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2014 Year-end Television Review

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternative – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”

Aristotle said it best in the quote above, the significance of choices has not only been an ongoing theme in all our favorite series, but it’s what we feel has been the most noteworthy message this year.

2013 was a great year for television, but 2014 was indescribable – with far too many astounding moments to choose from, television this year inspired us in ways we never thought possible. From superlative performances to exquisitely written scenes and character arcs, we’re proud to say that our choices are ones we feel we’ll adore for years to come.

Favorite Friendships & Families 

1. The Charmings (Once Upon A Time) 

If there’s any fictional family we’d love to be adopted by (along with our family members as well), it’s the Charmings. While they aren’t perfect, the very fact that they never give up on one another is what allows them to come pretty close. Positivity is something we don’t see often in the world, and it’s indescribable that the Charmings are ceaselessly trying their hardest to view the world as a place filled with infinite beauty. It’s always an inspiration to watch them learn from their mistakes, uplift one another, fight for one another, and welcome everyone into their lives with open arms. The Charmings exemplify goodness with the unwavering love they pour out into the world – no matter what has happened in their lives, they’ve chosen to live their lives honorably. Each time they’re faced with a new challenge, they embrace it with admirable courage and hope. And this year especially wasn’t easy for the Charmings, but they came out stronger than ever as a family by virtuously fighting against the bad and encouraging one another with zeal. Whether it was Snow’s growing relationship with Emma and baby Neal or Charming’s partnership with his daughter and overcoming his fears of not being a good enough father, each scene they graced our television screens with instantly landed a spot on our list of favorites.

2. Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins (Parks and Recreation) 

Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins are the epitome of how best friends should be. Yes, each and every relationship is different, but if there’s ever one people should aspire to resemble, it’s their friendship. Leslie’s unwavering love and faith in Ann is exactly how one should be towards their best friend. Furthermore, Ann’s patience with and understanding of Leslie’s eccentric character allows her to support Leslie perfectly. The two of them authenticate the very fact that friendships are strongest when they’re solidified by equality – equal love, support, understanding and gratitude. So often we don’t realize that gratitude plays a prodigious role in our lives, but the more you give, the more you receive (spiritually) Leslie and Ann have both time and time again expressed how grateful they are for the other. The very fact that their gratitude is something which they continuously profess strengthens them. By taking time to celebrate one another during holidays like “Galentine’s Day” or just because, they substantiate the fact that the most genuine friendships aren’t about who can throw the best surprise party (although no one can top Leslie Knope in this area), but they’re about sincere adoration and selflessness. It’s about being there for one another during the bad and good.

3. The Clone Club (Orphan Black) 

When we were first introduced to Felix and Sarah in Orphan Black, all they wanted to do was to get Kira and leave everything behind. And this year, Orphan Black’s second season ended with an epic dance party and heartfelt conversations with Sarah and her sisters. We never imagined Helena ever joining the Clone Club and she did so in a remarkable way. Our favorite thing about the Clone Club is the fact that although they’re each so very diverse, when they’re together, there are no differences – their unique traits and distinct quirks are welcomed and celebrated. Once they each made the beautiful choice to accept that they don’t have to be enemies, they promised each other forever. They’ll have each other’s backs in ways no one else could and they understand one another most wonderfully.  Each of their personal relationships with one another are different, but together, they’re the kind of family neither of them have ever dreamt of having. They’re the kind of family who’d do anything for one another, but most importantly, the love that binds them is stronger than whatever outside forces try to tear them apart.

4. Emma Swan and Elsa of Arendelle (Once Upon A Time)

This season of Once Upon A Time did an outstanding job of showcasing the importance of friendship. With Elsa and Emma especially, the two of them have taught one another so much about embracing their special traits, it’s exemplary. Emma taught Elsa to remain hopeful in the midst of a chaotic situation, while Elsa taught Emma about the importance of self-love. Sometimes, all it takes is meeting someone who’s just like you in order to see how fortunate you are with the gifts you’ve been given. Georgina Haig and Jennifer Morrison’s chemistry has been sheer perfection — both women have such a knack of manifesting sincerity and their scenes were always full of substance. These are two women who’ve been sincerely impacted by an honest, beautiful friendship. Women empowering women by choice is something we need to see more often, and it’s inspiring that we were given the chance to watch a friendship heal.

