Zoe and Wash 2With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and carrying on our theme from last week, I thought it’d be nice to honor those couples who are really shown to have a great relationship. Whether that relationship blossomed before our eyes on screen, went through dozens of horrible obstacles, or just came together through a shared need, these couples show that sci-fi romance doesn’t have to happen only at the end of the story, nor does it have to be a shallow “Hero’s Reward” sort of thing. So here are four couples that both earned and proved their love.

4. Odo and Kira–Deep Space 9

It took them longer to get together than most on this list, but that doesn't make what we see any less amazing.

It took them longer to get together than most on this list, but that doesn’t make what we see any less amazing.

Deep Space 9 had a lot of different couples created throughout its run. Jadzia and Worf, Sisko and Cassady Yates, Rom and Leeta… but none of them were harder fought or more deserving than Odo and Kira. Odo first acknowledges his feelings for her way back in the first season, and has to watch her go through a number of partners while silently serving as a good friend to her. The other Changelings even set up a trap to find out just how valuable Kira is to him, and their relationship ends up being a huge problem for them in trying to draw Odo back into the Link. When Kira and Odo finally get together, however, the relationship that they share is quite amazing. It’s quite positive, even in the midst of the war. Even the series’ ending doesn’t completely ruin what they had; it just postpones it for a while.

3. Aeryn and Crichton–Farscape

Babies ever after is a common occurrence for couples on this list. Their kid might get a movie, though.

Babies ever after is a common occurrence for couples on this list. Their kid might get a movie, though.

Few couples, within the sci-fi genre or out, have gone through as much as Aeryn Sun and John Crichton. One of the really unusual and interesting things that Farscape pulled was by splitting Crichton into two equally-valid Crichtons, and then splitting them up. The one that goes with Aeryn and starts a relationship with her ends up dying, but not before giving us a huge glimpse at the kind of relationship that they could have together. Having an identical twin (even more identical than twins!) of your dead lover there every day to remind you of what you’ve lost, especially one who still possesses a lot of shared experiences, has got to be tough, and yet they were able to once again come together and be a couple (and a badass action couple to boot). And the way they would have gone out, had it not been for the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries…

Special award to Farscape for making it on both the least and best developed relationship lists.

2. Sheridan and Delenn–Babylon 5

Standing on the bridge of the ship they'd one day get married aboard.

Standing on the bridge of the ship they’d one day get married aboard.

Babylon 5 is a wonderfully written show in a lot of ways, and one of the best examples of that is the development of Sheridan and Delenn’s relationship. Delenn transformed herself to become more human to act as a bridge between the Minbari (her people) and humans. Sheridan comes aboard the station as its new commander not terribly long after (the end of season 1 and beginning of season 2, respectively). One of her first acts in this new mission is to approach Sheridan and try to befriend him, but as it turns out, they actually have quite a bit in common. From there, the relationship slowly develops, with admissions of feelings and a kiss the next year, going through ordeals set before them and even being brought back from the dead by the intensity of love before finally getting married near the end of season 4. What this means is that, rather than getting together at the end of the show, they had an entire season of being married and still being an interesting couple, something which doesn’t happen anywhere near often enough. Who says resolving that sexual tension kills interest in a pairing?

1. Zoe and Wash–Firefly

They're cute together, love unconditionally, and still have plenty of sex. That's what every married couple should aim for, right?

They’re cute together, love unconditionally, and still have plenty of sex. That’s what every married couple should aim for, right?

When it comes to happy couples written perfectly, it’s hard to do better than Zoe and Wash. What makes this so interesting is that there was never any sexual tension between them–they were married from before the series began. No prolonged courtship or hooking up period; instead, we just see them as they are, and for a series as short as Firefly unfortunately was, we get quite a lot of scenes that prove the fire doesn’t have to leave a relationship after saying “I do.” Even when one of the episode plots is about how Wash is worried that Zoe might have a crush on her old war buddy Mal, it’s resolved simply with a scene pointing out how silly that idea is. When the bad guy of the same episode tries to force her into a sadistic choice between saving Mal or her husband, she doesn’t hesitate for a second–Wash always comes first. They have great chemistry and plans for a family together some day, even if the ‘Verse is a rough and tumble place to raise a kid.

Of course, this being Whedon’s world, things are never quite so simple for them. But Zoe and Wash proved that couples can be entertaining without the “will they or won’t they” that plagues long-lasting series.

So there you have it, 4 of the best relationships I’ve seen on TV. Are there any other poorly done relationships like these that you’re aware of? Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter @RetroPhaseShift.