Step into a world where love knows no boundaries and passion ignites the screen. Explore captivating tales of romance, where hearts intertwine and connections are forged. From heart-wrenching stories of love and loss to the ultimate bonds that defy all odds, these must-watch romance TV series will transport you to a realm where emotions run deep and love reigns supreme. Get ready to embark on a journey through the timeless allure of romance, where unforgettable narratives await at every turn.
“Normal People“, an Irish miniseries launched in 2020, secured widespread critical admiration in just a short run of 12 riveting episodes. The television series is an adaptation of an identically named novel penned by Sally Rooney, who didn’t stop at just providing the narrative but also contributed her writing skills to the screenplay, working in tandem with Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe. The lead roles were brought to life by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, who portray the tumultuous and intricate relationship between Marianne and Connell.
These two characters are diametrically opposed in their nature, but the series artfully maps their relationship trajectory from the end of high school, through the academic halls of Trinity College, and into the first stages of their adult lives. It was the top-notch performances, skillful direction, and captivating script that particularly garnered praise among other remarkable attributes of the series.
“Gilmore Girls” has always been adored for its unique charm, primarily epitomized by the engaging conversations between the Gilmore women: Lorelai, a single mother, and her daughter Rory. This mother-daughter duo navigates through the colorful tapestry of life in the small, eccentric town of Stars Hollow, located in Connecticut. They confront daily challenges that range from coping with the peculiar habits of their fellow town residents, managing work and school commitments, and maintaining a balance with Lorelai’s high-society parents.
The narrative isn’t devoid of romantic entanglements either. Rory’s romantic interests from high school and college continue to be topics of hot debate among fans. However, the show’s heart truly lies in Lorelai’s ‘more than friends’ relationship with Luke, the local diner’s proprietor. Spanning seven seasons and a revival in 2016, the show beautifully fosters the idea that Luke and Lorelai could make a magnificent couple. All it needs is for them to realize this potential! The tantalizing prospects of this romantic development will have viewers revisiting this show time and again.
“Virgin River” is a narrative that exudes a sense of fresh beginnings. Drawing inspiration from Robyn Carr’s novel series, this sentimental medical romance revolves around Melinda “Mel” Monroe, brilliantly portrayed by Alexandra Breckenridge. Mel is a talented nurse practitioner and midwife who abandons her life in Los Angeles to make a fresh start in a remote mountain town in Northern California, following a series of heart-wrenching personal losses.
The new surroundings present their own challenges, including an unwelcoming new boss, portrayed by Tim Matheson, and a disappointingly shabby cabin that perfectly encapsulates the term ‘Airbnb horror story’. Mel starts questioning her decision to leave behind her life in LA, but an unexpected friendship with Jack (played by Martin Henderson) provides her the necessary solace. Jack, a former Marine and the current owner of the town’s only restaurant, helps Mel leave her painful past behind. As their friendship blossoms into a romantic connection, Mel finds the strength to turn over a new leaf and embrace a new chapter of her life.
“Heartstopper” is a captivating series that first hit the screen in April 2022 and has since confirmed a continuation for two more seasons. This series takes inspiration from a graphic novel by Alice Oseman, who shares her name with the series. Interestingly, Oseman also participated in the series’ production as a writer. The storyline centers around Charlie, a young, openly gay student who experiences love in an unexpected place when he falls for Nick, his school’s star rugby player, who coincidentally becomes his bench mate.
Their relationship begins as a simple, innocent friendship, stemming from Charlie’s crush, but it soon becomes more complicated. Charlie grapples with these newfound and perplexing emotions, while Nick wrestles with his own identity. “Heartstopper” is a heartwarming series that shows its audience that love can flourish in the most surprising circumstances. Starring Joe Locke and Kit Connor in the lead roles, this Netflix sensation also features impressive performances from William Gao, Yasmin Finney, Corinna Brown, and Kizzy Edgell.
Tell Me Lies
“Tell Me Lies” takes viewers on an eight-year journey of an intoxicating, yet unstable, relationship. The narrative begins when Stephen DeMarco, portrayed by Jackson White, and Lucy Albright, played by Grace Van Patten, first meet in college. Both characters are at a crucial point in their lives, where every decision, regardless of its apparent insignificance, can create ripples that will last a lifetime.
