Recently, we came across a story about “television’s hottest bromances”—you know, guys who share inexplicably tight, platonic bonds. The writer, Erin White, compiled a smart, pithy list: Barney and Ted from How I Met Your Mother, Denny and Alan from Boston Legal, Hiro and Ando from Heroes.… That last one got us thinking: Science fiction is particularly conducive to such relationships, what with all those mind-blowing adventures, brushes with mortality, and long, lonesome commutes into galaxies far, far away. With that in mind, we present to you sci-fi’s most compelling male superfriends.SHAUN AND ED (SHAUN OF THE DEAD) Peeved girlfriend Liz couldn’t stop this feelin’ between the cricket-bat-wielding hero and his slothful roommate—even after the latter turned into a zombie. Now that’s friendship, people.
HAN SOLO AND CHEWBACCA The swaggering Star Wars duo complement each other handsomely: One’s a svelte fast-talker with nice hair who likes both kinds of action (if you know what I mean); his co-pilot is a hulking, hirsute, silent-type who’s handy amid the Storm Trooper kind of action. WALL•E AND HAL THE COCKROACH As a New Yorker, all I gotta say is that must be one quality roach. Me? I would’ve hit it with my shoe post-haste; surely there was a volleyball to befriend on that planet somewhere. GEORDI LA FORGE AND DATA (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION) Since I can’t phrase it better, I’m just gonna quote a friend of my buddy Han (no, not that Han), tech writer Jon Sung: “Their best bromance episode is possibly ‘The Measure of a Man’—Data is about to leave Starfleet, and Geordi’s all emo about it. There’s also one where Data and Geordi discuss the finer points of shaving.” E.T. AND ELLIOTT (E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL) They biked together…in the sky! Eat your hearts out Armstrong and McConaughey.
BATMAN AND ALFRED Oh, was I supposed to say Batman and Superman, or Batman and Robin, or Batman and Ace the Bat-Hound? Bruce Wayne has known his English butler longer than any of the aforementioned, and they’ve enjoyed a steady relationship in which this manservant protects his master like a surrogate father. POWER MAN AND IRON FIST Comicdom’s Starsky and Hutch didn’t gel together at first: They sparred before talking things through to join forces against evil kingpin John Bushmaster. The odd couple quickly become compadres, headlining a comic-book series together.
FRODO BAGGINS AND SAMWISE GAMGEE Already Shire amigos, their bond proved tenacious during a mutual fixation on a sparkly bauble. You know, it helps to have stuff in common. DR. ZACHARY SMITH AND THE ROBOT (TV’S LOST IN SPACE) Although the irritable Jupiter 2 stowaway frequently found himself vexed by his ambivalent companion, he just couldn’t quit hanging with the metal head. JOHN CONNOR AND THE TERMINATOR Because of this moment in T2, which has got to be a page out of a post-apocalyptic sequel to Shane: The Terminator: “There is one more chip.” [Points to head where chip is located] “And it must be destroyed, also.” John Connor: “No! You can’t go! You can’t go! No, stay with us. It will be okay.” The Terminator: “It has to end here.” John Connor: “I order you not to go. I order you not to go, I order you not to go!” [John starts to cry] The Terminator: “I know now why you cry.” [Terminator wipes John's tear] “But it is something I can never do.”
HOGARTH HUGHES AND THE IRON GIANT (See John Connor and The Terminator.) THE TICK AND ARTHUR What would the big, blue, bumbling, kind-natured Tick be without his level-headed, eternally miserable roommate Arthur, whose sacrifices include leaving a career as a mediocre accountant to wear an ill-fitting moth costume? R2-D2 and C-3PO We’re not technically sure the chill R2 actually likes the cloying C-3PO. But you never really see them apart, so clearly there’s something there. HENCHMAN #21 AND HENCHMAN #24 (THE VENTURE BROS.) Two of the Monarch’s more resilient muscle, they enjoy matching yellow outfits and a life of heated repartee. And they even wrote a tell-all book together.
HAWK AND DOVE Hmmm, does it count as a bromance if they’re already brothers? CAPTAIN AMERICA/STEVE ROGERS AND BUCKY The WWII cronies stuck together through the years like stars and stripes, until Rogers’ recent death. Bucky went on to assume his pal’s patriotic moniker…which is either sorta tear-jerking or totally Baby Jane-ish.
