2019 Year-End Reviews: Romantic Relationships

In the words of Louisa May Alcott: “Love is a great beautifier.” Whether it’s platonic or romantic, the love we share with others plays a vast role in making us better humans. Some of the couples on this list were tragically set for an unhappy ending, but that doesn’t change the fact that what’s happened between them is still moving and magnanimous. The stories were healing, beautifully sincere, and some of the best written romantic arcs I’ve seen in a while.

1. Sidney Parker and Charlotte Heywood
Sanditon

sidlotte

The slow progression of this stunning relationship is the kind of romance dreams are made of, and with further progression, I’m almost certain they might become my favorite Austen couple. (No one tell Emma and Knightley.) There’s so much I could say about Sidney and Charlotte, and the unyielding, beautifully touching love they have for one another. There’s something so achingly immaculate about a man whose heart was shattered and darkened opening up to a woman whose innocence brought him back to life. Sidney wasn’t unkind out of malicious intent, but because the cruelty and rejection he faced stripped him bare and broke him at his core, it took the parts of him that felt entirely too much and instead awakened an anger in him. The past took no pity on him, and as a result, his instincts resulted in, attack first, explain later because that’s easier than to unveiling his heart and risking pain all over again. Then, in came a woman with an innocence that tore him to shreds not because she’d broken him further, but because she’d taken the parts of him that had been darkened and restored light into them. A restoration that took time because the severity of the damages done were viscous, and an awakening that opened up parts of him no other human had ever gotten close to. That’s why “I’ve never wanted to put myself in someone else’s before” is so profoundly poignant as a declaration because it bares him more than the afternoon at the coves ever did. It’s Sidney Parker at his most vulnerable, promising that in spite of what lies ahead, the all-consuming adoration Charlotte’s awakened in him will be the governing force behind his every act.

Charlotte doesn’t get to tell him just how much she adores him, but we know as viewers that his flawed, incomparably quiet tenderness is something she’s completely grateful for. He challenges her ideals, breaks down her walls, and most importantly, he listens to her. He respects and values her good opinion, and in the same way, she values his. When given the chance, she’d do anything in her power, go above and beyond just to adore him. If the events of the finale indicate one thing, it’s that both Charlotte and Sidney have never known pain greater than the parting they faced. She’d never be so selfish to tell him to stay and inspired by her scolding, he’s doing the very thing she once told him, too. (Look after his family.) They’re each other’s everything. (I think about Sidney’s inability to respond to Charlotte’s: “Is that all that I am to you? A source of amusement?” To which it’s so clear, he wants to say that she’s in fact, everything. It’s written all over his face and it’s heard in his breathless stutter.) Come what may they’ll find their way back to each other, anchored at sea is their unceasing love for one another that’s stronger and deeper than anything they’ll ever experience, and a love like that withstands all sorts of trials.

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2019 Year-End Reviews: Platonic Relationships

We celebrate the gifts that are our families and friends far too infrequently. There’s a specific day set in calendars for couples, and Leslie Knope coined the perfection that is Galentine’s Day (February 13), but even still, while it’s progressive and amazing, it’s just not enough. If a TV show or film doesn’t have a solid, incredible friendship or some sort of platonic relationship, I can’t get into it. As someone who’s so inspired by the people in her life, it’s the one thing I look for in the media I consume. It’s the one thing that keeps me engaged and invested. It’s the one thing that results in excellent character development.  And this year especially, I’m happy to report there were too many gorgeous relationships to choose from. I’d rather have too much than not enough to even fill this category, which is always a bummer. We are not created to be alone as human beings, it’s the relationships we form throughout our lives that effortlessly shape us into the people we become and when we’re surrounded by people who believe in us, there’s nothing we can’t do.

1. The Rose Family
Schitt’s Creek

rose family

When I first started Schitt’s Creek, I could have never imagined how much I’d adore this family and how far they’d come. The Roses are exceptional because they’re absolute weirdos in the most normal way in this ridiculous town, but they stand out because of the love that’s come into their hearts throughout their stay in Schitt’s Creek. This doesn’t just include the immediate Rose family, but Stevie, Ted, and Patrick, too. The family that once only wanted towels and a car out of this town have extended their hearts to the people around them, welcoming them with open arms and a promise to never abandon them. It’s Moira’s belief in Stevie as an unofficial second daughter. It’s the family’s undying love for Patrick and Ted. And it’s Alexis realizing just how much she’s grown to love spending time with them. The series wouldn’t be as brilliant if it weren’t for the family growing to appreciate one another without ever changing their outlandish dynamic and calling one another out on their craps.

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2019 Year-End Reviews: Characters

Out of all the articles that release for our end of the year celebration, discussing my favorite characters is somehow the one that always brings on the tears. A well written character whose arc guides the story is the reason I love television so much. The opportunity to see these people live and love and bend and break all while being incredibly human and learning through their journey never fails to be inspiring. It’s a celebration of humanity that allows us to see ourselves, as viewers in a whole new light.

