Top ten sci-fi/genre romances... according to Dan


In honor of Valentine's Day, here are my top ten sci-fi/genre romances. I will admit this isn’t super comprehensive and it does contain spoilers about each show, but only in regards to relationships.

Number 10: Sweetness and death
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Willow & Tara

This is one of the sweetest yet most tragic of romances. It encompasses the virtues of a solid powerful relationship built on love and respect, while it also delves into some of the darkest parts of the heart with Willow’s descent into addiction. The conclusion is nothing short of epic tragedy as Willow nearly destroys not only herself but also the entire world with her grief.

Number 9: On and off again… will you guys decide already?
Veronica Mars
Veronica and Logan

I could say a lot about this show, and this relationship in particular. But, in essence, it is the most satisfying television love affair that I can remember, and as a love affair of a heroine and a semi-villain, only comparable to Buffy. It may not be perfect, and they've broken up more times then I can count, but in the end I still want them together. Logan at first seemed to be completely unremarkable and unlikeable. But as the show progressed and his vulnerabilities began to show, we followed in Veronica's footsteps by falling in love with his character.

Number 8: Unrequited love, requited!
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Odo & Kira

There were several romantic relationships in Star Trek, but in my opinion, none was as poignant than Odo and his longing for Major Kira. For years, Odo refused to express his feelings for Nerys at the expense of his own happiness. What sold it for me was Odo’s complete vulnerability when it came to her, even when nothing else could even faze him. The moment when they kissed for the first time was one of the most powerful moments in the series, at least romantically. At least for me.

Number 7: Extraterrestrial love.
Babylon 5
John Sheridan & Delenn

There are several reasons to add this couple to the list, not the least of which is way the series managed to involve two characters that I never saw coming together, and made me love it. Perhaps not the most passionate or even the most romantic, it was by far the most epic. Their love shaped an entire galaxy. What other couple can boast that?

Number 6: Lost Triangles
Lost
Jack & Kate & Sawyer

Will she, won’t she, will she, won’t she, will she join the dance. Kate’s heart is the entire mystery of this love triangle. Who will she choose? Those who are up to date with the show know where she's leaning now. But where her heart truly lies is an entirely different story. From what I can gather, she wants to be with Jack, or at the very least someone like Jack. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on which pair you prefer) she believes that she belongs with someone like Sawyer. From what we’ve seen of her back-story she does kind of belong with Sawyer. But I can’t help wonder if the writers are just yanking our chains, and instead she has a lot more depth then they have bothered to reveal. But despite all the twists and melodrama I want to see this resolved. So I guess they’re doing something right.

Number 5: Time travel is a bitch.
The Terminator
Kyle Reese & Sarah Connor

Time traveling paradoxes and a love that should never have been… what really bakes your noodle later on is; if Kyle had never gone back in time, would the world have been destroyed in the first place? You’ve got to love time travel love stories, even if they don’t entirely make sense. This one is the ultimate in its simple weaving of tragic love story, and edge of your seat action set pieces. Over two decades later, I still haven’t seen a movie that tops this one in its particular genre. For me, that is saying a lot.

Number 4: Close encounters of the weird kind.
Farscape
John Crighton & Aeryn Sun

Okay, so the show is not for everyone. I can relate to the objections to using Muppets as aliens. That aside, the core characters John Crichton and Aeryn Sun were the glue that held this outright bizarre show together. Their romance was slow to grow; the fact that it was set on the back-burner and simmered until season three made it even more dramatic when it finally appeared. As they moved into full-blown love affair, the show got melodramatic by killing one of them off, yet still managing to continue the romance (it had something to do with a duplicate Crichton plot that started with... oh never mind). To this day I don’t think any other show could get away with the stuff that happened on Farscape (yes, even Buffy), and that is probably for the best. This was also the only couple that had two ultimate endings: one tragic and the other bittersweet (but ultimately happy).

Number 3: Better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy & Angel

Painful and often times melodramatic, the turbulent relationship of Buffy and Angel reached its peak during the middle of the second season. This culminated in a life lesson both of them probably wished they'd never learned, and caused fallout for the rest of the series. But despite the passion and violence that dotted their relationship, it never seemed to be more than a first love... better looked back on than kept as a permanent commitment.

Number 2: Beauty and the scruffy beast.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strike Back
Han Solo & Princess Leia

Classic opposites attract story that defined many a fan-boy’s idea of what love should be. Two decades later it still remains one of the best and most understated romances that I can think of in sci-fi or perhaps in any genre. What cemented this one was the witty dialogue and pitch-perfect acting by Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. I often wonder if Lucas had written the dialogue in that movie, would anyone still care about Star Wars?

