I don’t love the term “shipping,” but honestly, has the internet ever come up with a better shorthand for that fugue state which many of us fans of romance will suddenly find ourselves in, while watching a relationship play out in a TV show or film? You know how it goes: you fall for a couple so hard, ultimately it doesn’t matter anymore if the show’s creators want them together or not. Your heart and your head fill in the gaps. Now and then you get lucky—and your hopes for a pairing dovetail nicely with the actual show’s intentions. Every once in a while.
Yes. I’m sure all you H&H readers have been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. So often.
Once again, it is midseason TV time—a bucketful of shows are returning post-holidays and post-Olympics, and the networks are bringing us more new shows to sample as well. Here’s a rundown of some preferred lovers, love triangles, and some of the more addictive ships I plan to revel in this spring.
Scandal Season 3:
If you watch this show and DON'T ship Olivia/Fitz, I am seriously concerned about you. But Jake remains in the game and hey, that guy would be really, really good for Olivia, eh? Meanwhile, there is suddenly someone for poor MELLIE, yay...and let me also give a shout-out to my favorite repulsively great bad-spy pair, Quinn and her B613 boyfriend Charlie. (Airing now on ABC)
Nashville Season 2:
I will go down, down, down with the wonderfully messed up ship that is Rayna/Deacon. Forever. Most of the relationships on this show seem utterly doomed in the long run; bringing the soap opera to its logical heights in the music business, revolving beds is the storytelling norm. But let us root for the sort-of-maybe stable and adorable Juliet and her Avery. At least for now. And let anyone else out there who watches both this show AND Game of Thrones—surely you exist?—note that moment this past week, where we got a hint of what Michiel Huisman might be like as Daario romancing Dany in the future. (Airing now on ABC)
Lost Girl Season 4:
It is a rare sci-fi or fantasy series that can work out a way to make a love triangle as complicated and on-again-off-again as Lost Girl has managed here with Bo and her bi-happy lovers Dyson and Lauren. I will always be Team Dyson myself but the omni-sexual bent of this show is a delight. Add in the side ships involving Bo’s pals Kenzi and Tamsin and life is never boring in this world of Fae, Demons and Magik. The show has already ended for the year up in Canada—and with the SHOCKING cliffhanger ending this season, thank the Fae that the show has been renewed for a fifth series! (Airing Season 4 now on SyFy)
Reign Season 1:
Keeping with CW’s fleet mentality when it comes to shipping, this show has a few side project affairs to keep an eye on, in addition to the yummy central triangle of Mary Queen of Scots and her two suitors. Certainly the most interesting one at the moment may be a Shipper’s MacGuffin: Francis and Mary’s lady in waiting Lola suddenly fell into bed for a second. Meanwhile this past week brought TV’s 2nd most intense raunchy wedding night consummation scene—losing out only to that one from The Borgias, whoa! If you haven’t heard already, The CW decided to do something very unusual with the newest episode and post a racier edit online one day after the broadcast airing. (Airing now on The CW)
The Vampire Diaries Season 5, and The Originals Season 1:
Many of my girlfriends have given up on TVD because its central ship triangle seems overextended and tired. But I would argue that the show continues to provide so many terrific character moments and fleeting affairs that it remains gloriously sexy entertainment. The new spinoff show is a great success as well, relocating the endlessly interesting Original Family to NOLA and providing them plenty to fight for—not to mention a genuinely sparks-a-flying new pairing in Elijah and Hayley, yum yum! But the angsty will-they-or-won’t-they E/H dance is just nothing compared to this showverse’s Grand Champion Couple to root for: Klaus and Caroline. Take your tired Damon/Elena and go home, K/C are my true OTP in this verse. Now that these characters sit on separate shows, like Buffy and Angel in days gone by, is there any hope? We shall see. But our teeny shipper brains were recently blown out into the stratosphere by you-know-which scene, and I remain utterly faithful. The lifeboats have all launched and the water is up to my knees already, but I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP. (Airing now on The CW)
The Good Wife Season 5:
Alicia and Will’s endlessly conflicted, on-again off-again ship continues to bubble just under the surface of the ongoing episodic and serialized story arcs. And it is my favorite shipper addiction. This season we've watched as Alicia ran from LG to start her own firm; brother Owen becomes the truth teller and honorary A/W shipper surrogate; Will acts out his rage over missing Alicia by getting extremely aggro at work. Not to mention the delicious and loaded sidelong glances witnessed across office spaces, elevators, and courtrooms. We’ve ended up in a place now midseason where both Alicia and Will seem so utterly haunted by their past affair that they can easily get thrown into uncontrollable sense memories at any moment. A thin layer of competitive businesslike hardness covers over the ship, underneath simmers the ocean of desire. No one writes this type of angst on TV now better than the Kings and their writers room.
