The concept of star-crossed lovers destined to be together in spite of their differences goes back to the myths that formed the basis of modern entertainment. Storybooks are filled with people falling in love with creatures from another plane of existence, only to face hardships when they attempt to create a stable, lasting bond. Unexpected TV relationships, whether between two humans, or a human and a supernatural being, are some of the most memorable, partly because they often take so much effort to work out.
Sometimes, the characters on a TV show who seem the least likely to pair up make the best TV couples. Supernatural and sci-fi shows like Once Upon a Time and Buffy the Vampire Slayer show that it’s not always the characters audiences believe are going to get together who form a partnership.
Even on a series like Carnival Row, premiering on Amazon on August 30, where mythical beings are part of the population, it’s nearly impossible for a human and a magical creature to be together without causing a stir. Even so, when love is on the line, it’s worth fighting for.
In I Dream of Jeannie, the first thing Captain Tony Nelson learns about love with a genie he frees from a bottle in the South Pacific is that she’s going to get whatever she wants. Nelson is the first person Jeannie sees after 2,000 years of imprisonment, and she’s so grateful to be free that she tries to woo him.
Jeannie finds her way back to Florida with Nelson and breaks up his engagement to an unmagical woman named Melissa. Even though Nelson and Jeannie have their ups and downs - mostly stemming from Tony learning how to deal with a magical entity for a girlfriend - they have each other’s backs, whether they’re dealing with NASA’s top psychiatrist or Jeannie’s evil stepsister (also named Jeannie).
Because he’s the devil, Lucifer Morningstar can have anyone he wants. Well, almost anyone. The title character in Lucifer has the ability to bend people toward his will, and he has something people find innately attractive, but not Chloe Decker - at least not initially. When these two first meet, they’re investigating the death of pop star Delilah. Chloe is an LAPD detective and Lucifer is a nightclub owner who likes to fill his days with solving crimes.
Initially, Lucifer just wants Chloe because she’s out of his grasp, but as the two get to know one another, they form a deep bond that’s more than just the physical relationships he has with every other woman. It takes a while for them to pair up, even though they obviously belong together.
A fascinating wrinkle in their relationship is how Lucifer’s powers change when he’s around Chloe. He’s not rendered powerless, but his persuasive nature is less potent when they’re near each other, which, in a bizarre way, is a possible sign they complete each other.
In TV's Beauty and the Beast (the first one, which began airing in 1987), Catherine is a human woman who works as the assistant district attorney to New York City, and Vincent is a subterranean beast-man with superhuman strength and strangely empathic abilities. As the leader of the “World Below,” Vincent holds court over a group of sewer-dwelling outcasts who’d rather stick to the tunnel systems of the city than live aboveground.
While their story is based on the classic Beauty and the Beast, their relationship is anything but by the numbers. Catherine and Vincent start their relationship simply as friends and confidants, with him rescuing her from certain death in Central Park and her promising to keep the secret of the underground world.
As they continue to work together, their friendship and mutual respectability transform into something more romantic, and the two even have a child together. In the 1980s, this relationship was different from anything viewers had seen before on television, and their doomed romance is one of the most fascinating pairings of a human and a mythical creature.
Who hasn’t fallen in love with someone who’s older and has a cool car/interdimensional vehicle? Rose and the Doctor are one of the great love stories of the 21st century - even if it takes them a while to get together. On Doctor Who, they first meet at an invasion of Autons, and even as their rapport and fondness are developing, it's not until the 10th Doctor that the two begin their relationship.
Unfortunately, romance isn't as smooth as audiences would have liked for this mismatched couple. It’s the classic tale of a girl who gets pulled into an alternate dimension by the father she never knew, then finds herself trapped there forever while her immortal, shape-shifting pseudo-boyfriend ponders whether or not he should tell her his true feelings.
The two finally reunite as the Doctor gifts Rose with a semi-human version of himself. This version of the Doctor tells Rose that he loves her, and they go off to have the kind of adventures only a semi-immortal being and a young woman can have.