2023 Wrap: Favourite Duos — The Bear, Loki, Heartstopper, and More

David Tennant/Michael Sheen in Good Omens

What the show loses in narrative urgency in season two, it makes up for with rich characterisation, spending much more time on the relationship between Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and his demon bestie Crowley (David Tennant). The two alternate between bickering like an old married couple and wordlessly showing up for each other. Their camaraderie coasts on lighthearted banter, but there’s also a rare openness and unhesitant vulnerability between them. They’re depicted as the world’s slowest-burn romance, one that’s been in the making for a literal eternity. If in the first season, the show’s most ticking-clock question was whether Crowley and Aziraphale can stop the end times, season two prompts a question of a different time-bound nature: When will Aziraphale and Crowley finally realise how they feel about each other? 

Reader, be warned, the final scenes of the second season of Good Omens might just break your heart.  

Tom Hiddleston/Owen Wilson in Loki

s (somewhat) reluctant buddy-cop dynamic is familiar TV territory, and it carries with it just enough of a classic procedural oomph to differentiate Loki from the lumpy, overcrowded morass of Marvel movie and TV storytelling, both of which are at the point of snapping. Much of the credit for Loki’s fun and goofy side goes to Owen Wilson’s Mobius, a rule-bending time cop and exudes warmth in every frame. 

It is in season two of Loki that the friendship between the TVA (Time Variance Authority) employee and the god of mischief (Tom  Hiddleston) transcends the familiar dynamic and becomes something more meaningful. With a chunk of exposition about TVA and relationship building behind them, a magnetic pull makes itself apparent anytime the two navigate danger that is both existential or physical. We know that Loki would refer to Mobius for moral clarity when he is boxed into an illusion of a cruel choice. We know Mobius would come through for Loki. It is a tender portrait of a male friendship in a fantasy universe, the likes of which is reminiscent of the OG fantasy bromance: Sam and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings series.

Kit Connor/Joe Locke in Heartstopper

Based on Alice Oseman’s beloved webcomics, Netflix’s Heartstopper  is a refreshingly earnest and tender portrayal of young, queer love. Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor) grapple with the challenges of a publicly queer relationship in the second season. What consistently shines through is their unconditional love and support for each other, and a bond that is so sweet that it is impossible to watch them interact without a huge smile on your face. Connor’s performance as the strapping rugby player who is actually the human equivalent of a cuddly golden retriever, is particularly excellent. He laces Nick’s steadfast confidence with notes of anxious vulnerability. Locke nails Charlie’s slightly awkward charm, and the two actors share an easy, endearing chemistry. Heartstopper has been referred to as a “hug in TV form”, and with at least one more season on its way, we look forward to having more of Nick and Charlie in our lives.

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