The best TV ‘ships’ that never quite sailed

Because unrequited love makes classic TV, here are the best relationships that never had a happily ever after...

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Don’t worry dear RadioTimes.com readers, we haven’t gone overboard: we’re here to talk about ships, albeit not those of the nautical variety.

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We’re discussing ‘ships’, as in “relationships”, an imagined romantic pairing of two people, fictional or otherwise.

We all have them, the two (or perhaps three, four or more) characters that we know won’t end up together but, deep down, still really wish they would. There’s a whole corner of the world wide web (the information superhighway, if you will) dedicated to lamenting the fate of these on-screen pairings.

So what better way to spend your day than dreaming about the “ones who got away”? Here are just some of our favourite ships that never quite made it out of the harbour…

The Doctor and Rose (Doctor Who)

Did you want Rose to get it Ecclest-on with the 9th Doctor after that kiss of life in The Parting of The Ways or spend seven minutes in Tardis heaven with David Tennant’s Doctor number 10?

Rose and the Doctor’s complicated companionship broke many a heart, and never really got off to a proper time-travelling start. Their love never dies among the fandom though.

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And while we’re on the subject, which Doctor should YOU date?

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (Sherlock)

Never mind The Woman, when it comes to 221b Baker Street there’s only one elementary pairing: Johnlock. The ease with which the crime-fighting duo play off each other is squeal-worthy.

Watson’s protective doting and Sherlock’s well-meaning gestures add comedic elements to every episode. And there’s enough fanfiction, fan art and video compilations to satisfy even the most insatiable fanatic during the long hiatuses.

Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth (Game of Thrones)

It might seem like an unlikely pairing but Brienne and Jamie have created some of the most understated, noteworthy chemistry on Game of Thrones. The two sword masters are stubborn and loyal to a fault, but together they forge an unlikely, oftentimes shaky friendship.

Our hearts break right alongside Brienne’s when Jamie utters the words “We don’t get to choose who we love” and we’re catapulted into the realization that Brimie will never be a reality.

Benson and Stabler (Law and Order: SVU)

One of TV’s most famous and beloved crime-fighting duos, Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler spent many years kicking backsides and taking names via the Special Victims Unit. Their on-screen chemistry was undeniable and drove fans into a frenzy.

Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni

Alas, the show runners just wouldn’t give the people what they wanted. Instead, we were forced to watch as Liv packed up her former partner’s desk after 12 superb seasons. Sob.

Ryan and Marissa (The OC)

If you were Team Seth and Summer you were bound to get your happy ending but those who shipped Ryan and Marissa had to deal with a fate as bad as death. Literally.

Ryan and Marissa The OC

A whole generation groaned when The OC’s on-again-off-again darlings were devastatingly torn apart by an excruciating car crash. The ship wasn’t the only think that sank though: It only took the show about a year to follow suit.

Don and Peggy (Mad Men)

Ok, ok, you probably think it’s a BIT of a stretch BUT hear us out before you get mad… men. When we first met Don and Peggy they were totally different characters and they both had quite the journey over the course of the show’s run.

Don and Peggy in Mad Men Series 7B

She’s become nothing short of a force to be reckoned with, showing her former boss who’s, well, boss. Couldn’t they have become the ultimate advertising power couple?

“No”, said creator Matthew Weiner. Well, that’s us told.

Mary Crawley and Tom Branson (Downton Abbey)

What a difference a double death makes: Once sworn enemies Mary and Tom became quite the Downton double act. The opposites complimented each other in ways only OTP (One True Pairings) can.

Their, err, civil society might just have frowned upon a union between the widowed in-laws though.

Tony Stark and Bruce Banner (Marvel’s The Avengers)

OK, not technically a TV ship but we kind of had to mention them. Fans were so enamored with The Avenger’s resident scientists that they even created the subgenre Science Bros, a collection of pieces and art that celebrate the friendship – and possible relationship – between Marvel’s Tony “Iron Man” Stark and Bruce “The Hulk” Banner.

The Hulk and Iron Man

We have to admit that their on-screen chemistry is rather adorable, and if you’re among the many aboard this ship then you’re in good company. Mark Ruffalo’s a big fan of it too.

Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter)

And if we’re talking shipping, we can’t leave out one of the BIGGEST fandoms. Now we know what you’re thinking – surely Harry and Hermione should be here? – but bear with us. We can explain. Harry and Draco had a similar, yet vastly differing childhoods, with the weight of the world on their shoulders and some err, interesting people by their side.

Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy

While Drarry may be a controversial pick considering the hundreds of options – Remus and Sirius? Draco and Hermione? Dobby and Kreacher?! – in the end it had to be them.

The name calling? Fighting in the bathroom? Attempted homicide of a beloved headmaster? Textbook young love.

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Will-they-won’t-they TV couples aren’t half as exciting when they get together