2016 Year in Review: TV’s Best of the Best in Moments, Quotes & More

Overall Show: Timeless
Adventure, intrigue, mystery, humor, romance, engaging characters, wonderful performances. Timeless has everything you could ask for, plus the extremely fun additive of a time traveling premise. Of all the shows of 2016, this was the one where choosing a favorite episode seemed impossible because each and every week came another amazing adventure from The Alamo, to the Moon landing, to meeting the likes of Ian Fleming or Bonnie and Clyde. The Time Team versus formidable villains Garcia Flynn and Rittenhouse are made intriguing by the seeming opposing viewpoints, and indeed the show is made heartfelt and moving by the ways Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus so quickly come to care for each other. From the embraces to the willingness to protect each other to the hilarious use of modern aliases, Timeless is as timeless a form of entertainment and fine storytelling as there ever was.

Top 10 Shows: 1. Timeless 2. Once Upon a Time 3. Stranger Things 4. This Is Us 5. Fuller House 6. Lucifer 7. Agent Carter 8. iZombie 9. Downton Abbey 10. The Goldbergs

Overall Moment:
Emma and Killian are reunited (Once Upon a Timecs kiss2

After a truly heartbreaking goodbye in the Underworld, the moment Killian returned to Emma, his life miraculously restored by Zeus himself, was as beautiful and moving a scene as Once Upon a Time has ever done. True Love prevailed, proving that the place Killian belongs is with Emma Swan. And from the way the soft rain symbolized extinguishing the fires of the Underworld and signified a renewal of life, to their incredulous expressions of pure, unencumbered joy, to the sweet cheek kisses and passionate embraces, this was not only of the most exquisite moments for Emma and Killian, but also one of the most beautiful reunions (and moments) to ever grace our screens.

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Eleven Saves Mike and Dustin (Stranger Things)stranger.gif

It was the kind of moment where so many emotions were present. Fearful for Mike, angry at the bullies terrorizing him and Dustin into the unthinkable, shock and relief by Eleven’s heroics, and compassion at her admission of causing the “door” to open. We laugh at Dustin crying out “she’s our friend and she’s crazy” and cry at the embrace of friends after such life and death traumatic moment. It does not matter the situation, true friendship and bravery is always touching to see- and seeing this from children is ever poignant.

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The Time team bond when stuck in the past (Timeless)timeless

With the lifeboat out of commission, battling the French and captured by Shoshone Indians, Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus feared they may forever be stranded in 1754. So it’s no wonder that they open up about personal memories, regrets, and hopes with compassion for what each is feeling. It’s a simple moment on the surface- just three people talking. But it reveals important things about each other and shows how strong that bond between them has grown. And when the three are back in the “repaired” life boat with nothing but faith that they will return home safely, and the three hold hands in wait, I was moved to tears.

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Blink and you miss it Moment:
David and Killian hug (Once Upon a Time)cc hug.gif

It may have been in the background of the scene, but when Killian surprises everyone with his return from the Underworld and David gives him a hug, my heart soared. These two men have come a long way and have become not only mates, but like brothers. When they first met, David probably would have never thought he’d ever consider Killian such and willingly embrace him like a brother, but that moment arrived and it was very touching, albeit much too brief. Hopefully someday a moment like this will be in the forefront.

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Rufus helps a child reach a water fountain (Timeless)

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Rufus has a true heart and is very much the moral compass of the series, so it’s no surprise to see him do such a thing. It’s a moment that is not needed. It adds nothing to the plot of the episode. But it is a great character moment that further demonstrates the kind of man Rufus is- thoughtful and willing to help anyone, able to notice things some may overlook. It’s a simple gesture but no less meaningful or endearing.

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Want to Watch Series:
The Crown: A period drama about the British royal family with a production value and a cast that is impressive and award worthy- it’s actually amazing I have not watched this series yet. This is at the top of the “To Watch” list.

When Calls the Heart: This show looks as sweet and lovely as can be. With so few wholesome shows that are of good quality (and ones that are period shows), it’s refreshing to see a G rated drama be successful. It looks a lot like a childhood favorite of mine, Road to Avonlea, so this definitely is one I would long to catch up with very soon.

