Best of 2017: Relationships

The story of Adam and Eve is probably one of my least favorites in the Bible; however, the factual idea behind it is something I could never let go of. It’s this idea that human beings aren’t designed to be alone. We aren’t meant to live alone — we are meant to interact, we are meant to grow, learn, laugh, cry, and love with other human beings who may either be just like us or our complete opposites. And that’s why writing about relationships will always be my favorite topic as a writer — there’s something so marvelous and raw about the connections we have with other people — whether they’re platonic or romantic, they matter, and they shape us in ways we can never truly describe.

Also, be sure to check out our Series of the Year | Stranger Things article, as the number one performances, characters, relationships, and moments are all featured there first. They deserved their own special tribute. (There are a lot of things I appreciate about Stranger Things, but it’s the relationships, the pure, indescribable bonds that have profoundly resonated with me to the core and have made me cry the happiest tears too many times. They’re now number one for me, of all time. Yes, of all time.)

As always, my beautiful, remarkably wise friends Katie (Nerdy Girl Notes) and Heather (TV Examined) have a number of phenomenal choices for their Best of 2017 reviews. Be sure to head on over there stat.

  1. The Time Team (Rufus, Wyatt, and Lucy)

The Time Team is such a special trio, I don’t even know where to possibly begin. Individually, they’re outstanding human beings, but together, Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus are unstoppable. Together, they’re stronger than ever. Together, they’re better. For three strangers to care about one another as fervently as they do after a forced mission is something that isn’t always successful, but where The Time Team is concerned, their run together is perpetual. It’ll never not astound me the great lengths Rufus and Wyatt will go to in order to protect Lucy. It’ll never not astound me how deeply Wyatt and Lucy care about Rufus. It’ll never not astound me how hard Rufus and Lucy try to make sure Wyatt’s okay, that he doesn’t have too much on his shoulders. And it’ll never not resort me into a blubbering, fangirl mess how connected Wyatt and Lucy are – the immense need to protect one another followed by the interwoven feelings they can’t quite understand just yet. Whatever mission they’re on, they’re safe together, all three of them are stronger as one, and watching them continuously find new ways to showcase their gratitude for one another is everything that makes the show impeccable.

2. Women of Monterey (Celeste, Madeline, and Jane)
Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies is a complex show about complex women trying to make sense of the world around them, and it’s a show about women who care about one another. I initially wanted to highlight the relationship between Nicole Kidman’s Celeste and Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline, but Shailene Woodley’s Jane is just as prominent in the friendship. There was a lot to appreciate about the women involving Jane in their group, but what easily stood out was Celeste’s choice to believe her when she revealed that it’d been one of her boys who had harmed Amabella. And in the end, when the women teamed up to fight for one another, it was boldly evident that this had become a lifelong friendship where women would listen to each other, confide in one another, and believe each other – they’d be loyal to one another with the belief that their emotions, heartaches, and thoughts are all safe in presence of the other. It is when people reach that kind of safety and understanding with each other that friendship is fortified in the best way possible.

3. The 99th Precinct
Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Every year I come to a place where I’m convinced I can’t love the 99th Prescient more, and then every year, I’m proven wrong. This team is everything in the world of television. There’s no other group of diverse, incredible human beings who love and care for one another more than this merry band of heroes does. And the best part is that they don’t have to, but they do with every fiber of their beings. They’re for each other. They protect each other. They care so deeply for each other. They laugh together. They criticize each other, and at the end of the day, they’d do anything in order to make sure the person in front of them knows how valuable they are. As Jake and Rosa were sent to prison, we watched the team’s love for one another ten sizes than before as they found the means to bring their people home. When Terry faced a racist encounter with another officer, we watched the team do everything they could to make sure his kids knew how valuable and special they were. When Rosa came out, they supported her fiercely through it. When Holt told them about the deal he made, they vowed to stick by him no matter how it’d impact their careers. And that’s just it, even when they don’t know what to say or how to approach a situation, each member of the prescient always reveals in some way that if anything’s ever needed, they’ll jump at the opportunity to help. In the best way they can, they’ll do everything to make sure they’re doing right by their family. 

4. Emma Swan and Killian Jones
Once Upon A Time 

A marriage and a baby on the way. A perfect fairytale beginning — it’s one of the most beautiful love stories of our time, and I can’t believe this is the last time I’ll officially write about them for this category. Killian and Emma have gone from enemies with abandonment in common to a pair who’d die for each other. They’ve sacrificed themselves for each other, broken barriers to find one another, and through it, all loved away the scars that years of loneliness and heartache had left. It was anything but easy to reach their happy ending, treacherous roads met them at every corner and wherever they went, darkness followed, but time and time again they both made the conscious choice to fight for their love. The other’s happiness brought them incomparable bliss, and their hearts were always at home with one another. Their love, in every sense of the word, was the purest adoration of all — two lost souls who’d selflessly put aside their pain to give the other the infinite happiness they deserved. For better or for worse, together, they’re magic — a mosaic of beautifully gratifying, profoundly captivating, shattered pieces that effortlessly fit together to create a timeless masterpiece. Killian and Emma’s love is and has always been, a masterpiece; a remarkable work of art illuminating the essence of kindred spirits in a way that will be admired for years to come.

