Thirst Traps of the Decade
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Credit: Sony / NBC

The biggest thirst traps of the decade

Contributed by
Jan 2, 2020

The decade has come to a close, and so SYFY WIRE FANGRRLS is taking a long walk down memory lane to talk about some of our favorite moments.

Now you know we here at FANGRRLS love a good thirst trap, so you know we had to go through the top thirst traps of the decade!

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Justin Theroux the leftovers

Justin Theroux jogging in The Leftovers

The first season of The Leftovers is a tough but rewarding watch that puts Justin Theroux as Kevin Garvey through the emotional and physical wringer. There is humor beneath the existentialist trauma which includes a long-running joke (excuse the pun) about a certain part of Theroux. Beginning with the pilot, Kevin is introduced jogging in some not so supportive underwear. Grey sweats are already my weakness, and this particular example only magnifies the thirst levels. In the final season, there is a moment where he has to scan this body part (off-camera), though the "thunk" sound tells you everything you need to know. And when he enters this other reality, he does so naked, which delivers a bathroom slip N slide Hall of Fame moment.

By Season 3 he has grown an excellent beard, which is the perfect look for riding on a white horse, fulfilling so many fantasies (particularly with the added aviators factor). Creator Damon Lindelof even produced a cheeky Emmy campaign using a sweatpants related meme, but sadly voters were not swayed by this (or the incredible performance). That Kevin isn't afraid to be vulnerable in his connection with Nora — including the sex scenes that show off his collections of tattoos — is another reason why this character ticks so many boxes. It is no surprise that one of the best shows of the decade also maximizes its thirst potential. - Emma Fraser

Chidi the Good Place

Chidi Anogonye pops his top

Do not mistake me: our sweet chili baby was thirst-worthy long before we saw him shirtless, watched him and Eleanor smooch it up, or learned he could rock a pair of red boots like none other. Do not mistake me double: that shirtless scene DEFINITELY tipped the scales in the thirstiness favor. Over the course of four glorious seasons, we got to know and love our favorite moral philosophy professor (admittedly the bar is low — everyone hates moral philosophy professors) and human anxiety disasterman, and what we found was a skittish mess with near-constant intestinal distress and a paralyzing inability to make decisions.

But under all that is someone who is brave, loyal, and when pushed, will always decide to do what's right. And overall that is some damn ABS. Holy forking shirt. When Chidi finally snapped so did our ovaries because that holy forking shirt came right off his surprisingly jacked body, only to be replaced by a supermarket wine tee that would be welcome at any office white elephant exchange. But our worlds were forever changed by that glimpse of glory. That scene put the Peeps in our chili pot, for sure. - Courtney Enlow

Henry Cavill Geralt bath The Witcher

Henry Cavill in everything

It was extremely difficult to pick one thirst moment of the last ten years for Henry Cavill, so I didn’t. It’s been a trying decade at times and we all deserve a little extra. Remember that time in Man of Steel when Cavill made you wish he was soaking wet in your backyard stealing clothes? I do. Word on the street is an extended shot of that scene is in the Snyder Cut of Justice League. Release it, you cowards! Another moment Cavill reminded us of how great he can be when he doesn’t say anything foolish is that time he reloaded his arms like guns in Mission Impossible: Fallout. I don’t know about you, but I watched that movie twice, both for that scene and Angela Bassett. To bring this list to a close while I still have the willpower to do so is Cavill bringing one of the greatest moments in video game history to life, the Geralt of Riveria soaking in a hot bath. Anyone else feeling a little parched? - Stephanie Williams

Charlie Cox

Charlie Cox as Daredevil

The MCU isn't short on attractive superheroes, and that includes the now sadly short-lived Netflix additions. In fact, each of the Defenders could take the title of Biggest Thirst Trap: Jessica Jones and Luke Cage's hook-up was so powerful it would take more than a damage deposit to pay for the damage they caused. But it is Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock aka Daredevil who has my heart, even if he would be a nightmare to date because of how stubborn he is. There is his capacity for caring for those who can't fight for themselves in the courtroom — in which Matt's work attire is another bonus — or out on the streets, plus he's got that disarming smile that makes me weak. The exhausting one-shot fight sequences (stretching to 11 minutes in Season 3) is another thirst trap decider, which shows incredible stamina. What more could you want? - Emma Fraser

Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones

Daario's Game of Thrones glow up

Replacing an actor can be a messy and awkward business that can not only upset the on-screen dynamic but also threaten to annoy and distract fans. Game of Thrones had several cast member substitutes over the years, but one of the most significant was Daario Naharis. Originally played by Ed Skrein, he had a whole Conan the Barbarian meets long-haired romance hero aesthetic.