5. Anna and Elsa of Arendelle (Once Upon A Time)

We’re very proud of Once Upon A Time show runners for doing an excellent job with Anna and Elsa’s characters, but most importantly, their relationship as siblings. They’ve done a superlative job of showcasing the way siblings are meant to be – filled with unwavering love. What we’ve valued most about their relationship is that nothing is demanded. It’s so incredibly pure – a breath of fresh air we could all use. Anna is the strength, the backbone, and the heart of their relationship and it’s easy to be because Elsa’s love for her is so strong. It’s easy to feel safe with one another. Their bond as sisters serves as a symbol of one of the healthiest, most beautiful familial relationships that exists. It’s been lovely to watch them continuously praise one another and proudly showcase their gratitude for what their sister has done for them.

6. Jake Peralta and Charles Boyle (Brooklyn Nine Nine)

If there’s one thing we love more than a fantastic female/female friendship, it’s a brotherly bond between two men. Brooklyn Nine Nine’s Jake Peralta and Charles Boyle have just that. It’s always a delight to watch their scenes because while Jake may mock Charles for the things that make him wonderful, at the end of the day, he wouldn’t change his best friend for the world. And it’s always incredible to see how much Charles adores Jake by supporting the insane ideas he comes up with. Generally, the boys do a great job of being there exactly when the other needs them most, and no matter if they agree with what the other is doing, they’ll support each other in the way that’s most right for the situation. They understand one another, value one another, and most importantly they have fun together without letting anything get in the way of their brotherhood.

7. Team Arrow (Arrow)

Team Arrow has essentially always been our favorite part of Arrow. Seeing as how we’re Marvel girls as opposed to DC (no hard feelings), we’ve always felt the greatest part of this show has been the incomparable friendship between Oliver, Diggle, Felicity, and Roy. It’s always been about honesty, respect, and admiration. Their friendship has been about defending one another on and off the streets, but most importantly keeping one another grounded. There’s never competition or judgment, but rather a profound understanding that allows each and every one of them to bring out the best in each other precisely when it’s needed most. Oliver Queen wouldn’t be as great of a superhero if it wasn’t for the support system he has with the team, and at the end of the day, being a part of Team Arrow has allowed each of them to find strengths within themselves they would’ve never known had it not been for the journey they’re on together.

8. Team S.H.I.E.L.D. (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Pretty much our favorite thing about S.H.I.E.L.D. is the outstanding friendships they’ve each formed – especially recently with Hydra taking over. This year they’ve grown even closer, authenticating the very fact that even if the world outside is being torn apart, their loyalty to one another is stronger than ever. S.H.I.E.L.D. may be an organization filled with special agents, but they’ve become a family. It’s been incredible to watch the group welcome new members, solidify their already established great friendships, and in a time of need, be there for one another like they never have before. With Ward’s betrayal we imagined it’d be more difficult to trust one another, but the way the team’s evolved has been an absolute delight to watch. it’s phenomenal to see that they’d go to extreme lengths to make certain their team is safe, but most importantly, when Fitz’ life was changed forever, no one would let him go – they continuously strive to make him feel as though he still belongs with them. No matter how different they all are from one another, they would never give up on each other.

9. Hank Voight and Erin Lindsay (Chicago P.D.) 

Hank Voight isn’t the most emotional man in the world, but when it comes to his relationship with Erin Lindsay, his heart is at its softest. Since the series began last January, we’ve always been skeptical about whether or not we could trust him, but their father/daughter relationship which has allowed him to be vulnerable and sincere is what gave us the green light to trust. Voight and Lindsay are a fantastic example of the saying: “you don’t have to be blood, to be family”. It’s a choice to be loyal and good to one another. If Voight didn’t make the choice to take Lindsay in as a teenager, she wouldn’t be the extraordinary detective that she is. And it’s beautiful that although she doesn’t do anything directly, because of the way she is and the love he has for her, she’s made him a better man, and a better sergeant.

10. The Intelligence Unit (Chicago P.D.) 

Just as Voight and Lindsay’s bond is a great one, the Intelligence unit as a whole are one of the most outstanding teams on television right now. As one of the most entertaining groups who’ll spend a good amount of time just taunting one another, heaven forbid a family member of theirs is threatened. At the end of the day, they’d stop at nothing to make sure they’re each safe, healthy, and happy. And it’s great to know it doesn’t stop there – the extreme measures they’ll take such as risking their own careers for one another is phenomenal. There have only been a few episodes so far, but we can’t even imagine what’ll happen in later seasons. If they take such risks now, what’ll potentially occur as their bonds strengthen will undoubtedly be an absolute thrill to watch.

