Everyone loves a good love story. TV is full of couples, but only a select few capture epic romances, special relationships or passionate flings. No matter what kind of love story it is, here are the 50 best ones from the past decade on television.
#50 Zoe and Wade, Hart of Dixie
At first Wade was just the hot, low-class guy next door, but the show has slowly exposed his sweet inner self and his love story with Zoe has evolved beyond just sex.
#49 Bill and Sookie, True Blood
There have been many hiccups along the way (including Bill turning evil), and Sookie has many other suitors, but it’s Bill whose thoughts are sealed off from Sookie’s telepathy and, from the start, their passionate, forbidden romance drove the show.
#48 Carrie and Brody, Homeland
The craziest love story on TV, literally, the bipolar CIA operative fell in love with the man she suspected of being a terrorist. The fact that her suspicions were correct didn’t deter her feelings.
#47 Dave and Penny, Happy Endings
TV’s best non-love story love story, when it was first brought up that perhaps Penny had feelings for her friend Dave, the idea seemed totally ridiculous, then completely plausible. With one special episode, the show someone created a potential love story that was there all along.
#46 Jack and Kate, Lost
The surgeon and the con artist were destined to be together from the beginning, and after surviving the Island and traveling through time, they wound up together after all.
#45 Rachel and Finn, Glee
Teen romance is always full of drama, and that’s definitely true for these two who have gone through numerous obstacles, characters trying to get in between them and a huge break-up. But beneath it all, fans know they’re meant to be together.
#44 Owen and Cristina, Grey’s Anatomy
A complicated, harsh romance, these two struggled to be together with Owen suffering from PTSD. Their story is beautifully crafted as two severely broken characters try, fail, and try again to mend each other.
#43 Xander and Anya, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Who would’ve thought goofy Xander would be in a stable relationship? And who would’ve guessed it would be with a former vengeance demon. But from their dating to a proposal to moving in together to an almost marriage, these two had a great ride.
#42 Scott and Allison, Teen Wolf
The closest modern TV has come to Romeo and Juliet might be these crazy kids. He’s a werewolf and she’s from a family of werewolf hunters. It’s doomed to fail, but their teen passion and heat means they can’t keep their hands off each other, no matter how many outside forces try to keep them apart.
#41 House and Cuddy, House
The only woman who could possibly wrangle Dr. House, Cuddy had a great bickering relationship with him before they ultimately got together. Unfortunately she couldn’t compete with his first love, Vicodin.
#40 Jax and Tara, Sons of Anarchy
A doctor and a motorcycle gangster shouldn’t work together, but they have a history and their love story has helped both characters grow over the course of the series as Tara becomes more like Jax and he becomes more like her.
#39 Michael and Fiona, Burn Notice
The couples that spies together thrives together. This unconventional love story has proven itself time and time again as they will do whatever it takes to protect each other, even turn on the government.
#38 Leonard and Penny, The Big Bang Theory
The nerd got the hot chick across the hall. The inevitable problems are all there, but that hard road to happiness is what makes their story so great.
#37 Seth and Summer, The O.C.
Score another one for the nerds. Geek icon Seth Cohen pined for Summer Roberts all throughout high school, and he ultimately got her and even got to have the iconic upside-down Spiderman kiss he’d always dreamed of.
#36 Shawn and Juliet, Psych
This love story is more about wearing a woman down than anything else as Shawn’s playful wackiness grew on Juliet until she could no longer resist his charms.
#35 Stefan and Elena, The Vampire Diaries
From the moment Stefan saw Elena, he had to know her. Their intense connection survived many early hurdles as he would do absolutely anything to keep her safe.
#34 Damon and Elena, The Vampire Diaries
Yes, Stefan is the “good guy,” but the story of Damon and Elena is slightly more interesting. He met her first, but compelled her to forget. Their romance is forbidden and he acts like he’s too cool to care about such things, but we know he does. The sensitive side of Damon sneaks out frequently, and when it does, it shows a remarkably complex love story with Elena.
