Star Trek [since there are only two of the series that I follow, I'll lump them all under the one heading...]
Janeway/Chakotay - this was my very first Star Trek 'ship, and it happened, inevitably, because the first episode of Voyager I ever saw happened to be 'Resolutions'. It then took me about a year and a half to get the episode on tape, but that's another story. There's nothing particularly special about J/C, except for the fact that it's just there. The reason it was there at all was because of Jeri Taylor, one of the original members of the writing team; after she left, the shippiness vanished completely, and the evil horrible wrong and bad Chakotay/Seven storyline emerged. Let's not dwell on that, shall we? J/C had the same sort of unspoken chemistry as Mulder and Scully, only not as good; it would, however, remain unspoken and un-anything-at-all. As far as I could figure it out, Chakotay, being spiritual and generally in touch with human emotions, realised early on that he was in love with her; Janeway stuck fast to protocol and refused to acknowledge her own feelings, let alone his - until at least season 6 or thereabouts. It was never exactly an easy one to ship for, because liaisons between them were so few and far between, and the much-anticipated 'Ready Room Scenes' were more often than not interrupted by a certain Vulcan Lieutenant-Commander...
They've always been the best of friends (well, apart from those few moments when one of them has a strop, but that's half the fun...) and she's always been ready to admit that there's no way she'd have run the ship without him. Just to prove the difference, when he thought she'd died in 'Coda', he flipped out completely, whereas Janeway'd be more likely to, oh, say a eulogy and then mope about it lots in private... and even then she'd probably try not to.
It's actually been so long since I watched any Voyager that I can't really comment further. I just know that I honestly thought we'd prevail with J/C one day and get what we wanted, but no, Berman *spit* and Braga *kaboom!* decided to ruin it. Not only J/C, but Doc/Seven, too. Two 'ships with one horrible decision is certainly impressive. Nice going, morons. Because clearly the fans are all wrong, aren't they... Oy.
The Doctor/Seven of Nine - this was one that I predicted right from the start. Why? Because the first time we saw Seven in a Voyager situation, she was in the Sick Bay, being tended by the Doctor; later, she spent a lot of her time there because he was mentoring her. And we all remember what happened with Kes, don't we, when she was the nurse? Exactly... (That, and I swear he has a weakness for blondes. Obviously another of Doc Zimmerman's personal traits that made it into the programme...) I admit, it was a tough choice for a while; for about three episodes I toyed with Seven/Tuvok and Seven/Harry, but all along, I knew it was going to be the Doc.
7/D would have been a wonderful pairing; it was actually the perfect setup. He knows her better than anybody else on Voyager (excepting, maybe, Janeway) and she trusts him above anyone else. If anyone deserved to set Seven's emotions free, it was the Doc; he earned that much. And, wow, 'Someone To Watch Over Me'? Easily the best episode out of all the 7/D-orientated ones, and one that actually spelt a modicum of hope for us. 7/D was probably more negatively affected by the C/7 plotline than J/C was, though they both did suffer horribly. 'Renaissance Man' had the Doc finally admit how he felt - and Seven bloody knew, if the look on her face was any indication - and what could have been a poignant and moving and wonderfully angsty scene became part of the comedy aspect of the episode. Words cannot express how much I hated them for that. (Actually, they can...) After that, all of the established communication between them was completely lost. Ironically enough, the shippiest D/7 moment of that season came at the start of the C/7 arc, in 'Human Error'; the Doc found her in the holodeck, passed out for some reason I don't remember that was probably something to do with her cortical node (it always is...), and, while she was unconscious, he stroked her hair. The amount of feeling and longing he put into that one, simple gesture was almost enough to make up for the crap we got served up by the writers. Almost.
Paris/Torres - see, here's the thing. I used to be a Paris/Torres shipper, right up until they got married and started a family and became the centre of attention. But after Berman and Braga ripped out our shippy little hearts with C/7, I lost all faith in them, especially when they carried right on with P/T (one of the three established relationships that had held the show together on an emotional level) as if nothing had happened. It was almost as if they were throwing it all back in our faces, or offering us compensation. "Hey, look, we screwed you over; we're sorry. Have some gratuitous Paris/Torres stuff to make up for it!" Well, sorry, it doesn't work like that. Shippers are fickle, it's true, but we're not bloody stupid...
