Science Fiction Romances, Part 4: Workplace Romances and Comedy in the 1990s

The 1990s was a great decade for science fiction and similarly fantastic genres. When it came to Star Trek shows, it was an embarrassment of riches. Parts of three different Star Trek series, Babylon 5, SeaQuest, and Poltergeist: The Legacy were all 1990s shows. Quantum Leap, which started in 1989, ran until 1993.

If you read last week’s posts, you know I’ve been celebrating the Valentine’s Day season by remembering some of science fiction TV’s best love stories. I wrote about Star Trek in the 1960s, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman in the 1970s, and The Beauty and the Beast in the 1980s. The stories I concentrated on, in keeping with my own dark temperament, were beautifully tragic.

Of the series I just listed, I thought Quantum Leap had the most tragic love stories. The most tragic of all was the story of traveler Sam Beckett himself. As Dr. Beckett (played by Scott Bakula of Enterprise and NCIS: New Orleans) leaped through time, switching places with others and putting right the wrongs that wrecked their lives, he was sacrificing his own life. As we learned in one two-part episode, Sam had a wife in his own time. Every time he time-jumped, however, a fog descended over his brain, and he forgot almost everything about his own life.  Wording on the screen at the end of the last episode said Sam never returned home.

If there was an award for most delightful science fiction romantic comedy series, I’d have to give it to Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997) starring Teri Hatcher and Dean Cane in the title roles. It had it all: science fiction action, humor, endearing characters, and romantic tension. And Teri Hatcher was just adorable. Here’s a scene:

Is this the most delightfully romantic science fiction TV couple of the 90s? They’re definitely up there, but they have a strong—albeit darker and moodier—contender.

The most enduring workplace romance of the 1990s would have to be that of FBI agents William “Fox” Mulder and Dana Scully of The X-Files. For the first few seasons of the series, the romantic element was understated and the relationship undefined. There were hints of attraction here and there, but nothing definite. Mulder was one suave dude though, as these clips demonstrate. In one episode (the scenes with Mulder in the pink Izod shirt), they posed as a married couple. (Some of this is a little PG-13.)

Supposedly they had a child together at one point, but it’s not really clear how that happened (artificially?) or if the baby was really Mulder’s. At this writing, Fox and Dana are working together again (It’s 201,8 and the original series ended in 2002.) and looking for their now-teenage son.  What kind of award would you give the Mulder/Scully romance? Most undefined? Most unanswered questions? Most weird and wonderful? However you defined it, there was a definite chemistry between these characters, and you can see it in their wordless communication:


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