#33 Lois and Clark, Smallville
This is the greatest love story in the world of comic books, so when Clark Kent showed up on TV, it was just a matter of time until Lois Lane arrived. It took a long time, but eventually the show reached the fun point of a pair of reporters falling in love while chasing after stories.
#32 Bryan and David, The New Normal
This show has a tendency to be incredibly schmaltzy, but the central relationship is very sweet and adorable as two men try to build a life together.
#31 Ned and Chuck, Pushing Daisies
A pure and chaste fairytale romance, the fact that they could never touch, or else Ned would kill his childhood sweetheart, made their love story even more difficult, yet still powerful.
#30 April and Andy, Parks and Recreation
An unconventional love story, these two married before they really started dating, but their continued success at balancing each other is an uplifting message.
#29 Ephram and Amy, Everwood
Showing the pain, agony and struggles of young love, these two had to deal with a lot, including her boyfriend in a coma and him getting another girl pregnant. But the Ferris Wheel in the finale proved their love story was strong enough to survive.
#28 Matt and Julie, Friday Night Lights
The quarterback and the coach’s daughter is a bit of a cliche, but there was nothing clichéd about this romance. From their first dates to the first time they had sex to their break-up to reconnecting and, ultimately his proposal, we got to see young love blossom over the course of five seasons.
#27 Adam and Kristina, Parenthood
Sometimes love isn’t fiery and passionate. Sometimes it’s just about raising kids, supporting each other through good times and bad, for richer or poorer. Adam and Kristina represent that kind of realistic yet beautiful marriage.
#26 Phil and Claire, Modern Family
Marriage can also be a balancing act, and for this couple, it’s all about complementing each other. But come Valentine’s Day, these two prove they still know how to be romantic.
#25 Brooke and Julian, One Tree Hill
Fans always knew it would take a monumental, cinematic-level of romance to sweep damaged rich girl Brooke Davis off her feet. Enter film director Julian whose persistence and devilish smile gave Brooke the happy ending her movie deserved.
#24 Jules and Grayson, Cougar Town
No one expected a show called Cougar Town to evolve into a sweet relationship comedy, yet we saw wine-loving Jules go from cougar on the prowl to newlywed with the hot neighbor who accepts all of her many faults.
#23 Michael and Sara, Prison Break
Would you help your significant other break out of prison? If not, then your love story is nothing compared to that of Michael and Sara.
#22 Luke and Lorelai, Gilmore Girls
Their relationship started as a woman and the man who kept her caffeinated, but throughout the series the two slowly realized they were meant to be together, and while other lovers often got in their way, Luke proved he would do anything to make her happy.
#21 Jin and Sun, Lost
In flashbacks we saw the romantic story of how these two defied class structures to fall in love. On the Island, their crumbling marriage was saved as they grew closer to each other. Then, torn apart by time travel, they were able to overcome everything to reunite. And, ultimately, we saw them die together. Their journey and story was the heart of the show.
#20 Susan and Mike, Desperate Housewives
The show started with Susan lusting after the hot new plumber and all the soap opera obstacles weren’t able to keep them apart. They wound up together, only to be torn asunder in a violent ending.
#19 Sydney and Vaughn, Alias
It wasn’t easy for these two super spies to make their relationship work, especially with evil parents, government conspiracies, ancient prophecies, her being presumed dead for two years and him faking his own death. But somehow they made it work.
#18 Veronica and Logan, Veronica Mars
“I thought our story was epic, you know, you and me,” Logan once said to Veronica. “Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined, bloodshed. Epic.” In some ways he was right, and it’s easy to imagine that the futures of these characters contained all of that epic-ness.
#17 Booth and Brennan, Bones
They flirted for years until finally succumbing to the inevitable, throwing caution to the wind, having a baby together, and learning to share their lives. It’s been a long journey, but one that was totally worth it.
#16 Chuck and Sarah, Chuck
The nerd got the hot chick after years of dancing around the issues, pretending to be a couple for their cover. The romance was just one of the many genres that made this show so unique.
#15 Castle and Beckett, Castle
The banter between them for four years was fantastic as they would do anything and risk anything for each other. Luckily they finally became a couple because Beckett knows Castle will be there for her. Always.