Series Finale: Downton Abbey
An exremely satisfying conclusion to a sumptuous, moving drama, characters were given happy endings with still the promise of more to come someday. I could not have asked for a better conclusion for the Crawley family and the staff of the English manor. In the end they are all family, everyone finds their place in the world and with each other, and the ever wise and witty appropriately Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) get’s the finale word. And it was the best!

‘Aww’ Heartwarming moment:
Killian tries to make Ashley’s daughter smile (Once Upon a Time)killy-baby

There have been many sweet moments on this show, but the sight of Killian Jones placing whipped cream on his nose and trying to make Ashely’s little girl laugh will go down in history as one of most heart melting moments ever. One of the best things about Killian’s character is the way we have seen how gentle and sweet he can be, and when that is directed toward making a child smile, it’s as endearing as can be. It’s no wonder Emma looked on with such love and awe

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Inspiring Moment:
Lucy educates a NASA scientist about women (Timeless)

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There need not be any more explanation of this empowering speech, except that she deserves a round of applause!

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Swoon-worthy Romantic Moment:
Killian reads Emma the Storybook (Once Upon a Time)cs hand kiss.gif

With countless romantic moments between the Savior and the Pirate, what made this moment such a swoon-worth romantic one was its simplicity, deeper meaning, and admiration between the couple. A simple and assuredly unromantic setting, Emma is plagued with tremors, fear and doubt. So Killian gives her comfort and support by reminding her of who she is- the product of true love and a remarkable woman capable of overcoming even the darkest of times. That fact that he does so by reading her parent’s story to her, which is indelibly entwined with hers (and Killian’s) is undeniably sweet. And his reverence as he grasps her hand and kisses it, no longer trembling, is a beautiful representation of the power of love and the power of storytelling. They can chase away our fears and replace them with hope. This scene proved that a storybook romantic moment can happen anywhere as long as you have belief in each other and in love, and the overall beauty of Emma’s True Love reading to her about the power of True Love is unparalleled.

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Sweetest Moment:
Snow and Charming create a True Love Sapling (Once Upon a Time)sapling

When thinking about Once Upon a Time’s True Love couple, sweet is most definitely one of the main descriptors. Importantly the couple may be as sweet as pie, but they are never cloying or saccharine because there is always something deeper behind their moments. And after 6 seasons, it was amazing to showcase something new and poignant as discovering they met and shared a connection long before they ever knew. It takes a remarkable couple to be able to create a magical sapling- they are said to be very rare and created from the first spark of true love. After saving her life and Snow reciprocate David’s kindness telling him she no longer feels alone, it was so beautiful to see the brief touch of hands create that spark. Their love is ever so sweet, and clearly as true as it gets.

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Daily Dose of Heart: Home & Family
Every day Mark, Debbie and the rest of the family at the Hallmark Channel delights us with interviews, games, DYI projects, cooking and more, and all with incredible amount of heart. Watching this show is the perfect way to fill the beginning of our day with fun and smiles, and also moments of unexpected depth. While most talks shows dwell on the negative and have humor which can be crass, Home and Family is wholesome (and for me relatable) and gives me hope that kindness and good people exist in the world.

Smile Inducing Moment:
Kimmy and Fernando sing the I Love Lucy Theme Song (Fuller House)lucy.gif

Being a lifelong fan of I Love Lucy was enough to make me smile as Kimmy and Fernando dressed up as the iconic couple for Halloween. But the new take on the theme song, which funnily enough had lyrics that are perfect for this couple as well, had me grinning ear to hear. How could not smile at this moment?

The Agent Carter Squad walk into battle (Agent Carter)

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They may not be the Avengers, but you will be hard pressed to find a group with more courage and tenacity than Peggy’s rag tag squad. There are not many moments that I would called golden, but this group walking down the street with confidence to Bing Crosby’s “Pistol Packin’ Mama” is indeed smile inducing gold.