11. Louis Litt and Donna Paulsen (Suits)

Louis Litt has always been one of Suits’ most complex and unpredictable characters, but if there’s one thing we’ve never doubted when it comes to his persona, it’s his loyalty. An incredible asset he’s proven to be his strongest when it came to his relationship with Donna this season. If a good friend doesn’t thoroughly encourage you to follow your dreams, then they aren’t exactly the greatest. And this year particularly, Louis and Donna were wonderful when it came down to their deep love for theater. By reminding one another of the gifts they’ve been blessed with to encouraging them to take once in a lifetime opportunities, Louis and Donna became the heart of Suits this year. And because they chose uplift one another and follow their hearts’ desires, they played a massive role in heartening inspiration amongst viewers. Pearsen Specter has never been anything but chaotic, and with the new season promising more drama than ever with Louis learning the truth about Mike, we’re hoping that this friendship is enough to fix the damages that’ll presumably be done.

12. Nolan Ross and Emily Thorne (Revenge)

Nolan Ross has always been Emily’s partner-in-crime and even though within the last four seasons we’ve seen their friendship crumble and get back up, he’s always been there for her no matter what the situation may be. Their friendship is like no other on the show because unlike the rest of the characters, these two have proven that the friendship they have is not based on lies and manipulation, but on honesty and loyalty. Yes, there have been times where they are on opposite ends of a case, but they always somehow end up back on the same team. For example, when David Clarke was deemed alive and not dead after the ten plus years of pretending to be, Nolan was the one who was on Team David, whereas Emily was on the opposite because David couldn’t tell that the real Amanda was actually alive and well. If it wasn’t for Nolan bringing Emily back to reality when need be, there would be no way that Emily would’ve been able to come out alive in any of the situations that was presented to her. We’re hoping that these two stay friends forever because they seem to be the only real and true thing on the show.

Favorite Couples & Couples Who Are Meant To Be

1. Emma Swan and Killian Jones (Once Upon A Time)

A few words and the number one spot are simply not enough to do Once Upon A Time’s Killian and Emma justice. We were riveted by their chemistry from the moment they climbed the beanstalk together in “Tallahassee” and this year alone, they’ve captivated us in ways we never thought possible. It’s been wonderful to watch their relationship flourish in the most real and sincere way – while we adore all the couples on Once Upon A Time, no two people have a more stunning story than Killian and Emma. This year was all about taking chances and making significant choices. From the moment Emma Swan took a leap of faith and trusted a man decked out in leather in New York, to Killian trading his home for her and fighting against Rumple’s control by continuously trying to be a better man, they’ve shown the world what an immaculate love story should be like. Emma Swan is an inspiration to all those who’ve spent a good amount of their lives believing that they aren’t enough to be chosen and Killian Jones is a fighter, a man who’d stop at nothing to honorably earn the love he desires. Emma Swan is the kind of woman who deserves to be fought for, and this year, through his ardent adoration and unwavering support Killian helped Emma feel safe enough to let her walls down, to feel comfortable with the gifts she’s been given, and to realize that home isn’t a place, it’s the people you love. By accepting him precisely the way that he is, Emma has shown that she cares most deeply for the man within than the things he may have done in the past. At the end of the day, the two of them have authenticated the conception that love has the power to do incomparable things – Killian and Emma have found their equals in one another, they’re each other’s person, and at the end of the day, the most beautiful part of their relationship is that being themselves doesn’t take much effort. They both come from a place where they weren’t always treasured, but together, they fill the voids that’ve been left behind from their pasts. Together, they’re complete.

2. Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt (Parks and Recreation)

This year wasn’t a simple one for Leslie Knope, she bid farewell to a dream and her best friend, but it’s Ben’s love that without a doubt played a massive role in helping her heal from the wounds that have been left behind. Leslie Knope is a woman who could do it all, but it’s always been impeccable to watch Ben offer his steadfast faith in her every step of the way. And with their lives changing drastically with the addition of three little boys, we can only imagine how exceptional the two are as parents and a couple. Whatever Leslie and Ben have gone through, they’ve done it with a uniqueness only they’re capable of showcasing, and now that it’s no longer just the two of them, we imagine that it’ll be intensified beautifully. At the end of the day however, in 2014, Ben and Leslie have once again shown that the greatest adventure is every step they chose to take together, and no matter what happens, as long as they have one another, they can make their dreams a reality while showering one another with love and support.

