In the last week and a half, I've watched all of White Collar to date. I entirely blame the totally NSFW fanvid Tonight I'm F**king You by talitha78. It's not the slashy hotness so much as that... the particular dynamics of the slashy hotness suggested to me that we might get some of the character dynamics that I enjoy watching in a show. So finally I downloaded an episode. And then I downloaded the rest of the episodes (with a brief hiatus to call my broadband company for more bandwidth).
(I was sick for part of the week. I needed entertainment. The splurge was totally justifiable.)
There's a bunch of things I love about the show (which is kind of like what'd happen if they'd made a spin-off of "Catch Me If You Can". FBI guy and ex-con: together they fight crime.) One is the caperful premise. Another is FBI guy's wife (when he has to flirt to preserve his cover, she doesn't go all soap opera jealous, but bursts out laughing. And then gives him flirting lessons). Another is that, although Evil Execs clearly made the show drop the awesome lesbian character ("We're not the military. We don't ask, we don't care.") after the pilot, the show brought her back by the end of season 1 and kept her, and in season 3 we meet her long-term partner, who's portrayed just the same as anyone else's long-term partner.
Mostly it's the character dynamics. I have a Thing for fictional relationships where the two characters are engaged in devious schemes to outwit each other's devious schemes to outwit each other, and this picks up in season 3.
The show's main weakness for me is that it's all about the straight white men. (Especially in season 1 and the first half of season 2, where it's all about Our Hero's manpainful search for his girlfriend.) As are a good deal of the other examples of this kind of relationship. (Javert/Valjean springs to mind. Others would except it's past my bedtime. When the characters spend more time in the same room than Javert and Valjean did, there may be homoerotic overones. Or, as in "Catch Me If You Can" there may be paternal overtones.) It's not that I dislike watching straight white men attempting to outwit each other, it's that I'd like some variety.
Thinking on it, there are a good number of stories with a male/female pairing in the same basic dynamic (eg Thomas Crowne Affair; Dangerous Liaisons and derivatives; Intolerable Cruelty) and I generally love these too (though Intolerable Cruelty would have been vastly better if the actors had had any chemistry at all). These always have explicit romance involved.
But I started doubting myself, wondering: would I still enjoy the dynamic if it was two female characters, or am I part of the problem? It's really hard to know, because for some strange reason I couldn't think of any examples.
Finally (thanks to a repeat the other day and a conversation on Twitter tonight) I thought of one which reassured me, because I did love it: Deokman vs Misil on The Great Queen Seondeok. They're both fantastic characters, both vastly intelligent and ambitious, but Deokman is in it for a vision and Misil is in it for herself. They lie to, deceive, and manipulate each other without cease. They hate each other fiercely -- and the best part is they also respect each other. (A related neat thing is that with the maternal overtones, mostly it's Misil coded as the mother-figure.)
So, I'd love more. Any books, movies, TV shows about two female characters in a spy-vs-spy, or otherwise cerebral adversarial, relationship? Powerplay, mindgames, and cunning all much appreciated. Cutting wit is bonus fun.
Or otherwise just any female character being awesome a la the Scarlet Pimpernel, the Saint (minus the Oh Leslie Charteris No fail), etc.
(Also, completely randomly: lots of fiction focuses on the father-son relationship. Some focuses on the mother-daughter relationship. Sometimes the father-daughter relationship. But the only mother-son relationships I can think of off-hand involve the son being a serial killer. What am I forgetting?)