‘Finally’ Moment:
Lorelai and Luke get married (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)
After denied this moment in the original series, the one thing I wanted to see in the revival was for Lorelai and Luke to get their wedding- their happily ever after. And it was even more enchanting than I ever could of hoped for. With whimsy set up by Kirk (he finally did something right) and a montage set to the first song the couple danced to, this moment was joyful and lovely and exactly the kind of magic they deserve. They finally had their moment!!

Edith gets married (Downton Abbey)
After so many times where her happy ending seemed in sight only for it to be snatched from her, I was beyond happy to see the middle Crawley daughter finally find someone who truly loves her and the two joined together in marriage. She has become the perfect blend of a modern career woman who still wanted to share her life with an equal partner. It was incredibly lovely to see both dreams come true for her.

Best Teamwork:
Killian, Emma and Arthur (Once Upon a Time)
Killian teaming up with King Arthur was one of those moments I never knew I wanted but when it happened, I absolutely loved it. On a shallow level, as Cruella says, they make quite the “stubble sandwich,” but there was much more to this team up then a handsome duo. It demonstrated great forgiveness on Killian’s part to work with the man responsible for his death, and gave Arthur a new purpose and chance at redemption, wondering if the Underworld was always the kingdom he was meant to restore. This episode also featured  another sense of teamwork between Killian and Emma as the two could literally sense each other across realms. As Killian places the missing pages into the storybook in the Underworld and they magically appeared in the book – to Emma – she just smiled with a knowing look that this was from him. That’s next level true love goals if there ever was any.

The Time Team ((Timeless)
The combination of Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus may be unorthodox but that is what perhaps makes it work. Three good people who care about each mission and care about history, and importantly care about each other. There need not be any single moment to pinpoint as far as how they work as a team because even when problems arise in the end they prevail and do so together.

Heartbreaking Moment:
Emma and Killian say goodbye in the Underworld (Once Upon a Time)cs-goodbye

Even though Emma and Killian have gone through other truly heartbreaking moments, and even though Killian was able to miraculously come back to Emma, the moment these two say goodbye to each other in the underworld with heartfelt and selfless promises to each other was the kind of heart shattering moment that’s difficult to recover from. And that was because it felt so real and so final. No magical swords, simply two people, unable to hold back their tears, not wanting to let go but doing so anyway with a final kiss, holding hands until the last possible moment. Look up the term ugly crying and no doubt you’ll find the scene.

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Saddest Sacrifice:
Robin Hood (Once Upon a Time)

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Robin may have shown just how much he loves Regina and demonstrated an act of truelove showing what an amazing man he is, but that doesn’t make his sacrifice any less sad. Seeing his soul disappear before Regina was certainly a cause for many tears, and was one of the show’s saddest scenes ever. But the loving outlaw still lives in our hearts and who knows what the future holds for him.

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Eleven (Stranger Things)

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If someone was to watch the scene where Eleven sacrifices herself for her friends, or as she turns around she simply says “Goodbye Mike,” and they don’t shed a single tear or at least have a lump in their throat, then they might be made of stone. Even though it’s clear that she still live in the show’s final moments, seeing a child who had been so tormented feeling like the only thing to do is give up her own life is as sad a truth as anything.

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Tearful Moment:
Lorelai’s Phone Call to her Mother (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)lorelai

A few moments from the Gilmore Girls revival brought me to tears, but none more so that Lorelai’s conversation to her mother about her favorite memory of her father. A proper memory instead of the one she shared on the day of his funeral, it’s the kind of long speech that Graham always excels at and it was brimming with raw emotion. How could you not be brought to tears?

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The ‘Big Three’ Reveal (This is Us)

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This is Us has so far been a show where just about every week there is at least one scene (maybe more) that can bring us to tears. But there was something so special about the moment you realized exactly who the Big Three were that was inordinately touching and the kind of beautiful twist that makes you smile through your tears.

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Emma Comforts Henry about her fate as Savior (Once Upon a Time)swan-beleiver

The Emma/Henry relationship has always held a special place in many of our hearts, and one could not empathize with Henry worrying about his mother’s fate and his guilt about bring her to Storybrooke in the first place. But like any good parent, instead of dwelling on an uncertain future she focuses on the good things being the Savior has brought her: love, a family, and him. And saying that the actual magic in her life is him was so incredibly moving.

