest in spending time together as they both spent their days off for weeks visiting Pubs to help prove Mr. Bates’ innocence. It’s true, they did so out of the kindness of their hearts, but clearly they enjoy being together.

9. Lady Rose MacClare and Atticus Aldrige

Lady Rose is most definitely a free spirit, impetuous and very giving of her heart. She wears that heart of hers on her sleeve and cares not for convention or what is “expected” in 1920’s society. She follows her heart wherever it may lead. And from the romantic moment Atticus met Rose, acting as a true gentleman, and both displaying a respect and admiration for the other, as well as an undeniable attraction, there was a definite feeling that this one would be her one true love. Rose and Atticus come from different religions, and had many attempt to stop their nuptials, but they are a lovely example of two unprejudiced, kind individuals, loving each other deeply without fear.

8. Lady Edith Crawley and Bertie Pelham

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Edith’s love life throughout the course of the series was often a tumultuous, sad and tragic one. She was left at the altar, had a dalliance with a married man, fell in love with another who was willing to do anything to marry her, only for him to be tragically killed, leaving her heartbroken once again, and pregnant with his child. It seemed like Edith was never going to find her happily ever after, and we all could not help but deeply feel for and possibly even relate to her. Enter the sweet, humble, unassuming Estate Agent Bertie Pelham. The two become fast friends which quickly blossoms into love, and although Edith has certainly loved before (she even admits to him as much), there is something different to Bertie. There is not only attraction and admiration and respect between them, but a sense comfort that someone like Edith had perhaps never felt. They are home to each other, so that even when the truth about her daughter is revealed and the trust between them seems irrevocable, in the end they find they don’t work without each other. When they two marry, Edith also becomes higher in nobility than the rest of her family, but that is not what matters. What matters is that Edith found a love that is unbreakable.

7. Isobel Crawley and Lord Merton

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Great love stories need not only be about the young. Case in point: the lovely relationship that developed between Isobel and Lord Merton, two people both widowed, believing that another romantic relationship was not destined for them at this stage in their lives. Isobel had known and lost love (and her son), so was not really ready to open herself up again, while Merton was a man whose wife and him were not well matched , making many years for him unhappy. Isobel and him develop a warm friendship but he quickly loses his heart, and after some time, and overcoming obstacles (delightfully in many ways due to Violet’s help) to keep them apart from his children, she reciprocates and the two come together in love, ready for whatever time they have left on this earth together. Happily, it may be longer than they believed as his illness he feared would quickly end his life was not what it seemed, and the two can enjoy their golden years in a way neither dreamed was possible. Is that not a beautiful and heartwarming story.

6. Lady Mary Crawley and Henry Talbot

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After the death of her beloved Matthew, it was uncertain whether Lady Mary would ever find true happiness again, and we as audience members surely had our doubts. She had her fair share of handsome suitors such as Charles Blake and Evelyn Napier, while for a while even Mary herself thought Tony Gilingham would be the man she could see spending her life with. While no one can ever replace darling Matthew in her heart (or the viewers’), if someone could fill that role it would have to be someone extraordinary and worthy. Without a doubt the charming, handsome race car driver Henry Talbot is that man. What makes Henry the right man for Mary is that they are truly equals. Not in wealth or social standing, but in the ways that matter as individuals. They are both strong willed and stubborn, both can both push and support each other, and of course have a strong passion for each other than cannot be denied. It felt like slightly masochistic to have Mary fall for a race car driver, considering the way Matthew died, but this was handled and addressed in a really believable and lovely way. So afraid to show vulnerability, in the end he is able to break through in a way she never thought would happen again. Her fear of losing him was profound, and his fear of not being with her so strong, that they were able to come together in compromise without either losing anything, except their hearts to each other.

5. Robert and Cora Crawley, Earl and Countess of Grantham

Love is such steadfast part of Downton Abbey so the patriarch and matriarch of the Abbey would hopefully be included as one of the show’s best couples. And while Robert and Cora had moments of near infidelity by Robert (the only storyline I truly disliked), and Cora foolishly allowing flirtation to almost go too far, they still remained faithful to their love for each other through thick and thin. In marriage, our vows always say for richer or poorer, for better or for worse, and when those times came Robert and Cora remained strong and supportive of each other, ready to face whatever may come . Some of their finest moments showed their tenderness and devotion in the comfort and quieter moments of their bedroom such as when Robert was fearful of losing everything after a bad investment, and laying their beloved dog between them during her final moments. Lord and Lady Grantham were not love at first sight, but they are love until the end.

4. Elsie Hughes and Charles Carson

Love stories come in many forms, and as I said with Isobel and Lord Merton, these stories need not only be about the young. But unlike the former, for the heads of the downstairs staff, the kindly Mrs. Hughes, and the stern but fair Mr. Carson have never known love and marriage, at least not in any true sense. It may have been at bit unexpected, but there was always a mutual respect and sincere friendship between the two, and even when they disagreed on things, it was clear how much they cared for each other. So when the time came for their first true sign of affection of holding hands as they gingerly stepped into the ocean waves, our hearts were touched. Of course that was topped as the romance bloomed and we saw a very sweet, and gentle relationship between two people who formed an deep love for each other in the twilight of their lives, no less beautiful or strong than if they were in their youth.

