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Calling all hopeless romantics.

| By Sukriti Wahi | Journal

10 of the Best Friends-to-Lovers TV Shows for Your Watch (or Rewatch) List

Calling all hopeless romantics.

We’re calling it: the friends-to-lovers trope has to be one of the romance genre’s best.

There’s just something especially tender about the idea of two people who have known each other a long time, one day finding their friendship becoming something deeper – because they have the foundation.

Unlike some of the genre’s other tropes, it feels real (because how often do we actually fall for our enemies in real life?), tapping into the hopeless romantic inside all of us.

And if this particular flame wasn’t fanned enough by the third season of Bridgerton, we’ve got a list of series that celebrate this beloved theme in a myriad of wonderful ways.

Below, keep reading for 10 of the best friends-to-lovers TV shows to add to your watch (or rewatch) list.

1. One Day

Where can I watch it? Netflix

A heart-wrenching tale and a slow burn to boot – keep the tissues handy – One Day tells the love story of Emma and Dexter, who become friends after a failed one-night stand following their university graduation. Over the next 20 years, the film revisits their lives on the same date each year, depicting their evolving friendship and unspoken feelings for each other as they navigate through the ups and downs of loss, life and love affairs.

2. New Girl

Where can I watch it? Disney+

New Girl not only gave us top-tier friends-to-lovers comedy in 2010s, but also some of the most quotable characters to ever grace our screens. The show revolves around quirky teacher Jess Day (played to perfection by Zooey Deschanel), who, after getting unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, has to move in with a trio of single men. Among the new housemates is Nick Miller (Jake Johnson), a grumpy bartender who Jess befriends, and over time, shares a growing chemistry with – cue: sparks, laughs and some of the best yelling scenes we’ve ever seen (if you know, you know).

3. Heartstopper

Where can I watch it? Netflix

A sweet coming-of-age tale, Netflix’s Heartstopper is the story of Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson, two high school students who form an unlikely friendship after being assigned as seatmates. As they face the tumultuous nature of being teenagers together, their bond deepens into a tender and heartfelt romance.

4. Bridgerton, Season 3

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Well, we couldn’t very well leave Bridgerton off the list, now, could we? For those who may have missed it or aren’t yet caught up, the third season of Netflix’s behemoth series is the very embodiment of the beloved romance trope. In this instalment, the Regency era drama follows Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton as their childhood friendship evolves into something much sweeter – but it’s not without its complications.

5. Normal People

Where can I watch it? BBC

Perhaps debatable whether it’s a true friends-to-lovers tale, this TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel explores the complex relationship between Marianne and Connell, two Irish teens from different social backgrounds. Despite their differences, they fall into a friends-with-benefits relationship, embarking on an on-again, off-again romance, that sees them traverse the challenges of love, friendship and identity.

6. The Summer I Turned Pretty

Where can I watch it? Prime

One of the most bingeable shows on Prime Video, The Summer I Turned Pretty follows the story of Belly Conklin, who spends her summers at a beach house with her family and their close friends, the Fishers. Over the years, Belly forms a close bond with the Fisher brothers, Conrad and Jeremiah. As they deal with the challenges of adolescence and summer romances, Belly finds herself torn between her feelings for both brothers, leading to a friends-to-lovers storyline filled with love, heartbreak, and self-discovery.

7. The Good Place

Where can I watch it? Netflix

Although not strictly hinged upon the romantic plot device, The Good Place does a great job of the friends-to-lovers trope throughout its four seasons. It centres around Eleanor Shellstrop, who mistakenly finds herself in the afterlife’s “good place” despite having led a morally dubious life on Earth. Alongside her fellow residents, which includes the endearing ethics professor Chidi Anagonye, Eleanor navigates the complexities of the afterlife while uncovering secrets about their shared existence. As Eleanor and Chidi bond over philosophy debates, their friendship blossoms into something more and oh-so sweet.

8. The Mindy Project

Where can I watch it? Apple TV+

Created by and starring Mindy Kaling, the sitcom follows the professional and romantic escapades of Mindy Lahiri, an OB/GYN with a penchant for romantic comedies. While navigating her busy career and colourful love life, Mindy finds friction with her stubborn, macho colleague, Danny Castellano. Their dynamic shifts over time, leading to an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers arc that evolves through witty banter, comedic mishaps, and heartfelt moments aplenty.

9. The Office (US)

Where can I watch it? Prime

While the show might not centre around romance, The Office gave us one of the best onscreen friends-to-lovers of all time in Pam and Jim — and evidently one of the most popular references on dating app bios with: “Just a Jim looking for his Pam”. Central to the mockumentary about workplace dynamics, the receptionist and salesman have a chemistry right from the first few episodes, and one that unfolds throughout the series amidst the eccentric characters, office pranks and heartfelt moments that define the show.

10. Friends

Where can I watch it? Netflix

New it might not be, but no list of friends-to-lovers shows would be complete without the iconic sitcom Friends. Giving us the much-loved couple that is Monica and Chandler, the pair went from pals to partners in a whirlwind ‘accident’ and became fan favourites in the process. Forget Ross and Rachel – these two are the show’s true top couple.

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