These are the best, most brilliant friendships on television.

They’re not just for life, they’re for TV: The most brilliant friendships on the box

As a new season of My Brilliant Friend lands on TVNZ OnDemand, we take a look at some of television’s most iconic and enduring friendships. 

Life is for living, so close the curtains, lock the doors, and wrap your optic nerves around My Brilliant Friend. It’s a treat for the eyes and a treat for the heart, and if you do not cry at least once then I’m sorry, we cannot be best friends any more.  

That’s the sort of thing Lila would say to Lenù in My Brilliant Friend, the visually-stunning HBO drama that focuses on the complex friendship between two girls growing up in 1950s Naples. When an elderly Lenù learns her childhood BFF is missing, she begins to write the story of their rich but unpredictable friendship. FYI, post-war Italy does not seem fun. Lenù and Lila live in a close-knit but brutal community that doesn’t encourage girls to follow their dreams, and their friendship helps them survive this patriarchal world in unexpected ways.  

It’s one heck of a complicated relationship, with rivalries and jealousies that fester as Lila and Lenù grow into young women and their lives begin to take separate paths. It’s rare to see a television drama focus on a challenging and dynamic female friendship like this, and My Brilliant Friend doesn’t shy away from depicting Lila and Lenù’s relationship in all its uplifting and destructive glory.   

With the arrival of My Brilliant Friend’s second season to TVNZ OnDemand, we’re saluting other iconic friendships in television that have stood the test of time, regardless of how messy they might be. These friendships are enduring and inspiring, and full of surprises. Leaf-blowers! Butt lifts! Friends, don’t say we didn’t warn you. 

Sir David Attenborough and the entire planet, Seven Worlds One Planet

He’s everyone’s best friend, because without the inspirational Sir David, we are all screwed. He tells us the hard truths when we don’t want to hear them, and then lifts us up by showing how precious and beautiful we are. May he never break up with us the way prehistoric supercontinent Pangea did in Seven Worlds One Planet.

Sherlock and Watson, Sherlock

The idea that you need a million mates to be a well-rounded human is fake news, and nobody knows this better than Sherlock. His friendship journey with John Watson is the beating heart of this award-winning drama, as our heroes live, laugh and love their way around London’s crime hotspots.

“Just the two of us against the world,” Sherlock reckons, which is nice if you’re into that sort of thing, but also slightly creepy and maybe a wee bit possessive if you’re not. Still, they seem happy enough, and save each other’s lives on a regular basis, so yay for them.

Iyia Liu and Edna Swart, BossBabes

They’re bosses, they’re babes, they’re two best friends taking on the world one Instagram post at a time. Iyia and Edna are Auckland e-commerce businesswomen and influencers who take the starring roles in BossBabes, the Kiwi reality show about their glamorous lives. It’s a hectic world of mansion parties, savvy selfies and the occasional butt lift, yet through it all, Iyia and Edna stick together to put the ‘me’ into ‘team’. 

Rachel and Nick, Shortland Street

It’s a bazillion years ago, but name a more iconic set of Ferndale best mates, I dare you. Nick and Rachel are Shortland Street’s longest lasting besties, and their 20 year friendship survived a scam marriage, an unlikely romance, and the time Rachel challenged Nick to photocopy his bare buttocks in the nurse’s station. BFFs forever, no ifs or butts about it.

Chandler and Joey, Friends

It was the ‘90s bromance to end all ‘90s bromances, the friendship that raised a duck and a chick and a lounge room canoe. Remember when Chandler locked himself in a wooden crate to prove to Joey how sorry he was, or the time Joey spent his Days of Our Lives money on a matching comfy chair for Chandler, or the time Joey got ordained on the internet so he could marry Chandler and Monica? I mean, could they BE better friends?

Francis Tipene and his leaf blower, The Casketeers

Bury your garden rakes in a staplegunned shroud of satin, because there’s no greater force for good than Francis Tipene and his beloved, beautiful, death-defying leaf blower. This is a duo more iconic than Hosking and his Dyson, more powerful than Dan Corbett and a low pressure weather trough. I wish it was always autumn, for Francis’ sake. The Tipene-Makita friendship blows, but only in a good way.  

This content was created in paid partnership with TVNZ. Learn more about our partnerships here


Go to TVNZ OnDemand, where you’ll find a ton of other great shows (…way beyond just what’s played on TV)



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