9. There’s a central love story that’s actually worth caring about.

Rarely are love connections handled as well on television as Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham's is. In Fringe’s first season, the show’s producers opted for the X-Files approach, keeping the relationship platonic, a la Mulder and Scully, but always doing so with the awareness that viewers were on edge, anticipating an inevitable hook-up. The move paid off, giving the characters plenty of time to develop a concrete bond through genuine friendship and mutual survival during an endless series of dangerous, otherworldly cases.

Once Peter and Olivia finally gave into their attraction, Fringe’s overseers found new, clever ways to challenge their feelings. For most of Season Three, Olivia is trapped in the parallel universe, meaning that her doppelganger, called “Fauxlivia,” takes her place in our world. Looser in demeanor and much less prudish, the darker-haired Fauxlivia turns up the heat with Peter, who seems to think he’s dealing with an improved Olivia; meanwhile, Olivia endures the parallel universe’s deadlier ways by holding onto the hope that she’ll one day see Peter again.

Credit the fine acting of Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv, or award extensive props to Fringe’s writing team—either way, the Peter/Olivia saga is the closest most sci-fi geeks will ever get to true romance.