#14 Lucas and Peyton, One Tree Hill
From the moment he picked up her car on the side of the road in the pilot, the legacy of Leyton was born. Neither psycho stalkers nor weddings could stop them from being together. In fact, he even wrote a book, The Comet, all about their endless love. And like any happy love story, it ending with them driving off into the sunset.
#13 Willow and Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Using witchcraft as a metaphor for Willow’s early college experimentation with lesbian was cute, but who could’ve guessed that shy, quiet Tara would become the great love of Willow’s life. She was under her spell, and even if their story was cut brutally short by a stray bullet, it was still a thing of absolute beauty.
#12 Chuck and Blair, Gossip Girl
Have two characters ever been more perfect for one another? This dastardly duo can scheme and manipulate with the best of them, and their psychological games served as foreplay for their destined love.
#11 Leslie and Ben, Parks and Recreation
Leslie is a huge political nerd and, for the first two seasons it seemed impossible for any man handle all of her issues. Then came Ben and, at every step, their romance has been sweet, funny, heartfelt and idyllic, just like the boundless, Capra-esque optimism that permeates the series.
#10 Marshall and Lily, How I Met Your Mother
If you had to be friends with any TV couple, you’d probably pick these two. Proof that a healthy, functional relationship can still be funny, they have a perfect sense of humor that helps them just have fun with each other, as any good couple should do.
#9 Peter and Olivia, Fringe
Dealing with evil doppelgangers from an alternate dimension, altered timelines that deleted him from existence and a trip to the future, Peter and Olivia always manage to find themselves with each other. It’s a love that transcends the known physical universe.
#8 Mitch and Cam, Modern Family
The most wonderfully realistic depiction of a gay couple on TV, Mitch and Cam are zany opposites who complement each other perfectly, and their relationship feels as real and authentic as anything on television.
#7 Eric and Tami, Friday Night Lights
Marriage is built on support, and that’s what we saw over the course of five seasons between Coach and Mrs. Coach. Not only did Tami support her husband at every step of the way, but he supported her as well. They were equals and always took time to savor the little moments of their wonderful lives.
#6 Derek and Meredith, Grey’s Anatomy
Getting together was a struggle thanks to near-death experiences and Rose, but he built her a house made of candles. Through thick and thin, Mer-Der was always meant to be.
#5 Carrie and Mr. Big, Sex and the City
Carrie had a massive parade of male suitors, but the one she always went back to was Big. He was, in many ways, the human embodiment of Carrie’s true love, New York City.
#4 Ed and Carol, Ed
This underappreciated NBC dramedy was the most unabashedly romantic show ever. Ed moved back to his hometown to open a law office in a bowling alley and to win the heart of his high school crush, Carol Vessey. From wearing a suit of armor to giving Carol her 25 Favorite Things (based on a list she wrote as a little girl) before proposing, you couldn’t help but fall in love.
#3 Buffy and Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
There’s a simple, obvious beauty to a love story between a vampire with a soul and a Slayer. The story served as a perfect metaphor for your first love, complete with the guy turning into a monster after the first time having sex (literally, in the case of Angelus). Whether Buffy had to kill him or whether she forced him to drink her, their love story was forever. Sorry Spike fans, but I still think that Buffy will one day become cookies and be with Angel.
#2 Jim and Pam, The Office
The love story of Jim and Pam has been shown in its entirety. First they were flirtatious work friends, then they kissed, then they secretly got together, then he proposed, then they got married and had a baby. And all along the way, goofy Jim proved that he’s just as good as huge romantic gestures as he is at elaborate pranks for Dwight.
#1 Nathan and Haley, One Tree Hill
Always and forever. Those words shall be associated with Naley from now until the end of time. From start to finish during the show’s nine-season run, the unlikely romance between the obnoxious jock and Tutor Girl unfolded and overcame obstacles like car accidents, teen pregnancy and Chris Keller. They eventually got their dream life with a nice house, great jobs, fantastic kids and everything they could’ve ever hoped for. One Tree Hill was, at its core, a story about love. Love for basketball. Love for music. Love for friends. Love for family. And, most importantly, the true love between Nathan Scott and Haley James.