THE AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO So comfortable in their bespandexed skin that they’ve pioneered the subgenre of crime-fighting as a homoerotic science. SAM BECKETT AND AL CALAVICCI (QUANTUM LEAP) A physicist is thrust back and forth in time. The only constant in his life: Al, a dubious pal who frequently appears in the form of a hologram. Hey, you take what you can get. IRON MAN/TONY STARK AND JIM RHODES More war buddies! These ’Nam vets became friends for life after they high-tailed it together out of enemy territory and back to the motherland. So as Stark developed his Iron Man technology, Rhodes became his confidant. During the superhero's storied battle with alcoholism, Rhodes stepped into the Iron suit—then ultimately relinquished the mantle after Stark straightened himself out. CHUCK BARTOWSKI AND MORGAN GRIMES (NBC’S CHUCK) The connection between these Buy More employees has endured despite being challenged numerous times after Chuck started working on the DL for the CIA and NSA. In a Very Special Chuck, the title character's priorities were thrown into question on Halloween, when Morgan thinks he’s left without a partner for his Dune Sandworm costume. Stand up dude that he is, Chuck chose the righteous path.
WILLIAM ADAMA AND SAUL TIGH (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) When Tigh hit the bottle, Adama welcomed his unflinching supporter to his cabinet…and we ain’t talking ’bout no liquor cabinet. This connection hasn’t faltered even with the shocking revelation that Tigh’s a Cylon. MICHAEL KNIGHT AND KITT (KNIGHT RIDER) Producer Glen Larson once said of the chemistry between his two main characters: “I wanted to do The Lone Ranger with a car.” And if Tonto were sassy and loquacious, this dalliance between a man and his Trans Am could be described as just that.
GEORGE FRANCISCO AND MATTHEW SIKES (ALIEN NATION) Otherworldly police officer George joins the force and is partnered with skeptical vet Matthew. But since positive social metaphors must prevail—and this is a buddy-cop show—the two forge a tight brah-therhood. BART SIMPSON AND MILHOUSE VAN HOUTEN We weren’t fully convinced of this alliance at first: The near-sighted, sexually ambiguous nerd was too frequently the witless victim of pranks at Bart’s hands. But after “Homer Defined” (season 3, episode 5)—when Bart goes heartbroken after Milhouse’s mom bans the troublemaker from the Van Houten household—we realized that Bart just bromances Milhouse the same, pesky way most 10-year-old boys flirt with girls. SUPERMAN AND JIMMY OLSEN Kal-El protects, and grants exclusive access to, this cub reporter as he snaps pictures and gathers material for his intrepid Daily Planet stories. In return, the Superman-worshipping Olsen stokes the Ego of Steel.
HURLEY AND SAWYER (LOST) Sure, the con man bullied the big man, ridiculing him for his food stash and giving him nicknames like Babar and Pillsbury. But Hurley’s gentle way (plus a pivotal ping-pong game banning Sawyer from sputtering sobriquets) prevailed, culminating in this shot from season 3, in which Hurley and Sawyer celebrate after the prior gets an abandoned van to start on sheer faith. Bromances With Awkward Racial Undertones INDIANA JONES AND SHORT ROUND The Temple of Doom pair busts a child-slavery ring (and other stuff) in India, while saving each others’ asses. Nightclub singer Willie Scott may have a handle on the good doc’s gonads, but it’s the plucky Shortie who captures his heart by uttering such nuggets of wisdom as “Hey, Dr. Jones, no time for love. We’ve got company”—albeit in an almost-parodic Chinese accent.
THE GREEN HORNET AND KATO The masked crime-fighter, in his TV incarnation, never leaves home without his dexterous chauffeur, who conveniently handles most of the bad-guy heavy-lifting. Miraculously, the tacit Kato remains loyal to his employer, overlooking any undercurrents of racism—proving that this brand of man-love is indeed blind. THE SPIRIT AND EBONY WHITE The superhero’s trusty black sidekick could’ve been genre-busting…were the ageless tax driver not initially depicted so off-puttingly as a shocking caricature who spoke in a shameful, pre-Ebonic dialect. Honorary Real-Life Mention DIRECTOR JOSS WHEDON AND ACTOR NATHAN FILLION “He’s the entire package: dramatic, comedic, romantic,” Whedon has said about his nerd-verse muse. “I honestly believe he’s Harrison Ford, if given a shot.” Fillion, in kind, has enthusiastically starred in his BFF’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. To promote those projects, they’ve made countless hysterical convention appearances together—a life-bonding experience, if any.
Whedon/Fillion picture courtesy of Destiny Thing