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The run-up to Valentine's Day is here, and if you need to prime the romance pump with a little on-screen inspiration, we've got your back. In honor of the season of love, we've rounded up 16 of the most romantic series of all time, all of which are currently available to stream. Warning! We said "romantic," what we didn't say was "uplifting," "joyful," "feel good," "inspiring"—you get it. Love hurts, but we'll take the occasional depths of despair over the vapid fluff of a Hallmark card any day.
It is our sincere hope that the following series spark a bit of romance in your life, but at the very least, you'll feel a little something for such romance figures as Paul Mescal, Jessica Chastain, Jonathan Bailey, Issa Rae, or either of the Salvatore brothers.
Between All of Us Strangers press, his recent Chicken Shop Date appearance, and his upcoming role in Gladiator 2, we’re living in the year of Paul Mescal. Perhaps you’ve avoided Normal People in an effort to protect your peace, or perhaps you’ve been living under a warm and fuzzy rock. Either way, the jig is up and the time has come. Stream Normal People, and stream it immediately. Based on the novel of the same name by heartbreak harbinger Sally Rooney, Normal People follows two people whose occasionally messy, occasionally beautiful relationship progresses from the final days of high school to the early years of adulthood.
Scenes From a Marriage
If your love language is despair and haughty conversation, then allow us to introduce you to your next heartbreak. Scenes From a Marriage is deliciously devastating and legitimately taxing on the brain—the polar opposite of The Summer I Turned Pretty-esque content (which we will get to shortly). The—HBO miniseries stars Oscar Issac (daddy) and Jessica Chastain (mother) as a struggling couple navigating the rocky waters of intimacy and companionship. A remake of the 1973 series of the same name, each of Scenes From a Marriage’s five episodes are capsules of different moments in the pair’s relationship together, skipping weeks, months, and years in the silence of the end credits. Stream it and bill us for the therapy later.
Everyone’s favorite historical fiction is returning to Netflix this year for its third installment, after initially premiering back in 2020. The series, which is based on Julia Quinn’s book series of the same name, gives each child of the Regency-era Bridgerton family a season of love. The series’ first season focused on Daphne Bridgerton and her enemies-to-lovers romance with the Duke of Hastings, played by Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page. Season 2 explored the steamy romance between Jonathan Bailey’s Anthony and Simone Ashley’s Kate, who are secured to appear in the forthcoming third season, which will follow the third Bridgerton son, Colin, as he (hopefully) falls for his longtime admirer, Penelope Featherington.
While we have Jonathan Bailey on the mind, let’s talk Fellow Travelers. Bailey stars alongside Matt Bomer in this new Showtime thriller series, which follows a decades-long affair between two political figures who fall in love in the 1950s McCarthy era. The series carries our secret lovers through the political happenings of that time, from the Vietnam War and counterculture of the 60s, to the AIDs crisis of the 80s. All the while, the pair are constantly threatened by the homophobic policies and government investigations of the time. Suspenseful, hot, and all too real—that’s Fellow Travelers.
Sex and the City
For many (women), Sex and the City is the definitive series on dating and romance. For some of those (women), the series is near biblical. Surely, our readers need no introduction to the series, which follows the lives of four single women in New York City navigating romance, sex, career, and friendship. The series spawned a franchise, featuring two films, a prequel series, and a spinoff series called And Just Like That... which follows the ladies in their later years and is currently streaming on Max.
Girls has often been referred to as the modern Sex and the City, moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn, aging down from thirties to mid-twenties, and trading expensive dinners for tooth necklaces—IYKYK. If you ask us, the series is more of a romance between friends, but it features its fair share of swoon-worthy moments in modern romance (in its messiest form).
The Summer I Turned Pretty
If your idea of pure romance is an innocent one, unmoored by the adult trappings of taxes and nine-to-five jobs, then give The Summer I Turned Pretty a stream. The hit series from Amazon Prime Video, which is based on the book series of the same name, follows a love triangle between a teenage girl and her life-long buds (who happen to be brothers). The series is wistfully set in the fictional summer beach town of Cousins Beach and will have you dreaming of a New England summer and a pair of brothers your own age.
This criminally underrated comedy drama aired on HBO from 2014 to 2016 and stars such names as Jonathan Groff and Murray Bartlett. Plus, it was produced in part by Andrew Haigh, who is currently stirring up buzz with his new film All of Us Strangers, starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal. The series follows three gay men in San Francisco, navigating life, love, and work—like all good series do. The series, though fleeting, was lauded for its depiction of LGBTQ+ relationships, and really does hold up.
This Is Us
This Is Us has a way of making everything feel romantic, from genuine lovers, to parents and beyond. The tear-jerking series is an epic one, following the intertwining lives of the Pearson family across generations of life and love. The series features one of the strongest ensemble casts on television, including Sterling K. Brown, Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Ron Cephas Jones, Chrissy Metz, and more.
Insecure is more of a coming of age comedy than a pure romance, but any person experiencing life through their late 20s will tell you, it is not without its romance. This series was created by and stars the inimitable Issa Rae as a young Black woman exploring post-graduate life and love in South LA. The series’ cast, which is damn good, features Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell, Amanda Seales, Kendrick Sampson, and more. The series ran for five seasons, currently available to stream on Max and Netflix, and includes a highly emotional post-series documentary about the filming of the final season of the game-changing show.
The L Word
A watershed series in television history, The L Word is a Showtime drama that aired from 2004 to 2009 and followed a group of lesbian and bisexual women in West Hollywood. The series was the first to feature an ensemble cast of lesbian and bisexual women, and is credited with breaking ground on the on-screen lesbian experience, something that had never truly been shown on television before. The series spotlights every shape of romance, from long-term lovers attempting to have a child, to the androgynous and promiscuous.
Love & Death
More murder than romance, Love & Death is one of HBO Max’s latest miniseries and stars Elisabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery, who in the late '70s (allegedly) killed her best friend after having an affair with her husband. If you’re not familiar with the true crime story, then we’ll stop there. Stream the series on Max now and decide for yourself what went down in Wylie, Texas. The series also stars Jesse Plemons, Lily Rabe, and more.
The Vampire Diaries
*Summoning a Vampire Diaries resurgence* If you’ve made it to the bottom of this list and haven’t seen this iconic series, then start from the bottom up and hit the pilot immediately. The Vampire Diaries ran on The CW from 2009 to 2017, contributing to the ever-present fandom culture of the supernatural peak, right alongside Twilight, Teen Wolf, and the lot. The series starred Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder as 100+ year old vampire brothers and Nina Dobrev as the human teenager who steals both of their hearts. Like any good supernatural series, the lore spins out so far from the original plotline that it’s hard to say much more, but suffice to say, the series’ eight seasons feature many deaths, rebirths, and bites. Plus, as the former horny teens turned spicy adults will tell you, the series is tenfold hotter than Twilight ever was.
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