When Daario returned for Season 4, he was played by Dutch actor Michiel Huisman (who also caused thirsty shockwaves in Season 2 of Orphan Black). The cocky swagger remained, but it was playful and flirtatious, which was a better match for Daenerys. This glow-up included a hair color change, shorter locks (that are calling to have your hand run through them), and a swoon-worthy beard. And because GoT wasn't always the best at giving women agency, it was satisfying to see the Mother of Dragons exploring her sexuality and the notion of pleasure with a consenting partner (who didn't mind showing some equal opportunity nudity). He once told her that his two talents were women and war, which is why it is a shame she left him behind in Essos. Even without factoring in the whole aunt factor, the chemistry between Jon Snow and Daenerys was not enough to start a tiny pyre, let alone maintain an inferno. Meanwhile, Daario was as hot as dragon fire. - Emma Fraser

Janelle Monae Pynk Tessa Thompson

Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer

On the eve of the release of her 2018 digital album, Dirty Computer, Janelle Monae came out as a bisexual, pansexual, "free-ass motherf***er" in Rolling Stone, setting the stage for her queer AF album and narrative film. While Monae’s queerness itself — and her much-discussed relationship with Tessa Thompson — made many a queer person rejoice, it is Dirty Computer that really got us thirsty. The cinematically stunning narrative film portrays a dystopian future where love, sexuality, and sex are considered “dirty” and cause people to be reset. Monae plays Jane 57821, a character who falls in love with two partners and proceeds to flirt, dance, and serenade her way through the songs on the album. Highlights include Thompson peeking out through Monae’s iconic vulva-esque pants, Thompson and Monae crawling toward one another over a sea of butts bouncing on beat, and Monae grinding on both of her people in the club. Dirty Computer is a sex-fueled treatise on freedom, expression, and pleasure in the face of fascism. - S.E. Fleenor

Twin Peaks The Return Kyle MacLachlan

Dale Cooper/Dougie Jones gets physical in Twin Peaks: The Return

David Lynch isn't exactly a director you think of when looking for a sexy movie. Sure, sex features quite prominently in his work but never in a way you would find appealing unless Dennis Hopper's violent age play while huffing laughing gas is your particular fetish (no judgment). He's a man more interested in exploring the madness of desire and the taboo hiding beneath the surface of seeming suburban perfection. However, there is one brief moment in Twin Peaks: The Return where it feels like he just threw up his hands and said, "Okay, I get it. Kyle, take your top off."

Kyle MacLachlan has been Lynch's long-time muse since Dune, the boy scout handsome leading man who isn't afraid to get freaky. As Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks, he is the embodiment of apple pie and good clean living. For The Return, through a series of plot points I could never distill into one mere paragraph, Dale ends up living a near-mute life as a Las Vegas businessman called Dougie Jones. Despite the fact that he's thinner and darker-haired than this Dougie gentleman, nobody seems to notice the changes, not even his wife (as played by Naomi Watts). Well, that is until he goes to a doctor's appointment and has to take his shirt off. Then his wife sees how f***ing fit he is and almost immediately drags him home for the best sex of her married life. Dale Cooper was always too pure for this world, so it was a welcome sating of our thirst when Lynch just let the audience have what they want in a moment of rare pandering. - Kayleigh Donaldson

Hannibal Season 3

Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy's Hannibal/Will romance

Bryan Fuller's Hannibal remains one of the true peaks of pop culture for me, not only from this decade but in my lifetime. The staggeringly intricate near-operatic reimagining of Thomas Harris' infamous cannibal combined the baroque with the bleak and beautiful, giving audiences a reminder as to why Hannibal Lecter was so alluring and dangerous after years of being the stuff of parody. The smartest decision the show made was to show how Lecter's relationship with the troubled FBI profiler Will Graham was one of twisted, hypnotic, dangerous love. Not bro-love. Full-on sensual love. They can't be without one another but they're also constantly on the verge of killing one another.

As played by the extremely handsome Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, Hannibal and Will's chemistry sparked from the screen like fireworks. Fuller, the showrunner, savvily listened to fans' interest in the murder husbands, and instead of playing the dynamic up for queerbaiting, he evolved it into something deeper, stranger, and sexier. They never kiss on-screen but there's no doubt that Hannigram is canon. It helps that Fuller threw thirst traps a-plenty into the series, from naked Hannibal post-bath to the weirdest fivesome committed to television. Long live the murder husbands. May your hungers always be sated. - Kayleigh Donaldson

Penny Dreadful Episode 101

Eva Green in Penny Dreadful

Of all the television tragedies of the past decade, none were perhaps so devastating as the abrupt and sudden reveal that Season 3 of Penny Dreadful would be its last. (OK, there are a lot of sad endings in the realm of TV, but just go with me here.) The supernatural series was packed to the brim with vampires, witches, and demons, but the most alluring figure of them all was the one cut by Vanessa Ives, played to mesmerizing perfection by actress Eva Green.

