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The greatest OTPs of all time

Contributed by
Jan 18, 2019

January is a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. The way we kick off a new year informs the months that follow, and that's why we're living our best Capricorn-season lives and declaring it the Month of the GOAT, celebrating the Greatests of All Time in genre. From the best Star Trek captains to our favorite strong female characters, we're honoring the greats all month long.

An OTP is a very blessed, sacred thing. Our One True Pairs are so powerful — they can make us feel so strongly that in some ways they become our relationship, too. For better or worse, the loves betwixt our favorite characters incites something magic inside of us too, something a lot like love. Hell, sometimes it's just as powerful or more so.

These are our favorite OTPs. And we will gladly go down with these ships.

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Alana and Marko, Saga

They were meant to be enemies, each on opposing sides of a bloody war that had raged for ages and across the universe, sucking in people and planets like a merciless black hole. Both were soldiers, each inundated by vicious propaganda that should have made them hate each other on sight. But once the guard and her prisoner of war took one look in each other's eyes, their fates— and the fate of the universe — shifted. They bonded over love of a misunderstood novel. They fell hard and risked everything for each other and their baby Hazel, whose very existence is a threat to the powers that be. They found bliss, beauty, passion, and love amid the chaos and violence. In awe-striking panels that display a tangle of limbs, wings, and horns, they reveled in each other's bodies. In scenes of shattering grief, they shared each other's burden of agony. When they weren't running from radical revolutionaries, ruthless aristocrats, and relentless assassins, there were smaller but still brutal obstacles like substance abuse, the threat of infidelity, and a fight that went too far. They'd be separated — by fate, not choice. But come hell or Prince Robot IV, Alana and Marko would find their way back to each other. Their connection stronger than anything this wild and ravenous Saga could throw at them. - Kristy Puchko

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Peter and Olivia, Fringe

From the pilot episode of Fringe the spark between Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) is undeniable, but like any great OTP, there are a number of challenging obstacles in the way. One of those obstacles just happens to be another universe that looks awfully similar to our own. First kisses and first dates are thwarted by Olivia’s discovery about this Peter’s true identity. When they finally get over this particular hurdle, Peter doesn’t sense he is with Olivia’s double — called Fauxlivia — rather than the woman he fell in love with. The science is messy, the relationships even more so. Family is at the heart of Fringe: the family we have, the family we make. Through the good times and bad, family is worth fighting for. This is why this OTP is one for the ages. - Emma Fraser

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America Chavez and Kate Bishop (Amerikate)

Ever since these two first appeared in the same panel at the same time, they have been shipped by, well, the entirety of the internet. While both of them were introduced to comics via different titles, they teamed up in Young Avengers, the story arc that forever destined them to be one of the nation’s best beloved unfulfilled ships. The exchange between Kate and America in which Kate wonders if she’s the only straight person on the team and America scoffs at the mere suggestion of a straight Kate Bishop has been burned into the hearts and memories of every queer comic reader on the face of the planet by now. Although Marvel has more than one long-running teased queer relationship on its docket (cough Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers cough cough), Amerikate is one of its most recent and perhaps the one with the strongest following. Years into their friendship, America still has Kate saved as “Princess” in her cellphone. While both of them have been in relationships with other people since meeting one another, there are a huge segment of Marvel fans just waiting for them to look up and realize that they’re pretty much in love with each other. Give the people what they want, Marvel! - Sara Century

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Zoe and Wash, Firefly

Zoe is a warrior woman and she never backs down from a fight. Wash is a pilot who maybe isn’t so into fighting. They’re the true OTP, and one that shows us a beautiful example of a physically strong woman and a man who is less so. He’s got no issues about the fact that she could break him in half. In fact, Wash is very vocally proud of her. Zoe feels no less for Wash because he’d rather run from a fight and play with plastic dinosaurs. When faced with a choice between her captain and her husband, Zoe chooses Wash without a second’s hesitation. They’re deeply in love and it’s heartbreaking when…spoilers. Finally, we got to see a powerful woman, who isn’t so to the exclusion of love or friendship, and a man who accepts that he doesn’t have to be the very best at everything. It’s lovely. They’re lovely. My heart, you guys. - Jenna Busch

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Sasuke and Sakura (SasuSaku), Naruto

When Naruto premiered in 2002 who knew that it would bring about one of the greatest anime couples of the ages (and who knew it would inspire some of the most intense ship wars of any media, period). Sakura starts the series 12 years old and in “love” with the angsty Sasuke, along with every other girl in their ninja class. Then fate interferes and she’s placed on his team. Unfortunately for her, Sasuke’s only interested in one thing: VENGEANCE! But as the series continues, there’s desperate admissions of love, betrayal, anger, and Sakura grows into one of the strongest characters both literally and narratively. It’s not until she’s a kick-ass nin in her own right that she finds herself on equal footing with the sole Uchiha survivor, and it's not until Sasuke lets go of his anger and finds some emotional maturity that he can engage with Sakura on her level. Then and only then does the ship become officially canon. It’s not a traditional love story, and they’re both independent characters in their own right, but it’s a quiet pairing borne of determination and growth. Plus, there’s a lot of really great fanfic. Just check out SasuSaku month, it happens every summer (and has since at least 2011). You’re welcome. - Preeti Chhibber

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Bo and Lauren (Doccubus), Lost Girl

