Ships make the world go round, and they sure as hell make us invest in entertainment. Because the thing is, we crave happiness. We crave love. Even in fiction. Especially in fiction, because oftentimes, that can be both a mirror and a hope. A celebration of what we have found or a hope that one day, we can also find that perfect person who doesn’t complete us – we are already complete – but that complements us.
And today, we’re celebrating the couples that made us feel all those things. Not the ones we want to see get together (we’ll have time for that), but the ones that are already the standard. The ones that already made a move, even if not all of them are all the way to their happy ending yet. So, without further ado, here they are. Our top ships of 2022, in alphabetical order.
Arondir/Bronwyn, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power gave us a whole host of compelling characters and even had us feeling things about an admittedly hot younger version of the Dark Lord himself, Sauron. And we’re not even gonna go into the Galadriel and Halbrand of it all. Because the top ship on the show, and one of our top ships of the year is the one that did come true – that of Arondir and Bronwyn. Star-crossed lovers who fought together, and somehow, found not just love, but family in each other. They didn’t get much time to enjoy their love, but for an elf and a human, time cannot ever be the measuring stick. Instead, Arondir and Bronwyn are about the moment …and what beautiful moments they gave us.
Blackstede, Our Flag Means Death
Blackstede on Our Flag Means Death feels like a dream come true for the LGBTQ+ community who have seen characters like this before, hoped they would end up together, and had their hopes dashed every single time. But not on this show. This time around the dark and mysterious brooding one fell for the bubbly goober. It’s sunshine x grumpy at its finest. And it’s woven in such a way that both characters are given the independence to grow as individuals and as a team. That forms complex bonds that lead to endgame. And these two are absolutely endgame.
Chenford, The Rookie
It’s here. It’s happening. And it was a long time coming on The Rookie. 2023 is going to be the year of Chenford, and we can’t wait to just sit back and enjoy what the show is going to give us with them. Because they’re finally in the same place, one where they’re willing to say out loud what we’ve all known for a while: they’re each other’s person. In each other’s presence, they’re stronger, wiser, and calmer. And though dating comes with many challenges, Chenford has nothing to fear from what the world outside can throw at them, because in each other, they have the one thing that can get you through anything in life – a safe port in a storm.
Clois, Superman & Lois
One of the most iconic couples of all time has a new iteration, and the version of Lois and Clark on Superman & Lois is just as iconic as any we’ve seen before. We don’t even have to talk about why they work, because they are what they’ve always been, partners, equals – even when one of them is a literal superhero – and in this case, damn good parents too. And that last part is hard, and what makes them stand apart. It’s one thing to be a team as you take on the world, it’s another thing to present a united front against two teenagers who have inherited the best and worst parts of you. But if anyone can do it, it’s Clois.
Densi, NCIS: Los Angeles
Kensi and Deeks remain the gold standard, even now in their new roles as parents. And if they are it’s because NCIS: Los Angeles has taken the time to develop them right. We’ve seen every moment. We saw them as partners – and we were there to witness them build trust, become friends, then stand on the edge of something more for a while before there was no other choice but to try, to build a life together. But we’ve gotten more than that, a wedding, adoption and now a life that looks very much like a happily ever after but that doesn’t just end. We get to keep experiencing it, and growing and learning and enjoying it.
Jopper, Stranger Things
Going to the literal ends of the world for each other, check. Doing the very same for their family? Kicking monster ass together? Joyce and Hopper are the perfect couple for the Hawkins, Indiana mess Stranger Things has given us, and truly, they’re the couple everyone on the show – and everyone watched – had been rooting for from the beginning. In a way, this story is about so much more than the two of them, but the story was always about the two of them, two people who always saw each other clearly, and who, perhaps, were always fated to end up holding hands as they faced whatever monsters tried to come for their family.
