As usual I found myself with far more potential couples than I could possibly include and so I may have gone slightly overboard with the honourable mentions list. I just couldn't bear to leave any of them out!
Once again I am not doubling up, so Mulder/Scully, Grissom/Sara, Tony/Ziva, Michael/Sara, Booth/Brennan, Barney/Robin, and Chuck/Sarah are not included because they're already on my Ships of the Noughties list. Although I was tempted to treat Prison Break's return like a new show and include Michael/Sara again, mainly cos when I wrote the first list Michael was supposed to be dead but it turns out he wasn't. (Shocking, I know...)
Anyway, here is my Ships of the 2010s list. Starting with the ones who didn't quite make the final cut:
Lois Lane and Clark Kent from Smallville (2001-2011)
Always meant to be, but still fun to watch their relationship grow and thrive.
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint from Doctor Who (2005- )
A lizard woman from the dawn of time and her wife who, with their adopted space potato Strax, form the wonderful Paternoster Gang and should definitely have been in more episodes.
Camille Saroyan and Arastoo Vaziri from Bones (2005-2017)
I must admit I drifted away from Bones towards the end and it was pictures of Cam and Arastoo's wedding on Tumblr that drew me back. I'm so glad these two got their happy ending. They deserved it.
Marshall Eriksen and Lily Aldrin from How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)
Probably the most functional and mature relationship in the whole series, to be honest.
Wayne Rigsby and Grace Van Pelt from The Mentalist (2008-2015)
No matter what stood in their way – CBI rules, her getting engaged to a serial killer's disciple, him having a child with another woman – these two were always destined to end up together.
Cal Lightman and Gillian Foster from Lie to Me (2009-2011)
They spent pretty much the whole series dancing around each other even though it was blindingly obvious to everyone that they were completely in love. Idiots.
Glenn Rhee and Maggie Greene from The Walking Dead (2010- )
I went into The Walking Dead knowing that pretty much everyone was going to die and I shouldn't get attached to anyone. My shipper heart didn't listen, drawn in by how wonderful Glenn and Maggie's love story was, and was shattered into pieces by what happened to him.
Rick Grimes and Michonne from The Walking Dead (2010- )
Apparently I learnt nothing from the previous pairing and once again opened myself up to heartbreak as Rick and Michonne fell in love and formed their little family. But while they may be apart now, they at least still have hope of a happy ending.
Toby Curtis and Happy Quinn from Scorpion (2014-2018)
Sometimes people have a hard time trusting others and letting them in, but once they do they find that it's worth the risk in the end.
Kara Danvers and James Olsen from Supergirl (2015- )
Season one showed that these two were very much into each other and meant to be together. Then apparently the writers changed their minds for some reason and threw all that out the window. Idiots.
Michael Burnham and Ash Tyler from Star Trek: Discovery (2017- )
A lot of relationships face obstacles along the way. Finding out your boyfriend is a Klingon sleeper agent who ate your former captain's corpse is definitely one of the more challenging ones.
Crowley and Aziraphale from Good Omens (2019)
Good Omens is fun, it's quirky, it's clever, but most of all it's a love story between an angel and a demon. And a beautiful one at that.
And now, the main event:
Chloe Sullivan and Oliver Queen from Smallville (2001-2011)
“It's the best decision I don't remember making.”
Only just scraping its way into this decade, I must admit it has been a long time since I have watched Smallville and I don't remember a huge amount of it. What I do remember, however, is loving Chloe and Oliver together and shipping them a lot. Unlike Lois and Clark, who were a foregone conclusion, there was no guarantee that Chloe and Oliver were going to get their happy ending, and indeed there were moments where it looked like it might not happen, so it was lovely to see them together in the end.
River Song and The Doctor from Doctor Who (2005- )
“There you go, River Song, Melody Pond. You're the woman who married me.”
We were first introduced to River Song in the 2008 episode Silence in the Library with the Tenth Doctor and although it was clear that she's someone who will become very important to the Doctor in his future, we had no idea who she really is. Then she goes and dies and that's the end of her. Except no it isn't, because this is Doctor Who and everything is a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff. And River and the Doctor are travelling in opposite directions. The next time we see River from our point of view, it's with the Eleventh Doctor. And the Eleventh Doctor is the one I mostly ship her with. He's the one she married, after all. And he's the one she spends the most time with on screen. To me, Eleven is her Doctor. But, having said that, The Husbands of River Song was such a beautiful episode and knowing that she spends twenty four years with the Twelfth Doctor on Darillium before going to the Library is such a wonderful ending for her character.
Amelia Pond and Rory Williams from Doctor Who (2005- )
“Could you? If it was me, could you do it?”