3. Anna Smith and John Bates

No other couple in Downton Abbey has gone through more frequent hardships than sweet and unfailingly loyal Anna, and stoic, strong, and loving Mr. Bates. The two found a kinship and understanding almost from the very start and love blossomed not soon after. But their garden was not always rosy. Quite the opposite as they dealt with the death of his cruel ex wife who framed him for her murder, where he spent many months in jail until finally proven innocent, and then not long after the vicious sexual assault of Anna by the truly evil Mr. Green, and poor Anna being accused of his murder. The vows for better or for worse never meant so much as these two had the absolute worst trials any couple should have to deal with. And yet through all their hardships the remained true and steadfast, making their happy moments all the more beautiful. Their happiness culminated in the birth of their son at the start of a new year, a signification that their lives from then on would no longer be filled with darkness, but a primrose path towards the sunshine.

2. Lady Sybil Crawley and Tom Branson

sybil bransonsybil branson 1This love story is a classic one- a story of love across social status and obstacles from family and societal conventions. We have seen this story before where the servant, or poor boy falls in love with the girl of wealth and higher social status. In this case we have the Chauffeur Tom Branson, somewhat of a radical political wise compared to the Crawley family, quickly becoming enamored and falling for the middle Crawley daughter Sybil, equally politically minded and forward thinking, caring little for parties or high society life, and learning more about what truly matters in the world when she becomes a nurse in World War One. While she chides him for his forwardness when he makes his feelings for him known, it’s clear how much she cares for him too, and when she finally allows herself to let him completely in, they throw caution to the wind, defying her family in the name of True Love. Luckily her family comes around after they marry, and when she comes homes expecting a baby all seems like it will be a happy future. But tragedy befalls the couple when complications from childbirth takes Sybil’s life in one of the most devastating scenes in television history as Tom begs his wife not to leave him through his sobbing. Left with a baby girl that he names after his dearly departed, Tom finds his place in the world and the Crawley family, eventually, and Sybil’s loving, beautiful spirit will live on. But their love story will remain a tragic but profound one, and this couple a true testament to undying love.

1. Lady Mary Crawley and Matthew Crawley

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Is there a more defining couple for Downton Abbey than Mary and Matthew? These two were the will they or won’t they couple from the start- the two who the family and the audience desperately wanted to fall in love and get together, with so much drama including misunderstandings, tragedies of war, and other fiancés coming between them. But it was clear the that these two were both best friends and passionately in love with each other. Some of their most romantic moments were some of the best moments from the show: their first kiss, their goodbye at the train station as Mary gives him a good luck charm to keep in safe in battle, (a misty morning classically romantic moment if we ever saw one), and the dance after he recovered the use of his legs, where their pull towards each other could not be denied resulting in a tender kiss. And lastly, the moment where Matthew at last proposed to Mary on a snowy winter’s night, the happiness that radiated from the couple shining as brightly as the softly falling snow surrounding them. This was the loveliest scene the show ever gave us. These two were simply destined for each other and their love was pure and brought out the best in them. Matthew saw a softer side that she rarely showed to anyone, and she helped him widen his views of the what the world should be. They were a true match. The two shared a happy marriage that was made even happier by the birth of the son. And even though their story ended tragically with Matthew’s untimely death in car accident, Mary and Matthew’s love lives on in through their son. And this couple remains the loveliest and most iconic emblem of the series.

Top 10 Favorite On Screen Pirates

Avast ye matey’s, yesterday be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so I thought I would look at all of the pirates that have ever swash buckled their way into our hearts and count down my favorites from film and television. Some are dastardly villains, some are humorous foes, some are romantic heroes, and some are every thing in the book. But all definitely have a flair for the dramatic, a distinctive personality and have tongues and wits as sharp as their swords!

10. “Captain Hook” portrayed by Hans Conried (Peter Pan)

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This version of the classic character may be a codfish, and one we can find humor in more so than be frightened of, like other Disney villain’s. But make no mistake, this pirate may often be fooled by his nemesis Peter Pan, but also has his moments of intelligence, clarity and downright evil, and against those who are very young including Tiger Lily, the Darling children and Pan himself. Thank goodness Tinkbell’s bravery out shined her vanity, and in the end Peter was saved and the Crocodile will continue to give the captain what he deserves.

9. “Blackbeard” portrayed by Charles Mesure (Once Upon a Time)

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Much more of villain than his on screen nemesis’ Killian Jones, this dastardly pirate looks more like a traditional version of Captain Hook than the show’s actual Hook with his long red coat and dark long hair. He is elegant, deceitful, but also quite funny, with a great chemistry between Mesure and O’Donoghue to boot, making this pirate one of the show’s best recurring characters.