Number 1: Love Pains
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy & Spike

How to describe this dark and tumultuous love affair? One word comes to mind: smashed. The room-shattering sex scene in “Smashed” not only took me by complete surprise, it defined the couple completely and succinctly. Spike’s obsession with Buffy and the eventual redemption of his soul made him one of the best characters in any show (in my opinion). Perhaps it was the fact that Spike (unlike Angel) started as a villain and eventually won our hearts that made his journey so great. Or perhaps it was the single-minded love he showed to Buffy again and again that made him worthwhile. Or perhaps it was that despite everything that happened, Buffy learned to respect him on a level that might be described as something like love. That was the kind of thing that made Buffy so classic: that two mortal enemies could find a peace in each other when no one else would suffice.

Honorable Mention:

Almost but not quite
X-Files
Mulder & Scully

I missed a vast majority of the final season of this show, but I did see the anti-climatic finale. Although the idea of the two of them together was one of the driving elements of the series, they made (in my opinion) the fatal mistake of waiting waaaay too long. This was one that could’ve been filled with longing and passion and instead we got one kiss and a clinical baby.

8 comments:

Mike said...

First, I want to say what a wonderful job this is just in time for the season. Personal favorites such as Tara/Willow and the Lost triangle were much appreciated.

Second, I want to express my deep concern for my personal FAVORITE couple that was sorely missed in the list.

Sydney Bristow and Michael Vaughn's wonderful relationship hit so many dramatic high points on ALIAS. From the Santa Monica pier to "Vaughn, why are you wearing that ring?" to a fateful car crash, these two were fascinating to watch and painful to root for. Hands down one of the best genre romances.

Cynthia said...

Great list. I have to agree with most of them. I can't agree with all of them, however since I never really watched Star Trek or Babylon 5. I do wonder, though where are La Femme Nikita's Michael and Nikita on this list. The show wasn't exactly "sci-fi", but I do believe that they're one the best couples on television past or present. And I know Billie likes them.

Kelly said...

There's a couple of pairings listed from shows I never watched, like Farscape and Babylon 5. On a sidenote, Babylon 5 is one of those shows I really want to go back and see. But anyways!

I do love all the others you mentioned, and it was quite hard to pick on the poll. Star Trek has trouble writing romances well I think, but yes they did a great job with Odo and Kira. DS9 is my favorite Trek show.

And the Lost triangle is interesting, I agree with your analysis of Kate. I like both Buffy/Angel and the Spuffy, I admit, despite the conflict of intereset. And finally I'm all about the LoVe. I've been converted; I'm a Logan apologist.

But on my personal list I would've also included Sharon and Helo from Battlestar. Their romance has really fascinated me from the start. I love the duality of the two Sharons, and how Grace Park manages to capture Boomer and Athena so differently. And I'm a sucker for romance between traditional enemies.

I think that's more than enough for now. >.>

D. Halloran said...

To clarify, when I constructed the original list I was sticking exclusively to Sci-fi, the omitted couples; Nikita & Michael, and Sydney & Vaughn were for this reason. As I progressed into the article I changed the format a bit and had committed too much of my time to reconstruct the list. If I was to re-create it I feel that they would most definitely be on this list.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mike...I loved Sydney and Vaughn. But I chose Willow and Tara in the poll because that was so tragic! And because I'm getting bored with the Lost love triangle, and Lost on a whole.

Billie Doux said...

I agree with most of Dan's choices, but not all of them. We do have the same number one choice, though.

10.Buffy and Angel
9. John and Aeryn
8. Kate and Sawyer
7. Sheridan and Delenn
6. Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor
5. Lex Luthor and Lana Lang
4. Michael and Nikita
3. Veronica and Logan
2. Willow and Tara
1. Buffy and Spike

Billie

Caitlin said...

If you included Han Solo and Princess Leia, how you missed Neo and Trinity is absolutely beyond me. However i agree with many of the others, so i guess i forgive you :) Sorry i don't even know you but i just had to comment.
Caitlin

Emmelle said...

Hi Billie! I love all these but I think there should be more honorable mentions like Sharon and Helo, Lee and Kara and Syd and Vaughn.

P.S. Thank you for putting the love triangle in there. I am Jack/Kate and it is very apparent that you are a Sawyer/Kate fan so for you to add both aspects of the relationship was very nice :)