While their romance might initially appear like any typical college love story, they soon find themselves enmeshed in an obsessive relationship that will indelibly alter not only their own lives but also those around them. Rather than depicting a fairytale version of love, “Tell Me Lies” delves into the toxic aspects, creating an atmosphere of unease that leaves the viewer perpetually on edge. The series echoes the sentiments of yearning for the one that slipped away, the first love that you knew was detrimental, yet impossible to let go.
“Downton Abbey” transports viewers back to the early 1900s, immersing them in the lives of the affluent Crawley family and their devoted household staff. The noble Lord Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, as portrayed by Hugh Bonneville, finds his primary mission in life is to uphold the legacy of his family’s opulent country estate, Downton Abbey. Concurrently, he faces the societal pressures of finding suitable matches for his three unmarried daughters.
“Downton Abbey” is an elegantly crafted representation of the “upstairs versus downstairs” paradigm, albeit with a refreshing twist: here, the upper and lower echelons of society share a harmonious coexistence. The series masterfully weaves tales of romantic love and heartbreaking loss, providing an authentic portrayal of romantic relationships of the time and the inevitable trials that accompany them.
“Outlander” is a mesmerizing television series, steeped in romance, drama, sensuality, and stunning beauty. This series, which is a must-watch for any romantic TV show enthusiast, draws inspiration from Diana Gabaldon’s novels. The narrative unfolds in 1945, following the adventures of Claire, a strong-willed nurse, who is on a Scottish honeymoon with her spouse, Frank. The story takes a dramatic turn when Claire, upon exploring some ancient standing stones, inexplicably disappears from her era and finds herself thrown back 200 years into the turbulent era of the Highland clans.
Here, she encounters a dashing young Highlander named Jaime and finds herself quickly embroiled in a revolutionary conflict. With a life waiting in the future, will Claire manage to return to Frank? And, more importantly, will the burgeoning feelings for Jaime make her want to?
“Outlander” is celebrated for its vivid portrayals of the Scottish Highlands, exquisite costumes, and perhaps most notably, its passionate and electrifying romantic scenes. However, the series offers more than just picturesque landscapes, historical outfits, and candlelit romance. It presents a gripping narrative filled with action and heartbreak, as Claire and Jaime strive to defy the inexorable flow of history, all the while preserving their love against all odds.
If your heart yearns for a deeply romantic historical drama that can whisk you away to another era, then “Poldark” is the series you’ve been looking for. This five-season British drama, based on Winston Graham’s books, features Aidan Turner as the strikingly handsome ex-soldier, Ross Poldark. The story kicks off with Ross returning to his home in Cornwall after the American Revolutionary War, only to find that his father has passed away and his estate is in shambles.
As if this wasn’t enough, his childhood sweetheart, Elizabeth, played by Heida Reed, is now engaged to his cousin. However, hope arrives in the least expected form: his scullery maid, Demelza, beautifully portrayed by Eleanor Tomlinson. Their budding love story shocks their acquaintances initially, but the couple’s love and commitment are certain to sweep the audience off their feet, right into the breathtaking sunsets of the Cornwall coast.
“Fleabag” revolves around a straightforward yet complex character, known simply to viewers as Fleabag, portrayed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. This series depicts her journey through the maze of London’s dating scene and everyday life, all while grappling with grief. Fleabag finds herself struggling with her problems, leading to feelings of anger and depression. In the process, she pushes away those trying to offer assistance. Despite this, her charm and wit remain intact, cutting through her anguish.
In a unique storytelling style, Fleabag frequently breaks the fourth wall, engaging directly with the audience, drawing them into her life. This interaction becomes particularly significant as she embarks on a romantic dalliance with a priest, or rather the longing for one. This poignant narrative invites viewers to empathize with her, depicting relatable dilemmas of yearning for what remains tantalizingly out of reach.
There’s an undeniable charm to the blend of romance and royalty, and the TV series “Victoria” encapsulates that perfectly. This captivating historical drama offers a delightful dose of nostalgic romance, tracing the early reign of Queen Victoria, masterfully portrayed by Jenna Coleman. The narrative starts with Victoria in her early years, young and unmarried, with many around her exerting pressure to tie the knot.
This, in turn, makes her resistant to the idea of marriage, until Prince Albert, played by Tom Hughes, captures her heart. This newfound love leads to a poignant and heartening proposal fairly early on in the series. What makes “Victoria” so captivating is its unapologetic focus on the couple’s happiness without imposing any unnecessary obstacles in their path. This approach treats viewers to a comprehensive love story, making “Victoria” one of the most sincerely romantic dramas on television.
