TV Romance?
July 5, 2021 10:13 AM   Subscribe

I'm in the mood for some enjoyable TV romance. I'm looking for basically decent people with chemistry and romantic tension.

I have Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hoopla but I'm also ok with paying.

I don't need the whole point of the show to be romance; I just want there to be a relationship to squee over. I have a slight preference for historical/fantasy/non-American. I can take or leave sex scenes but I want believable chemistry. I prefer knowingly a bit silly rather than totally serious but I find straight comedy a bit too cringe-y. Shorter series are better than longer. Subtitles are fine.

Shows that have what I'm looking for:
- Crash Landing on You: probably I should just watch this on repeat for the rest of my life.
- Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
- Outlander
- Bridgerton
- Lucifer
- Fleabag season 2

Shows that Netflix says are romantic but I disagree:
- You
- Doctor Foster

Other shows I really like:
- Call the Midwife
- Death in Paradise
- Warrior Nun
- Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
- Unorthodox
- Madam Secretary

Thank you!
posted by carolr to Media & Arts (31 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
It is a bit dated now, but Northern Exposure?
posted by Megami at 10:17 AM on July 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: "Call My Agent" on Netflix! The romance is not always the main thread of the story, but there are multiple relationship threads throughout the story that I found very satisfying.
Both gay and straight relationships, and it's a French series, so hopefully you don't mind subtitles! :)
posted by Zumbador at 10:22 AM on July 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Virgin River? Season 3 comes out this week.
posted by john_snow at 10:31 AM on July 5, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Lovesick on Netflix. ❤️❤️ British series so it’s short!
posted by estlin at 10:34 AM on July 5, 2021 [13 favorites]

Popped in to say Lovesick as well!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:38 AM on July 5, 2021

The Peacock series We Are Ladyparts is short and features quite a few squee-worthy pairings.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:39 AM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I like a lot of the shows you like! Here are a few that might work for you:

- Starstruck on HBO Max scratched this itch for me recently. It's charming and funny, with good romantic tension. The two leads have great chemistry. I think you can get a free trial of HBO Max through Hulu if you don't already have a subscription to either service.

- Parks and Rec (Netflix) might be too much of a straight comedy for you but the third season has a solid romance. You could definitely just skip the first two seasons and start at the beginning of the third without missing anything.

- Maybe Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon Prime)? I watched the first season several years ago but I remember there being a satisfying romance with believable chemistry.
posted by cimton at 10:49 AM on July 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I have a slight preference for historical/fantasy/non-American

some Korean shows:
Love in the Moonlight (historical)
Her Private Life
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
My Name is Kim Sam Soon
Coffee Prince
Mr Queen (historical, time travel, gender swap; probably the best fit after Love in the Moonlight, although I should warn you that you may hate the last episode. Still really worth watching, though)
My Love From Another Star (fantasy? Male lead's an alien)
Are You Human Too (male lead's a robot)
My Mister (not actually a romance at all, but may hit some emotional buttons for you. It's very good.)
Father Is Strange
You're Beautiful (both incredibly (though knowingly) dumb and extremely cute)
Hwayugi (fantasy)
Touch Your Heart
1% of Something
Healer (superhero-ish)
Queen of Mystery (never gets to the point of romance, but it's clear the leads are into each other. Warning, a few episodes center around a serial killer)
I've watched too many of these, I think

In Time With You

The Romance of Tiger and Rose (fantasy, historical. Took a while to get going for me but ultimately very cute)
If gay romance qualifies: The Untamed (fantasy, historical; also takes a while to get going, but eventually it really does)
The Sleuth of the Ming Dynasty (historical; not romantic but very bromantic)
posted by trig at 10:52 AM on July 5, 2021 [9 favorites]

- Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii (Love is Hard for Otaku) on Amazon Prime. Working adults dating.
- Yagate Kimi ni Naru (Bloom into You) is a good high school girls love romance, available on HIDIVE (you can do the free trial). (Note - the anime only covers the first half of the manga, and the manga is probably one of my favorite romance series of all time).
- Tonikaku Kawaii (Fly Me to the Moon) on Crunchyroll. This is a thinly disguised attempt by the mangaka to gush over his newly wedded life.
posted by ralan at 10:53 AM on July 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

The series Upload on Amazon Prime has a very cute romance (although, fair warning that I found the season finale a little unsatisfying — YMMV).
posted by mekily at 10:59 AM on July 5, 2021 [3 favorites]

Seconding Coffee Prince for modern story. Along similar lines, the shows Bromance and Triad Princess. I have some issues with the framing, but the kdrama for Boys Over Flowers also fits this grouping (i.e. the narrative just ignores that the main love interest tried to make someone commit suicide in episode 1).