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Nostalgic Moment:
Steve gives DJ a pillow person (Fuller House)

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As an avid fan of Full House, having watching the episodes many times, I just knew what Steve’s birthday present to DJ was going to be the moment he described it. I remember how much she loved that silly thing, so it was beyond sweet of him and for the show to bring this back with DJ’s traditional “Thank you, thank, thank you.” And for this moment and many others I am team “DJ & Steve For-evah.”

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Guest Star:
Sean Maguire (Timeless)

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After losing him on OUAT,  I was beyond thrilled to see Maguire back on my screen, especially playing such an iconic role. The creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming, as played by Maguire is charming, debonair, and brave and worked perfectly with the Time Team. I only wish they could see him again at another time. If it they can’t visit that time again, there’s always another. Never say never.

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Loveliest Moment:
Emma asks Killian to move in with her (Once Upon a Time)cs-happy

If there was one word to describe this heartfelt moment it would be lovely- because everything about it was such: the serene setting at the sun kissed twilight of the day, the soft musical score, the gentle way Emma was caressing Killian’s hair, their sweet smiles, the tender kiss and nose brushes, and the adorable way Emma’s asks Killian to share a home with her from realizing that nothing in life is certain to teasing about how she has some space for black leather to go right alongside her red leather. It was indeed so lovely and a perfect combination of what makes them a wonderful- a couple of both fairy tale beauty and modern sensibilities.

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Smile and Cry Moment:
Snow and Charming Sleeping Curse Montage (Once Upon a Time)snowingsnowing1

One could not help but smile at the sweet montage of Snow living their daily lives with a shared sleeping curse- taking care of their baby boy, leaving each other notes- and while it was sweet, there was also a tinge of heartbreak at what they are forced to endure until the curse of broken, not know if it ever will. You can smile and cry at this witness of true love and devotion during a very difficult time.

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Plot Twist:
Chloe’s existence was divinely created (Lucifer)
There always seemed to be a hint of destiny between Lucifer and Chloe, especially since she is the only person unaffected by his ability to read people’s desire, but that fact that her entire existence was because her parents were blessed was a twist I did not see coming. Of course from Lucifer’s perspective it makes him feel betrayed by his father and as if nothing can be trusted as real, but from my perspective, it simply gives their relationship an even deeper and more divine meaning and connection.

Pleasant Surprise: Speechless
This show could have gone two ways. It could have been cringe worthy at its insensitivity and depiction of a family dealing with a child with special needs. Luckily it went the other route and Speechless is a sensitive and realistic, funny and touching look at what a family like this goes through on a daily basis, and with Minnie Driver that is just an added bonus. When I was a writing tutor in college, in one of my classes was a young man, who like Micah had cerebral palsy- and Micah reminds me so much of him- funny, smart as a whip, kind, but still capable of less than perfect behavior. It’s refreshing to see this sort of show on Network television.

 

Quotes

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-Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time)

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-Dustin Henderson (Stranger Things)

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-Lucy Preston (Timeless)

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-Peggy Carter (Agent Carter)

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-Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time)

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-Killian Jones (Once Upon a Time)

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-Michael (The Good Place)

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-Snow White (Once Upon a Time)

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-Killian Jones (Once Upon a Time)

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-Jack Pearson (This Is Us)

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-Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time)

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-Luke Danes & Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)

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-Killian Jones (Once Upon a Time)

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-Mike Wheeler (Stranger Things)

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-Cinderella & Snow (Once Upon a Time)

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-Lucy Preston (Timeless)

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-Howard Stark (Agent Carter)

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-Danny Tanner (Fuller House)

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2016 Year in Review: Best Televison Relationships

