2022 was a tough year for TV cancelations, but a terrific year for TV couples.
From longtime favorite ships on returning shows to swoon-worthy new duos in fresh series, there were a whole lot of on-screen romances to root for this year.
Before I recap the best of the best, I feel compelled to remind you that despite my undying love of television I haven’t had the chance to watch every show that aired this year. So if one of your die-hard 2022 ships didn’t make the cut don’t despair. Perhaps they didn’t hit me as hard as the 10 duos below, but there’s also a chance I haven’t seen their love story! Except for Never Have I Ever. That show isn’t on here because I simply can’t bring myself to choose Team Ben or Team Paxton. I see why Devi has such a hard time choosing! We both need another season!
Those who did make this very exclusive, incredibly personalized list are the television duos who live rent free in my mind even when their shows are off-air. Maybe they’ve formed deep connections, shared magnetic sexual tension, exhibited palpable chemistry, or had a memorable kiss this year. But whatever they did, please know that I currently ship these 10 pairs to the ends of the earth.
Without further ado, please sit back, relax, enjoy my Top 10 TV Ships of 2022, and be mindful of spoilers within each blurb.
Brandon and Serene, ‘Bachelor in Paradise’
Bold of me to include an IRL couple on this list, I know. But Bachelor in Paradise Season 8 contestants Brandon Jones and Serene Brook Russell thawed my cold Bachelor Nation heart this year. Since the very start of what genuinely may have been the most dramatic season in Paradise history, Brandon and Serene were in their own little love bubble. They stayed minding their own business, steered clear of continual Paradise chaos, and overcame the surprise Split Week challenge with ease. They’re hot as hell, sincerely enchanted by each other, and never took their relationship for granted on the beach. Through Season 8’s many breakups, betrayals, and love triangles, I never doubted that Brandon and Serene were endgame. And I was right! Though the finale was an absolute mess — complete with tears, tough conversations, regrets, and a wild Greg Grippo appearance — at least we had Serene and Brandon. In the final moments of Season 8, Brandon told cameras that Serene “has put every fear, every doubt, every concern to rest,” and Serene said Brandon “exceeds her wildest dreams of what love could be.” He vowed to love her until his last breath, and she accepted his proposal without a second thought. The two are still together and sharing precious glimpses of their relationship, hilarious personalities, and life outside of Paradise on Instagram. Protect this Bachelor Nation couple at all costs.
Simone and Dina, ‘The Rookie: Feds’
Back in October, I gushed over a steamy meet-cute with an unlikely source:The Rookie: Feds. The police procedural follows FBI newbie Simone Clark (Niecy Nash-Betts) as she tries to find her footing in the agency. She’s ready for whatever the job throws her way, but she never expected to literally bump into a dreamy romantic prospect on the sidewalk outside her dad’s house. Then came Dina, played by — wait for it — Niecy Nash-Betts’ IRL WIFE, singer Jessica Betts! Episode 3 of The Rookie spin-off, aptly titled “Star Crossed,” shows Simone nearly smashing into Dina (aka DJ) while she’s humming a sweet tune. An official introduction, complete with an intimate handshake, goes down. And before revealing her real name, Simone introduces herself as “Smitten.” SQUEALING! Their chemistry is palpable, likely in part because Niecy Nash-Betts and Jessica Betts tied the knot back in August 2020. Though Dina and Simone’s relationship only lasted several episodes (sad!) and their mom and dad are technically dating (awkward!) I still ship them. Simone and Dina called it quits because Simone had to focus on work, but the two still have strong feelings for each other, so I’m hopeful they can rekindle their flame at some point down the line.