Dax/Bashir - this was another of my early ST 'ships. There was just something about them that worked: he was the young, naive doctor, she was the hundred-plus year-old Trill host with too much experience for her own good. Plus, they just worked well together, they got on, they flirted, she knew how he felt and was fine with it, never gave him hope, but never quite took it away either. At least, until Worf. I am not a fan of the Worf/Jadzia plotline in the slightest. Similarly, I am not a fan of the Jadzia-being-killed-off plotline, either. Deep Space Nine, at least, did remain consistent with its character development, right up to the finale, which makes it easily the best of the Treks on that level. Jadzia and Julian would have been adorably fluffy together, had it ever happened - a little of that could be seen with the Ezri/Julian plotline that happened in Season 7. While it's true she's no Jadzia, I'm so, so glad they got together in the end. I'm also eternally grateful for her saying, "If Worf hadn't come along, it would have been you..." - yes, it's unspeakably cruel to poor Julian (yet also not, in the same way), but it was everything we ever wanted to know... Jazdia did love Julian; I think Jadzia loved a lot of people, and had too much love to give, most likely because of her past existences. I'm actually tempted to blame Jadzia/Worf on Kurzon - otherwise, how else do you explain Ezri also sleeping with him that time, even if it was a desperate situation? Worf's a very human Klingon, and Jadzia was a very Klingon Trill; Ezri was bound to feel a little of that.
Actually, the best thing about Ezri/Julian was the fact they were both so utterly useless. :)
Odo/Kira - this one, I missed, but to be honest I'm still not up to date entirely on DS9, having wandered into it in the middle of season 5. As soon as I found out about O/K, though - probably a month or so before the Sky airing of 'His Way' - I wondered how I could have been so blind as not to spot it. It was handled perfectly, despite the reservations that both Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois had about actually letting the characters pursue the relationship - they were both worried it wouldn't work out, and apparently everyone was surprised how well it did. O/K was an established pre-Season 1 friendship that dated back to the Occupation of Bajor (I think) when she was a terrorist. There's implicit trust between them, and the way I see it is that Odo, who was an 'unknown sample' on a Cardassian space station before going to DS9, has never really belonged anywhere. Kira was probably the first person who ever gave him somewhere - and someone - to relate to and call 'home' - and when the Founder was trying to turn him against them, it was only natural he'd be curious about his homeworld, the other place he'd be able to belong. It's also only natural that he'd let himself fall in love with her without even realising it, because he's Odo...
O/K had angst by the barrel, which was one of the reasons I liked it so much. It had angst, and it had its moments of pure, unadulterated sap, and, inevitably, it didn't last. The only redeeming factor of Odo going back to the Great Link in the finale was that Kira loved him enough to let him do it, and there was the slightest implication that he would, one day, come back. Besides, it left me blubbing like an idiot, so it's gotta be good...
Minh/Selin - don't. ask. :)
Daphne/Niles - one word: 'Moondance'. Okay, more than one word...
But yes, 'Moondance' was a defining episode. For as long as I can remember, I've found Daphne and Niles utterly adorable. I mean, really. Where other 'ships make me squeal (M/S), leap around the room in euphoric joy (J/A), go 'owww' (B/S) or grin (O/K), Daphne/Niles merely make me go 'aww' in a revered voice. We've had two seasons so far of them being together and making it work (just like we always knew they would) and getting married and all the stuff that goes with it, and you know something? It never gets old. They remain as adorable as they have ever been, and I think that's partly because Niles continues to act as though he doesn't quite believe it's happening to him. 'Something Borrowed, Something Blue' was a triumph of a Season finale if ever there was one, and would have been even more effective had Channel four not ruined most of it with their trailers... but that's beside the point. Eight years' worth of emotional torment came out in fifteen minutes, and it was glorious.