Immersed in Southern charm, “Sweet Magnolias” offers the refreshing allure of sweet tea on a sweltering summer day. Inspired by a collection of books authored by romance writer Sherryl Woods, the story centers around Maddie, a mother of three, played by Joanna Garcia Swisher. Maddie strives to rebuild her once idyllic life in a small town after her husband’s scandalous affair becomes public.
Though love was not what she was seeking, she unexpectedly finds it in the company of Cal, a former Major League Baseball player turned coach for her eldest son’s team, portrayed by Justin Bruening. However, the heart of “Sweet Magnolias” isn’t solely about romance; it also celebrates the bond of female friendships. Significant screen time is devoted to the dynamics of Maddie’s relationships with her two closest friends, each of whom experiences their own personal and romantic journeys.
“Bridgerton”, based on Julia Quinn’s novels and brought to life by Shondaland alum Chris Van Dusen, can be aptly described as a confluence of Jane Austen’s era and Gossip Girl’s intrigue. Set in England’s Regency era, a favored backdrop for historical romances, this lavish series portrays the quest for true love among the eight Bridgerton siblings. This search is further complicated by the watchful eyes of Lady Whistledown, an anonymous gossip columnist voiced by Julie Andrews, who reveals the secrets and scandals of the Bridgerton family and London’s high society.
Each season of “Bridgerton” focuses on the romantic journey of a different sibling. The inaugural season concentrates on the eldest daughter, Daphne, played by Phoebe Dynevor. Although initially the talk of the town, her status dips with the arrival of a new beauty. In an effort to escape a loveless marriage arranged by her eldest brother, Daphne strikes a deal with the newly titled and irresistibly handsome Duke of Hastings, played by Regé-Jean Page.
As part of a convincing fake-dating arrangement, the Duke pretends to court Daphne, enhancing her value on the marriage market, while their agreement helps him ward off women. Predictably, genuine emotions soon surface. The second season then shifts focus to the eldest son, Anthony, the Viscount Bridgerton, portrayed by Jonathan Bailey, who finally resolves to find a wife and sets his eyes on newcomer Edwina, until he falls for her headstrong elder sister, Kate.
“Grey’s Anatomy” is an enthralling medical drama TV series, which traces the intricate journeys of interns, physicians, and nurses stationed at what initially started as Seattle Grace Hospital, and later became Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. The primary spotlight is on Meredith Grey, her life, and her burgeoning medical career. However, the appeal of this show extends far beyond its clinical setting, owing to the captivating stories of love and heartbreak that unfold between the characters.
First aired in 2005, the series is now running into its 19th season, securing its position as the longest-running scripted primetime show presently broadcast on ABC. The cast roster of “Grey’s Anatomy” has seen multiple changes over its tenure, but some of the most popular names to have graced the show include Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, T.R. Knight, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr.
Pride and Prejudice
The six-part mini-series of “Pride and Prejudice” made a remarkable impression upon its debut, earning it a permanent place in the annals of the most adored romantic TV shows in history. To attest to its popularity, even after 26 years, Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy’s iconic lake plunge, and the infamous wet shirt scene that followed, continues to be a subject of awe-inspired conversations. The narrative revolves around the trials and tribulations of the Bennet sisters, with a special focus on the gentle Jane and the fiery Lizzy, as they navigate the complexities of their relationships with two strikingly different men.
The affable Mr. Bingley is instantly captivated by Jane, whereas the dynamic between the proud Mr. Darcy and Lizzy can be best described as loathe at first sight – or so it seems. This adaptation, for the most part, stays true to its source – the 1813 novel by Jane Austen, which proves to be an excellent decision. The historical backdrop allows for stunning costumes, picturesque settings of the British countryside, and a series of intensely romantic scenes as the sisters endeavor to find love in a society that often views marriage as a mercenary transaction.
This Is Us
“This Is Us” is a potent emotional journey that evokes a spectrum of feelings in its audience, making it easy for viewers to relate to at least one or more characters. Conceived by Dan Fogelman, the series features an impressive cast that includes Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley, supported by a stellar ensemble cast. “This Is Us” interweaves the lives of a couple and their three children, navigating various conflicts at diverse stages of their existence.
What makes this series successful is the delicate blend of humor and drama, coupled with the portrayal of ordinary circumstances and challenges that arise in the lives of individuals and families. First aired in September 2016, “This Is Us” delighted audiences for six seasons, concluding its heartfelt narrative in January 2022.