Kacy, NCIS: Hawai‘i
This year didn’t start out that great for Kacy, but it ends on a high … with the two of them as solid as ever. They didn’t just get back together, they moved on together, they’ve shared their fears, hopes and dreams with each other, and neither of them has blinked when obstacles have been thrown their way. And on a franchise that lives and breathes by its ships, and that has always known how to write a good ship that grows together, it’s easy to root for Kacy not just because they are great together, but also because NCIS: Hawai’i has established them as the main ship. Yes, on CBS. Yes, a wlw ship. Yes, Kacy. And we love it.
The couple that invented sexual tension, Kathony kept us on the edge of our seats for the entirety of Bridgerton Season 2. Their chemistry carried the season and made us invest despite the somewhat questionable writing decisions. Because how can you not root for this Kate Sharma, a strong, independent woman who deserves someone to prove to her that she deserves things for herself? How can you not root for an Anthony Bridgerton that has hollowed himself out for his family and that has never, ever, put the things he wants ahead of what he thinks his family needs? How can you not just …look at them together and hope that they can, in the love they feel for each other, also find that sense of belonging they have longed for?
Heartstopper is truly one of a kind in that it provided the LGBTQ+ with the kind of young love from a queer perspective that we all wished we had. With Charlie and Nick we have two young people who are just trying to figure things out. They don’t know what they’re doing half the time, everyone else is growing up around them at different paces, and the pressure of figuring things out is a lot. And as the first season progressed you saw them working at these things together. No there is not “getting lost in each other and just swooning without the beginnings of a solid foundation that will last.” They have the foundation and they will make it and make people feel seen at the same time.
Rollisi, Law & Order: SVU
A happily ever after is just what the doctor ordered for Rollisi, and though we would have really liked to continue to see that happiness on screen, we’ll take the gift and smile. Because procedurals can hurt us. They can break us. And when the news that Amanda Rollins would be leaving Law & Order: SVU, we were afraid this show would. But instead, the show respected the journey, and the love these two characters had always shown each other. And they gave us even more reason to root for them, even if we don’t get to see them together every day. Rollisi is endgame, and that …well, that feels good.
Romitri, Vampire Academy
Rose and Dimitri are the type of ship that compliments each other. Not true opposites, because deep down, Rose and Dimitri are two sides of the same coin, but different personality-wise on Vampire Academy. Enough so that there’s something to learn from each other. It’s the perfect combo of two people who can help each other see the world from a different perspective, and that together, perhaps, can change that world to be one that suits both of them. But it’s not just about what they can do together, it’s what about they awaken in each other. That desire to just …be and feel and want things. And if they have to change the world to be able to get it, to be together …then so be it.
Stellaride, Chicago Fire
Do you want to know what a partnership is? A real partnership of equals? Look no further than Kelly Severide and Stella Kidd from Chicago Fire. Who take turns holding the other one up, who bring not just the heat, but the communication and the tenderness. There are layers to their relationship, like with any great relationship. And that these two can be what the other needs, in good times and bad times, is a testament to what they’ve built together. It wasn’t always easy. And they’ve had to work at it. That’s why it matters so much how effortlessly it looks right now. These two are willing to do what they need for their relationship to flourish, and that’s the most important thing. That’s why they’ll forever be one of our favorite ships.
Upstead, Chicago P.D.
Upstead might be on a little bit of a pause on Chicago P.D. (in that they’re not in the same place, but they’re still very much together), but we still want to celebrate what they are, what they’ve created, and what they have made people feel. Because sometimes two broken people can come together and not heal each other, no, but allow each other to find the strength each of them needs to heal themselves. And that’s hard work, and it’s painful sometimes, but our hope for Upstead is that they can come back together stronger after this time apart – a time they could only take because their trust and love are absolute. Let us remember that last part. Nothing is changing that.
WestAllen, The Flash
It’s strange to think 2023 is bringing about the end of WestAllen, but what a journey it’s been for a couple that is, surely, DC and superhero TV royalty. And there’s something special not just about WestAllen’s story in general on The Flash, but about this iteration, about this Iris West who is strong and determined, but who is also loving and so, so very brave. She’s not a superhero wife or a sidekick, she’s a hero in her own right, and Barry Allen has always seen that. That’s why he fell in love with her. And that’s why he has found strength, support, and love in her. What a ship. What a journey. What a legacy.