3. Snow White and Prince Charming (Once Upon A Time)

It wouldn’t be a great year for couples on television if Snow White and Prince Charming didn’t overcome two more curses stronger than ever. They’re the embodiment of true love, and with the things they’ve gone through this year, they’ve proven that they’re unbreakable. In 2014, the Charmings were blessed with a beautiful baby boy, and they became one in a way no couple in the world ever has when Snow split her heart to spare Charming’s life. Snow and Charming define everlasting; no matter what life throws at these two they’ll find a way to be together – to be one, in sickness, in health, and even after death attempts to due them part. They overcame all obstacles and actually became one. Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas’ effortless chemistry and love always makes its way onto the screen thus making their scenes most beautiful. Their hearts beat to the same rhythm and it’s now stronger than ever – there’s no connection quite as powerful. The villains on this show should learn their lesson by now. At the end of the day, the purity in their love is the one thing that invokes the most hope in us. When two people who love one another as much as they do create a family, then you best believe it’ll be the strongest in the world – the impossibilities are achievable and day by day, their adoration grows stronger. It’s always gorgeous to watch them take on everything with grace and love – sprinkling their kindness onto the world because the love they found in one another and their children, has changed and inspired them in ways nothing in the world could ever.

 4. Claire Beauchamp and Jamie Fraser (Outlander)

Outlander is most certainly our favorite new series at the moment, and we’ll gladly admit that a huge reason for that is the blossoming relationship between Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp. Jamie and Claire are so different from any of the couples on our lists because first and foremost, they didn’t fall in love as gradually as the others – and while they’re evidently no where near the point of love, there’s something so remarkable about the way they’ve spent time cherishing one another. It’s interesting because it’s as though they’re bound by some sort of an invisible string that ties them together, something beyond time and understanding. They were meant to meet at the time they did because they needed to change one another and evolve with one another. Although their marriage was short lived and Claire’s still torn, we’re excited to see them grow together. We’re excited to see them challenge one another in ways no one else could.

5. Sarah Manning and Cal Morrison (Orphan Black)

People on Orphan Black aren’t always who they seem, and when we were first introduced to Cal, we had a very difficult time trusting him. (Please continue to prove us wrong. Thank you.) Sometimes, love is so strong, that years later, a simple hello can take you back to where it all began, and evolve in a way much greater than imagined. Cal and Sarah are fantastic together. It’s admirable to watch him support Sarah and Kiera after years apart from them, and it’s gorgeous to know that he not only welcomes all that make Sarah wonderful, but the entire Clone Club as well. And it’s especially lovely to see that Sarah can be herself with him – open, unafraid, susceptible, strong, and safe. We’re excited too see where their relationship leads them as it’s already a delight to watch them fall in love all over again as they slowly open up their hearts to what could be extraordinary.

6. Anna and Kristoff of Arendelle(Once Upon A Time)

Just as we’re glad we were able to see our favorite Disney sisters come to life, we’re thrilled that the show was able to give us a glimpse into Kristoff and Anna’s relationship as a couple. Once Upon A Time’s Kristoff and Anna were nothing short of perfect. Elizabeth Lail and Scott Michael Foster did a pristine job of showcasing just how much their characters cherish, support, and adore one another. In the short amount of time we knew them, we watched them fight for their kingdom together, support insane ideas, and offer strength when the other was weak.As every healthy couple should be, Kristoff and Anna are bound by an indescribable understanding that allows them to feel everything deeply.

7. Erin Lindsay and Jay Halstead (Chicago P.D.) 

Jay and Erin have one of the greatest partnerships on television right now – their motto about always having each other’s backs solidifies their relationship wonderfully. But the most fascinating part of their bond, and the real reason we’re rooting hard for them to be couple is the exquisite consolation they have with one another. It’s ridiculously entertaining to watch them argue over the fact that Jay feels his manhood is being threatened by the fact that he can’t drive when she’s in the car, and beyond that, it’s great to see the shift in tone when one of them is hurt or conflicted. Jay and Erin share the kind of partnership that’s stemmed from a real, strong friendship. And while feelings are undoubtedly involved deep within, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that when they’re on the field, it’s all about the other person. Moreover, while taunting one another makes time on and off the field amusing, the most gorgeous part of their bond is the fact they’re so accepting of one another, it’s easy to be open and honest with one another. Now that they don’t work together anymore, one day is hopefully closer than ever.