“To save you... I could do anything.”
Not many men would spend 2000 years guarding their fiancée in a box, but then not many men are Rory Williams. The Last Centurion, he wears his heart on his sleeve, showing his fierce devotion to Amy in everything he does, and while Amy is more circumspect in demonstrating her affections there can be no doubt that she loves him just as much. Their bond is so strong that they can overcome any obstacle, including one of them being erased from existence. These two are not going to let anything keep them apart. So when Rory was trapped in the past with no way of being reunited with the Doctor there was never any question that Amy would join him, choosing to spend the rest of her life with the man she loved.
Arthur and Guinevere from Merlin (2008-2012)
“Would you really have given up your place on the throne for me?”
Not too concerned with sticking to tradition, this show wasn't afraid to change things up when it came to the well-known legend, most noticeably in making the wizened old wizard Merlin a young man of an age with Arthur, but also by making Gwen a servant in the castle. Initially she and Arthur are an unlikely pairing, she a commoner beneath his notice and he an arrogant bully whom she can't stand, however things change as they get to know each other. They become friends and fall in love. The overcome so many obstacles preventing them from being together. They marry and Guinevere becomes Queen of Camelot. It could have been so good. But I will never forgive the show for what they did to Gwen's character in the last series with that terrible brainwashing storyline. Ever.
Teresa Lisbon and Patrick Jane from The Mentalist (2008-2015)
“How do you know that?”
“When we're married, do you think you might stop asking that question?”
Some people talk about the early seasons of The Mentalist by saying that Lisbon is forced to “put up” with Jane. These people have apparently not watched the show. Yes, Jane can be obnoxious and inconsiderate and the cause of endless paperwork for Lisbon to complete and arguments for her to diffuse, but she clearly wants him there. He's very good at what he does, and it's obvious that she's often amused by his antics even though she has to maintain her own professionalism. It's also obvious that she's in love with him, although she pretends not to be. And while he takes a bit longer to get there, it's clear from the beginning that he cares about her too. As much as he might claim that Red John is his only focus and he won't allow anything to get in his way he still puts Lisbon first, not even hesitating to shoot a threat to her even though it means losing an important lead. And we all know that he came back from that island for her. She was his number one demand after all.
Sophie Devereaux and Nathan Ford from Leverage (2008-2012)
“You have always, always had my back. Now... be on my side.”
The Grifter and the Mastermind. They had a history that began before the show, with Nate the insurance claims investigator chasing Sophie the art thief around the world. Nothing ever happened between them at that point, he was married at the time after all, but the initial spark was there. And while it was blindingly obvious that they were in love with each other for the whole of the series, it still took them a while to actually get together. And even longer to figure out what kind of relationship they wanted, but they made it in the end. Although we still don't know if Nate actually knows her real name. (I like to think he does, and that it actually is Sophie.)
Alec Hardison and Parker from Leverage (2008-2012)
“So, the thing is, I think that I maybe might be having feelings. Like weird, weird feelings for... pretzels.”
“Pretzels? Okay. Well they're right here, when you want them.”
Some characters are meant to be in relationships right from the start. Others take their time getting there. Parker was always going to take her time; as a socially awkward misfit who didn't really “do” feelings, it took her a while to understand what was happening when she started developing them for Hardison. And as if that wasn't confusing enough, there were also the issues of what she should do about them and where she should go from there. But while Hardison clearly had a crush on her from an early stage, he never pushed or rushed her, only letting her know that he would be there when she was ready. And eventually she was, resulting in one of the sweetest pairings on the show.
Katherine Beckett and Richard Castle from Castle (2009-2016)
“You believe me?”
“I never stopped.”
This is one of those relationships that doesn't seem to work when you look at it on paper. She's a hard-working, no-nonsense cop who takes life seriously. He's an immature playboy who was once arrested for stealing a police horse while naked. Clearly they're not going to get along. But get along they must as he worms his way into shadowing her in order to research his next book and she has to tolerate his presence. But as the series progresses she discovers that there's more to him than the public persona he puts on and they learn more about each other, falling in love along the way. It's not always an easy road, with bad timing and evil conspiracies and the shockingly awful writing of season eight threatening to come between them, but they make it in the end. Thank goodness there wasn't a ninth season.
April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
“I can't be the person that makes you lose what you love.”
“Yeah, but you're what I love. You're the only reason I have any of this. You believed in me, and you supported me and you make me happy. Happier than I ever thought I could be.”
