This week, we watched an excellent video about romance in fantasy and science fiction over at io9. Inspired by the idea, we decided to put together our own list of our favorite couples in science fiction and fantasy across formats — from books to television shows to films. These are the geek culture romances that made us swoon, bite our nails, or shed a tear, from destined lovers, to enemies whose passions evolved, to the will-they-or-won’t-they pairs that finally did. As always, keep in mind that these are simply our favorites — so read through the list and add your own in the comments!
Eve & Wall-E, WALL-E
We never imagined we could be so touched by a love story about two robots — a trash compactor and a vegetation evaluator, no less. Their story is rote — one robot (whose best friend is a cockroach) likes another robot, who doesn’t give him the time of day, until she does. Maybe it’s the silent movie-style delicacy of action, or the fact that they’re just both so cute we were already in love with them from the jump, but we think this romance is one for the ages.
Willow & Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Though seasons later, Willow would be shouting “Hello! Gay now!,” when her relationship with Tara began it was beautifully natural and realistic — no “coming out” special episode or sexy sensationalism, just two girls sweetly falling in love. Though for a long time the network didn’t allow Willow and Tara to kiss (there were a few candlelit workarounds thanks to Joss Whedon), their magical and highly erotic “sex” scene in season 6 was one of the best in the whole show (or in any show). It’s not magic that’s making that girl levitate.
Han Solo and Princess Leia, Star Wars
While we totally get the arguments against rooting for this couple, we’re just suckers for the brusque-self-important-hero meets stuck-up-but-kind-of-badass-princess and they hate each other until they melt each other’s hearts storyline. Turns out that a lot of people are.
Aeryn Sun & John Crichton, Farscape
Let’s face it: Aeryn and Crichton are both just way too badass to date anyone else. The tortured intellectual on a mission and his militaristic alien lady friend save each other numerous times, bicker over the littlest things, and finally fall in love. Though which Crichton Aeryn has fallen in love with is not always a given. We’re just saying.
Princess Buttercup & Westley, The Princess Bride
Westley says it all himself: “This is true love – you think this happens every day?” A romance of proportions nearly as epic as the ROUSs, despite the fact that these young attractive people hardly speak to or know anything about each other. Well, that’s fairy tale romance for you.
Zoe & Wash, Firefly
Who wasn’t charmed by this unlikely pairing — a tough-as-nails soldier and her goofy husband — as they battled the world? They weren’t the most exciting couple on board, already married and not about to break up, but that’s why we loved them: they were steady and real and wholly satisfying. If only Wash was actually a leaf on the wind, everything would be okay right now.
Paul Muad’dib and Chani, Dune
How romantic is this — Paul sees Chani in his dreams before he even meets her, and then she is assigned to be his bodyguard and, well, you know. Then he gets married to a princess and keeps Chani as his concubine. But somehow it all seems okay. There is a lot of professing. It’s a political thing. We get it. We still love them.
Max Evans & Liz Parker, Roswell
He’s an alien. She works in an alien-themed diner. He wants to protect her. She wants those pouty lips. Things are peachy until his fated alien bride to be comes back to town, and he feels so very torn, and so very angsty. Max & Liz bring out our inner teenagers the way we thought only Buffy could. But don’t worry, there’s an almost awkwardly small-townish happy ending.
Captain Adama & Laura Roslin, Battlestar Galactica
We love the Apollo/Starbuck storyline as much as the next guy, but ultimately, this was the will-they-won’t-they couple that really got us excited, as slow and tentative and fraught with political tension as is necessary for any President and Captain couple fighting an interstellar war.
Buffy & Spike (& Angel), Buffy the Vampire Slayer
It’s been the cause of many a heated debate, but for us, Spike is our preferred vampiric gel-headed Buffy paramour. Angel was her high school love, and their relationship was fraught with all the things that your first love is fraught with (probably more, considering), and the he-becomes-evil-once-we’ve-slept-together metaphor was apt. But Spike and Buffy — that was real. That was a grown-up relationship. It was incredibly messed up at times, but it was way, way hotter, more visceral in every way. Sorry, David Boreanaz’s jawline.