From the moment Bo meets Lauren on Lost Girl, their connection is electric. Lauren, a human doctor working for the mysterious Dark Fae, examines Bo, who just discovered there’s a reason she’s left a trail of bodies in her wake. Lauren sensuously runs her hand down Bo’s back, taken with her beauty and her personality. As a bisexual succubus, Bo kind of has that effect on people, but she and Lauren have something special. The complication? The sexy, irresistible Dyson who continually helps Bo with her unaligned Fae mission. Rut-roh. What’s a succubus to do? Date and bone everyone, of course. After she and Dyson break up (a few times?) and she and Lauren unsuccessfully couple (a few times?), Bo finally makes the decision to be with Lauren. However, her appetite, sexually and magically (they’re tied up in one another for this succubus), is more than one human can support. Lauren and Bo have to navigate what their polyamorous-but-also-kind-of-not situation might be. Not only is their sex banging, but also Bo and Lauren’s love is powerful as they stand by one another even as the world ends. Bo, who does not age like a human, will certainly watch Lauren grow old and die, but it’s a choice she’s willing to make. D’aww. - S.E. Fleenor 

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Deadpool and Cable (Cablepool)

Deadpool 2 barely scratched the surface of the long-standing sexual tension and implied romance between Deadpool and Cable in the comic books. (Deadpool’s pansexuality has been affirmed and accepted by many comic book professionals, including Deadpool creator, Fabian Nicieza.) In Cable & Deadpool #20, Deadpool is forced to explore his darkest fantasies. One such fantasy involves a beach, Cable, and sensual massage. When Deadpool realizes his crush is out of the bag, he tries to backtrack, but it’s too late, DP! We know you’ve got it bad for a time traveling cyborg! Meanwhile, Cable admits to having strange dreams about Deadpool — and we all know that when people describe having “strange” dreams, they really just mean sex dreams. It seems pretty obvious that these two share a mutual attraction that perhaps only creators and producers (ahem) seem to have a problem interpreting. - S.E. Fleenor

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Buffy and Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Look, their relationship wasn't perfect. One orgasm and he gets a mean case of the evils and that can take a toll on even the strongest love. But for Buffy Summers, she of odious taste in men, Angel was the closest she ever came to a healthy partnership. And while that bar is so low as to be subterranean, they really, really loved one another. He gave the Protector a chance to feel protected and cared for. She gave him hope, even humor. The moody and morose Angel of early Buffy would never have become the snarky man he became on his own series without her. But honestly, it might be the way the series ended that means most to me. Rather than pledge her life and love to the vampire she loved most in the world (I'm callin' you out, Spuffy fans!) she declared herself cookie dough, embraced that she wasn't ready for him and that maybe, hopefully, one day she would be. I like to think, somewhere, Buffy and Angel are finally cookies. - Courtney Enlow

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Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy

What places Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn as an OTP worthy of this list is how persistent they were at making it happen. A rare example of a fan-originated ship that made its way into canon, the chemistry between Harley and Ivy from their Batman: The Animated Series team-ups was so electric that by the time writer Marguerite Bennet finally put their romance to the page in her DC’s Bombshells series, she didn’t even realize it was for the first time. Harley and Ivy were so destined for each other that she assumed they’d already officially happened. More impressive is how perfectly said relationship works organically into Harley’s story. Beyond being queer lady wish fulfillment, it became a symbol of a warm, caring relationship that someone like Harley could have after being in such a toxic, abusive one with the Joker for so long. While Ivy still isn’t Harley’s go-to partner across all DC media and multiverses, she should be. - Riley Silverman

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Mulder and Scully, The X-Files

Has there ever been a more perfect relationship ever portrayed on television? It's difficult to put my feelings about Mulder and Scully's relationship into a short paragraph, but dammit, I will try. These two are quite literally everything. They are friends, they are lovers, they are family, they are soulmates in both the simplest and most complex version of the word. Whether you believe they loved each other romantically or as incredibly close friends, their intense relationship is the kind of thing that changes the world. They would go to any lengths to help each other, surmount any obstacle, uncover any conspiracy. And while their relationship has caused them no small amount of heartbreak, they are still there for each other, even though years and distances may separate them. Now THAT'S an OTP. - Tricia Ennis

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Kirk and Spock, Star Trek

We can’t talk about OTPs without the OTP that started it all for modern fandom — Kirk and Spock. It’s so iconic that it invented slash (as in, literally, how fandom utilizes the “/“ symbol), and, at any given moment, it is tearing my heart into a thousand pieces. What started off as just a red-blooded captain and his cool, collected foil productively clashing developed into a rich relationship that fans have been able to track from their youth to their deaths—a rare occurrence in media of any kind. And what a relationship, platonic or romantic; their closeness during The Original Series, Spock deciding to leave Starfleet to purge himself of all emotion because he can’t HANDLE IT (been there, buddy), Spock calling Kirk “t’hy’la”, a Vulcan word meaning “friend, brother, lover,” hand-making out in sickbay over “this simple feeling,” HANDS THROUGH THE GLASS (SOB), Kirk playing Orpheus to Spock’s Eurydice, saving whales, growing old together, and, of course, Kirk dying and the surviving Spock getting stranded in an alternate universe where he’s forced to interact with a young, hot Kirk. (CHRIS PINE IS A BEAUTIFUL NIGHTMARE THAT SPOCK IS LIVING.) True love’s course ne’er did run smooth, you know? But at the heart of all of that rich incident, there’s them — Kirk’s warm, easy affection, Spock’s still but deep wells of devotion, and an understanding that feels like home, changing each other for the better. - Clare McBride

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