Added bonus: For my fellow Cary/Kalinda fans... stuff is HAPPENING. It feels ever so... doomed. Gulp. (New episodes started this week on CBS)
Star Crossed Season 1:
The CW network, launcher of a thousand ships, takes a stab at a science fictiony, space alien-human romance with this new series starring Friday Night Lights’s Aimee Teegarden, True Blood’s Grey Damon, and Matt Lanter. The show has been working from day one to set up a nicely conflicted, high-stakes love triangle between these three, and the near-future dystopian world building has so far been pretty detailed. Let’s enjoy it and see where it goes—it has a ton of potential and I am already a BIG FAN of the glowy blue full-body tattoos and those secret alien herbs that can give you very steamy dreams... (Airing now on The CW)
The Americans Season 2:
Mature, baggage-ridden ships abound on this exciting spy show from FX, whose 2nd season began this month. By the end of season 1, our favorite KGB superspies Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings had been making strides to turn their utterly faux marriage into something a tad more real, while FBI agent Stan and double-agent-snitch Nina have just gotten started. Shipping either couple on this show is as dangerous as a Jennings's overnight assignment, but spies are sexy like that. With so much paranoia already getting established in the first two eps alone, The Americans is shipping for folks who like their romance edgy, high stakes, and capable of falling apart at any moment. Let me also put in a huge plug for Matthew Rhys's other recent TV project here: watch him excel at that special flavor of Mr.-Darcy-seething-intensity, later this year in PBS's adaptation of P.D.James' Death Comes To Pemberley. He is the best thing in it. (Airing now on FX)
Vikings Season 2:
Although I suspect that shipping anyone on this show is going to end as badly as shipping anyone on Sons Of Anarchy or Spartacus has in the past, I just cannot resist. It is probably because of Ragnar's eyes. Look into his eyes, and listen to the profound, spiritual words from him and his warrior women, and you can easily get hooked. Only two episodes have aired so far into this new season and things between him and the two women in his life are...COMPLICATED. While Princess Auslaug is one hella woman, I'm still rooting for Lagertha and Ragnar to work it out in the end. (Airing now on The History Channel)
Mr. Selfridge Season 2:
This show is rich in affairs of the heart, but my addiction is the long game being played to develop a triangle between Agnes, Victor and Henri. This season provides some truly surprising twists for all three characters. Additionally, this year poor Rose Selfridge gets a new friend: free-spirited woman of the world Delphine, providing us all the delight of seeing Frances O’Connor and Polly Walker palling around on a TV show, huzzah! Consider it my “great character actress” ship of the moment. Let me also also plug the French cop show Spiral (aka Engrenages), which stars French actor Gregory Fitoussi who plays Henri on Mr. Selfridge. The entire series is now streaming on Netflix here in the USA, and is absolutely riveting. Fetossi gets some juicy plotlines with the show’s leading ladies and if you like to ship you will find plenty to root for on that show. Not that you’ll have any time to watch it during the busy American TV season this spring! (Mr. Selfridge starts on PBS March 30)
Also coming later this spring with a net of complex relationships on my radar:
- HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 4 (April 6),
- AMC’s Mad Men Season 7/Part 1 (April 13)
- MTV’s Awkward Season 4 (April 15)
What are you watching, and who are you rooting for?
BlitzInk has also been known elsewhere on the internet as ProgGrrl (@ProgGrrl).