Friday, October 7, 2011

“Lives ruined, bloodshed”: Top 10 Epic Romances on the Small Screen - Part 1

I am not a romantic person, if any of thing 'romantic' happened to me I would run from the room screaming 'fire' and the whole till death do us part thing actually has me breaking out in hives but I love watching it play out on television. I can't help it, when I see two people in love on the screen in front of me I get all giggly and my heart starts to flutter (something that often confuses the people I am dating... “you seemed to like it when they did it on TV”). Why am I telling you this incredibly pointless personal story – it's simple I needed a lead in for this list and I am totally narcissist so I just like talking about myself. So you know – reasons, I like TV romance so I am going to inflict my love on you, my lonely reader.

Anyway to the list, which has some boundaries – I am talking about Epic Romances, not perfect couples... this list is not based on how well they work together, or even if they ended up together, is based on the epicness of their journey. In the words of Logan on Veronica Mars - “Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined, bloodshed. Epic. But summer's almost here, and we won't see each other at all. And then you leave town... and then it's over.” The unfortunate thing about the nature of the “Epic Romance” is that it usually involves a lot of pain for both the pairing and those around them – therefore, if it came easy, it ain't epic... also sweet, nice, romances are gone as well. I will probably write a list of the 'best couples' soon but if you still feel the need to yell at me then go a head, the caps lock button is right there.

*Disclaimer, I am not trying to insight ship wars, this list is entirely personal opinion so please do not hunt me down and kill me because I ignored your favourite ship. You are welcome to add your own couples in the the comments though, in fact that would be good because clearly I don't know everything so I have probably forgotten someone very important.

Also – I'm only 25 so all these couples are relatively recent... this is just because of what I have been exposed to, sorry. 

10. Ianto Jones and Jack Harkness – Torchwood
Gareth David-Lloyd and John Barrowman

I hate to start on such a depressing note, but as I said above 'Epic Romances' do not come easy, and most of the time they end in tears or death or both. This one if no exception. When I found out that Russell T. Davies was creating a Doctor Who spin off starring none other than our favourite con-man Captain romance really wasn't the first thing that came to mind. If I'm honest, I thought sex... I mean Captain Jack is such a slut I just thought I would be seeing him hook up with someone new ever week. Too be fair, Torchwood didn't really disappoint on the sex thing but I was shocked when I found myself rooting for him to live 'happily-ever-after' with the coffee boy. Clearly Gwen was set up as a romantic interest (or at least URST partner) in the early Torchwood episodes and even I'll admit there was some tension there, which makes it all the more shocking when I realised that all I wanted was for Jack to settle down with bit player Ianto.

Jack and Ianto's romance was never really centre stage, but that didn't make it any less epic... I mean come on, in their first on screen kiss Jack literally breaths life back into Ianto. Of course there are plenty of traumatic moments, it is Torchwood after all, but there are cute ones as well – like when Jack returns from his adventure with the Doctor and finally asks Ianto out on a date. This couple was clearly a fan favourite and that's saying something because Jack has had quite a few romances in the short few years he's been on the screen. Alas, a cruel and vengeful god, Davies chose to rip Ianto from the mortal coil just as this romance was getting series... and the way it was done, I don't think I will ever get over it (and I'm not the only one – check out the memorial in Cardiff bay if you don't believe me).

This story has everything and 'Epic Romance' needs, sex, violence, love and death... and no matter how long Jack lives I know he will never forget the stiff, Welsh coffee boy that stole his heart.

9. Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big – Sex and the City
Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth

This one doesn't have death, there's not really all that much violence (unless you count a broken nose or an accidental slap) and unlike most of the couples on the list these two actually get their 'happily-ever-after'. Yet this is still one of the most talked about romances of the past 20 years which is pretty amazing considering we didn't even know the guys name – I am of course ignoring the movies that came after the series, they don't really count because they're not originally on the small screen, a good thing because now we don't have to talk about how crap they are.

Carrie had a lot of romances over the years (a lot of one night stands as well) but we pretty much new she was destined to be with the charismatic Mr Big, even when she was with the perfect man aka Aidan. I'm sure a few people will argue with me about the Aidan thing but there was no way they were going to work, he was too way boring. There is no way that he could compete with Mr Big – sure he's a commitment-phobe and the whole moving to France, marrying a twenty-something then cheating on her with Carrie wasn't the best idea but it does make for a pretty epic romance.

