Mar 14 2014 4:45pm

Mid-Season Television: What Are You Watching...and Who Are You Shipping?

Star Trek Shipping Gif

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 1Reign 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)


The Mindy Project Season 2:
Come on, I even have to explain this one? PS, THE SHOW HAS JUST BEEN RENEWED, HUZZAH!
(New episodes start April 1 on Fox)


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)


Travis Fimmel in VikingsVikings 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)


Henri and Agnes in Mr. SelfridgeMr. 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:


What are you watching, and who are you rooting for?

BlitzInk has also been known elsewhere on the internet as ProgGrrl (@ProgGrrl).

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Darlene Marshall
1. DarleneMarshall
We're seeing some new possibilities on The Americans. Russian agent Nina is getting overtures from the new "Science & Tech" guy at the embassy, someone who I suspect has his own agenda. Phillip's still in a 2nd faux marriage and juggling that, but he and Elizabeth seem solid...for the moment.

Love this show! Plus, Justified is back, but it's bleak. They're winding down to end the series, and it's not a good year for Raylan, Boyd or Ava. We'll see how that turns out--next season is the last one.
Blitz Ink
2. BlitzInk
Yeah that guy at the embassy is definitely going to keep pursuing Nina... OTOH, this week she seemed truly captivated by hearing those Three Little Words from her target. Is she falling?

i stopped watching Justified a while ago, but the ships on that show have always been... Bleak and intense.
Megan Frampton
3. MFrampton
So I don't watch any of these, except for the Mindy Project, but now I want to try Star Crossed and Vikings. I do watch Justified, and I have always loved the relationship dynamics (not sure I'm 'shipping anyone, since couples are usually doomed!).
Blitz Ink
4. BlitzInk
Aaaaaaaand, cue Good Wife co-showrunner Robert King saying a few VERY disturbing things about my favorite ship in a new interview:

::sad face::

Don't care. Not getting in a lifeboat. Staying on deck.

@MFrampton: Vikings was created by the guy who made The Tudors, writing is excellent and the "style" of the Vikings (their accents, speech patterns, body language and character florishes) is truly unique for TV. The show has quite a bit in common with Rome, Game of Thrones... and, believe it or not, Sons Of Anarchy. Oh and did I mention that Alex Skarsgard's brother has one of the show's best parts?
5. LenoreJ
So far Vikings has actually been following the historical record as far as Ragnar & his loves, so don't Wilipedia unless you want spoilers. My favorite homage for the beginning of Season 2 was "Let's give it up for the pillage people"! Oh yeah.
6. MimiPL
My must watch program are Castle, Perception, Sleepy Hollow and Bitten, because I love the books by Kelley Armstrong.
7. wsl0612
Well I'm on Team LoVe and I had a very happy day seeing the new movie, sorry just had to commnet on it ;-)

Sorry but I loathe Niklaus and I'm desparately hoping for Elijah and Hayley to be together for realz. I also have many Teen Wolf ships to follow: I want Isaac and Allison to be together, I think they have great chemistry and Scott/Kira are a very cute couple. Melissa & Sheriff Stilinski would be nice but I don't think the show-runners are going to ship them. I'm not happy with Stiles' long-time crush on Lydia, he deserves someone awesome who's really into him. Danny is hot whoever he's with, I don't really much care for the twins so I wish he would find someone new too.
Blitz Ink
8. BlitzInk
You girls who are into wolves, and the folks who love 'em, sure are having a fun time these days with TV eh...lots going on... ;-)
Kiersten Hallie Krum
9. Kiersten
"I will always be Team Dyson myself..."

BlitzInk, you can stay. ;)

I'm a huge Rayna/Deacon fan myself. And I love Elijah and Hayley (tho I've never watched TVD, so it's all new to me.) I also really like the complicated dynamics of The American's marriage especially as they often use sex as a tool of their jobs and neither of them gets jealous of the other in those situations, to the point where he has a second false marriage that's arguably more legal than his "marriage" to SpyWife. Which makes their issues ones of the heart and head, not of the bedroom and provides delish organic conflict.
Blitz Ink
10. BlitzInk
@Kiersten, yeah the Jennings marriage is the most open marriage ever conceived, eh. Because their mission and their family's survival depends on it working. Great spy stuff and a fascinating, high stakes ship.

Team Dyson 4evah! ;-)
Blitz Ink
11. BlitzInk
Oh and @wslo612, a shout out to the Veronica Mars fans like you, this is a GREAT week for you guys eh? I hope VM shippers are getting what they want out of that new movie...and perhaps the novel sequel that just released as well?
12. Donna J. Cummings
I'm definitely a Rayna/Deacon fan. I hope they get back together at some point. Luke seems like a nice guy and all, but even Rayna always seems bemused that they're a couple. LOL

I love Liam, no matter who he's with. :) He's got charisma and charm and I wish he was in every episode.

However, I was just thinking -- I think they're going to have to add in some new characters, because they're running out of potential bed pairings. I think everyone has been with everyone now. LOL
13. DianeN
Good point about Nashville running out of pairings, Donna! It hasn't been hard to figure out that nothing is gonna last forever on this show, though I suspect that in the final episode Rayna and Deacon will stroll off into the sunset together. And I have to admit that I really like Avery/Juliette even though I'm sure they're doomed.
Blitz Ink
14. BlitzInk
It is now March 24... and I am so gutted I don't even know what to say.


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