Some good advice when watching Parks and Recreation is to either skip the first season or consider it as a separate show of its own. I did the latter and I'm glad I did because the Andy in season one is a lazy, selfish jerk with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Fortunately Andy in the rest of the show is a loveable goof with a heart of gold. Perhaps not the most obvious choice of love interest for cynical misanthrope April but it works and they're wonderful together. Possibly because deep down, April is much more than the face she presents to the world and Andy sees that and loves her for it. And she loves him just as much.
Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
“I love you and I like you.”
The quote I've chosen for these two is also my Tumblr tag for them, and I love it because it so perfectly sums up their relationship and what makes them perfect for each other. Theirs wasn't a big epic, love at first sight romance. In fact she didn't like him at all when he first arrived to slash her department budget. But it wasn't long before they became friends. And not long after that when they fell in love. But even then their friendship stayed strong as the backbone of their relationship. She takes an interest in his interests, and he is never once threatened by her drive and political ambition. With their love, their unwavering support for each other and the fun they have together, these two are an unstoppable team. And it would not surprise me if they became the first married co-presidents of the USA.
Miranda and Gary Preston from Miranda (2009-2015)
“And I promise to only ever make sweet muffins. And to remind you to always be yourself cos in the words of your favourite singer, Billy Joel, I love you just the way you are.”
Miranda is the show that taught us that growing up doesn't mean giving up the things we find fun in life. Warm, funny, and relatable, Miranda is a woman who isn't ashamed of who she is and what she likes. And one of the things that she likes is Gary. Which is good, because Gary very much likes her back, loving her not in spite of her quirks but because of them. True, Mike did too, but there was never any doubt that Gary was the one for her. So while their road to happiness wasn't exactly the smoothest, everyone was overjoyed when Miranda and Gary finally tied the knot. Not least Miranda's mother!
Mary Crawley and Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey (2010-2015)
“You've lived your life and I've lived mine, and now it's time we lived them together.”
These two don't have the most auspicious of starts, being distant relatives who meet only because he's the new heir to Downton. He's resistant to the idea that he'll be expected to marry one of the sisters and that the family will try to change him. She resents him for being the one who's going to inherit what she feels should rightfully be hers simply because he's a man. Despite this rocky beginning, they fall in love and could have had a happy ending early on were it not for secrets and insecurities tearing them apart. Due to this their journey takes a bit longer, but eventually love wins out and over the course of the series they manage to find their way back to each other, overcoming numerous obstacles such as a scandal with a dead diplomat, World War One, paralysis, a fiancée, money issues, family tragedy, and fertility problems, to become a happy family with their newborn son. And the series stops there. Nothing else happens after Mary and Matthew are cuddling their baby in the hospital. Nothing at all. Because it would be absurd for a character to overcome all that just to die in a ridiculous accident. Absolutely absurd.
Agnes Holland and Blanche Mottershead from Upstairs Downstairs (2010-2012)
“I feel quite frayed.”
“I think you're rather wonderful.”
I didn't have any interest in Upstairs Downstairs until Alex Kingston joined the cast in series two, playing lesbian archaeologist Blanche Mottershead. That by itself was enough to draw me in, but it quickly became apparent that Blanche was a much better match for Lady Agnes than Agnes's dreary husband Hallam and thus a new ship was born. Because it's a non-canon pairing on a not particularly popular show, fic and edits were thin on the ground, but I had my Tumblr friends to join in with as we did our best to keep the ship alive in our hearts! Upstairs Downstairs didn't make it any further, ending up cancelled after the second series, but I like to imagine Blanche and Agnes did.
Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
“Maybe we should have stayed married.”
“You were the best of them.”
“What a terrifying thought.”
I feel a little weird about this ship because Sansa is a child at the beginning. In the books she's only 11 and while the show aged her up to be 13 that's still very young. Far too young to be thrown into a hostile situation, surrounded by enemies who have declared your whole family to be traitors, having to put on an armour of courtesy to survive while still retaining who you are inside. Not many characters could do it, but Sansa could and did, much to Tyrion's admiration. He clearly thinks very highly of her. And he's good to her. When they're forced to marry he makes it clear that he won't touch her without her permission, even if she never gives it, and he never wavers in his promise. Soon events pull them apart and it's a while before they see each other again, by which point Sansa has been through so much and grown into a strong leader and they find themselves on much more equal footing. It is at this point that I think a true relationship could have blossomed between them, and I choose to believe that it did.
Belle French and Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time (2011-2018)
“After everything you've learned about me. After everything I've done. Why haven't you given up on me?”
“I learned a long time ago, that when you find something that's worth fighting for, you never give up.”