Doug and Tina, ‘Minx’
Before we celebrate Minx‘s top ship we need to take a moment to acknowledge the absolute audacity of HBO Max canceling this show (and a bunch of others) in 2022. Minx had already gotten a green light for Season 2 and was nearly done filming when HBO Max gave them the axe, but fear not! Creator Ellen Rapoport since posted an Instagram story saying the show will ideally find a home on a new streaming service, and actor Jake Johnson shared a post to let fans know that production on Season 2 wasn’t halted and the cast and crew were finishing out their final week on set. “From what I am hearing S1 & S2 (and hopefully S3) will find a new home, the question is where,” Johnson wrote, so here’s hoping the show returns with new episodes so we can see more of his character Doug’s compelling dynamic with Idara Victor’s Tina. As Doug and Tina navigate the world of business, porn, and publishing, their different perspectives and personalities perfectly complement each other and make one hell of a partnership. Johnson and Victor came up with their characters’ decade-long backstory, which we get glimpses of in flashbacks, but in present-day it’s clear there are major romantic sparks between them. They challenge each other; openly navigate racism, sexism, and the mafia in the ’70s; and share one of the hottest kiss scenes of 2022. In a setting where it would be so incredibly easy for Doug and feminist magazine creator Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) to wind up together, let’s celebrate Minx for taking the less predictable path and crafting a substantial, sexy romance with history.
Sophie and Jesse, ‘How I Met Your Father’
The thing about Hulu’s How I Met Your Father is it makes you ship anyone and everyone together. I’ve rooted for our main gal Sophie (Hilary Duff) to be with Ian (Daniel Augustin), Drew (Josh Peck), Sid (Suraj Sharma), and Jesse (Christopher Lowell) — sometimes simultaneously! I’ve shipped her BFF Valentina with Charlie (Tom Ainsley) and Sid! Yes, it’s weird! No I don’t condone Sid cheating on his fiancé! But these fictional crushes are just too good! At times, the couple potential on How I Met Your Father feels endless, but the How I Met Your Mother fan in me — the sappy, hopeless romantic, Ted Mosby and Robin Scherbatsky die-hard — keeps coming back to one couple: Sophie and Jesse. These two dorky “Drops of Jupiter” fans who love love inspire the kind of ship that lingers in your heart whether they’re together or apart. After spending the majority of Season 1 as friends, the two shared a sweet first kiss set to “BRIGHTSIDE” by The Lumineers that gave me chills/brought tears to my eyes/prompted squealing voice messages to friends. The whole freakin’ deal! Sure, they went back to being “just friends” by the finale, but HIMYM fans know this is only the beginning of a long, winding will-they-won’t-they road.
Becka and Matt, ‘Bad Sisters’
It wasn’t enough that Bad Sisters cast two humans with unfairly stunning eyes as love interests — those two humans had to be incredibly attractive, charming, and charismatic — WITH IRISH ACCENTS — too. Unreal! Apple TV+‘s dark comedic thriller, adapted from Malin-Sarah Gozin’s Flemish series Clan, ended in October 2022. But I still ship Eve Hewson’s Becka Garvey and Daryl McCormack’s Matthew Claffin on a daily basis. Since their painful meet-cute minutes into the pilot to their complex, emotional ending in the finale, the insurance agent and massage therapist feel destined to date. They ooze chemistry, effortlessly piggyback off of each other’s personalities, and balance each other out energy-wise. They’re a pair so captivating that even Bad Sisters creator and star Sharon Horgan wants more. Ahead of the series’ Season 2 renewal, Horgan told Decider, “If we ever did anything further it’d be very hard not to want to see those two together.” I know how they ended things, but since the show is returning for another season, I have no choice but to use this blurb to once again beg Horgan for more Matt and Becka.
Conrad and Billie, ‘The Resident’
The Resident may be a medical show, but I’m continually delighted by how thoughtful its writers are in crafting romantic storylines. In Season 6, fans have had time to properly celebrate Kit and Bell’s heartwarming love for each other, but we’ve also seen a scintillating slow-burn between Conrad (Matt Czuchry) and Billie (Jessica Lucas). After Conrad’s wife Nic (Emily VanCamp) died in Season 5 I never thought I’d ship him with another soul — certainly not Nic’s best friend. But Conrad and Billie’s deep understanding of loss and their love for Nic (and Gigi) is ultimately what binds them. In Season 6, we’ve watched Conrad and Billie offer each other unwavering support and exhibit impressive self-control in times of borderline unbearable sexual tension. Their dance to “Cant Help Falling In Love” at Kit and Bell’s wedding reception? I was breathless! Their chemistry during that long-awaited kiss? Off the charts! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Conrad and Billie make me swoon.