8. “Captain Hector Barbossa” portrayed by Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean)

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The brilliant chameleon of an actor Geoffrey Rush manages to take a wicked, typical pirate villain and turn him into a well layered and compelling character that is more than villain throughout the course of the franchise. He is killed, then resurrected and continues in his cunning pirate ways, only for us to discover that there is an actual heart that is vulnerable and sympathetic to others, from the couple he married aboard his ship during an epic battle, to the daughter he never knew he had. I can’t believe I ended up crying over Barbossa, but I did!

7. “John Merrick” portrayed by Gabriel Byrne (Shiprecked)

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A pirate who is most definitely dark and evil, this understated pirate carries out his sinister work in the shadows and in disguise as the Naval Captain he murdered. Taking over a crew of good, hard working sailors, he slowly poisons a good Captain, delves out harsh punishments and is willing to hurt the young and innocent, all in the name of money. What a true pirate definitely was in reality, this is a grounded and effective character indeed.

6. “Elizabeth Swann” portrayed by Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean)

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The beautiful Elizabeth was born into a world of propriety and wealth, but all her life longed for adventure and was drawn to more. Make no mistake, the girl who showed us all that life is more than corsets, gowns and arranged marriages, learns inner strength as well as the ways of a Pirate life and found her way as both a capable woman and swashbuckling pirate in her own right. Eventually she is elected Captain Swann, a pirate King leading all of the crews of the world in an epic battle for freedom. She is fearless, strong and willing to do anything for those she loves. But like her eventual husband Will, always remains on the side of honor. Her story was one of resilience and patience as she is finally reunited with her beloved Will permanently, True Love knowing no bounds.

5. “Captain James Hook” portrayed by Dustin Hoffman (Hook)

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There is not a more traditional version of J.M. Barrie’s Captain Hook more brilliant than Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of the villain. Many years after Peter Pan left Neverland and had a family, Hook kidnaps Pan’s two children, wanting revenge and war against the “boy’ who cut off his hand and threw it to the crocodile. An evocative, delight of a film, what makes it stand out is definitely this Hook who is sardonic, sour, slimy and yet charming. He is funny but never ridiculous, cunning and resourceful but not without his moments levity. Hoffman’s Hook is dastardly perfection.

4. “Will Turner” portrayed by Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean)

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The more traditional heroic pirate of the series, comparatively, the handsome and steadfast William Turner, son of the pirate “Bootstrap” Bill Turner, didn’t even start out in this role. Beginning the franchise as a humble blacksmith who turned his nose up at those filthy, low life pirates he encountered as he vowed to rescue his love Elizabeth from, he soon became the ideal combination of pirate and hero as he teamed up, and sometimes became at odds with, Jack Sparrow, Barbarossa, Davy Jones and a vast crew of miscreants. However, he always remained on the side which was honorable and in the best interest as those he loved. Will Turner is the pirate who went on a great journey all in the name of love and family.

3. “Captain Jack Sparrow” portrayed by Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean)

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Is there any other character like Captain Jack Sparrow? I had seen many a pirate film, and had been on the ride in which the film is based on countless times. But when Jack first appeared on screen in the 2003 film, it was an indicator of exactly the kind of unique, wonderful and instantly beloved character he would become. Standing tall on the mast of a ship, the salty sea wind in his face, he looks proud and resolute, until we see he is on a modest boat that is sinking in which he sails right into the dock on the boat’s final moments afloat. He’s hilarious and unlike any other pirate we’ve seen. The seemingly perpetually drunk Captain Jack Sparrow is a character we can laugh at and root for despite his look out for himself ways. The franchise would not be what it is without this clever, funny, and resilient pirate, who simply wants freedom, respect, and above all rum.

2. “Westley/Dread Pirate Roberts” portrayed by Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)

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As Wesley’s portrayer Cary Elwes so perfectly stated recently, there’s a shortage of perfect films out there, and I would say that not only is The Princess Bride one of those films, but one of the main reasons is due to the character of Westley, and the incomparable performance by Elwes. After being presumed dead by his True Love Buttercup, poor farm boy Westley returns as the Dread Pirate Roberts, ‘kidnapping” (but truly rescuing) the princess and only revealing himself after a tumble down a cliff and an exclaim of those famous words of I Love You, “As You Wish.” Like the film itself, this pirate is charming, funny, and full of line after line of wisdom, truths, and flair. Westley is strong, romantic, brave, and all in all the perfect fairy tale pirate hero.

1. “Killian Jones/Captain Hook” portrayed by Colin O’Donoghue (Once Upon a Time)

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Was there any doubt as to who my number 1 pick would be. The dashing rapscallion of the beloved fairy tale series didn’t appear until Season 2, but soon became not only a fan favorite, but one of the best characters in the show with the brilliant performance by O’Donoghue and excellent character and story development. Going from a charming villain whose allegiances often simply aligned with whoever he could benefit the most from, this version of Hook, real name Killian Jones, became a fully fledged romantic hero, helping to save Storybrooke and many characters numerous times and winning the heart of the show’s leading lady, the Savoir herself Emma Swan. His story ended in a beautiful way as he retained his pirate flair, charm, and intelligence, while becoming a hero, husband and father. This modern version of Captain Hook is one for the ages!

What are your favorite on screen pirates? Did I mention some of yours? Let me know in the comment section!!

 

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