Also seconding The Untamed for epic fantasy romance, with a few things to be aware of:
- It is super long (but the story is interesting!)
- The first couple of episodes drop you into a setting with no explanation and then eventually send you on a 30-episode flashback before resuming the current-day story
- You may want a wiki open for the first few episodes until you learn the names of the different people and groups. This includes each character having 2-3 completely different names, depending on how close person referring to them is (e.g. Lan Zhan has the courtesy name of Lan Wangji and the title of Hanguang-Jun, and there's a lot of information being conveyed by who calls people by which name)
- Since the show is a Chinese drama about a gay couple, there will be so many longing looks and so much multi-year yearning but it stays just on the side of plausible deniability

On the North American side, the gay romance story in Schitt's Creek is fantastic.
posted by past unusual at 11:16 AM on July 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: It’s just one episode, but San Junipero, Season 3 Episode 4 of Black Mirror (Netflix). It’s like an hour and a half? Best to approach it knowing nothing about the episode.

If you do veer into comedy, seconding Schitts Creek and Parks & Rec, and adding The Good Place as well. Those relationships stay with you.
posted by mochapickle at 11:29 AM on July 5, 2021 [6 favorites]

Seconding Starstruck. It's absolutely lovely! I seriously need more of that in my life.

Feel Good is funny, sexy and romantic, but also deals with some really traumatic stuff as the main character has to deal with a lot of shit from their past, so might be triggering. I certainly found it an intense watch. But I shipped the main characters so hard <3
posted by unicorn chaser at 11:38 AM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: North and South, 2004 BBC version. Only four episodes and the chemistry is amazing (plus hey, young Richard Armitage pines on Olympic level).
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:50 AM on July 5, 2021 [8 favorites]

I've been watching these sequential compilations of interviews with Craig Ferguson (late night comedian) and his smart, beautiful lady (and men too) guests. You get to see how their relationship develops over the years, although some only appear once. I haven't laughed so much in years, and lots of sexual innuendo, if not tension.

I also recommend Mozart In the Jungle on Amazon Prime
posted by Grok Lobster at 11:51 AM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Victoria on PBS
Pride and Prejudice (BBC or Keira Knightley)
Sanditon (PBS)
seconding North and South

These have a lot of romance, chemistry, but not the sexy times of Outlander and Brigerton.
posted by Hop123 at 12:01 PM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Younger on TV Land (also on Hulu) has some good primary romances, and a few secondary romances as well. The series finale is airing this week.
posted by primate moon at 12:44 PM on July 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Thirsting Starstruck and seconding The Good Place.
posted by ejs at 12:51 PM on July 5, 2021

Ted Lasso on Apple TV! Romance is not really the point, but everyone in it has great chemistry and lots of fun relationships, romantic and platonic.
posted by wsquared at 1:40 PM on July 5, 2021 [6 favorites]

Another vote for Schitt’s Creek.
David and Patrick…it’s soooo good.
posted by bookmammal at 2:05 PM on July 5, 2021 [9 favorites]

NY-LON (on Amazon Prime) is about the trans-atlantic romance between a New Yorker played by Rashida Jones, and a Londoner played by Stephen Moyer. 7 eps only.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:13 PM on July 5, 2021

Best answer: Fantasy
Once Upon a Time - fantasy/romance, streaming on Disney+
Haven't seen all of OUAT so can't comment on later seasons, but earlier seasons have multiple love stories to root for.
A Discovery of Witches - fantasy/romance, streaming on Amazon Prime
For fans of Outlander, this series also features time travel (as well as witches and vampires).
Queen In-Hyun's Man - fantasy/romance, streaming on ???
For fans of Crash Landing on You, this is a time travel romance. I have looked and can't currently find this on streaming, but perhaps you may have more luck! Korean with English subtitles.
My Love from Another Star - fantasy/romance, streaming on Viki
For fans of Crash Landing on You, a romance about an alien who falls to Earth. Korean with English subtitles.
My Girlfriend is a Gumiho - fantasy/romance, streaming on Viki
A personal favorite. Light, goofy comedy mixed with mythology and romance. Korean with English subtitles.