1. Charlotte Heywood
Sanditon

charlotte

Charlotte Heywood, in this version of Jane Austen’s Sanditon, might just be my favorite regency heroine, for there’s so much to say about her innate goodness and strong resourcefulness. Charlotte Heywood is the leading example of “having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness”, but perhaps the most captivating part of Charlotte’s tenderness is that it’s woven intricately with the will to stand up for what she believes in. She’s anything but quiet and observant – she’s hardheaded, too, but her choices come from pure intent and unbelievable altruism. Charlotte’s the type of person who’d choose someone else’s happiness above her own time and time again out of the sheer belief that it’s what’s right, it’s how it should be. It’s why she can never marry for fortune because the belief that she’d be prisoning herself and thus, her partner is something she can’t live with. And it’s that very heart that makes it so easy to fall in love with her — just ask Sidney Parker. Charlotte could turn even the most jaded of souls who’ve been tainted by life’s heartbreaks into a softened man who’d do anything to ensure he remains on her good graces. Charlotte’s openness towards Georgiana, and the genuine desire to make sure she knows she’s loved speaks so highly on behalf of the  person she’s aiming to be. A woman who will do everything she can to make the small world she is a part of a little brighter. She isn’t afraid to speak up and she isn’t afraid to apologize. She is willing to learn and grow. Some people are born with a lot of goodness in their bones, some learn to choose it, Charlotte is both, for learning who she is and who she wants to be is something that I hope we’ll get to see more of when Sanditon is renewed for a second series.

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This Week’s Most Exquisite TV Moment

November 3-9
“Daisy” | Madam Secretary 

Look at the gif above without crying, I dare you.  It’s still hard to grasp that it’s the final season of Madam Secretary, but so far, the series has been delivering one strong episode after another, give or take a few minute mishaps. The second we learned that Elizabeth McCord was President of the United States, I couldn’t wait to see the moment where we’d see the reactions to her win. And it was the kind of moment undoubtedly well worth the wait. “Daisy” wasn’t an easy episode to watch, but without exaggeration, I openly wept from beginning to end, but absolutely lost it all during this final  scene.

I don’t mean to turn this into a political post to discuss my own personal opinions — but this was the very reaction I’d expected a lot of us to have during the 2016 elections if we had elected the first female President of the United States. And perhaps that’s why I had such a visceral reaction to this episode because for a moment, it felt real, it felt hopeful, and it was executed with such heartfelt, palpable reactions you couldn’t help but choke up. The raw energy in the performances  leaves much room for discussion, but simply put, it was remarkably moving in all the right ways.

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This Week’s Most Exquisite TV Moment

January 6-12
“Separation Part II” | Madam Secretary

screen shot 2019-01-12 at 5.51.01 pm

Source: CBS

With the perfectly heartfelt premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place’s incredible return episode, TV’s a delightful place again that has me grinning from ear to ear. Last week’s show of choice, Outlander showed us the ramifications of Jamie’s actions and Brianna’s frustrations leaving us with another intriguing episode. But it was Sunday’s return episode of Madam Secretary that I can’t stop thinking about.

Madam Secretary is a special show, it’s the only drama that’s allowed to be 22 episodes long because it’s the one platform that highlights politics in the eyes of a character driven cast. And both “Separation” episodes did what TV at its best does — evokes something powerful by mirroring the world we live in today. Sometimes we need to escape the treacheries of the world with fiction and sometimes, we need fiction to scream about what’s happening because it’s crucial to bettering our lives. We can try to escape and disregard politics all we want, and I’m all for people stepping back if it’s too much to bear at times, but when children are separated from their families, our voices need to be heard. And the two-part story on Madam Secretary refused to stay silent.

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2018 Best of the Year Reviews: 10 Relationships

After I’ve found characters whose lives I’m invested in, my brain then automatically goes towards intricately analyzing the relationships they’ve got — both platonic and romantic because I’m a big believer in the fact that no one should ever be alone in this world. No one can accomplish anything alone. And ultimately, we as people aren’t meant to be alone. Each of the relationships chosen for this category are ones that have done an exemplary job of teaching viewers what it means to compromise, to trust, to believe, and to love deeply. Each, in their own unique ways, have effortlessly made people better. Heck, Marvel’s T’Challa wouldn’t be as successful as Black Panther if he didn’t have such a loving team on his side.  Relationships shape us, break us, and teach us some of the greatest things we could ever learn in the world. And to love with a profound intensity in our hearts often does the trick in bringing our souls to ease even when nothing else is going our way.

For more end of the year reviews, check out our Top 10 Performers, 10 Characters, and 10 Episodes.

