The excitement of a new TV season comes with the hope that two characters may finally become something more — for the first time or again. This list couldn’t possibly be exhaustive when it comes to ships we want to see set sail in 2023, or else it would be infinitely long. This end-of-the-year list sticks to a few ships in a sea of many greats, hopefully coming to TV in 2023.
In no particular order, here are the ships we want to see set sail in 2023:
Tedbecca, Ted Lasso
Ted Lasso and Rebecca Welton are soulmates. There’s no denying it, even when Ted Lasso fakes fans out with an optimistic Tedbecca cut-to during its episode inspired by multiple romantic comedies. Their stories — their histories — are, somehow, cosmically intertwined, making their meet-cute at the beginning of Ted Lasso something very special. Ted and Rebecca show up for each other on especially tough days, like holidays away from family and family members’ funerals. Ted and Rebecca are permanent fixtures in each other’s lives now. They have forever changed each other and would make an exemplary and complimentary couple in Season 3. Assuming it could be the show’s final season, our fingers are crossed that a Tedbecca endgame is in Ted Lasso‘s near future.
Netflix‘s Bridgerton gifted us Simon and Daphne in Season 1 and Kate and Anthony in Season 2. In 2023, it will be time for a new couple to blossom in the ton: Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton. The friends-to-lovers romance will take center stage as Season 3’s central romance and, perhaps, the primary focus of Lady Whistledown’s writings — even if those writings never get published. Bridgerton‘s highly-anticipated third season will see Penelope step into the spotlight and Colin realize what he’s been missing in his sister’s best friend. Polin deserves to be the talk of the ton in 2023. Whether someone is a longtime fan of Julia Quinn’s books or a Bridgerton newcomer with the premiere in 2020, Penelope and Colin’s love story will be everything.
EO, Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime
“Another end of year list, another ‘please just let these two see some sense next year’? Yep. Olivia Benson deserves happiness, and yes, part of that happiness can — and long-past should, at this point — include taking a leap with Elliot Stabler. For the record, even if he thinks he’s not worthy, Elliot also deserves happiness with the woman he loves. (Although, to be fair to Mr. Guilt’s sense of unworthiness, it’s well founded for once here since no man is worthy. But Liv’s heart wants what it wants, so there.) Bensler both deserve Elliot’s parallel universe; quite frankly, so do those of us who have seen this unlikely and inconvenient love story unfold in the slowest slow burn of all (prime)time.”
“Elliot and Olivia are two people whose broken and battered pieces have always fit beautifully together to repair them both, and the only reason they seem to be all piercing, jagged edges that won’t connect lately is because they’re both holding themselves back for all the wrong reasons. Sure, they have a lot to work through…but they can do that, together. Because Benson and Stabler, like any other good partners, are at their best together. For better or worse. As Liv told Amanda in the mid-season finale, El used to be her home. So, let’s make 2023 the year that she finally gets to go home. Nobody deserves to feel that sense of love, of belonging, security, and shelter, and warmth again more than she does. And, for the record, Elliot should make it crystal clear that she was the only one who ever actually had a claim, all along.” – Shana
Nace, Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew and Ace from The CW’s Nancy Drew deserve a happy ending. The paranormal series is heading into its final season in 2023. So, the timing for Nace has to be perfect now, right? This excellent, slow-burn ship has been building up anticipation for seasons — for years. When Nancy finally allows herself to admit her feelings to Ace, who also gathered the courage to tell his good friend how he feels about her, Nancy Drew reveals that the happy ending is just a happy (unattainable) dream. But the Drew Crew are pros at defying the odds, so there’s reason to believe Nancy and Ace will find a way around Temperance’s ultimatum. Nancy will surely be able to save Horseshoe Bay and her happy ending in Season 4. Nancy and Ace deserve happiness, love, and each other.
Wesper, Kanej, and Helnik, Shadow and Bone
Shadow and Bone‘s ships, especially those concerning the Crows, are a priority in 2023. They’re also unique in that their version of setting sail may look different from other ships on this list. For instance, Kaz telling Inej in Season 1, “No Saint ever watched over me. Not like you have,” is as epic as a love declaration. Now, with all six Crows coming together in Season 2, there are so many chances for similar moments like those with Kanej, Helnik (Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar), and Wesper (Wylan Hendriks and Jesper Fahey). There are countless opportunities for Shadow and Bone to pull straight from the source material or craft new swoon-worthy moments that will make our Crows-loving hearts sing. From Helnik reunions to Wesper meet-cutes and Kanej banter, 2023 will be fun.