 8. Donna Paulson and Harvey Specter (Suits)

Harvey Specter and Donna Paulsen are the one couple it seems we’ve been rooting forever for. And at this point it seems that it’ll take 17920 years until they finally realize they’re perfect for each other. In 2014, however, we were given a small glimpse outside of their unique banter to see that beyond their partnership, they’re both truly enormous fans of one another. There are no two people in the world who love, respect, and fully understand one another the way they do. And tables turned this year when Harvey put all of his focus on Donna by supporting her dreams and making certain she knew that he’s a fan of the things that make her special. Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty are so good at speaking loudly with their performances, and if this season of Suits has shown us anything, it’s that there’s definitely no bond solidified by such a distinct understanding and connection between two people.

9. Amy Santiago and Jake Peralta (Brooklyn Nine Nine)

Because the whole “mock the person you have a crush on” scenario has been done so many times before, it becomes irksome. However, Brooklyn Nine Nine writers have done an excellent job with the way they’ve developed Jake and Amy’s blossoming romance. Sometimes, all it takes is potentially losing someone to realize just how much they’re worth to you. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try to conceal your feelings, the more likely they’ll develop further. After Jake’s confession in the season one finale, we had hoped that the way their relationship would pan out would be graceful enough to feel real, and that’s precisely how it’s been. Just because their feelings have been laid bare, nothings changed between them – Jake suddenly hasn’t stopped mocking Amy’s quirky nature, and she continues to point out his flaws every opportunity she gets. It’s entertaining, real, and a relationship we’re excited to see develop. There’s something phenomenal about a woman effortlessly bringing out a man’s kind heart simply by being herself, and that’s our favorite thing about these two.

10. Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen (Arrow)

Behind every great man is an even greater woman. And when it comes to television couples (in this case, couples who are meant to be), we feel this particular saying works best for Felicity and Oliver. 2014 has finally given these two the opportunity to be brutally honest with one another. The challenges that they’ve faced have inspired them to come forth about their true feelings, and even though things are nowhere near smooth with them, it’s been beautiful to watch Oliver finally validate how deeply he admires, respects, and needs Felicity. And it’s also been beautiful to see Felicity realize that she’s valued more than she’s imagined – someone as extraordinary as her needs to hear she’s a treasure more often. Oliver and Felicity are two people who’ve been misunderstand and judged more often than not, thus the most winsome part of their relationship is that from the moment they met, it’s all been real. Oliver’s seen the real Felicity and she’s seen the real Oliver. It’s easy to be themselves because the other person has always appreciated them for who they are. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next because if there’s one thing we’re certain of, it’s that Oliver would never be as successful as the Arrow without her by his side. Felicity’s the kind of woman who deserves to be ceaselessly cherished, and Oliver has finally realized that he’ll never be more fortunate in his life if he doesn’t accept the honor of loving her.

11. Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger (Parks and Recreation)

At the beginning of this year, we said goodbye to one of our favorite and most interesting TV couples of all time – Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger. But if there’s one thing we’re happy about (we came to this conclusion after crying for hours), it’s that they left together. Sometimes, beautiful love stories take time. Sometimes, people part ways and come together in situations they never imagined, and it’s at this time where they learn that they aren’t living life to the fullest unless they’re treasuring the one they’re meant to love forever. There are literally (evidently said in Chris Traager’s voice) not enough to words to describe the uniqueness in Ann and Chris’ exquisite relationship – there’s constant laughter, hope, strength, and most importantly, they’re two people who are able to challenge one another in the best ways possible.

12. Felix Dawkins + Happiness (Orphan Black)

Felix isn’t just one of our favorite characters on Orphan Black, but overall, he and Cosima have done a wonderful job of representing LGBT. At the end of the day, they’ve shown that their sexualities aren’t the most interesting things about them, their personalities are. And at the end of the day, they’ve shown that they deserve happiness and love because of how extraordinary they are. In 2015, we’re hoping to see Felix find the love he deserves. We’re hoping to see him develop something with someone who’s right for him, who’ll treasure him, and who’ll be proud of the incredible person that he is. Felix + happiness is a relationship we’re actively rooting for.

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