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

Every so often a fictional couple comes along that captures our imagination, touching our hearts in immeasurable ways. For the past four years the brave and fiercely loving Savior and Pirate have grown and evolved tremendously both individually and as a couple and in 2016 they only further demonstrated how their story is one of the most beautiful depictions of true love ever. And it’s true love in its most exquisite form – the epitome of an unbreakable, unshakable, and powerful bond showing that true love in its truest form is the sum of many things that when can combined can be truly remarkable. For what is true love? It’s emotion and an entity. True Love is the most powerful thing in the world. It is never easy but must always be fought for. It’s overcoming impossible odds and finding joy in the simple quiet moments. When you find your one true love they are the person who makes your heart pound and breath catch, while also feeling safe, serene and comforted. They are the person you want to kiss with passion or tenderness, laugh with, cry with, and hold tightly in your arms and never let go. They’re the person who always knows the right thing to say, can sense when something is wrong, and can tell you so much without a single word. They are the person who inspires you to be the best version of yourself, encourages you and never lets you doubt your self-worth. They’re the one you can truly be vulnerable with, who brings down the walls that guard your heart, for they are the person you would give your whole heart to. You will walk through Hell for them, do anything to protect and sacrifice everything for to ensure their happiness or well-being no matter the cost to yourself. Your True Love is the person you choose to walk hand-in-hand with through life because when you do it feels like home. Is there not a more perfect way to describe what Emma and Killian have grown to become to each other?

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From the moment Emma marched into the Underworld to save Killian, declaring the steadfast motto “I will always find you” it was clear that both emotionally and narratively that this was undeniably true love. The Savior who always helps others find their happy endings was fighting for her own. But both Emma and Killian have become a pristine example of a quote from Lao Tzu, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” What they felt in their hearts was officially confirmed for the Gods themselves not by a kiss but by a choice – and one that was about sparing the other from great pain. And when it seemed as if this was goodbye forever they solidified that love with tearful and selfless promises and literally feeling and sensing each other across not just realms but also death. And when Killian miraculously returned to where Zeus himself deemed “where he belongs ” it was back into Emma’s loving arms. After going through such insurmountable odds in an truly epic part of their story, they also showcased true love in their more joyful moments as Emma happily expressed her love in a moment of normalcy, let go of her fears of an uncertain future asking him to move in with her, and overcame secrets with understanding and compassion as they’re based out of protection and the desire for the happiness of each other. And importantly they reminded each other just how remarkable they are not only to each other but as people, as Emma reminded Killian that he is a hero, worthy of being saved and needs to forgive himself on his own, while Killian reminded her that she is the product of true love but also a person who is just as wonderful and strong as her parents who can truly overcome anything in a deeply romantic moment where Killian reads Emma the story of her and her parents, able to steady her trembling hand, kissing it with reverence. Just like the love that Emma and Killian embody that is the sum of many attributes, so too is the nature of their story, beautiful not just because of one single thing but because of everything which holds an integral piece to their relationship – the writing, the narrative, and the performances by Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue who this past year were deeply profound in both grand moments and ones of lovely subtlety  and remarkably gorgeous in their authenticity. In each scene you can feel every heartbeat from the hearts they are willing to share, sacrifice that are indelibly entwined in the deepest way possible. There’s sure to be so many more milestones, moments of epicness and battles, and ones of tender intimacy in 2017, with a relationship that is truly special. It is a beautiful blend of fairy tale familiarity and modern-day sensibilities. Emma and Killian enchant our hearts, move our souls, and create a tale that is one of the most glorious to ever grace our lives in a story book that will remain exquisitely beautiful and profound long after we’ve reached the final page.

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2. Lucy Preston, Wyatt Logan and Rufus Carlin (Timeless)timeless2timeless

The time team as they’ve come to be known could not be more different. Lucy is a historian and professor, Wyatt is a soldier, while Rufus is a scientist and pilot to the time travel machine. Lucy is kind and fiercely intelligent, used to a world of academia, Wyatt is stoic, determined and often single-minded, while Rufus is likewise vastly intelligent and ingenious. Despite their differences they also share some significant commonalities. In truth they are all intelligent and resourceful,each offering something important to the team. And all our brave, heroic and loyal. Within the group there are some wonderful dynamics – Lucy and Wyatt’s burgeoning romance, Lucy and Rufus’ is growing friendship and Wyatt and Rufus’ strong understanding of each other. But it’s the three of them together that are truly a joy to watch, often funny and heartfelt as they go from time to time encountering history with awe and reverence and learning to work together for a common goal even when they disagree. It’s touching to see how quickly they’ve all grown to deeply care for one another, and relate to each other with compassion which is a testament to the narrative, and the wonderful performances by Abigail Spencer, Malcom Barrett, and Matt Lanter. The embraces, the laughter, the willingness to face death for each other and the ways they hold hands while the future they are returning to might be vastly different demonstrates that theme that people from all walks of life can come together and form even the most unlikeliest of friendships and come out the other side stronger and better from having known each other. I eagerly anticipate many more adventures from this fantastic trio as they continue on a journey of themes that are truly timeless.