BlackStede, Our Flag Means Death
BlackStede (Edward Teach and Stede Bonnet) is a cherished ship after one season of Our Flag Means Death. This ship creates waves on social media, with ripple effects reaching every corner of the internet that discusses popular culture and LGBTQ+ representation on TV. Our Flag Means Death takes the hyper-masculine, sometimes exclusionary tropes usually featured in pirate-focused media and carves out space for stories about vulnerable characters who find love — romantic and otherwise — in each other. BlackStede is a part of that remarkable legacy as a fan-favorite ship that embraces all the best romance tropes. However, Season 1 leaves Ed and Stede separated but yearning for a reunion. So it’s safe to say that BlackStede is a ship that must sail again in 2023.
Dragozera, Romitri, and Mermia, Vampire Academy
Vampire Academy‘s characters and ships are so top-tier that they make multiple end-of-the-year lists. Dragozera (Lissa and Christain), Romitri (Rose and Dimitri), and Mermia (Meredith and Mia) take up a joint spot because Vampire Academy leaves us needing more. Dragozera and Romitri are separated as Rose and Lissa leave the Dominion to outrun the newly implemented targets on their backs. Thankfully, Meredith and Mia end the season together, but still, there’s so much more to see from Mermia. They’re both in the Dominion, giving them a better chance for more intertwined stories in a potential Season 2. Similarly, Vampire Academy‘s hopeful second season would likely include plenty of correspondence between Romitri and Dragozera and, ideally, a few tearful reunions.
Titans‘ Dick Grayson and Koriand’r are destined to be together; it’s written in the stars. Their dynamic has been burning under the surface of Titans since Season 1. Their partnership embodies all the care and trust of any established romantic relationship. Still, Dick and Kory’s timing never lines up. Their other concerns usually and understandably take priority. Nevertheless, an unspoken bond persists and intensifies with every season, and it’s captivating in Season 4. Dick and Kory have seen a future where they have a daughter together, and something shifted in their dynamic with that shared knowledge. Their slow burn is heating up, and Season 4 Part Two in 2023 is the perfect time for DickKory to allow themselves to let each other in and accept their mutual feelings.
All the Riverdale Ships
Riverdale will debut its seventh and final season in 2023 as the characters return to high school…in the 1950s. So, even though Season 6 sees Barchie (Betty Cooper and Archie Andrews) finally become the ship plenty of fans have dreamed of seeing since the show premiered in 2017, everything can change. Varchie (Veronica Lodge and Archie) may give their relationship another try; the same may be true for Bughead (Betty and Jughead Jones). Not to mention, Season 7 could finally reunite Choni (Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz) or give Jabitha (Jughead and Tabitha Tate) their happy ending. The endless possibilities are equally exciting and nerve-racking. Riverdale consistently reminds its fans to expect the unexpected, meaning any ship can set sail and be endgame in 2023.
Rina, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has been building up to a relationship between Ricky Bowen and Gina Porter for a while. Though the stars don’t always align for them, their chemistry creates lasting roots in the show’s debut season when Ricky and Gina create a strong friendship. Their friendship goes through highs and lows that result from developing romantic feelings for a friend — or fully realizing those feelings — when that friend is in a relationship with someone else. Even as HSMTMTS tells the story of Ricky and Nini’s relationship and Gina and EJ’s relationship, there’s still an undeniable pull between Ricky and Gina. Finally, they take that leap in the Season 3 finale and share their first kiss. So, what time is it? It’s time for Rina to set sail in HSMTMTS Season 4.
Burzek, Chicago P.D.
“They’ve been through hell and back …together and apart. And now they’re a family. So, what is Chicago P.D. waiting for to give us the romantic Burzek we — and Adam and Kim — deserve? We’re not even just saying that this needs to happen because, at this point, nothing else makes storytelling sense (though we are), or because they clearly still have feelings for each other (though they do), or because they are in a really good place to be the family they both dreamed of (though, yeah), we’re saying that Adam and Kim clearly belong together.”
“They make each other better. They have each other’s backs. And hopefully, in 2023, Chicago P.D. can allow that to be verbalized. Not because being together will solve every one of their problems, but because it will allow them to face any challenges that come their way just like they’ve faced everything else lately: as a unit.” – Lissete
Chenford, The Rookie
The Rookie Season 5 makes great strides in Lucy Chen and Tim Bradford’s dynamic, with the winter finale ending with Tim asking Lucy out on a date. Procedural dramas, like others on this list, have become synonymous with slow-burn ships, and Chenford has joined the ranks over the last four and a half seasons. Tim and Lucy embody the best romance tropes, including “undercover lovers” and “will they or won’t they.” But, beyond those tropes, Lucy and Tim make an indisputably great match. They’re fun together and challenge each other. They make the agonizing years of a slow-burn ship worth it. Tim and Lucy make the smallest of romantic beats buzz. Ideally, 2023 will be filled with many more moments like those if/when they become a couple, as they’re already partners.