I think we'd all want someone who would leave the person they eloped with "in a heartbeat". D/N wasn't just about wanting them to get together; it was about wanting Niles to get the girl. It started out funny, and it just got more and more cruel and angsty as it went on. It was handled, alternately, in a very amusing way, but also a very plausible one - it's far too easy to believe that Daphne, on the verge of getting married, would suddenly realise she was in love with someone else. It's also far too easy to believe that despite that, she'd still marry the other guy, and Niles would let her even if it was killing him inside. Add to that his useless brother, and his father rooting for them along with most of the audience. The fact of the matter is, Niles and Daphne had to get together in the show's timeline, or it would have gotten old. They timed it perfectly, and the introduction of Mel (gah...) was brilliant. All the stuff after that has been pretty much superfluous - and yet, they continue to surprise us. I mean, Vegas, for crying out loud? Everyone expected Niles and Daphne to have a huge church wedding with all the trimmings, and her family from Hell, and a big poufy white dress and twenty layers of veil and fifteen flower girls, and we got... Vegas. Or possibly not Vegas; I think it may have been Rio, but it was one of those 'little white chapel' weddings by a dude in a cowboy hat, the exact antithesis of what was expected of them; even their 'real'/fake wedding was done in a register office. They gave Niles heart trouble and actually had me believing they were going to kill him off - and in the process, got them both to re-evaluate how precious the other is.
The long and short of it is: they're bloody adorable. Long may it last!
Roz/Frasier - a late addition, but inevitable by default. I've long suspected Roz had feelings for Frasier, long before she realised it herself, and finally, the writers caught up with me. :) They've slept together, just the once, but chose to ignore it - probably a mistake, but hey, they're both completely useless. And now we have the current situation: Frasier is going out with a woman he has previously claimed to detest, and whom Roz is not exactly enamoured with either; Roz was offered a better job at another radio company, and turned it down, though her reasons were unclear even to herself; she dislikes Frasier's relationship with the other woman, especially since he thinks it's going well, and she's just been 'misunderstood' by everyone, including himself. So, cue Roz giving him an ultimatum: her, or his girlfriend. Not the best plan when you've just had a blazing row over nothing; Frasier chose his girlfriend, and Roz is gone.
I frelling hate them for that cliffhanger. I am, however, glad that it wasn't the final season, like it was meant to be, because that would have been evil. I await the outcome with bated breath. The only irritating thing about being a R/F shipper is nobody else seems to be one, and finding fic is very, very hard.
Jonathan Creek (this is going to be a long one...)
Jonathan/Maddy - before I start, an interesting fact I just discovered: Alan Davies is now married to Julia Sawalha. Which explains why she ended up in Jonathan Creek, at least... Anyway, back on topic. I am a Jonathan/Maddy shipper. I have been a J/M shipper since 'The Reconstituted Corpse'; in fact, no, I've been one since I saw the advert for 'House of Monkeys', even though I didn't even see that til about a year later... Hence, when Maddy toddled off to America to do her book promo tour, and Carla poked her pretty blonde head into the scene, I was, to put it lightly, just slightly annoyed... The J/M chemistry was what formed the basis of the entire show; it wasn't exactly well-executed, and the show has very little sense of canon at all, and also very little in terms of character development: those escapades into their histories that we are given are thrown in at random, touched upon, glimpsed, but ultimately backed away from again. I've obviously been spoiled with epic American serieses, and expect the same from a British production, except British shows aren't designed like that: they have a concept, and they stick to it; none of this character interaction crap, thank you very much...
Hence, to ship for Jonathan and Maddy, I had to make a lot of suppositions, hence, much re-watching of the episodes. I have to pretend there is a canon when most of the time there blatantly isn't. And hence, I should probably know better than to expect a turning point like them sleeping together to actually mean something in a world populated by normal human beings, and not be shocked when Jonathan conveniently manages to forget about the woman who turned his entire life upside down and sleep with Carla (which, I believe, was suggested in series four... I don't remember, but I'll assume as much...) The only even vaguely redeeming factor is that Carla is, in some ways, a lot like Maddy, whilst being her exact opposite at the same time.