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3. Eleven, Mike, Dustin, Lucas (Stranger Things)strangerstranger1

Growing up one of my favorite films was The Goonies. I love the adventures and relationships between the group of best friends. One of the things I love about Stranger Things is the similarities between this group of kids to that of The Goonies: Both taking on truly scary and bad people and relying on each other above all else, while are all smart and quick thinking, all deeply caring (but show it in different ways) and often have penchant for recklessness and profanity. But make no mistake my love of the similarities doesn’t mean these kids are mere carbon copies. On the contrary each has their own personality and strength, while the way the boys help and embrace Eleven is something unique, poignant and touching. They make me laugh with the way they relate to each other, cheer at their courage against frightening government agents and a terrifying monster, and cry with their demonstrations of true devotion and friendship that always is believable and moving. Sometimes I cry and laugh at the same time – something only the best of stories can evoke. And the moment when bullies are beaten, Mike is saved by Eleven and Dustin yells “She’s our friend and she’s crazy” is a perfect example of this. In the end, what this group shows is that children should never be underestimated, ignored, or used. They can sometimes be the bravest, smartest and most loving people imaginable. 2017 will surely bring more dangers and I look forward to more humor and heart from the kids who have learned to play a real life strange and dangerous game of Dungeons & Dragons.

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4. Lorelai Gilmore and Luke Danes (Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life)lorelai-lukelorelai-luke1

In terms of true love and romance Lorelai and Luke were always the cornerstone couple of the Gilmore Girls. From best friends to lovers, two committed partners, these two had many ups and downs but came back together in series finale. But the divisive the final season only left so much time to arrive at said reconciliation so there were many things that fans never got to see. Despite its imperfections, when it comes to the Luke and Lorelai relationship in A Year in the Life it was beautiful, emotionally satisfying, consistent in the characterizations, and everything we could’ve hoped for. What makes this couple so wonderful is their humor and heart, and the way they hilariously banter back and forth like a couple from classic cinema, understand and support each other, work through arguments, and most importantly demonstrate that love and relationships can be difficult but in the end are worth it. Feelings of complacency and identity were what their story entailed in 2016 and it was believable, sweet and touching because in the end we see a couple truly devoted to loving each other and making each other happy. Wonderful moments abound, the two that will surely remain in our hearts forever are the whimsical wedding montage, a dream of a scene complete with the tear inducing inclusion of the song “Reflecting Light “which was played when Luke and Lorelai shared their first dance, and Luke’s speech about his commitment and willingness to do whatever it takes to save the relationship not knowing it needed no saving. Lorelai wanted to get married. These two prove that struggles can be overcome, that day-to-day life whether it’s grand or simple can be fulfilling, and that the strongest relationships are about devotion, trust, honesty and a great sense of humor.

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5. The Pearson Family (This Is Us)us.gifus1

It seems so rare nowadays to see families portrayed as genuinely close, caring, protective, and good, where family dinners and get-togethers are important, wanted and looked forward to, with just their day-to-day lives which include phone calls, lunches and support, are natural and unforced. The Pearson family may not be perfect – they fight and argue and disagree sometimes on big issues- but at the end of the day we see that in both the past and the present, there is nothing more important than family. From parent/child relationships, to the close-knit sibling bond of the affectionately titled “Big Three,” the Pearsons bring us the kind of warmth, poignancy, affectionate dynamics that many audiences have been yearning for, breathing beautiful life into the stories that bring us to tears on a weekly basis, and warm our hearts in ways that are deeply affecting.

