Best of the 2010s: The relationships that shaped the decade

SUITS -- "Harvey" Episode 816 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter, Sarah Rafferty as Donna Paulsen -- (Photo by: USA Network)
SUITS -- "Harvey" Episode 816 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter, Sarah Rafferty as Donna Paulsen -- (Photo by: USA Network) /
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Best of the 2010s in 2016: Mulder and Scully, “MSR,” from The X-Files

Look: You can’t use words like “shippers” or “ships” without discussing the couple whose supporters were responsible for “the birth of the ‘shipping’ phenomenon.” You just can’t. Luckily, we don’t have to do any mental gymnastics to find an excuse to include them in our best of the 2010s list because The X-Files returned in 2016 and, certainly in no small part due to the legendary chemistry between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, achieved record-breaking ratings.

The X-Files itself was, arguably, not one of the best of the 2010s—the William backstory rewrite in the second season alone probably makes it one of the worst—but, even with Mulder and Scully supposedly broken up, the strength of their connection made it impossible to give up on either the ship or the series.

When two people have been each other’s one and only, each others’ touchstones, for so long and through so many life-or-death situations, when two people can only Trust each other (yes, with a capital “T”), it doesn’t matter whether or not the words on the page list them as separated; they’re still a single unit to virtually anyone who bothers to look closely. Such has pretty much always been the case for MSR.

So much has already been written about Mulder and Scully that there probably aren’t any words left to describe how important their story was to the television landscape; but one can never stress too much just how intense even the briefest eye contact between the two characters could be. It was as if, watching them simply occupy the same space was some sort of illicit behavior akin to voyeurism.

And no matter how badly the story might have ended, Anderson and Duchovny’s portrayal of these characters and their out-of-this-world connection will forever make MSR the ship to end all ships. Or, if we’re talking the best of the 2010s, just getting to see them together on-screen one more time, beginning in 2016 and ending (probably for good this time) in 2018, will always be one of the highlights of this decade.