the officeDate nights are like werewolves. No, wait. Date nights are like tadpoles when they start growing weird, stumpy legs. Nah, that's not it either. Date nights are like ... Mystique from X-Men?

OK, forget it. Here's the idea: Date nights take many different forms. By nature, you've got to start with a hopefully not crushingly awkward first date, and if you're lucky, you'll progress into a honeymoon phase and then a full-on relationship that's cozier than bunny slippers. And as your date nights change shape over time, your entertainment needs to keep pace if you want those flames fanned. So let these shows be your chaperone, and flame on.

The Icebreakers

When you first start dating, what you need is a safety net -- "Bob's Burgers" is that safety net. It's light, it's accessible, it's going to net you some serious street cred, and it'll stock you and your better half with in-joke ammo for years to come. You will hear the phrase, "Your ass is grass and I'm gonna mow it" at least a dozen times, guaranteed.

Once said ice is broken, move on to "Master of None," from the irreplaceable Aziz Ansari. The trick here is that Aziz and crew bring the laughs, but they also provide plenty to chew on over a few glasses of Syrah -- this one runs a thematic gamut from the complications of texting and sustaining today's flake-o-riffic relationships to what it's like being second-generation immigrants in America. Funny with a big dose of poignant.

The Hopeless Romantics

All right, a few seasons of solid TV later, and the L-word is in the air -- be the people who hold their boomboxes over their heads and make out in the rain, and just embrace that thing. Put it all out there with the Judd Apatow-produced "Love." Like you and your S.O., this show is all about lovers on a sweet -- but charmingly imperfect and a little neurotic -- journey. It's not so much the Big L that counts, it's how we get there.

And if you're ready for a big commitment, all nine seasons of "The Office" should just about do it. You can't get more romantic than the evolution of Pam and Jim's relationship, while the mix of hilarity and occasional tear jerking between the love-story beats makes it even sweeter.

The Nights In

You're committed now, and the name of the game is sustaining your bond with bingeing and cheap, cheap date nights. This is when you call the big hitters up to the plate.

The mix of plot twists, baby dragons, gore, and unhinged sex on "Game of Thrones" is enough to keep anyone's flame lit, but if you prefer a sci-fi slant, 800-plus episodes of "Doctor Who" should be enough to keep you wonderfully nerdy lovebirds scheduling date nights till about, oh, 2036.

If you don't do genre, slow-burn character study and complex moral undertones make "Better Call Saul" just about enough to sustain a relationship all by itself -- seriously, having an excuse to watch this show every week could very well keep you from breaking up for eternity.

Unless someone sneaks in an episode when it's not date night. Couples who stay together are couples who watch together. It's science.

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