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6. Killian Jones and Henry Mills (Once Upon a Time)cap cobra.gif

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about Once Upon a Time is the way family dynamics are varied and purposefully are breaking the mold of traditional family dynamics of fairy tales with Henry’s ever-growing family. Like the traditional fairy tales, in the show we have seen deceased biological parents and evil stepparents. But what Once Upon a Time does so well is that it takes these traditional premises and expands and alters them in great ways. Natural parents are alive, the evil stepparent changes and does good, and we see adoption and friends included showing that families need not be defined merely by blood. The relationship between Killian and Henry has been a growing favorite of mine the past three years with fun and heartwarming moments between Emma’s two true love’s – from sailing trips and nautical lessons, rogue and daring rescue missions, to the special Operation Light Swan, a house and promise for a happy future for Emma. But 2016 delved into a new territory that was not only significant and poignant but natural and realistic. Yes there were moments like we’ve seen before – special Operations to help find happy endings, help save others, help save Emma, and there were moments of heartache where leaving Killian behind in The Underworld caused a look of heartbreak on Henry’s face. But what was lovely and meaningful way that this year also truly developed the future step father and stepson bond, with an entire episode revolving around the conflict and resolution that faces many blended families today. Henry had always gotten along well with Killian, but it’s very different when your mother is now living with her romantic partner. It’s a big change and they handled this in a way that felt authentic to what a boy Henry’s age would feel – uncertain, wanting to lash out, even saying hurtful things they don’t mean. But in the end Henry realizes how much Killian loves his mother and how he cares more for Henry’s well-being and safety than his own. Henry will always miss his father and no one can replace him, and while he already has a large extended family with mothers and grandparents, it was lovely to see that family tree grow a branch in the young boy’s eyes to include a man whose heart is filled with such genuine affection for his true love and her son, as well as an evolving and positive depiction of a future step parent and child relationship, something television definitely needs to see more of and Once Upon a Time shows so beautifully.

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7. Lucifer Morningstar and Chloe Decker (Lucifer)deckerstardeckerstar1

This pair has so many classic characteristics from the get-go: witty and sharp banter, often flirty or filled with tension, humor or exasperation with each other that masks deeper underlying feelings, two people who are guarded learning to become vulnerable because of each other, and a kind of instinctual, deep connection. In many ways they remind me of our number 1 Pick, Emma and Killian, and that should be considered the highest praise. But Chloe and Lucifer are also very unique most of all because, well, he’s the Devil. How many shows have a Devil who’s in the body of a dashingly  handsome man, helping solve crimes with a courageous and caring detective who was the one person he cannot read like he does others, and consequently the one person who changes his entire world. No one else would have him promise to return to Hell just to keep her safe. With a palpable chemistry between Tom Ellis and Lauren German, their relationship is still growing and it could go down some dark paths, but the fantastic combination of a classic, romantic couple who solve crimes with a fantastical element and touch of destiny and love of Biblical proportions is absolutely fantastic.

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7. Peggy Carter and Daniel Sousa (Agent Carter)peggy daniel1.gif

In the first season of this period adventure series, there was definitely a connection between these two agents, but Peggy was still grieving over Steve, wanting to protect what was left of him, that love was not something she was ready for. But in 2016 in the show’s second and final season, romance was certainly in the air. And while their affections were torn between each other and scientist JasonWilkes and nurse Violet, it was clear that Daniel was always the one who was Peggy’s true match. The relationship is built on mutual respect, trust, and a real chemistry and spark with charming and magnetic performances by Atwell and Gjokaj. Seeing these two crazy kids realize just how much they care for each other was equally sweet and touching – the kind of great relationship tension where you were just yelling at your TV screen to “just kiss already!”And after Peggy and Daniel showed that they would risk their lives for each other, the audience got their wish when they finally came together with a passionate kiss. This was pure happiness and while we don’t know for sure, in my mind Daniel is the man Peggy married and continued to inspire others and help combat evil, fighting alongside him and forming the SHIELD agency. These two are as perfect a duo as there ever was.

