When we feed on too much lovey-dovey content on TV or media, we tend to forget that romantic love is not all there is to life. Check out this review of five TV and movie characters living life as singles.
The media is full of romance and people searching for love. When it comes to Valentine’s Day and romance is celebrated throughout the month of February, it can get rather overwhelming—especially for those without a significant other … yet.
For all who are single and happy, looking to explore a different storyline, may you find some inspiration in how the singles in these shows live out empowering lives, beyond romantic pursuits. Surely there’s more to life than romance; like self-care, growth, enjoying the present and being your best self!
1. Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes & Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’s Sherlock Holmes (Starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the TV series, Robert Downey Junior in the movies)
Intelligent, charming and mysterious, Sherlock Holmes remains mostly single throughout his storyline. His most prominent relationships are with assistant Dr John Watson, as well as his housekeeper.
Deeply flawed as an individual, he displays admirable qualities such as a dedication to his craft and a deep, sacrificial loyalty for Dr Watson. Hence, it is not surprising that this character, created in 1887 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, still remains popular today. Sherlock Holmes continues to inspire and has been adapted into various hit movies and TV series.
One can’t help being awed by Sherlock’s brilliance in solving crimes as well his wit and good humour in the most extraordinary of situations. It is both laughable and admirable to see how Sherlock can get himself and Watson out of any of the scrapes he gets them in.
Additionally, we sense a human kindness beyond the cold exterior shell, along with an undivided pursuit of the truth—against all odds, more so even than the other law enforcement characters we see featured. Hopefully one day, the audience will get to see this enigmatic detective solve the puzzle of his own heart.
2. Stranger’s Han Yeo-jin (Starring Bae Doona)
Stranger is a South Korean crime thriller drama television series. Hwang Si-Mok and Han Yeo-Jin work together to solve cases to eradicate corruption in the prosecutor’s office. Si Mok is an exemplary prosecutor who is cold, rational and lonely, due to a loss of empathy and social skills after surgery.
Yeo-jin shines in this role as the only female in the main cast and likely the entire criminal investigation team. There is no backstory given to her character, which lends a sense of mystery and intrigue. Yet she comes across as mature, strong and likeable due to an adherence to personal values. She does not compromise on these values, even if it threatens her place in the department.
Juxtaposed against Si-Mok’s personality, we also see her kindness and warmth—she shows genuine happiness when she finds Si-Mok displaying real emotions.
3. Ted Lasso’s Ted Lasso (Starring Jason Sudeikis)
The series follows Ted Lasso, an American college football coach who is hired to coach an English soccer team. In the series, we watch how Ted wins over the skeptical English market with his folksy, positive manner while dealing with his own inexperience in soccer.
He is charming and humorous. Through various meaningful anecdotes, he manages to bring a scattered team of guys together and achieve success. His struggles make him relatable as a leader, and as one who never stops trying even though he may not be fully equipped or best suited for the role.
In one scene, Ted says, “I came here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life coaching with somebody, you want the rest of your life to begin asap.”
4. The Good Wife’s Alicia Florrick (Starring Julianna Margulies)
The Good Wife is an American legal and political drama television series that focuses on Alicia Florrick. After having spent the previous 13 years as a stay-at-home mother, she returns to the workforce as a litigator to provide for her two children.
Alicia Florrick is an overall impressive character who returns to the workforce after her husband, Cook County State’s Attorney is involved in a very public political scandal. She restarts her life in her 40s as an entry-level lawyer and despite being older than most of her colleagues, she eventually makes her way to the top.
Alicia endeavours to remain mostly ethical professionally. She stays committed to bringing up her children well and is overall a powerful and dynamic female lead.
5. Good Manager’s Kim Seong-Ryong (Starring Nam Koong Min)
Good Manager is a Korean comic series based in an office. It has a great plot, a lot of heart and relatable, endearing characters. Full of comedic moments, it also manages to go deep into the topic of corruption, and the hardships of those fighting for justice in that system.
It follows the story of Kim Seong-Ryong, a certified public accountant who joins a large company to embezzle a large sum of money. By a twist, he ends up giving his utmost to save this failing company and fights for the employees’ fundamental rights.
Seong-Ryong enters the story as an eccentric genius who is flamboyant and good with numbers. He previously managed money for gangs and is often able to pocket money and get away with it. After witnessing firsthand the corrupt measures at TQ Group, he dramatically changes his life’s trajectory and becomes “Mr Righteous”.
One is drawn to Seong-Ryong because he seems to understand deeply what it is like to be powerless, and hence, his fight for those weaker than him comes from a place of empathy and connection. He remains street smart, able to protect himself against those in power.
He also shows understanding, awareness that people do not always do the right thing due to their own difficult circumstances.
Bonus – Animated Movie
Encanto’s Mirabel (Voiced by Stephanie Beatriz)
Encanto is a 2021 Disney animated film. The film follows a multigenerational Colombian family, helmed by a matriarch whose children and grandchildren all receive magical gifts that help them serve the people in their rural community known as “the Encanto”.
We follow Mirabel’s story in which she learns that the family is losing their magic and despite being deemed the least qualified due to her own “magic-less” state, she sets out to discover what is actually happening and saves her family and their home.
Mirabel is quirky and so very imperfect, and her lack of magical abilities draws her to us all the more. We long for her to experience both the acceptance she needs from her family and her deserved victory from her own heroine’s arc.
She is deeply empathetic, connecting with the family outcast, Bruno, who ends up believing in her when nobody else does. “You’re exactly what this family needs,” he says.
Thinking for others, even when they treat her with disdain, is what makes her so charming. Nothing dampens her spirit and her belief that she will find the key to solving the family’s issues.
Yes, 15-year-olds are technically too young to date and should not be considered a single, but we decided to include her in as a prime example of a modern-day Disney heroine, with strong family values and an admirable attitude towards life—one that neither needs a prince nor any saving!