North & South - historical romance, streaming on Britbox
Adaptation of the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, with more of a workers' rights angle than Jane Austen.
Anne with an E - historical coming-of-age, streaming on Netflix
Recent adaptation of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. YA romance.
Northanger Abbey (2007) - historical romance, streaming on Amazon Prime with PBS Masterpiece
Humorous gothic satire, adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. TV movie.
Persuasion (2007) - historical romance, streaming on Amazon Prime
If you like pining, this is the Jane Austen adaptation for you! TV movie.
Emma (2009) - historical romance, streaming on Britbox
This is not the most recent film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma, but rather a TV adaptation from the BBC.
All Creatures Great and Small - historical drama, streaming on Amazon Prime with PBS Masterpiece
Light on the romance in the first season (only one season out so far). For fans of Call the Midwife.
Miss Scarlet and the Duke - historical mystery, streaming on Amazon Prime with PBS Masterpiece
Light on the romance in the first season (only one season out so far). For fans of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

When the Camellia Blooms - romance/mystery, streaming on Netflix
For fans of Crash Landing on You, this is a breezy romance with a bit of mystery. Korean with English subtitles.
Modern Love - romance anthology, streaming on Amazon Prime
Haven't seen all of these (each episode is its own story), but recommend "When Cupid is a Prying Journalist", if only because Dev Patel should star in all romantic comedies. (Also I believe Andrew Scott from Fleabag S2 is in an episode.)
Four Weddings and a Funeral - contemporary romance, streaming on Hulu
Loosely based on the movie of the same name. For fans of Bridgerton: even though it is not a period piece, it has a similar soapy quality.
Schitt's Creek - comedy, streaming on Netflix
This is a sitcom, but it has a really lovely romance starting in season 3. (For those on the fence after watching the pilot episode, it's okay to skip ahead two seasons to see if you like it.)
Chuck - spy comedy, streaming on Amazon Prime
A bit of a curveball - this goofy comedy series has plenty of flaws (that made it feel dated even when it was originally airing), but the romance is sweet. I think the final season was controversial, but never saw it so cannot comment.
posted by panther of the pyrenees at 3:02 PM on July 5, 2021 [3 favorites]

Nothing Trivial (NZ based Comedy-Drama)is about a group of friends whose social circle revolves around pub quizzes has some nice (but complicated...meddling exes, people screwing up) romantic aspects to the story arc. There is also a lot of drama, so if you're looking for strictly feel-good vibes, it's maybe not what you're seeking.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 4:04 PM on July 5, 2021

Best answer: I loved Crash Landing on You, too - but my entree to K-dramas was Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung. Romance, drama, historical fantasy, and a little silly comedy.
posted by Preserver at 4:09 PM on July 5, 2021

I'm pretty sure no one has ever watched this as a result of the many times I've recommended it here, but...

No Tomorrow

posted by under_petticoat_rule at 5:39 PM on July 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Normal People. Doesn’t tick all your boxes but some (non US, good chemistry, shorter series). There’s a lot of sex. I think it’s on Hulu.
posted by vunder at 6:09 PM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So many amazing options, thank you! I think I will start with the Black Mirror episode, Call my Agent, Lovesick and one of the easier to find Korean shows, probably Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung, When the Camellia Blooms or Queen In-Hyun's Man, which I think is on Amazon as Queen and I.

I can't believe a forgot to mention Schitt's Creek! Yes, I loved that! A Discovery of Witches was also good and I watched a lot of OUAT some years ago.
posted by carolr at 3:15 AM on July 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

Wynona Earp? The straight couple is all sorts of dysfunctional soap opera, and the queer relationship is adorable. Four seasons on Netflix.
posted by Jacen at 10:39 AM on July 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for more historical Korean romance to add to your list, I was surprised not to see Mr. Sunshine recommended upthread. Streaming on Netflix.
posted by All hands bury the dead at 4:38 PM on July 6, 2021

Wonderfalls is super cute, only one season, and very quirky. Although not fantasy, it features the main character having hallucinations and speaking to inanimate objects (that speak back). I wish there was more of this just to see the chemistry between the lead and her bartender. I don’t think it’s streaming anywhere. Kind of in that same vein is Pushing Daisies, which has two leads who can’t touch each other because of one of their supernatural healing powers will cause the other to die.

While I usually watch fantasy, historical, or sci-fi I fell hard, and very embarrassingly for Dawson’s Creek a few years ago. Very typical teen stuff but it’s the best long and natural development of a romance over multiple seasons that I’ve seen. Unfortunately, that leaves you watching a lot of crap to get the little nuggets for the being pay off.
posted by Bunglegirl at 4:18 PM on July 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

one of the easier to find Korean shows

It depends on where you're located, but some legal streaming services are Viki, OnDemandKorea, Kokowa, and Viu. On some (or all?) of those a lot of shows are available without any subscription. Actually here's a much longer list, including links to some official youtube channels.

Something I forgot to mention above: if you ever watch My Love From Another Star, make sure to watch the little scenes between the end of each episode and the previews for the next one. (I didn't notice they were there at first!)
posted by trig at 1:54 AM on July 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

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