Happy Valentine’s Day!  Love is in the air, so what better time to take a look at some of the top romantic pairings in the realm of science fiction and fantasy?  This one was rough, because there are just so many to chose from!  Trust me, I agonized over this article!  (Ask all my friends whom I’ve been bugging about this for a month!)  As I sat down to write up my “final list” I switched it up again!  Ultimately some of the biggest, most well-known relationships didn’t make the cut, because… well, they’re actually kind of terrible relationships!  Initially, Sookie and Bill from ‘True Blood’ were immediately on my list.  Until I remembered that Bill kinda turned evil at the end of Season Three and Sookie drifted closer to Eric.  (Plus I know a lot of people are more Sookie/Eric shippers.)  I also didn’t count any relationships where the female half was just “the girl” in the partnership.  I wanted dynamic couples who complimented one another.  Some end tragically, but while they were together, their personalities complimented one another and sparks flew.  Here are my picks:

10. Rachael & Rick Deckard (Blade Runner) – In the sci fi noir ‘Blade Runner,’ Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) has spent his entire career “retiring” (killing) replicants (androids used for manual labor in outer space, who have a propensity for violence) that make their way to Earth.  Then, after his retirement, he meets Rachael (played by Sean Young), an extremely advanced replicant that thinks she is human, thanks to memory implants.  Rick is present when she is informed that she is a replicant and is devastated.  She turns to him for solace, but thanks to his past, he insensitively reinforces that she isn’t human and she runs off, distraught.  He almost immediately regrets his harsh attitude.  Once he finds her again, he is assaulted and almost killed until she saves him by shooting his assailant.  Despite everything he has been taught, Rick falls for Rachael and the two run off together at the end of the film.

9. Sun-Hwa & Jin-Soo Kwon (Lost) – These doomed lovers were my favorite couple from ‘Lost’ even though I eventually got fed up with ‘Lost’ and stopped watching it entirely.  But there was just something so touching about them.  Jin (Daniel Day-Kim) worked as a mob enforcer for his wife Sun’s (Yunjin Kim) father.  Their marriage was already in turmoil before they arrived on the island; Sun was having an affair with and learning English from her former paramour and planned to leave Jin.  Once on the island, Jin is isolated as the only survivor that doesn’t speak English and is shocked when his wife reveals that she can.  He takes Sun and separates them from the rest and initially believes she is having an affair with Michael.  But eventually, Jin and Michael grow closer, as Sun helps Jin learn some English.  Their relationship is the proverbial roller coaster throughout the series.   They eventually conceive a child, which Sun gives birth to off the island.  Back on the island, Jin and the others are projected into 1977, while Sun is stranded in the present.  Once reunited, they attempt to escape with the others in a submarine, but a bomb explodes and Sun is trapped.  Though he is free to escape, Jin remains and drowns with his wife.  A tragic end, but this couple, through all their ups and downs, never seemed to lose their devotion for one another.

8. Hermione Granger & Ron Weasley (Harry Potter) – At first, these two didn’t even like one another.  (“You have a bit of dirt on your face,” Hermione announces upon their first meeting.)  However, by ‘Goblet of Fire’ things begin to spark as Ron (Rupert Grint in the movies) becomes jealous of Hermione’s (Emma Watson) Yule Ball date and she of his infatuation with visiting student Fleur Delacour.  A similar thing happens in ‘The Half-Blood Prince,’ as they each seek to one-up the other, Ron by seeing Lavender Brown and making out with her in front of Hermione with Hermione retaliating by dating the pompous Cormac McLangan.  But after Ron is nearly poisoned, Hermione rushes to his side at the hospital, where alongside Harry and Ron’s siblings, she hears Ron mumble her name in his sleep.  The pair grow closer in the final book ‘The Deathly Hallows‘ after Ron has a magic-induced hallucination of Hermione romantically involved with Harry.  Then when Bellatrix Lestrange tortures Hermione, Ron struggles with all his might to break free to save her.  Later, the pair kiss for the first time and in the epilogue of the book, it is revealed that they marry and have kids.

What makes this relationship so likeable is how long it took to develop.  They deny their true feelings for so long.  In fact, in the very beginning, neither Ron nor Harry even liked the persnickety Hermione.  Their cat-and-mouse game played out over several books, over the course of years, as a slowly smoldering back story in a larger epic tale.

7. Gwen Cooper & Rhys Williams (Torchwood) – I so wanted to go with Captain Jack and Ianto, but Gwen (Eve Myles) and Rhys (Kai Owen) are really the solid, give-and-take couple on the show.  Initially Rhys is Gwen’ schlubby boyfriend, whom she lies to after she joins Torchwood, to disguise the agency’s mission, to locate extraterrestrials (and other paranormal creatures) on Earth.  He seems too plain and ordinary as Gwen is mystified by the thrilling adventures she and her team embark on.  She even begins sleeping with her co-worker Owen behind Rhys’ back.  But he evolves into her rock.  A stable, normal anchor she can cling to when the Torchwood storm gets too out-of-control.  In Season Two, Rhys discovers the true nature of Torchwood and begins assisting them, getting further and further embroiled in their adventures.  The pair wed and in the “Children of Earth” series, after the government attempts to destroy Torchwood in a cover-up, they flee together to London and Rhys is delighted to learn that Gwen is pregnant and they later have a daughter, Anwen.  The pair are separated during “Miracle Day.”  While Gwen is sent to Los Angeles, Rhys must find her father who is trapped in an “overflow” camp where injured survivors are incinerated alive and rescue him.  They have their ups and downs, but over the course of the series, their romance and devotion only grow stronger.  (Which means, if/when the show comes back, they’ll probably kill him off.  Just sayin’.)