I was with this couple all the way from “abso-fucking-lutely” to that beautiful night in Paris and there were so many ups and downs in between to keep us talking and wishing and dreaming for the day when these two relationship fuck-ups would finally admit they are meant to be. It was just unlucky for all the poor people that got hurt along the way... I'll just leave you with a moment of real love, when Carrie finds out that Big is having heart surgery she can't help but burst into tears, like a child, every time anyone mentions it. This is despite the fact that the two have not officially dated in years, she still loves him like it's an involuntary reaction... now that's epic. 

8. Max Guevara and Logan Cale – Dark Angel
Jessica Alba and Michael Weatherly

I don't know how many people remember this couple any more, I mean the show's long gone and I haven't seen it replayed, at least not to the extent that other Sci-Fi programs are. I don't know why, sure it's dated a little and the acting isn't fantastic but it's got interesting ideas and some fantastic characters (not to mention a very young Jensen Ackles – hnnnng) so it is definitely worth a look if you didn't catch it the first time round. One the things that makes this program so worth while is the tragic love story between Max and Logan. The tension in the first season is almost unbearable, and after what happens in the second series it just makes me scream at the TV even more because I want them to kiss so bad.

It's a post-apocalyptic world, which means every girl for herself and this is especially true for an escaped superhuman soldier... why would a self serving, ghetto, girl like Max, whose just trying to make her way in the world, fall for a playboy with a cause like Logan? Yet somehow it works or at least it would if they would actually get around to doing it, instead they flirt and they dance and they cook for each other until it's too late. And I mean too late in the worst way possible... first he thinks she's dead then when she comes back she has a killer virus in her that is specifically engineered to his DNA so that they can NEVER touch. It's like the worst punishment ever, they admit how they feel about each other and they have to work together for the good of the world (or some such noble cause) only they can't ever be together, not really.

Despite the introduction of the fan favourite, Alec (played by the ever sexy Jensen Ackles) there is nothing that can get in-between the epic romance of Max and Logan. Except the cancellation of the show, so that we never really get to find out if that virus is taken care of or if they finally get it on... I think there are some novels somewhere but I haven't read them, so if anyone has and they want to tell me the fate of these star-crossed lovers then comment away.

7. Buffy Summers and Angel – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Portrayed by Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz

This was a hard one for me because I was always a little bit more partial to funny/sarcastic and hopelessly romantic Spike but you can't deny the epicness of the original vampire/teenage girl love story (again not entirely true but it did spawn Twilight and Vampire Diaries). Anyway, I know that I was firmly on the Bangel (Buffy/Angel) bandwagon when it first aired and even if you don't ship it you can't deny its epic nature.

It's kind of poetic really, Buffy's sole purpose in life is to slay vampires, it's in the name isn't it – Vampire Slayer... it would be right that she would fall in love with the thing she was destined to hate. It's like Romeo and Juliet with fangs. It's not as bad as it seems through, because Angel is a special vampire – he's got soul. Well he has a soul until he achieves a moment of pure happiness, which is of course consummating his love with Buffy. Again with the whole no sex thing, it's just excessively cruel. I get the whole delayed gratification thing and we all know that Joss is a cruel and vengeful god so I guess we should think ourselves lucky that they are both still alive. But what kind of life is it without your soul mate... Early in their relationship they had some sweet moments and up until he lost the soul and became the most evil Vamp around, it was all going well. 

I guess I have a soft spot for this romance because it was one of the first that really got me massively interested, and I think part of me still hopes for a happily ever after... even after he went evil, then she killed him and Spike came along and Angel moved to LA and hooked up with Cordy and then a human Darla and had a baby, that grew up super fast in hell – oh and Buffy died. Yeah, this relationship was never going to work... Damn you Joss! 

To be continued...

Well things were getting a bit long and I thought an epic romance would draw things out - never give them what they want otherwise why would they come back? So I am going to take a leaf out of all my favourite love stories and break this list apart. 

So stay tuned for numbers 6 - 3 in my list of epic television romances (followed by the final 2 the day after that).

I hope you all enjoyed so far - feel free to speculate as to which couples will make it into the final 6 spots of this series. 

Thanks for reading (especially if you are not my mum).

Read Part 2 Here