  1. Matthew Clairmont and Diana Bishop
    A Discovery of Witches

A witch and a vampire walk into a library. . .If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be sitting here today writing about a fantasy romance between a witch and vampire, utterly compelled by their story I would’ve told you you’re crazy. But yet here we are, wine in hand, crying into the glass over the relationship I didn’t know I needed in my life. Matthew and Diana are magic together. (I kid you not, friends, the show’s theme song just came on shuffle. Magic.) Personally, a brooding man who hasn’t known love for centuries finding light and wonder in a woman is right up my alley of tropes, for it tells the all-consuming story of what it truly means to be destined for someone, bound by an unseen but potent line that’s been fortified through time and continues to grow beautifully when it begins to intertwine with adoration. There’s so much that could be said about how beautifully their meeting plays a significant, inspiring role in their lives, specifically, at this point in time, Matthew’s love for Diana, which has brought out the magic in her. And in retrospect, how effortlessly she’s brought light back into his life. The laughter, the sincerity, and the unshakeable belief in one another continues to stun me. Matthew and Diana have found something powerful with each other that’s helped them both not only see the greatness in themselves, but the resilience, too. Belief from another person can serve as unparalleled strength and inspiration, thereby, the tireless choices they each make to hearten and challenge one another has made their story that much more captivating. I can’t conclude this without paying homage to Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer’s exquisite chemistry with one another, each playing on the other’s emotions beautifully in a poetic rhythm, which results in each moment, even the quiet, most delicate spectacles of intimacy feel like a work of art.

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2018 Best of the Year Reviews: 10 Characters

For the past few years, this category’s been the most difficult — trying to pick through my favorites without too much repetition from past years and the desire to give other characters the opportunity to be on here as well. But my inability to choose could’ve been due to the fact that there just weren’t that many options in the first place. And this year’s special — in both the TV verse and cinematic. And these ten characters are ones I’m certain I could not love more even if I tried. Some old with exceptional growth and some new pushing me into a state of gratitude for just how great TV’s been this year.

For more end of the year reviews, check out our Top 10 Performers, 10 Relationships and 10 Episodes.

 

The Ladies

  1. Lucy Preston
    Timeless
Timeless - Season 2

Source: NBC

I don’t think there’s ever been a character as adored as quickly as Timeless’ Lucy Preston. And season two pulled the darling historian through the darkest of revelations only to have her come out of it even more generous than before. Lucy’s heart is inexpressible –there hasn’t been a character like her in a while, and it’s been a stunning ride watching her continuously open her heart despite the fact that the one person she trusted most in her life turned out to be the villain in her story. Whether it was fighting alongside the women who were to be executed during the Salem Witch Trials, standing with Suffragette Alice Paul, or welcoming Jessica to the team despite her feelings for Wyatt — Lucy’s benevolence is selflessness in its most evident form. She is nobility personified, for even when she could be choosing for herself, fighting for her own future, the other person’s effect is always taken into deep consideration, too. But the thing I appreciate most about Lucy is that even with all the compassion running in her veins, she’s not one to allow anyone to take advantage of her — she understands that goodness and naiveté aren’t the same thing. She’s fought back when she needs to. She’s cried when she’s been in pain. She’s doubted. She’s believed. She’s gotten excited. She’s shown viewers a wide range of emotions authenticating the fact that women are beautifully complex. She’s many things, but above all, she’s a woman who’s walked through fire and instead of letting it burn her, she’s used it to fuel the good fight instead. She’s walked out with the flames as phoenix feathers — stronger, wiser, and even more compassionate than before.

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2017 Year-End Reviews: 17 Little Gems

They are the scenes we watch over and over again — the scenes we can never seem to get enough of, and the scenes we remember for years to come. The Little Gems category was started last year for the moments that effortlessly became my favorites — the moments, which I found myself being moved by the most. While it was a little tough to choose them this year, we managed. And without further ado, our final installment of article for the year of 2017, our 17 favorite little gems.

Also, be sure to check out our Series of the Year | Stranger Things article, as the number one performances, characters, relationships, and moments are all featured there first. They deserved their own special tribute.

Best for last, don’t forget to check out what Heather (TV Examined) and Katie (Nerdy Girl Notes) had to say about their favorites this year. The best part of our year-end reviews is sharing them with such incredible, perfectly gifted writers — always managing to convince me to watch whatever it is they’re writing about.

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2017 Year-End Reviews: 10 Characters

A great story is easily driven by its complex, compelling, remarkably exquisite characters. Whether they’re heroes or villains or somewhere in between the spectrum, it’s their stories that make the series riveting — their journey, their life, their interactions. They are the reason a series is special. They are the heart. And while there are a number of wonderfully written characters on TV, these are my personal favorites.

Also, be sure to check out our Series of the Year | Stranger Things article, as the number one performances, characters, relationships, and moments are all featured there first. They deserved their own special tribute.

Plus, don’t forget to head on over to TVExamined and Nerdy Girl Notes to see what Heather and Katie had to say about their favorites this year.

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Spring ’17 Finale Roundup | Week III

| May 14-28 |

We’re almost there, friends — the end of an incredible, jaw-dropping spring season. The last two weeks have displayed partnerships at their finest with Once Upon A TimeChicago P.D., Madam Secretary, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

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