It was pretty much inevitable that I was going to ship these two considering they're Once Upon a Time's version of Beauty and the Beast, so it was no surprise when I fell in love with the pair as soon as I saw Skin Deep. The man with a curse who thinks he's a monster and the woman who sees him for who he really is. The show did make shipping them difficult at times and I did come perilously close to abandoning them at one point when the writers backslid on Rumple's character development so hard and he did some awful things, but the thing about OUAT is that redemption is always possible, even for the most villainous of villains, and it all worked out in the end. Rumple died a hero and he and Belle got their happy ending, albeit one in the afterlife while almost everyone else got to live together in the Storybrooke multi-realm. (I may be slightly bitter about that...)
Emma Swan and Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time (2011-2018)
“No! There has to be another way.”
“There isn't. You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed!”
From enemies to reluctant allies to friends and with the potential to be so much more, Henry's mothers are united in always wanting the best thing for their son. Even when Regina was at her most villainous, her love for Henry never wavered. I must admit that I didn't ship this pairing at first. I wasn't against it, but I had no strong feelings for it either. That all changed around the middle of season four when they started acting like a totally married couple, with the heart eyes and the touching and the concern for each other's safety. If I had my way they would have ended up married, raising their son together and living happily ever after as the Queen and Protector of Storybrooke.
Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago from Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013- )
“You're going to ace this test.”
“You think that because you love me. And love has made you dumb.”
“I disagree. If anything, love has made me smarter. Remember last week when I boiled that egg?”
“That was big. I was really proud of you.”
When we first meet Jake and Amy they're competitive co-workers, always trying to one-up each other and bickering often. But there's also a real respect between them, and a friendship that soon blossoms into more. One of the things I love about Brooklyn Nine Nine is that it doesn't fall into the trap of lazy stereotypes. Jake is immature and silly, but he's also an excellent cop who takes his job seriously when it matters. Amy is ambitious and high-strung, but she still has fun and isn't ashamed of who she is. Their relationship evolves naturally and it feels so real. They care about each other's interests, taking the time and making an effort to understand what's important to their partner, rather than being snide or dismissive just because they don't share it themselves. There are so many pitfalls a sitcom couple can fall into, but Jake and Amy manage to sidestep them all beautifully, becoming quite possibly the healthiest relationship on TV.
Walter O'Brien and Paige Dineen from Scorpion (2014-2018)
“Buckle up, nerd.”
They say that opposites attract. Opposites also complement each other and help each other grow and be better and understand the world and the people in it. Walter is an intellectual genius with the social skills of a teaspoon. Paige is adept at understanding and navigating the often awkward world of human emotions but doesn't have the booksmarts to keep up with her gifted son. Together they are a force to be reckoned with and, along with their fellow members of Team Scorpion, can solve just about any crisis the world throws at them. Even though they usually make things worst to start with and their solutions are batshit crazy. But I'm confident they were able to solve the final crisis of their show being cancelled while they were broken up and are now once again happy together.
Eleanor Shellstrop and Chidi Anagonye from The Good Place (2016-2020)
“Time means nothing. Jeremy Bearimy, baby. We'll just, we'll get through this and then you and I can chill out in the dot of the 'i' forever.”
“Right. We'll be okay. We found each other before hundreds of times. We can do it again.”
“If soulmates do exist, they're not found. They're made.” Words of wisdom from the man who would know, since he was the one who pretended that Eleanor and Chidi were soulmates in the first place. And while that may all have been part of a nefarious plan to torture them, it turned out to be far more accurate than he could have imagined. When Eleanor thought that she had been sent to The Good Place by mistake, Chidi helped her. Every single time she asked, he helped her. And they fell in love along the way, not just once but hundreds of times. And no matter what life and the afterlife threw at them, these two always found their way back to each other. Because they were meant to be. Like soulmates.
Ed Mercer and Kelly Grayson from The Orville (2017- )
“What do you say we do a date this week? Like a, like a real date like we used to do?”
“I think that's a wonderful idea.”
I have said before that I didn't have high hopes for Seth MacFarlane's space series, knowing his previous work as I do, but I was so happy to be proved wrong as I found The Orville to be a thoughtful, witty and, yes, occasionally juvenile love letter to Star Trek. There's a lot to love about this show, not least the relationship between Captain Mercer and Commander Grayson. Most ships start with two people who you hope will realise their feelings for each other and get together at some point. But Ed and Kelly had already reached that point, embraced it, moved past it and come out on the other side. Divorced at the beginning of the series it would have been so easy to have them hate each other, but they don't. The respect they have for each other and the way they work well together is part of what makes them such great leaders of their crew. And as the show progressed it became clear that they still very much love each other. While not quite on the same page about what to do with those feelings at the moment, who knows where the next season will take them? Especially now it's canon that their relationship saved all life on earth and much of the known universe. You can't argue with that!