5. Sansa and Arya Stark
Game of Thrones

There was no relationship this year that gave me as much anxiety as the Stark sisters did, but in the end, it was all worth it. Seriously though, in spite of the theories and everything floating around, was there anyone out there who was just as nervous as I was that they had turned on another, and it would end badly? That said, this pack is going to survive, and nothing’s been more satisfying than watching them team up with one another to take back their home from a mastermind manipulator. It has been beautiful beyond measure to see that the Starks are different. They’re a special breed – the kind of people who hold onto the promises they made; the kind of people who’d fight for one another long before they’ll fight with one another. And though we haven’t seen too much of them on “better” terms per say, I’m excited for what’s to come in the final season when the two fight alongside one another in the biggest battle they’ll ever face. Because if there’s anything we can count on, it’s that Sansa and Arya Stark are each other’s strength, backbone, and light. They’re great apart, but together, they’re complete — together, the pack is stronger, braver, and dare I say, undefeatable.

6. Amy Dubanowski and Jonah Simms

There’s still a long way to go for these two to become an us, but I can’t help rooting for them. Jonah and Amy care about one another so deeply, half the time they don’t even know what to do with that compassion — they don’t know how to showcase it or release it, but it’s present every moment in the form of little things they know the other will appreciate. They argue like two kids on a playground, but heaven forbid danger or heartache finds its way into either of their lives because it hurts the other just as much. And more than anything, their friendship is a great depiction of how it’s supposed to be around another human being — filled with laughter, selflessness, and compassion with the firm belief that the other person can always be relied on.

7. Elizabeth Thatcher and Jack Thornton
When Calls the Heart

I loved these two when they finally got together, but that love has grown much more than I ever thought it could this year. As significant choices separated the two from one another this year, the adoration between them only strengthened. There are a number of things that make them the sweetest duo in the history of Hallmark television, but the sole fact that they believe so intensely in the other’s dreams is what makes them so special. Jack and Elizabeth want each other to succeed above all things, they believe in the fact that the other’s purpose and happiness is dependent on the good they do, and how fiercely they fight to make a difference. And those beliefs allow them to not only be the best versions of themselves, but it makes their relationship that much healthier. Though the longing is deep and heartbreaking while Jack’s off fighting for the people, Elizabeth’s faith in him keeps him going, and albeit apart, the adoration only grows. They’re the home they’ll always come back to, the light that’ll ease the pain, and the strength in trying times.

8. The O’Brien Family
Chesapeake Shores

Chesapeake Shores stole my heart last season, but the O’Brien family completely took over it this year. The series did such a superb job of explaining each sibling’s storyline that when they brought them together to help one another out, it completely floored me. There’s no family that’s ever perfect, and the O’Briens are far, far from it, but the lengths they’ll go to for one another is just as it should be. The choice to help one another through whatever darkness they’re fighting or the choice to knock some sense into them is just as it should be. Whether it’s all three sisters and their means of bonding. The brothers and their bickering, along with the 100% support for one another. Or all five of them by the fire with s’mores — there’s never a dull, loveless moment, and I’ve appreciated watching them help one another find their bit of happiness this year. I’ve loved watching them encourage and uplift one another because while they’re all under the belief that they’re flawed, it helps to have people remind them of the fact that those flaws make them special.

9. Michael and Sara Scofield
Prison Break

It’s possible to love more than one person in the world, but there are some people whose love for one, the sole person never wavers, never ends. Michael and Sara are those people — even with the belief that he’s dead, Sara never fully gave her heart to another. And even though he knew he could potentially never see his real family again, Michael never stopped loving her above all. Hence, when the two finally reunited, it was easy to fall again. It was easy to fight for each other again because the outcome of their lives had always been better when the other was around. And finding their way back to one another was inevitable, it was poetry, — it was how their story was to continue. They were the best kind of an “us” because they had both known flaws and darkness in a way no other person would understand, but together, shutting the world off was effortless — pulling forward was effortless.

10. Betty Cooper and Jughead Jones

If Romeo and Juliet lived in 2017 … One of the more riveting stories of polar opposites finding love in the overwhelming stages of High School. Jughead and Betty, in all their flawed, jagged edges are so good for each other, it’s almost unbelievable. The honest unparalleled belief in one another cobbled with the stern desire to make the other person happy is the very thread that tangles their different words together in a tragically poetic melody. There’s still so much growth that the two need to go through, so many changes, so many choices, but they’ve sparked a profoundly rare light in one another that makes them better, stronger, and happier. A light that they’ve not known in their cold, dark, worlds without one another, and in spite the fact that they hold on to the belief that they’re on borrowed time, it brings to life the tangible heartache so potently that it makes you want to root for them that much more. Because these kids have known too much darkness to lose the light that guides them.

(Because we couldn’t match our yearly number due to time constraints, here our seven more of our favorite performers this year in honor of 2017.)

Honorable Mentions: Henry and Elizabeth McCord (Madam Secretary), Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge (Riverdale), Abigail Stanton and Elizabeth Thatcher (When Calls the Heart), Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (The Americans), Randall and Beth Pearson (This is Us)

Who were your favorite relationships this year? Let us know and let’s get to discussing them!

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