Whether she was walking into a ballroom dressed to the nines and effectively wrapping every person there around her finger, man or woman (yes, including Dorian Gray) or suffering the effects of a most terrible demonic possession, Green's performance was undeniably the greatest of them all. Frankly, there needs to be a brand-new word created in the dictionary to describe the feelings she inspired in us — "scorny," a blend of the following two emotions:

Credit: NBC

Wherever Green is headed next (and secretly, we hope it's a surprise cameo on the upcoming Penny Dreadful spinoff), we don't doubt she'll be leaving plenty of us scorny individuals in her wake. - Carly Lane

Kylo Ren and Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Rey and Kylo's fight scene in The Last Jedi

I had no reason to go into The Last Jedi expecting to get thirsty. Adam Driver’s broken emo Ren mind powers work as well on my queer mind as the Force does on a Hutt. Likewise, I was so not a Reylo shipper that I swung in the complete opposite direction of wanting Rey to remain unattached romantically for thematic and inspirational reasons. But then the throne room fight scene happened, and reader, I was shooketh. I had a lot of expectations of what might happen in The Last Jedi and I promise you that none of them included a sweaty, slow motion, spin into a lightsaber dance fight. I’ve been watching lightsaber battles since, oh before you were born, and I’ve never had one get my blood pumping the way this one did. Even before fans started setting the scene to music (sadly, the originals of this meme seem to have been removed), the rhythmic nature of the red room fight seeped into my very soul. I still have not crossed over to the Reylo side, but by the Force do I understand its power now. - Riley Silverman

Erik Killmonger, Black Panther

Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther

Not only is Erik Killmonger one of the best villains of the decade, he is also one of the hottest. From his museum bae glasses-wearing turned artifact heist introduction, the denim shearling jacket look ticks so many boxes (the CW is a big fan of this timeless thirst-inducing garment). Jordan delivers anger, angst, and ego in equal measure, a rather potent combination he utilizes during the ritual combat duel with T'Challa. The shirtless scene was so powerful that it caused one audience member to break her retainer because she clenched her jaw so tight in reaction. The true power of a thirst-worthy chest reveal is enough to break steal (and maybe even Vibranium). Whether it is Oakland street style, shirtless battle attire, or his armor-clad villain aesthetic, Erik Killmonger is not to be underestimated as a rival or as a thirst trap. - Emma Fraser

Jillian Holtzmann Ghostbusters

Holtzmann v Ghosts: Dawn of Queerness

The summer of 2016 was an intense one for nerdy queer ladies everywhere. With a few eyebrow moves and some flirty comments sent Kristen Wiig's way, Kate McKinnon's opus as Ghostbuster Jillian Holtzmann began. Reaching out from the screen and grabbing us right in the gay, she escalated her assault and utterly destroyed us during the film's own climax. Flicking her wrists and licking her guns, Holtzmann charged a chaotic cloud of ghosts, moving in slow motion, whipping beams of energy around and declaring directly to any woman in the crowd with even the slightest bit of sapphic charge in them, whether they knew it or not, that they just got Holtzmanned.

Gallons of metaphorical internet ink spilled forth from gay, bi, pan, and even some heretofore assumed straight lady pens, ultimately just expounding on that sudden gasp and fidgeting in our seats at the raw, sexuality-defining power of Kate McKinnon working at the height of her powers. It was the most major mainstream moment to date of a scene that felt crafted completely for the queer female gaze. With a new Ghostbusters on the way in 2020, there are fears that the "lady Ghostbusters" reboot will be erased from the zeitgeist, a footnote in the history of franchise reboot attempts. But for a very parched portion of us, this is one haunting we shall never fully shake. - Riley Silverman

finn-poe-star-wars

Finn and Poe in Star Wars

"I would try to push it a bit in that direction, but the Disney overlords were not ready to do that." Oscar Isaac is first in line to get on board the Finn and Poe OTP train and I would like the next ticket, please. From their very first interaction in The Force Awakens, the chemistry is palpable. Sure, they could be extremely close guy pals, however, the subtext (and Isaac's comments) would suggest otherwise. The tight embrace — which occurs whenever the pair have been reunited — is overflowing with emotion, heat, and vulnerability. Clothing intimacy underscores this aspect further with Poe's jacket becoming the first piece of non-Stormtrooper attire that Finn has worn. Their bond is sealed in an instant and this visual reminder adds to it. Honestly, there is nothing I find more attractive (or hotter) than someone wearing another person's clothes that they are close to. Stormpilot is much more than fandom fantasy, as both Boyega and Isaac lean into this factor both in the film and throughout the press tour, further adding to the desire. - Emma Fraser

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