Monday, October 10, 2011

“Lives ruined, bloodshed”: Top 10 Epic Romances on the Small Screen - Part 2

Well guys I'm back, and I have many more heartbreaking and through-provoking romances to share with you... thing are heating up and there are a few controversial couples in this lot. You know the drill, read comment (not that anyone ever does but someday you will all catch on and the fun will finally begin). 

If you haven't already, read part 1 here

6. Arthur Pendragon and Merlin – Merlin
Bradley James and Colin Morgan

This one has everything an epic needs, magic, dragons, princes, knights and of course destiny. These two may not be your traditional kind of romance (although I might argue with you on that one) but their destinies are intertwined and that makes their story pretty epic in my book. Despite the fact that there are women in this series that play the part of love interests, it's clearly all about Merlin and Arthur, everyone else is just periphery. Like all good romances this story begins with them hating each other and this surface hatred sticks around for quite a while but when push comes to shove neither can let the other die. These boys sacrifice themselves for each other almost as much as the Winchesters and that people is true love.

The Arthurian legend has many recognisable romances, and despite my soft spot for all things slash I have never really seen anything between Arthur and Merlin (this might be because Merlin is usually depicted as an old man, and sometimes evil). But the BBC's latest depiction of this story made me change my mind. Yes, Guinevere is still in the picture so realistically Arthur and Merlin are never going to be anything more than friends but in a lot of ways they are, I don't mean in a sexual way, I simply mean that they care for each other more than your average friendship – they are more like brothers. Their relationship is what keeps me coming back to this show, because let's face it we already know the story. This series takes the tales of King Arthur and Camelot and breaks it down to a story about two men that are destined to spend their lives together whether they want to.

So whether or not you see this couple as in any way romantic, there is no doubt that they love each other so much that they will fight for each other until death do they part. 

5. Emily Fitch and Naomi Campbell – Skins
Kathryn Prescott and Lily Loveless

There is no grand battle or evil villain in this romance, nor does it span years and continents but it is no less heartbreaking or exciting than any of the other romances on this list. This is just 2 girls who fell in love, and let's face it even in today's day and age there is still a bunch of crap they have to contend with. Emily has to contend with her incredibly domineering twin sister Katie and Naomi just refuses to admit that she is even attracted to Emily, and that's not the worst of it, this is Skins after all. It's a program that does not really deal in happily ever after.

As I said above the planet is not in danger if these two break up but sometimes the simply things are the most heroic. These girls have to deal with the dangers of ordinary life and for a young lesbian girl coming to terms with her sexuality these dangers are actually very real. There is no wise old man to guide there journey (in fact most of the adults in this story only cause more trouble) and they only thing keeping them apart is their own initiative. The thing I love about this romance is the girls involved deal - Emily who has to contend with her controlling sister and homophobic mother is always willing to fight for her love. Naomi, while her mother is flaky she is still supportive and it is her own prejudices and fears that cause her to run from her romance with Emily. Naomi's problem seems to be less about sexuality and more about the fact that she is so afraid of getting her that she wont allow herself to love. Yet somehow they over come all this... and that is epic.

Naomi and Emily's story is short than any of the other romances on the list and their age might make you question the sincerity of their love but there is just something about these two that makes me hope that happily ever after is an option.

4. Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf – Gossip Girl
Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester
These two certainly fit the 'lives ruined' category because there are quite a few casualties to this romance... I don't mean in the literal sense but these two sociopaths don't really care about anyone except each other (not entirely true I know but don't tell them that). They are Chuck and Blair; Blair and Chuck, they will ruin everyone around them just to get at each other and I will watch every minute of it. To be honest it's one of the only reasons I watch this show (in fact I used to record it when it was on TV so I could just fast-forward to the parts with them in it).

They were set up as the villains of the series, especially millionaire playboy Chuck Bass but after a wild night in a limo – which lost Blair her virginity – there was nothing that was going to come between this couple. Except perhaps for each other because if you are trying to be heartless it is very difficult to admit you're in love, a problem which has plagued these two since their inception. Neither of them is willing to relinquish power, so the moment either of them shows a moment of weakness (such as admitting they have feelings for the other person) then all hell breaks lose because the balance is broken.

I thought maybe once both of them admitted how they felt about each other things would be back on an even playing field and they could get back to ruining everyone else's lives instead of each others. Alas this was clearly wishful thinking and we are now back into the realm of pain and heartache that comes with watching a couple that should be together – not together. I mean come on guys, you love each other, you have admitted you love each other why can't you just get it together. But then the romance wouldn't be quite as epic as it is, and it wouldn't be on this list. 

3. Rose Tyler and The Doctor – Doctor Who
Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston/David Tennant

This one is going to be a bit controversial because the very notion of the Doctor having a romance with a human upsets a lot of people so if that is you then try to see this one as a friendship. The Doctor needs someone, this has become clear over the years and it's not just because he's lonely (although that just play a part in it). This was never more apparent then in his ninth form – at the start of the series rebirth in 2005. He has lost all his family and friends and is a war veteran, so he's having a hard time adjusting to the post war reality. We never get to see the time war, but we can see the damage it inflicted in the ninth Doctor's eyes. Whether or not you think she is worthy, it's Rose that brings the Doctor back from the brink and turns him from harden war criminal into the fun adventure loving tenth Doctor.

So why is this story so epic? Well I guess it's tragedy that gets me. I mean it was doomed from the start because Rose is human and the Doctor is a Timelord. Which means Rose is going to grow old and die while the Doctor just keeps on going. Therefore there is no happily ever after for this couple, only denial until they were ultimately torn apart. I literally cannot watch their initial separation without balling my eyes out. Of course, like every good epic romance it doesn't simply end with goodbye... they are reunited only to be torn apart all over again. In what is a totally traumatic moment, the Doctor and Rose run towards each other in that slow motion love story kind of way when the Doctor is shot. Two years of searching and waiting shot down in a second... the Doctor survives but of course that's only the beginning of the pain for this tragic romance.

I like that Rose was the one that the Doctor fell in love with, because she is pretty ordinary. They both want to run, leave their lives behind and they bond over that – the thing is the Doctor sees more in Rose than anyone else and Rose is willing to do anything for the Doctor and that is what makes this one of the most epic (and tragic) romances on television.

To be Continued... here.