6. Willow Rosenburg & Tara Maclay (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) – Okay, I know Buffy and Angel are THE relationship most people think of, and it was a great edge-of-your-seat will they or won’t they, but then they slept together and he lost his soul and became evil!  So that’s not good!  Also, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) has a very sweet romance with Oz… until he cheats on her.  But her relationship with Tara (Amber Benson) contrasted sharply with the overly dramatic pairings on the show.  The two were always very loving and affectionate, within the confines of broadcasting standards at the time, which limited the amount of same-sex affection that could be shown.  (My how times have changed!)  After Buffy’s death, they move into her home and raise her sister Dawn.

Tragically, after Willow becomes addicted to magic, Tara leaves her.  They are reunited only for Tara to be killed by one of The Trio.  Willow, driven mad by grief, explodes with dark magic and flays her killer alive!  Still unsatisfied, she nearly destroys the world with her dark powers.  Luckily, her buddy Xander is able to stop her.

5. Lois Lane & Clark Kent – Lois Lane is a tough cookie!  A ballsy, impulsive, ambitious reporter who will stop at nothing to get a scoop.  Clark Kent is the easy going farm boy from Kansas who is secretly the mightiest being on the planet.  This classic pairing has been reinterpreted numerous times, but typically it is obvious that they are made for one another.  In the feature film ‘Superman II,’ Clark gives up his Kryptonian powers in order to be with her.  (This later gets undone.)  In 1996, after a 59 year courtship in the comics, the pair were married and became one of comic’s best power couples, with her providing him with stability and support and him grounding her high-strung personality.  (This, sadly, has also been undone.)  The show ‘Smallville‘ also portrayed a similar contrasting-personalities romance… just younger and prettier. At any rate, this is one of the classic romances, up there with Arthur and Guenevere and Robin Hood and Maid Marion.

4. Dana Scully & Fox Mulder (The X-Files) – Their chemistry is palpable almost from the start of their long-running TV series, but the fact that they are professional partners keeps them apart.  Initially, Scully (Gillian Anderson), a scientist, is supposed to serve as the skeptic, to debunk Mulder’s (David Duchovny) wild conspiracy theories, but she soon gets swept up in his mission.  Their relationship remains platonic through the bulk of the nine season series, with them almost always refering to one another by their surnames, but by the end they give in to their feelings.  In the final episode, they are shown in bed together (a rarity for Mulder, who never sleeps in a bed), contemplating their future.  Up to that point, it was one of the slowest burns on television!

3. Snow White & Bigby Wolf (Fables) – Forget Prince Charming!  In ‘Fables’ the fairy tale characters of our childhoods have migrated to our world, living in a magically secluded area in Manhattan.  Snow White acts as the deputy mayor of “Fabletown” and Bigby Wolf, a transformed Big Bad Wolf, serves as their sheriff.  Snow is smart, level-headed and no-nonsense.  Bigby is gruff, but also absolutely devoted to the preservation of their community.  Bigby makes his feelings known after the supposed death of Snow’s sister Rose Red, but she rebuffs him.  The pair must work together to survive in the wilderness, against the machinations of Goldilocks, who aims to kill them both.  Under an enchantment, Bigby impregnates her.  She still refuses to be with him, until his actions in the Fabletown War help save the day, after which she admits her feelings for him in return.  Snow White gives birth to a “litter” of seven children, the shape-shifting, somewhat human Darien, Winter, Conner, Blossom, Therese and Ambrose and the invisible zephyr they refer to as Ghost.  Snow and Bigby marry and move into a private home in upstate New York, adjacent to the Fable’s farm (where the non-human Fables live).  Even though they step down from their official posts, they remain a vital part of the functioning of the Fable population.  They also remain steadfastly devoted to one another and their children.

2. Zoe and Hoban “Wash” Washburn (Firefly) – Married couple Zoe and Wash serve as a dynamic and supporting couple that completely contrast with one another.  Zoe (Gina Torres) is the fierce, assertive first mate aboard the smuggling ship Serenity.  Wash (Allen Tudyk) is the laid back, sarcastic pilot.  Zoe has it all together and is always logical and level-headed.  Wash plays with toy dinosaurs.  Yet, their love and devotion is never in question.  The seeming lack of logic to their pairing seems to actually make it stronger.  Wash is occasionally jealous of the close bond Zoe shares with ship captain Mal Reynolds, but she always remains faithful to him.

I don’t wish to discuss the events of ‘Serenity.’

1. Princess Leia Organa & Han Solo (Star Wars) – Predictable, huh?  Sorry about that.  But c’mon, Leia: “I love you.”  Han: “I know.”  Like a lot of these couples, they initially seem incompatible.  Heck, they seem to hate one another!  Han thinks Leia is stuck up and pampered.  He is also put off by her hard-nosed attitude.  She thinks he is a “scoundrel” with no loyalty, in it for nothing but money.  But through the course of the movie series, they grow closer and eventually neither can deny their passion for one another.  This becomes especially apparent after Han is captured by bounty hunter Boba Fett.  (See the previous quotations, just before Han is lowered into the carbonite chamber.)  Leia, along with their other allies, Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca and the droids R2-D2 and C-3pO, eventually free Han.  The pair battle side by side to win the Battle of Endor, even though Leia is injured in the process.  In subsequent novels, it is revealed that they married and have twins, Jaina and Jacen.

Theirs is the consummate science fiction romance.  It’s the first one that everyone blurts out when asked about couples in the genre!  It’s the one we all grew up with.  And it’s still the best!

Agree? Disagree? Did I leave off your favorite pairing? Please feel free to comment below!