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8. Snow White and Prince Charming (Once Upon a Time)snowing

In 2016, the original true love couple, and still one of the main reasons the show remain so magical and a pillar of a beautiful sense of hope and fairy tale sweetness, were able to demonstrate once again what true love really means in ways like we’ve always seen for the couple as well as new and poignant twist on their story. While on a journey to the Underworld it was touching not only to see that steadfast devotion to each other and belief of “always find each other” but to also see them provide their daughter with a sense of hope. They also gave Killian a great gift in their willingness to find and save him, accepting him into their family. Their love gives their daughter hope and inspiration and now their epic fairy tale intertwines with the product of their true love. The reading of their story was such a touching reminder of how special the Snow White and Prince Charming fairy tale is in a time when they once again proved the strength of their bond in new and meaningful ways. With the sharing of hearts came the sharing of a sleeping curse which is yet to be broken. And while their faith may be wavering their love for each other remains as strong as ever – taking care of their son, leaving each other notes, keeping watch over their beloved as they sleep. I believe they will soon break this curse. True love will never falter in the end. Because any couple who discovers they had a connection long before they realized, in a moment based on respect, belief in each other, and feeling as if they were not alone in the world, that can create a first spark of true love, and a sapling, is as magical as it gets.

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(Tie) 10. “DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy “The She-Wolf Pack” (Fuller House) she-wolf

Positive friendships and sibling relationships are special and when I see them in film and TV I am happy. What makes the relationship between DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy (2 sisters and 1 best friend) but in truth all one part of a larger family and affectionately self dubbed “She-Wolf pack,” so wonderful is that it’s about three women who all genuinely love, support and respect each other. Much like the original series where Jesse and Joey moved in to help Danny with his kids, Stephanie and Kimmy are doing the same for DJ. But she reciprocates that support to her sister and best friend, and the three together are not only a joy to watch but represent something rare in TV these days – a heartwarming, funny, touching relationship between women who always have each other’s backs and will do so with compassion, honesty, and a great sense of humor. I know I personally relate to this relationship more so than other harsher and snarkier friendships we see. This family is undeniably wholesome but no less realistic and relatable.

(Tie) 10. Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis (Agent Carter)peggy jarvis.gif

Such a wonderful friendship indeed, just like the first season, when these two are together there is fun to be seen, sometimes tears to be shed, and smiles to be shown. No two represent the witty and nostalgia Agent Carter embodies more so than Peggy and Jarvis. But once again this year showed the beauty of the platonic love that can exist between a man and a woman. There was never a sense of romance between them, but their chemistry was amazing because it represents something different but no less special and important. They will hold each other’s hand in comfort when they need it, encourage each other, and fight alongside each other, always with a wittiness and realness that will be deeply missed each week.

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Honorable Mentions
11. Liv Moore, Clive Babineaux , Ravi Chakrabarti, Major Lilywhite, Peyton Charles (iZombie)
Admittedly I adore every relationship within this dark and funny drama, but when all of the characters work together and interact with each other something really amazing happens. They may all be quite different but they truly show that these differences mean nothing in the grand scheme of things especially when a zombie attack may be on the horizon and two of their own are zombies themselves. As we saw in the Season 2 finale, when everyone finally knew the truth and they all work together, we see that they are stronger together than apart. If a zombie apocalypse was here this are the team I would want on the job.

12. The Crawley Family (Downton Abbey)
In 2016 we bid a reluctant farewell to the residents of Downton Abbey both upstairs and downstairs. While they may be a differences in stations, when it comes to the Crawley clan, especially in this last season, everyone feels like one big family filled with everything you expect – love, support, disagreements and resolutions. From the health scare of Lord Crawley, to the weddings of Lady Edith, Lady Mary and Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, to the return of Tom, to Anna and Bates finally having a baby, to Thomas finding place, and Lady Grantham’s ever wit and wisdom, I came to think of every character as a member of the Crawley family and found it hard to say goodbye. But perhaps it is merely “till we meet again” because their lives will go on and we’re lucky to have witnessed so much. Tears and smiles were abundant in 2016 and hopefully there’s more to come in the future for this wonderful family.

 

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

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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…