So. Here's J/M, as I see it, given what we know, and a lot that we don't:
We have, for starters, Jonathan. We know very little about him except that the windmill belongs to his parents, who live abroad, and, we assume, aren't particularly pleased with his line of work. With a brain like that, he's bound to have done well at school and had lots of prospects. He works for Adam Klaus - we don't know when he started, we don't know how they met, we actually know remarkably little, even, about their friendship. It's implied they've known each other for several years and are, essentially, as close to 'best friends' as Jonathan ever lets anyone get. He's a very private individual (he lives in a windmill in the middle of nowhere, for goodness' sake!) and could probably, if required, live without any other human contact whatsoever.
Then, we have Maddy. All we know of her past is that her mother killed herself when Maddy was sixteen - what happened between then and now, we have not been told. When we first meet her, she's going out with a cameraman (played, amusingly enough, by one Alan-Davies-impersonating Alistair McGowan...) who I believe was called Geoff... but that relationship doesn't seem to be going anywhere, and appears to be one in a long line of failed not-quite relationships - there is certainly evidence of her tendencies to go out with random people throughout the show, but Jonathan is just as bad. It's probably the only thing they have in common. Despite her tough exterior and apparently un-damageable personality, she's just as fragile as anyone with her past would be - and I get the distinct impression there's a lot we don't know. She's not as private as Jonathan, but isn't quick to divulge anything that might let the barriers down.
They're so wrong for each other, it works. They have a relationship built on hormones, not quite unresolved sexual tension, secrecy, stubbornness, and an ever-shifting balance of power - it's not quite as unhealthy as Buffy/Spike, but it's getting there. They're probably best friends, but would never admit it; unlike Jonathan, though, Maddy has her own circle of acquaintances. Probably the most obscure of these is her publisher, Barry Opper, who knows a lot more than he lets on about her past - he revealed what we know to Jonathan in 'The Scented Room' [R.I.P Bob Monkhouse...] because he had very little choice in the matter. Only one thing is definite in Jonathan and Maddy's relationship - they fancy the arses off each other, but neither of them would ever admit that.
The thing with them is, though, it's not that simple. Maddy crashed into Jonathan's life and sent it spinning into the surreal, and he wasn't strong enough to stop it - or he was just too curious to let it lie; one or the other. Undoubtedly, despite his protestations, he does enjoy their escapades into bizarre crime, just as she probably enjoys Adam's company when she has to endure it for any length of time. Their lives have become irreversibly intertwined.
Of the two, it's Maddy who has always seemed more willing to 'give it a go', and it's not like she hasn't tried. She just has terrible timing, and tries whenever Jonathan's brain is somewhere else. If she ever managed to discuss it with him at the right time, he'd probably agree. I'll assume that at some point in series three, they did manage to actually sit down and have a conversation about whatever state they'd gotten to, since it culminated in them finally getting their act together in the penultimate episode, and giving in to their hormones at last. There was no instantly noticeable change after this, except, perhaps, getting more argumentative, and the incident of Jonathan saving her life for the second time. Undoubtedly, there's trust between them, despite their inherent uselessness, but they keep on making mistakes: Jonathan refers to her as "a comfy old sweatshirt" - which does, luckily, result in a cathartic slanging match that somewhat clears the air ('The Black Canary') - and she continually puts herself into a cycle of letting him in and pushing him away again. It's no wonder he doesn't know where he stands with her half the time... Going back to the trust issue: that's been deepened by Jonathan finding out about her past - he knows about one of her demons, and hasn't used it against her, and isn't that everyone's biggest fear?
Neither of them have ever had a lasting relationship. Jonathan admitted to Adam that there's only been one girl he was ever in love with, but wasn't brave enough to tell her (bless...) As for Maddy - God knows. I doubt she'd ever let herself get close enough to someone for it to go that far. It's very difficult to ship for them, because they're both so stubborn. However, I'm semi-convinced - as my fic will explain, if I ever finish it - that Jonathan might very well be in love with her (or at the very least, would entertain the notion of it), if he'd ever admit that to himself, or think about it long enough to realise. All it would take was one of them to admit it, and it would be a starting point. But, alas, it's never going to happen. Off Maddy went, on Carla came, away, away went the shippiness. The bastards ruined it.
Only two more fandoms to go, both sort of wordy. I didn't realise how much I had to say about the last one. :) Well, I say two. Knowing me I'll probably come up with a few more along the way...