Midge and Lenny, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’
Since The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel premiered in 2017 I’ve been shipping Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) and Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby). I know I’m setting myself up for brutal heartbreak, because if Amy Sherman-Palladino stays true to history, Kirby’s character will die of a drug overdose like the real Lenny Bruce. But my god, it’s impossible to watch these two picturesque, witty, fast-talking wordsmiths with effortless comedic talent interact without wanting them to jump each other’s bones. In 2022, after four seasons of sexual tension and genuine love and respect for one another, the two stand-up stars finally got together. The scenes, and I can’t stress this enough, were absolute breathtaking perfection. 11/10. No notes. After exchanging some of the dreamiest banter in television history Midge and Lenny did “some very blue things” in their “very blue room” and reminded fans how satisfying it can be to savor a quality slow-burn.
Janine and Gregory, ‘Abbott Elementary’
Speaking of slow-burns, there’s so much to love about Quinta Brunson’s Emmy-winning workplace mockumentary Abbott Elementary that the series is fully capable of thriving without an office romance. But Brunson blessed fans with one of TV’s most shippable slow-burns anyway, and for that we’re eternally grateful. Janine (Brunson) and Gregory (Tyler James Williams) — two teachers at Willard R. Abbott Public School — are destined to kiss. They’re colleagues, friends, and professionals. But they’re also going to date each other dang so hard one day, and I for one, can’t wait. Like Jim and Pam, Amy and Jonah, and David and Patrick before them, Janine and Gregory regularly share sweet, simple moments at work that seem small, but function like bricks being laid to form a firm foundation. In Season 2’s must-watch winter finale, “Holiday Hookah,” fans get a rare (still G-rated!) glimpse at Janine and Gregory After Dark to confirm what we already know…if (when) these two finally get together, their romance will absolutely live up to the hype.
Jimmy and Kim, ‘Better Call Saul’
Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler — my sweet, scamming partners in literal crime. I love you so. Fans may have said goodbye to Better Call Saul this year after six spectacular seasons, but Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy and Rhea Seehorn’s Kim are eternal. This ship is so strong it’s survived distance, identity crises, mayhem, murder, and everything in between. Do Jimmy and Kim always bring out the best in each other? Hell freaking no. But they’re soulmates in the deepest sense of the word who understand each other in ways no one else can. When they put their minds together, the limits of their capabilities are few and far between. Though Season 6 sent them down their rockiest road yet, Odenkirk and Seehorn’s on-screen chemistry remained unmatched. I wouldn’t dare spoil one of my favorite shows of all time by gushing over the series finale, so I’ll just say that this duo will forever be an orange flame that dares to brighten a black and white world.
Burt and Irving, ‘Severance’
In addition to being my favorite show of the year, Dan Erickson’s Severance also features my favorite ship of the year: Burt and Irving. Burving! These two star-crossed colleagues find love in a hopeless place — the basement of Lumon Industries, where employees have severed memories, no insight into who they are outside those walls, and no idea what they do at work all day. Burt (Christopher Walken) and Irving (John Turturro) meet in Episode 2 and share an instant, innocent spark that grows into a full-blown flame as the season progresses. The intimate moment they share while surrounded by plants in Episode 6 is both a cinematic masterpiece and the most romantic TV scene I witnessed in 2022. In a Reddit AMA, Erickson revealed that he, too, loves Burving’s “middle school crush” vibes, and that one of the reasons the duo has such believable on-screen chemistry is because Turturro suggested his IRL pal Walken for the role. Burv brings humor, heart, and crucial representation to screens. (I mean how often to you get to watch two men over age 60 flirt and explore their sexuality?!) And without spoiling this spectacular show, I’ll simply say their complex connection ends on a major cliffhanger that I think about on a daily basis. I needed Season 2 the second I watched the credits roll on Season 1’s finale, but I’ll wait years for new episodes if it means that Burt and Irving’s love story gets the care it deserves.